POEM: Old Morpeth

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I remember the cobble stones of the Old Back Riggs

Tuppence old money for five Woodbine cigs,

A ha’penny Gob Stopper from Varley’s shop,

Water’s and Robson’s and George Young’s pop;

The Blacksmith’s shop, I remember of course,

Standing and watching Mr Watson as he shoed a horse,

The ringing of the anvil as he shaped a horse shoe,

I remember it well, do many of you?

Vizockie’s ice cream, homemade Ginger Beer;

My memories of these remain crystal clear.

Woodbine Willie and Tommy Hibberd,

Penny dips from Porky Gebhard.

The ponies and traps and out-of-work tramps,

The flickering lights of the old gas lamps,

My Mother baking, apple ‘gowks’, flour and lard,

Spinning tops, marbles and cigarette cards.

Many and varied were the Morpeth shops,

The Fire Brigade like the Keystone Cops,

A boy bowling along with his hook and ‘gord’,

Wagons being washed on the Stanners ford;

Old Walter Moffat — his coat tied with string —

Mouthing obscenities that made your ears ring!

The old red bikes’ of His Majesty’s Mail,

Coals from ‘Tashy’ Weightman — in bag or in pail.

One memory never leaves me, I remember it still,

Of the old Stottie Cakes on our window sill.

Families mucked in then, there was never any bother,

Going out of their way to help one another.

There were Shop-boys, Garden-girls, Swinney’s, the pit,

Not much choice — that was simply it.

Dick Elliott’s drivers, I think they got used

To his dictatorial manner and verbal abuse!

Wooden frames and clippings for a proggy mat,

Alderman Sanderson in his Stetson hat,

Lads I grew up with, some here no more,

Gave up their lives in the Second World War.

Times were hard; there wasn’t much ‘lolly’,

One could leave reality behind at the ‘Playhouse or Colly’.

I remember the Stanners Hops in this old town,

Girls in best dresses, boys’ hair all sleeked down,

Dancing to Percy Cuthbert’s Band, it was simply grand,

Old Morpeth for us — the best town in the land.

I have too many memories, I feel I could never

Write them all down — I’d go on forever!

Supplied by David Halliday

Thought to have been penned by John Tomlin

(If you have further information about it contact morpeth.herald@jpress.co.uk)