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Page iPage i A Few Tunes of Good Music A HISTORY OF IRISH MUSIC AND DANCE IN LONDON 1800-1980 BEYOND Reg Hall Croydon London 2016 As a lad in County Roscommon in the 1930s Jim Donahue played the flute regularly with an older man Michael Colemans brother Jim. He recalled whenever Jim came to the house Hed take down the fiddle. Then youd hear a few tunes of good music altogether The author was born in Northfleet Kent England in 1933 and spent most of his working life in the Inner London Probation Service. His passionate interest in Irish traditional music and his sustained activity as a musician within the Irish community in London date back to 1956. He has written widely lectured broadcast and produced many long-playing records and compact discs on British Irish and American traditional music and dance. In 1995 for the work that is the basis of this book he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Sussex and in 2009 he received a TG4 Cheoil Gradam award from Irish television. Dedicated to the generation of musicians who inherited the music of the post-war Irish in London most notably those who frequented the Auld Triangle in Finsbury Park during the 2000s. Also in memory of Ann OMealy a poor Irish immigrant who worked as a dairymaid in Marylebone soon after the Famine and married a local English street trader. She could have told her great-grandson a thing or two. Page iiPage ii SUMMARY OF THE BOOK The various Irish and London-Irish communities in London since the beginning of the eighteenth century have all been involved in some way or another in making music and dancing. Each community in its time established its own music and dance practices sometimes transferring them from Ireland sometimes modifying them to social conditions in London and sometimes creating new forms. Drawing on a wide range of primary written and oral sources I document and analyse the nature of that music-making and dancing and discusses their significance to those communities in London presenting the subject in terms of social systems of organisation and practice. I demonstrate that there have been two distinct cultural traditions within vernacular Irish music and dance. The Rural Tradition reaching back into the dim past belonged almost exclusively to the rural working population in small-farming communities while the Gaelic Revival promoted from within the privileged classes was taken up by members of the urban and rural lower middle class at the end of the nineteenth century. Rural tradition was transported to London by immigration of rural workers and survived or was mediated by adjustment to urban conditions. Gaelic revivalism concerned with the circulation of a reconstructed and idealised Irish culture drew on the efforts of a middle-class Irish population in London for much of its creative energy. A third cultural category Urban Tradition was evolved by the London-Irish working population in response to social and political conditions unique to London. This work covers the settlement in London in the preceding fifty years before the Famine but it concentrates on the period of poverty after the Famine the activities of the emerging parish confraternities and the major contribution of the Irish to Cockney life both in the music halls and on the street. The Gaelic League in London was a leading player in the Gaelic Revival and its achievements including the invention of Irish figure dancing are chronicled in detail while the history of the London-Irish working-class community of the East End and south-east London is unfolded in the exploration of its adaptation of Gaelic League practice its parish band tradition its social clubs and homely parties and the commercial Irish dance halls. The Irish music and dance scene in London before the Second World War belonged to the London-Irish a community largely working class and exclusively Roman Catholic established in the East End and south-east London in the decades succeeding the Famine. By 1945 as a consequence of the Blitz and a general decline in the fortunes of the Gaelic Revival its energy level was running down. The scene after the war however was dominated by a new wave of immigration of young single working men and women largely from the rural west of Ireland the Irish in London. While they accepted some elements of the infrastructure established by the London-Irish their community was so vibrant it developed its own values and practices constantly being refreshed from home and adapting to new affluent conditions in the inner city. London-Irish ceili dancing and step-dancing parish bands and commercial dance halls are dealt with fully but the main thrust of the book is concerned with the new immigrant population. Their experience leaned heavily on the developments in repertory and practice in Ireland that had crystallised in the 1880s that had been modified by innovation in the 1930s and that had now sprung into a spontaneous renaissance as conditions in Ireland improved after the Second World War. This native-Irish experience is dealt with in considerable detail Page iiiPage iii since this was the cultural baggage the new immigrants could bring with them and modern means of communication allowed them to keep in regular contact with home. The adaptation to city life of the Irish in London was manifested in a new and thriving musical outlet in backstreet pubs the re-vamping of the existing dance-hall scene and the creation of the Irish musicians association Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann and there was significant though limited contact with radio and television record companies and the British folk-song movement. Thus a classic period in Irish music and dance in London lasted from 1945 until about 1980 when major changes including those instigated by the media brought about new fortunes for the music. Page ivPage iv CONTENTS Title page i Summary ii Contents iv Introduction vi Part 1 The Nineteenth Century Chapter 1. Music and Dance in Rural Ireland 1 Chapter 2. Irish Settlement in London 17 Chapter 3. The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London 25 Chapter 4. Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London 55 Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance 71 Chapter 6. The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream 86 Chapter 6a. Setting the Scene for Parts 2 3. The London-Irish 1890-1945 109 Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945 Chapter 7. Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914 113 Chapter 8. The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914 149 Chapter 9. The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945 202 Chapter 10. The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945 211 Chapter 10a. Some Conclusions 234 Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music and Dance of the London- Irish Working Class 1890-1945 Chapter 11. Domestic and Community Music-Making and Dancing 235 Chapter 12. The Commercial Dance Halls 254 Chapter 13. The Parish Bands 277 Chapter 14. The Drum-and-Fife Band Tradition 291 Chapter 15. The Bagpipe Tradition 295 i. Profile of the Borough Pipe Band 308 ii. Profile of the Fogarty Family 314 iii. Profile of the Dagenham Irish Pipe Band 325 Chapter 15a. Some Conclusions 330 Part 4. Chapter 16. Discography 1899-1945 331 Part 5 The Pre-Emigration Experience Music and Dance in Rural Ireland 1900-1980 Page vPage v Chapter 16a. Introduction 365 Chapter 17. Self-Generated Systems 1900-1945 366 Chapter 18. Responses to External Influences 1900-1945 415 Chapter 19. Popular Resurgence and Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann 1945-1980 443 Part 6 The Gaelic Revival in London and the London-Irish Working- Class Tradition 1945-1980 Chapter 20. The Revival of the Gaelic Revival 467 Chapter 21. The Decline of Urban Traditions 505 i. Domestic and Community Music-Making and Dancing 505 ii. The Commercial Dance Halls 514 iii. Parish Bands Bagpipes Flute--Drums 514 Chapter 21a. Some Conclusions 529 Part 7 The Adaptation of Rural Music and Dance in London 1945- 1980 Chapter 22. Settling In 560 Chapter 23. The Pubs Mostly Camden Town 586 Chapter 24. The Pubs Mostly Fulham Broadway 618 Chapter 25. The Pubs The Favourite 633 Chapter 26. The Pubs And the Rest 652 Chapter 27. The Commercial Dance Halls 672 Chapter 28. The Commercial Dance Halls The Local Ceili Bands 709 Chapter 29. Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann 730 Chapter 30. Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann -- Additional Illustrations 756 Chapter 31. Repertory Skills and Dissemination 782 Chapter 32. The Media and the Folk-Dance and Folk-Song Movements 797 Part 8 Illustrative Biographies Chapter 33. Michael Gorman 1895-1970 820 Chapter 34. Jimmy Power 1918-1985 874 Part 9 Chapter 35a. Discography 1945-1980 1945-1965 901 Chapter 35b. Discography 1945-1980 1966-1980 949 Part 10 The Legacy in London post-1980. Chapter 36. The Decline of Adapted Rural Practice and the Emergence of Urban Practices 995 Part 11 Chapter 37. Some Conclusions 1022 Page viPage vi INTRODUCTION Family entertainment when I was a child in Northfleet just before and during the War was a trip once or twice a week to the pictures an occasional bus-ride to a variety theatre in Chatham and listening avidly to the wireless. While I was unable get on with string quartets and lieder every form of popular music from orchestral classics to dance-band crooning held my interest. By the age of about ten however my preference was for the American swing bands I saw at the pictures which for most respectable working-class people I knew were too noisy and exhibitionist. Two years later I entered a musical underground a minority world if ever there was one where the source of the music was elusive its structure complex the performers invention and creativity mind-boggling and the execution emotionally passionate and often stunningly beautiful. Black music of the 1920s recorded in Chicago and New York became both my great love and a lasting source of wonderment. In 1946 in the austere months just after the War had ended five particular records come into our household smuggled into the country by a radio officer on the Queen Mary. George Lewiss band proved to be powerful and potent and although I didnt realise it at the time Bill Russells brief notes in the accompanying leaflet were directing my curiosity towards the history and contexts of New Orleans music. Quite independently of my involvement with jazz the square-dance boom of 1950 led me as a seventeen-year-old towards country dancing. This was great fun and since my skill at playing jazz was non-existent I enjoyed thumping out a few jigs and hornpipes from the Fiddlers Tune Book on the piano and I organised a square dance band briefly with some members of the school orchestra. It was Alan Lomaxs arrival in London in 1951 that brought the two worlds together in my mind for Lomax whom I had admired for his documentary recordings of Jelly-Roll Morton and his association with Huddie Ledbetter was presenting radio programmes that featured traditional music from much closer to home. It was during a radio documentary The Gaelic West presented by Alan Lomax and Seamus Ennis on 16th April 1952 that I made my first pencilled notes about Irish music as I took down the names of Colm Keane Elizabeth Cronin Padraig OKeeffe Sean McDonagh and Mickie Doherty. A lot seemed to be happening around 1953 and 1954. Peter Kennedy and Seamus Ennis began their weekly BBC magazine programme As I Roved Out which included recorded examples from their field trips in Britain and Ireland. The music was wonderful but remote and it was a few items on Alan Lomaxs short series of BBC television programmes Song Hunter late in 1953 that brought the musicians and their music to life so vividly for me. In particular I remember a band of six Irishmen from Camden Town playing fiddles flutes and accordeon under the leadership of Michael Gorman two marvellous elderly singers Harry Cox and Charlie Wills one from Norfolk and the other from Dorset and the electric presence of Margaret Barry a street singer brought over from Dundalk specially for the show. Their impact on me was as great an emotional charge as I got from my records of King Olivers Creole Jazz Band but these people were alive and so much closer to home. As a consequence of an advertisement in The Melody Maker that took my eye I broke out of camp in Wiltshire without a pass dodged the RAF police at the gate and went up to London to see Margaret Barry Jeannie Robertson Michael Gorman and Danny McNiff in a concert at the Royal Festival Hall. The same surge of enthusiasm saw me shortly afterwards cycling to Paris with a friend to see and hear the New Orleans Creole clarinettist Sidney Bechet. My attempt to buy Irish records in the international department of the HMV shop in Oxford Street was fruitless but then for some reason or other HMV put out some Irish dance records and I tracked down some pre-war Deccas in a back-street shop in Marylebone not knowing at the time that it was Page viiPage vii just round the corner from where Jimmy Power was living. Records by Leo Rowsome the Austin Stack Ceili Band the McCusker Brothers Ceilidh Band Pat Roches Harp and Shamrock Orchestra and Michael Coleman were then stacked in our living-room cupboard next to those by Bunk Johnson Johnny Dodds Clarence Williams Freddie Keppard Jelly- Roll Morton Louis Armstrong Bessie Smith Kid Ory Jimmy Shand Honeymans Fiddlers and William Kimber. In November 1954 shortly after I left the Royal Air Force I started attending the monthly Sunday afternoon meetings of the Ceilidh Club at Cecil Sharp House in Camden Town. Everybody was expected to do something and by then I could play a tune or two on the DG melodeon. Peter Kennedy often arranged for an Irish musician or singer to call in and it was there I heard Michael Gorman and Margaret Barry at close quarters and even saw them dance a few steps. Seamus Ennis came in a couple of times so did Paddy Breen and Bobby Casey. I suspect none of them took any notice of my solo efforts and when one evening in February 1956 Michael Gorman sauntered into a school room in the East End as I was playing Haste to the Wedding on a practice night for Jean MacColls dancers he showed no immediate sign of recognition. To my great surprise and delight though he invited me to join his band to accompany a show by the dancers shortly afterwards at a Labour Party social in East Ham Town Hall. He told me to get there early And he added Ill teach you all the Irish reels youll ever want to know. It didnt work out like that but in the event I found myself sitting in the middle of the dance floor playing the melodeon for half an hour in the company of Michael Gorman and Martin Byrnes on the fiddles Margaret Barry on the banjo and Willie Clancy on the uilleann pipes. I knew all the tunes they were expected to play for the dancers until we came to The Duke of Leinster. I whispered to Michael I dont know it. Well just vamp There was no compromise in his voice. The contact was broken after that but some time later in September 1957 at the Ceilidh Club Michael Gorman suggested my friend Michael Plunkett should take his whistle to the Bedford Arms the following Monday evening. It must have gone well as he told him to come back a week or two later and Bring Ridge with ye L-R Michael Plunkett unidentified Reg Hall Margaret Barry unidentified Michael Gorman in the Bedford Arms Camden Town 19589. Reg Hall Collection On and off for the next three years Michael Plunkett and I called in at the Bedford in Camden Town the Black Lion in Kilburn and the Lion at Archway to sit in with Michael Gorman and Page viiiPage viii Margaret Barry and their friends. They were powerful musicians and great mentors and they always introduced us to their friends as a couple of English lads. Whether we liked it or not we were a bit of a rarity as few English people ever went into an Irish pub in those days and certainly no others attempted to play the music. One of us would drop out occasionally to make room for Paul Gross as we had made it a matter of principle never to go more than two- handed lest we swamp the music. I was upset when Michael and Margaret went back to Ireland at the end of 1959 but in parting company with us they urged us to stay on with the other musicians in the Bedford. Andy Boyle put it round that I could vamp the piano and from then on I was seldom asked to take my box anywhere. There was so much Irish music around and I was out regularly at least once a week sometimes five times a week listening to and playing with some of the best musicians anyone could ever hope to come across in more situations than a novelist could invent. The pub where the atmosphere was often electric was the place for the wildest music. Wherever you went in those early days fresh-faced young men in blue-serge suits strapped into accordeons covered in brash red perloid belted out Paddy OBriens wonderful selections. Occasionally an old chap might swing his hat round back-to-front and with his arms on the go shuffle an old-fashioned hornpipe while somewhere else a young lad with a couple of drinks in him carried away by the music and egged on by his mates might add another dimension to the music of the band by beating and trebling on the table top with a penny in each hand. You might be lucky to catch a night when there were two flute players in the band when their slightly dodgy intonation shifted the whole feel of the music bubbling and fluttering like two yapping terriers at a mans ankle. There were concerts and ceilis evenings at Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann dance-hall engagements marathon feises fleadh competitions house parties wedding receptions funerals and even coach trips to the seaside all with their own special character and excitement. For twenty years or so I partnered the fiddle player Jimmy Power pretty well everywhere he went and for fourteen years we were resident every Sunday lunch-time in The Favourite off Holloway Road. The Favourite among many similar pubs it should be stressed was a Mecca for musicians and supporters alike and just about every fiddle flute accordeon and banjo player in London and many others just passing through called in at some time or another for a tune. I was privileged to have been accepted on equal terms within the Irish community without any need to sell out my own roots as I seemed to find time and space for both. I played on some records I produced some others and I wrote about the music in the sleeve notes but otherwise I tried hard not to interfere. I even abstained from voting at Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann branch AGMs though I was a loyal member. The crack was the thing and it still is. But the scene wasnt to last forever and by 1970 I could feel things were beginning to change inevitable perhaps and in my view not for the better. Some of the old-timers were dropping out settling down to a quiet life or going back home. The social scene was changing drastically and the music was being diluted swamped even by outside influences. Much worse however was the reality that too many of the people I admired were dying and I attended far too many funerals for comfort. Jimmy Powers death was perhaps too much and mid-life crisis struck me unexpectedly. I was seeing too much inner-city squalor during my working day as I met murderers child abusers junkies professional villains and petty thieves in the course of my job. More significantly I couldnt imagine where Irish music was heading nor could I see where I fitted in any longer. It was my wife Claire who suggested I should get out of the Probation Service and study for a degree in history the one she said I was always talking about. The compromise I settled on was to transfer from criminal to domestic work to Page ixPage ix give up management for a main-grade post to go half-time on half-pay and to register at the University of Sussex as a self-financing post-graduate student. I felt comfortable working on the history of Irish music and dance in London if only to ensure a place in our cultural history for the marvellous characters who made our music. There was a great story to be told. My initial plan was to interview my musician friends and produce a series of inter-related life stories as a means of documenting the post-war Irish music scene in London. That would have been interesting and worthy enough but on reflection it would hardly have answered all the appropriate questions nor was it likely to dispel the myths that continue to cloud the history of Irish music and dance. In my first tutorial as I presented my campaign of action my supervisor Dr. now Professor Alun Howkins suggested I should think again and look at Irish music and dancing in London from the time of the Famine. That threw the idea of an oral history out the window and cast the whole project into a different mode. A fortunate stroke that turned out to be as I was soon to realise that the notion of oral history is crazy. Informants do not produce history they can only produce evidence in the form of oral testimony. It is the job of historians to construct history calling on all the relevant and available evidence. Thus in one breath a commitment to a two-year masters degree became a five-year commitment to a doctorate. I assumed there would be a body of unpublished academic work on various aspects of Irish traditional music and dance but to my great amazement I discovered there were then only two completed doctoral theses anywhere in the world one on the Irish music scene in Chicago and another on music in County Clare. The field was wide open the source material was undiscovered and untouched. By necessity I would have to define the subject in my own terms and more excitingly make the analysis to set out a quite new historical debate. The representation of Irish music and dance that unfolds in this book differs quite considerably from that of mainstream Irish thought on the subject which if not coloured by the legacy of the Gaelic Revival is at least nationalist in character. Though I have been a devotee and practitioner of Irish traditional music for almost sixty years I am not Irish and it follows I could never be an Irish nationalist. The concept of Irishness in Irish music and dance is very important to Irish people in the light of a history characterised by colonisation and a social structure characterised by emigration. I am aware of current opinion among a large section of the Irish musical world that if it is Irish it is traditional which then embraces all forms of experimental work fusions with foreign material and conformity with show-business and media expectations. There is also a belief among some present-day Irish romantics that the spirit of Ireland transcends economic and social change disaster and pestilence and emerges in all manifestations of Irish music. Contrary to both those ideas I hold the view not particularly my own and shared by many others that the practice of traditional music-making and dancing belongs first and foremost to working people and in the case of Ireland to the rural working population and first generation emigrants from that background in the cities of Britain and America. Once it stops being owned and practised by those people and moves to other sections of the population where the thinking the motivation the purpose the skills and the circumstances are so different it stops being traditional music and becomes something else. In the period that concerns me in this book cultural interchange between ethnic groups across national borders has resulted in much shared practice and repertory. An objective non- partisan view acknowledging the place of Ireland within British and European culture and the place of Britain and Europe within Irish culture would highlight the many similarities in Irish English Welsh and Scottish repertories and practice rather than dwell on the differences. This shift of emphasis is central to my attitude and to this piece of work in particular. Page xPage x The main thrust of this book ends in 1980 partly as the established systems of music-making and dancing were showing massive cracks and partly as new forms of music-making and entertainment were developing and flourishing within the Irish community in London. I must confess here that much modern Irish music leaves me cold if not bored and angry and rather than do it an injustice by covering it unsympathetically I prefer to leave its documentation and the creation of its history to someone else. I therefore cover the period from 1980 to 2000 relatively briefly in general conceptual terms only. However traditional music-making in direct line of descent from those heady days of the 1950s and 1960s is still alive in London. Several pioneers from those days are still active and many younger musicians have adopted a significant part of their attitude and practice but theirs is a small and precious offering almost lost in the hype and glitz of the Irish entertainment world in London. I began my research with a fairly broad general knowledge of some aspects of the subject which included some idea of the organisational processes by which Irish music and dance have been practised. I was interested from the start not simply in what happened but also in how and why things happened how the people concerned evaluated the whole field of the music and how the music affected their lives. It seemed to me that the best way of coming to that understanding was to explore and examine the social systems that supported Irish music- making and dancing. An analytical concept of social systems became the key and I therefore drew together the evidence which was widely diverse in its origin and nature in terms of social systems and processes. The focus was on behaviour and attitude rather than on music and dance forms and this book is therefore more a history of music-making and dancing than of music and dance. Once I had hit upon it a structure of system analysis both directed my research and disciplined my thinking and inevitably ordered the presentation throughout my thesis and subsequently this book. Pertinent questions about the subject came to mind fairly readily and a number of conceptual headings presented themselves as a means of answering the questions and ordering the material. The analytical headings do not appear in this book but they are there just under the surface The Social Distribution of Practice looks at those parts of society that practise music- making and dancing and examines the practitioners in terms of their social status and class their livelihood their income their ethnicity their religion their political affiliation their education their gender their age and their marital status. The Social Organisation of Practice is concerned with the institutions and the infra- structure that support music-making and dancing and these are clearly nuclear families and households networks of kinship and friendship community institutions and trade and commerce. The Geographical Distribution of Practice self-evidently is concerned with differences in practice from place to place. The Dissemination of Repertory and Practice Skills is concerned with the means by which music and dance are circulated and the processes by which performance skills are taught and learned or just picked up. Page xiPage xi Repertory and Musical Instruments addresses the forms of instrumental music song and dance the creation of new material and the adoption and adaptation of new forms genres and instruments. Responses to Change in Society takes into account the effects that social economic and political changes have on music-making and dancing practice. Responses to Influences and Pressures from outside the Immediate Community deals with the influence and affects of political and cultural movements and media attention. This book a greatly revised extension of my thesis documents Irish music-making and dancing in London from the beginning of the nineteenth century until about 1980. It explores discusses and assesses the uses made of music and dance and the values and roles ascribed to them by their practitioners and their supporters. The reader might bear in mind that in the eighteenth century London was comprised of the square mile of the City of London the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and a scattering of surrounding villages. By the time the London County Council was formed in 1889 those villages had grown into connecting inner suburbs each with its own town centre. In 1965 the Greater London Council embraced the whole of Middlesex and neighbouring towns in Kent Surrey and Essex as far out as twenty miles from the centre and now at the beginning of the twenty-first century the feel of London extends beyond those outer suburbs. I have chosen not to attempt to pin down the evolving shape of London at any given time and I have no precise statistics to offer. Take it as established by the work of others that there has been a sizeable and significant Irish presence in London since the end of the eighteenth century. This population has been maintained by a constant flow of immigrants with two massive influxes as a consequence of the Famine in the middle of the nineteenth century and the need for labour in London after the Second World War. Thus for two centuries there have been several identifiable Irish communities ebbing and flowing in various London locations each with its own social and regional origins. Each community has established its own music and dance practices and repertories sometimes transferring them from Ireland sometimes modifying them to suit social conditions in London and sometimes creating new forms. This book of course is directed at London but most aspects of Irish culture have their origins in Ireland and all immigrants have their personal roots in Ireland. I have found it necessary therefore to consider in detail the pre-emigration experience of the various immigrant populations as a basis for comparison with their varied experience in London. At any given time in history it is important to know what music and dance activity was going on in Ireland before it is possible to consider what music and dance skill and experience immigrants might have had to bring with them. There are two distinct cultural traditions within Irish music and dance and part of the purpose of this study is to examine them separately and to explore their relationship to each other. Rural Tradition with unbroken roots reaching back into the dim past but ever changing in response to new circumstances has belonged almost exclusively to the bulk of the rural population at the lower end of the social scale the members of small-farming communities. The Gaelic Revival on the other hand was activated within the privileged classes at the end of the nineteenth century and was subsequently taken up by members of the urban and rural bourgeoisie. Gaelic revivalism devised and circulated an idealised version of Irish vernacular culture which inevitably influenced values held within the rural tradition. In addition to this polarity which obtains not only in Ireland but also in Irish communities in Britain and Page xiiPage xii America the London-Irish working class created genres peculiar to London that might accurately be called Urban Tradition. The first task before any researcher is to study the secondary material to see what other commentators have said before them and I therefore consulted relevant secondary texts on music and dance Irish social political and economic history Irish womens history Irish rural and local history Irish immigration the Roman Catholic Church and the poor and the working class in London. The published work of John Jackson Gareth Stedman Jones Lynn Hollis Lees Alan ODay Roger Swift and Sheridan Gilley illuminate the nature and condition of the Irish poor in London during the nineteenth century but there has been no comparable academic work on the London-Irish population for the first half of the twentieth century. Even Michael Young and Peter Wilmotts lauded study of working-class life in Bethnal Green Family and Kinship in East London London 1957 missed the London-Irish completely. As far as the social background of rural Ireland is concerned the pioneer work of Conrad Arensberg and Solan Kimbal with all its failings and the more recent work of Hugh Brody were invaluable. Secondary texts often led me to primary sources and the British Library index opened up new fields. I worked through all the music and dance sources I could locate including antiquarian eye-witness accounts tales of the Irish peasantry by Mrs. Hall William Carlton Samuel Lover and similar authors sheet music tune books dance instruction manuals and song books engravings and prints and the newspaper holdings of the British Library at Colindale. Irish music-making and dancing in London like many other ethnic minority working class activities have taken place largely in contexts where their practice has been facilitated most commonly by word-of-mouth rather than by written communication. Many organisations such as parish bands dance halls public houses and even record companies have left no official papers and even ephemera such as posters handbills concert programmes and syllabuses for competitions are rare. Surprisingly the Gaelic League both in Ireland and London has no archive of financial accounts minutes pamphlets publications accounts of social events or lists of members and most of my material on the Gaelic revival has of necessity been taken from newspapers in the British Library. In fact the reconstruction of the proceedings of most organisations and institutions within Irish music and dance has been very largely by meticulously connecting data from many varied sources. Wherever it has been possible I have sought out written and printed documentary evidence and much of it has been in the form of newspaper reporting. During the period from the 1870s to 1940 some London local newspapers in areas of Irish settlement gave some coverage to London-Irish activities but similar newspapers in the post-war period seldom reported anything about the remnants of pre-war London-Irish communities and acted as if the new communities of Irish immigrants did not exist. To a limited extent Irish county newspapers reported London events for a London-based readership haphazardly throughout the twentieth century. The Irish Post published specifically for the Irish in Britain did not enter the field until February 1970. It initially gave a retrospective view of the previous decade and some useful though often not too accurate historical profiles but its greatest value has been as contemporary commentary from 1970 to the present day. I have employed three basic techniques in collecting data from newspapers. The first was to work through complete or long runs of significant newspapers such as the Gaelic League publications An Claidheamh Soluis and Inis Fail the Cork Weekly Examiner The Illustrated Page xiiiPage xiii London News and The Irish Post which exposed a wide range of material much of which was unexpected. The second was to identify trends in various activities by sampling at regular time intervals. The third was to target specific known or suspected events by searching in the national local and specialist press at the appropriate times. The memories of participants are often the only sources available and a significant proportion of my evidence has been collected in the form of oral testimony. Data reaching back to the beginning of the twentieth century have been collected from oral sources in the form of autobiographies biographies accounts of events and descriptions of institutions which comment on domestic friendship and kinship community and commercial systems and explore personal and community values and attitudes. I have employed several interviewing techniques in collecting such data. Each informant has been approached to contribute his or her account of his or her own experience and views. It has been made explicit to them at the outset that they have information that I would value while it has sometimes remained unclear to them just what that information might be and how I would value it. These interviews contain accounts of life histories political comment and evidence of social attitudes. My task in collecting the evidence has been to set the agenda to select the interview method and to conduct the interview ever mindful of the need to switch the agenda or method as expediency might demand. Linear questioning usually produces linear answers which tend to focus on the informants world as the informant has ordered it. This can be of great value in constructing life stories. Circular questioning a technique borrowed from systemic family therapy however is designed to explore the social and value systems within which informants function. Historians who collect oral testimony and family therapists share a view that when informants or clients are invited to give accounts of events in their lives they tend to reiterate well-rehearsed stories. These accounts have validity but more often it is the unrehearsed responses to unexpected circular questions that yield the most interesting material. Linear and circular questioning occasional unstructured conversation and narrative produced by the informants themselves have together produced a wealth of complementary primary source material. In selecting informants I have been guided by three basic objectives. The first has been to collect data from key figures complemented corroborated or challenged by related less central figures. An example would be a musician who performed publicly for a long period in London who would be a resource because of his or her central and active position while other people such as relatives fellow musicians and non-musician friends would have different perceptions of his or her life music-making and significance in the community. The second objective has been to explore specific topics as fully as possible such as the history of a pipe band the biography of a family and the operation of the Irish dance halls where I have endeavoured to follow up every available source. The third aim has been to find representative views by sampling as in the case of two or three Irish-dance teachers who could speak adequately for all Irish-dance teachers in certain respects. In practice these three objectives overlap and many informants have contributed in each of these three categories. Several informants have been interviewed at length while others little more than passing acquaintances have provided information briefly in informal circumstances. My preferred method has been to interview each informant at least twice but in practice that has not proved practicable through inaccessibility and various time-constraints including the death of a number of informants. Most interviews have been recorded on audio-tape while others I have judged expedient to note on paper in the course of the discussion or to write up immediately Page xivPage xiv afterwards. Some informants enthusiastic about my project have contributed material outside the formality of my direct approach to them. Most have personal memorabilia two having written short unpublished autobiographies and several have collections of home and field sound recordings which have been made available to me. Occasionally when the informant has dried up I have introduced visual stimuli such as photographs and other forms of ephemera to provoke responses. There is debate among historians concerning interviewing technique questioning the effect the interviewer has on the informant the informants motives in imparting information the nature of mediated memory and the evaluation of oral testimony. While being mindful of these important issues I would argue in the context of this book that the skill of the historian is in evaluating evidence in whatever shape or form it can be acquired. My experience in family social work tells me that there is no possibility of ever conducting a perfect classic interview. All interviews move in and out of coherence and relevance as the personal agendas of the participants shift and as concentration fluctuates. The historians skill is in identifying and evaluating relevant and trustworthy testimony and ignoring the suspect. At a later stage the skilled task for the historian is to turn data into information. There has been one further source of data available to me a complete run of my pocket diaries from 1956 until the present day. Initially I noted only some of my appointments but by 1960 I was noting every music event and the musicians and singers who were there nothing more just the location the names and the instruments. These dispassionate diary entries have proved invaluable for jogging my memory and for sorting out dates and chronologies. I must acknowledge the part played in all this by my academic supervisor at the University of Sussex Alun Howkins. An historian of English agrarian labour a teacher of under-graduate Irish history and a lover of traditional music he understood what my thoughts and values were and was able to offer critical guidance as well as encouragement during the preparation of my thesis. At an informal level during the early part of my researching Graeme Kirkham historian and melodeon player formerly of the History Department at the University of Ulster and the Department of Political Economy at University College Dublin made many informed and constructive suggestions. I would like to thank my fellow post-graduate students and the faculty members of the University of Sussex who attended the Post-Graduate History Seminars and the Gender and History Seminars between 1987 and 1993 who helped me to keep focussed on the disciplines of history. My colleagues in the Family Court Service at Balham during the same period similarly kept me on track to think systemically and to remain curious. My project on the Irish musicians in London might never have taken shape had it not been for the inspired pioneer work back in the 1950s and 1960s of Bill Russell and Dick Allen who set about tape-recording life-story interviews with every old-time New Orleans musician they could locate. A further source of inspiration has been the work on the early history of black music in the American south of my friend Karl Gert zur Heide. Not only has he sought out evidence from the most unlikely sources but he has challenged received wisdom and the views of professional academics who ought to know better. Most importantly he has made amazing connections in the evidence that nobody else could possibly have imagined. Many librarians and archivists have been generous with their time and resources and I thank them all but with particular regard to Nicholas Carolan of the Irish Traditional Music Archive Page xvPage xv in Dublin Malcolm Taylor of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London Sean Donnelly and John Blake of Na Pobair Uilleann in Dublin Jackie Small formerly of University College Dublin and Tony Murray of London Metropolitan University for bringing material to my attention and allowing me to use it. Steve Roud and Keith Chandler both original thinkers in the field of traditional music history and both published writers have consistently advised me and their criticism of my ideas and their nagging to get this book finished are greatly appreciated. I offer special thanks to Sean Goddard of the University of Sussex Library for his constant interest in my work and his knack of finding things for me that I didnt know existed. The most important contributors to my work of course have been the informants my friends in Irish music. With but one exception everyone I approached gave freely of their time and memories and many allowed me access to their photographs and private tape recordings. At first I was worried about the shift in our relationship from them seeing me as someone who simply enjoyed the music to someone with more serious motives. I need not have worried as they all seemed to have enjoyed talking about their times in the music and about their familys history. Without their co-operation my labours would have been sterile. There are many whose contribution I cannot pin down specifically and as a consequence I am unable to name them. They will I hope recognise their lives shining through the text. All the following however have given me specific information that I have incorporated in the book Margaret Barry ne Thompson Eddie Bolger Nancy Bowler ne Browne Mary Bowe ne Flaherty Maurice Bowler Terry Bowler Paddy Boyle John Brannagan Eileen Burke Michael Burke Chris Burt Alfie Butler Martin Byrnes Packie Byrne Sean Casey Steve Chambers Willie Clancy Sheila Clerkin ne OBrien Julia Clifford ne Murphy Mary Collins ne Moriarty Bob Copper Anton Coyle Paddy Coyne Kevin Crowley Peggy Crowley ne Kearney Michael Daly Sarah Ellen Davey ne OConnor Sheila Davidson ne Quinn Con Dench Johanna Duffy ne Goulding Johnny Duffy Jimmy Dunleavy Jim Donaghue Lucy Farr ne Kirwan Liam Farrell Geraldine Fish ne Landers Sonny Flynn Joe Fogarty Mag Fogarty Mick Fogarty Frank Gannon Mary Gannon John Joe Gardiner Bill Glasheen Lill Glasheen Bridget Gorman ne McDermott Eileen Gorman Johnny Gorman Martin Gorman Michael Gorman Michael Gorman son Michael Gorman nephew Nathy Gorman Patsy Goulding Tommy Gunn Dorothy Healy Tommy Healy Jack Heffernan Mary Heffernan Eddie Hickey Jenny Hicks ne Barton Molly Horrigan ne OConnell Johnny Hynes Dermot Kearney Seamus Kenneally Mick Kilroy Pat J. Kilroy Peter Kennedy Dick Landers Nan Landers ne Taylor Bill Leader Tony Ledwith Frank Lee Joe Lee Alan Lomax Michael Lowney Sheila McAleer ne Goulding Arthur McCaffrey Sonny McDonagh Ollie McDonnell Ted McGowan Frank McLoughlin Denis McMahon Billy McMullen Fr. John McNamara Kitty McNamara Danny McNiff Paddy Malynn Tony Martin Nibs Matthews Pack Meehan Fr. Michael Moriarty Brendan Mulkere Edmond Murphy Joe Murphy Kevin Murphy Paul Murphy Sheila Murphy ne Fogarty James Murray Kathleen Murray ne Shiels John Neary Nils Neilsen Allen Nicholson Ailean Nicholson Eileen OBrien ne McKeown Harry OBrien Pat OBrien Dinny OConnell Jimmy OConnor Mick OConnor Larry ODowd Paula OHare Michael OMalley Eddie Pearse Michael Plunkett Jim Powell Jimmy Power George Ransome Matt Riordan Bob Rundle Joe Ryan Frank Scanlan Mr. Scanlon Tom Sheridan Roger Sherlock Kathleen Sparrow ne Shannon Michael Sparrow Seamus Tansey Richard Tarrant Jr. Jimmy Taylor Paddy Taylor Molly Tiernan ne OConnor Bridie Whelan ne Smith Joe Whelan Phil Williams George Willis Rose Willis Amby Whyms Gerry Wimsey and Paddy Wimsey. Page xviPage xvi My thanks must go to Claire Hall who has loved the musicians and has responded to their music and the atmosphere they create. She pushed me into radical action in the first place and was so keen that I should do this work that she volunteered to go back to work full-time to keep the familys head above water. Following our retirement she continued to encourage me to spend my time and a sizeable proportion of our pension on research I gratefully acknowledge the permission granted to reproduce copyright material in this work. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission to use their material. I apologise for any errors or omissions that might have occurred and if notified I will endeavour to deal with itthem appropriately. CONVENTIONS OF PRESENTATION Irish musicians themselves frequently identify other musicians in conversation by the instrument they play and the county they come from so one might say to another Do you know Mick So-and-So He plays the fiddle. I think he comes from Sligo somewhere around Collooney. Clearly in a text about people who would otherwise not be mentioned in print I need to fix them in some way and I therefore often pin them down by the county of their birth and the instrument they play for example Jimmy Power a fiddle player from County Waterford. Just as I respect vernacular music I respect vernacular language I therefore use the musicians vernacular fiddle player flute player accordeon player piano player etc. to describe vernacular musicians and not violinist flautist accordionist pianist etc. which is the literary language of art music. Fiddler is vernacular English and is used very rarely among Irish musicians. A few Irish people from a rural background use the word violin rather than fiddle but I reserve its use to musicians with conservatoire technique. Several Irish words such as ceili feis and fleadh have passed into Irish-English usage and they attract vernacular English plural formations as ceilis feises and fleadhs. In the context of Irish-speakers and specifically Gaelic revival contexts I use the Irish plurals ceilithe and feiseanna. In some Irish circles English-language personal names are Gaelicised and such names are given in the text in the form most common at the time of the reference. Before the modernisation of the Irish language spellings and transcriptions from Gaelic to Roman script were inconsistent. In contexts before modern spelling was introduced the commonest usage is favoured as in ceilidh rather than ceilide ceilidgh or ceilidhe while in later contexts modern spellings such as ceili are used. I use the terms union pipes and tambourine until the 1940s and 1960s respectively when uilleann pipes and bodhran became common usage. Incidentally all the Irish musicians I knew in London including pipers themselves from the 1950s to the 1980s pronounced uilleann as youllian but currently I more often hear illan. When I appear in the text as a participant I identify myself by my name as if it were someone else. However in the footnotes I identify myself in the first person. Quotations from my interviews are credited to my informants but are not further referenced by date or where the original can be found. All quotations from other sources however are fully referenced. The standard convention of three full stops within a quotation indicates a small edit while five full stops indicate a more substantial edit or the linking of two pieces from different occasions. Many of my sound recorded interviews are deposited in the British Library in London reference C903 and it is my intention that all my collection will be deposited eventually in several national archives. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 1 PART 1 THE NINETEENTH CENTURY CHAPTER 1 MUSIC AND DANCE IN RURAL IRELAND Some grasp of the nature of music-making and dance practice in Ireland in the nineteenth century in terms of repertory practice and social distribution is necessary to consider what could possibly have been transferred by emigration from Ireland to London at that time. The main surge of immigration resulted from the ravages of the Famine in the middle of the century and a vital issue to be grasped is that back home in Ireland the Famine was a social watershed. Famine immigrants and those who had immigrated in the previous fifty years whose social experience was pre-Famine were different in many ways from later immigrants especially those at the end of the century who had seen the social economic and political changes that had taken place in Ireland. As far as music and dance are concerned quite different repertories and practices emerged and developed after that devastating event from those that existed before it. It follows therefore that those Irish who came before the Famine and at the time of the Famine brought one body of experience and related expectations while those who arrived in London during the five decades after the Famine brought different experience and expectations. Music and dance practices in Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were polarised into two quite different and separate systems operated by social groups relatively remote from each other namely the nobility and gentry on the one hand and the rural working population on the other. During the earlier part of that period there was some albeit slight cultural interchange with marginal grey areas lying between the two extremes but by the mid-nineteenth century the Irish upper class and bourgeoisie were largely disinterested in the practice of what would now be labelled as Irish traditional song instrumental music and dance either as performers or as observers. There were of course a few who took an interest in the customs of the peasantry those who for example patronised union pipers and the wren boys those who liked to watch outdoor dancing and those who collected and admired ancient airs.1 A few gentlemen even played the union pipes in spite of the general disinterest of their peers. Rural working families who had moved into Irish towns did not generally replicate conditions in their new environment that could support their former rural practices and by the end of the nineteenth century Irish working-class town dwellers on the whole were not exposed to traditional music and dance. Such music-making and dancing however were dominant recreational activities within rural working communities and very broadly traditional music and dance belonged to members of those communities throughout the nineteenth century and for the first sixty years or so of the twentieth century. Significantly those communities also provided the major part of Irish immigration to London. The rural working population was never an amorphous mass. Cultural diversity across the country arising from variations in social structure was informed by differences in systems of land ownership landlord-tenant arrangements and farming methods and differences of ethnicity and religious belief. Within all rural communities life was governed by complex rules relating to role and status. A persons means of livelihood whether they owned or rented property or were landless the extent of their capital and spending capacity their gender age There was a proposal to form the Cork Kerry Poetry Music Society in 1844 which apart from is literary aims would use its sources to the reward of good players on the Irish pipes Cork Examiner 28.8.1844. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 2 marital status and ability to marry all had some bearing on social interaction within families between families and within the wider community. Middling and small farmers shopkeepers tradesmen cottiers labourers estate workers itinerants and their families mixed in some social circumstances with a degree of freedom but in most situations strict status hierarchies and inhibiting social taboos were in operation.2 Systems for the practice of social and economic intercourse were evolved which were sustained while communities remained stable and were apparently unchanging. However they were abandoned or modified in response to changes in society. Seen in the light of the complexities of rural familial and community life music-making and dancing can be seen not to have been the generalised social activity implied by many modern printed sources and commonly believed now but they too conformed to the complex rules of role and status that governed all aspects of social and economic life. Members of rural communities experienced music and dance in ways that related to their personal position in society and to their communitys cultural tradition. Some therefore were rich in music and dance experience while others had little or none at all. The family and servants are assembled outside a large farm house as the wren boys arrive on St. Stephens Day 26th December. This is a well-organised team of men with a decorated bush on a pole presumably with the dead wren in it and an attendant piper fiddle player and at least one dancer twirling a blackthorn stick above his head. Engraving by James Mahoney The Illustrated London News 21 December 1850 As already suggested the social and economic structure of rural Ireland underwent drastic fundamental change during the nineteenth century the Famine being the major turning point. Thus there were significant differences in the condition of the rural working population before 2 There is no published work on this subject for this period but the conclusion is drawn from evidence of later periods such as Conrad M. Arensberg Solon T. Kimball Family and Community in Ireland Cambridge Mass. Harvard University Press 1940 from the general tenor of oral evidence given by rural informants born before 1940. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 3 the Famine and after it. Partly as a consequence although coincidentally there were other forces for change at work pre-Famine and post-Famine rural Ireland supported different music and dance systems of practice. That is not to suggest that elements of pre-Famine practice did not survive long into the latter period but the systems of practice that were maturing in the last quarter of the nineteenth century were significantly different from those of the first half of the nineteenth century. Rural Ireland just before the Famine was the poorest and most backward part of Europe. The rise in population from 2.5 million in 1753 to 4.4 million in 1791 6.8 million in 1821 and 8.2 million in 18413 was accompanied by a system of partible inheritance which eventually divided the economic unit the land into portions too small to sustain those living on it. Very small farms predominated and there was a large number of cottiers and landless labourers. In 1845 immediately prior to the Famine cottiers with fewer than five acres and landless labourers together outnumbered farmers with over fifteen acres by four to one.4 Potatoes were grown for domestic and livestock consumption and oats and barley were produced as cash crops to pay the rent and to buy essentials. Payment of the rent was the over- riding priority and in times of potato crop failure sale of the cash crop took priority while the family lived at subsistence level on credit or off the hedgerows. The farm might thus be saved to the family with the hope of better times the following year. As a consequence in a declining subsistence economy with little or no reserves for future years the rural population was poor and hard pressed with little or no cash available for non-essentials. Rural poverty in a pre-Famine dwelling around 1900. Reg Hall Collection This was a violent competitive society with social unrest expressed in faction fights protest by riot and membership of secret organisations and fighting was commonly associated with social events. Until the middle of the century Roman Catholic members of the rural population belonged to a disorganised church with a poorly educated clergy who tolerated superstitious beliefs. Religion was thus wedded to superstition and secular and religious celebration was intertwined in rural practices marking rites of passage christenings weddings and funerals and patron saints days popularly known as patterns.5 3 David Dickson Taxation and Disaffection in Late Eighteenth-Century Ireland in Samuel Clark James S. Donnelly eds. Irish Peasants Violence and Political Unrest 1780-1914 Dublin Gill Macmillan 1983 p.26. 4 Joseph Lee The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848-1918 Dublin Gill Macmillan 1973 p.2. 5 For discussion of faction fighting see Paul E. W. Roberts Caravats and Shanavests Whiteboys and Faction Fighting in East Munster in Clark Donnelly Irish Peasants p.64-101 Patrick D. ODonnell The Irish Faction Fighters of the 19th Century Dublin Anvil 1975. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 4 A small pre-Famine cottage still in use around 1900. Reg Hall Collection During the first half of the nineteenth century that is before the Famine the organisation of dancing and instrumental music-making maintained systems inherited from the eighteenth century. Dancing was primarily an activity of the young and unmarried and took place in the evenings and on Sundays largely in public or semi-public space most commonly in the open air in good weather. By its athletic nature jig dancing that is solo display dancing was allied to sports such as running jumping and throwing and in performance it was often a contest of endurance to see who could keep going the longest. A strongly competitive element was evident both between dancers of the same sex and of the opposite sex. Dancing was a prelude to courting and in a competitive society success in the dance put down rivals and won social favours. Fighting often followed dancing and at large social gatherings such as fairs and patterns prearranged faction fighting invariably led on from drinking and dancing. While dance served the purpose of ordering social advantage it was also pleasurable for its own sake with its own aesthetic values. Thus dancers were admired for their skill in execution and the quality of their dance routine as well as for their strength and stamina.6 Instrumental music-making was largely in the hands of men who earned their living providing music for their community. Secondary sources such as Francis ONeill refer to them as professionals but they should be described more accurately as tradesmen or artisans. Many perhaps most were physically handicapped through misfortune of birth accident or disease7 and they were usually trained in childhood or adolescence by an older artisan musician. Thus having been put to the trade of piper or fiddler and in some cases financed initially by a patron from within the nobility or gentry they were unlikely to become a burden on the poor rates. These musicians were of their community sometimes having a plot of land as an additional source of income and they were at the service of their community. Their prime function was to play for dancing and it was they who organised dancing. Their status as tradesmen gave them exclusive rights to sites for dancing protected by custom where they 6 The observations made in this chapter about the nature of dancing in Ireland are made from a survey and synthesis of nineteenth-century evidence for work in progress on the history of dancing in Ireland. 7 Reporting on the Parish of Kilfarbey including the town of Miltown Malbay County Clare in 1835 the Appendix to the First Report from His Majestys Commissioners for inquiring into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland 1835 p.620 there were a few cases of blind persons both young and adult in the parish but those are not to be seen begging as often as might be expected for persons of this kind turn their attention either to the bagpipes or the fiddle and they have a complete monopoly of the music at wakes weddings and other merry meetings and in this manner if they chance to be good performers they pick up a very decent though rather precarious livelihood. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 5 made themselves available at pre-arranged times to play for those willing and able to pay. The most common sites were at cross roads on bridges and outside shebeens cabins for illegal unlicensed drinking where the road surface was flat and hard. At fairs and patterns sometimes miles from their home ground musicians set up in tents or booths competing with similar musicians from other areas for the custom of the public at large. Payment was usually made by each dancer male and female for each separate dance while in some settings payment was by more general collection. Artisan musicians were also engaged by their social peers for semi-private functions such as weddings christenings and wakes and by farmers giving parties for their seasonal workers at the end of harvest. The practice of playing music for dancing was thus an arrangement between artisan musicians who expected payment for their services and the mainly young unmarried section of their communities who paid for the opportunity to dance. This system was not uniquely Irish as it operated in similar circumstances in rural England and Scotland. However as early as the 1830s the main system of dance organisation was beginning to break down within the rural working community itself partly as a consequence of the general debilitating poverty of the bulk of the rural population. St. Patricks Day the earliest known print of an Irish rural scene depicting piping dancing courting drinking and fighting. It is an English artists view though it contains the essential elements. Bowles Carver London mid-1780s There is a modern belief reiterated in modern popular literature that at this period there was widespread organised dancing in the houses of the rural poor. This conclusion however cannot be substantiated on the evidence. The circumstances of poverty and the inadequate housing of the mass of the rural working population suggest that that section of the rural community could not have supported such a system of dance organisation. There were most probably occasions when some of the poor danced in their own dwellings and in those of their kin and neighbours. It is almost certain too that most indoor dancing took place on special occasions under the auspices of middling farmers who had the financial resources to meet the incidental costs and a large kitchen or barn to accommodate guests. The widespread practice of country-house dancing as it will be seen further on belonged to the period from the 1870s or 1880s to the late 1940s. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 6 There is little reliable pictorial evidence of rural music-making and dancing during the nineteenth century. Painters and engravers seldom got anywhere near the real thing and those that did attempt to represent peasant culture generally romanticised the subject. They often repeated stereotypical models from an earlier period and they were generally poor observers of detail. A dancing drinking booth at a pattern with a piper and an animated couple dancing in high-dance style 1830s-1840s. Reg Hall Collection A piper from Athlone Co. Westmeath in a drinking and dancing booth with a wooden door set on the ground in front of him for potential customers to dance 1830s. An Ex- Officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary Leaves from My Note-Book London Dean Co. 1879 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 7 The artist has brought together a number of elements he might have seen at outdoor dancing. The dancing site is one prescribed by custom a ruined abbey but the musician who owned it is not shown. This is essentially a poor-class event and one of the dancers is ragged and bootless. A man in the background and the other two dancers are better dressed and better-off and had probably turned up to watch the peasantry at play. A poor-class womans feet on the body of a better-off woman might simply be artistic licence. The style of dance is what has since been labelled high dance with prancing and twirling a blackthorn stick. Reads Characteristic Dances of All Nations London 1853 Reg Hall Collection A dancing booth at Donnybrook Fair on the outskirts of Dublin with fiddle union pipes playing for a man and woman dancing together on a wooden door which suggests step-dancing. The last annual fair was held in 1854. Halls Ireland 1840 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 8 Artisan musicians were by definition craftsmen. Some perhaps many but how can we possibly tell were also artists. The visits of those who travelled well-defined seasonal circuits were commonly awaited with anticipation as they brought entertainment and emotional stimulation to rural working communities. Some artisan musicians were also patronised by larger farmers and members of the gentry and nobility being invited into their homes to play music for dancing. They might also be expected to play the airs of Gaelic songs in which case they gave intimate recitals of what might be considered programme music. It would be unsafe to assume that all artisan musicians had high aesthetic standards and evidence points to some artisan musicians literally scratching a living on the fiddle. There was another class of musicians travellers who played for money in the street or in the homes of poor families in exchange for a nights board and lodging. For many of these men music-making was a source of income secondary to their main livelihood as tinsmiths packmen or horse dealers. The extent of amateur domestic instrumental music-making before the Famine is difficult to access largely because it was hidden from or ignored by contemporary commentators. There is little evidence of amateur fiddle playing and none of piping the fiddle and union pipes being the expensive tools of the artisans trade. The German flute and the band fife required no further expenditure for maintenance after the initial purchase and Francis ONeill wrote that they were commonly played by amateurs and were not favoured by artisan musicians.8 He might have added perhaps that the flute was probably played by middling farmers rather than the poor. The practice of lilting dance tunes performing the tunes by sung vocables of course cost nothing and was probably widespread while some amateurs almost certainly played on home-made flutes the trump or Jews harp and the ivy leaf blown as a reed held between the thumbs. However simple economics suggests that amateur music-making for dancing was limited in its frequency and compass. The poorest members of impoverished communities the young and single would hardly have parted with their very limited cash resources to pay artisan musicians for dancing if there had been competent amateur musicians within their families and friends available to play for nothing. Except for the activities of those who sang in the street for gain singing was practised almost exclusively by amateurs within private space in domestic or work settings the audience if any being intimates among family and neighbours. P. W. Joyce wrote that the peoples pastimes occupations and daily life were mixed up with the tunes and songs. The women sang at the spinning wheel plowmen whistled tunes to soothe their horses girls sang their gentler milking songs which the cows enjoyed Parents and nurses put their children to sleep with their charming melodies laborers beguiled their work with songs of various kinds to which their fellow workmen listened with quiet enjoyment and at the last scene of all friends of the dead gave vent to their sorrow in a heartrending caoine or lament.9 The rural dance repertory in the eighteenth century was a combination and fusion of indigenous dance whose history has yet to be adequately researched and a limited number of ballroom country dances introduced from elite society by country dancing-masters. Almost without doubt these teachers were not the same dancing-masters who operated among elite society in the large towns of Ireland Great Britain France and America and who travelled out of season to the homes of the rural nobility and gentry. These two classes of dancing-master were in different social leagues the one acknowledged as gentlemen and commanding fees in 8 Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels and Musicians Chicago 1913 p.409. 9 P. W. Joyce Ancient Irish Music London Green Co. 1872 quoted in ONeill Irish Minstrels p.100. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 9 guineas and the other seen as members of the peasantry paid in pence. Evidence has not come to light to explain the exact connection between the two groups but country dancing- masters peripatetic rather than itinerant operated within poor rural communities teaching etiquette and the repertory of the elite ballroom to an impoverished peasant clientele. By the turn of the eighteenth century country dancing-masters were perhaps no longer tied to the values of their elite counterparts. It may be that they lost direct contact with them but more likely they evolved values that were more suitable to their rural clientele. They appear to have forsaken the repertory of the ballroom in favour of applying themselves to indigenous rural dance and in order to retain their position as being worthy of hire they became expert practitioners and innovators. The evidence of popular memory at the turn of the nineteenth century suggests that they had taken a leading part in transforming the rural solo and duet high-dances of the eighteenth century characterised by kicking leaping flailing arms travelling over a relatively large dancing space and excessive use of energy into the solo and duet low-dances of the nineteenth century with compact body movement and complicated toe and heel tapping performed within confined space. The dance repertory that emerged in the first half of the nineteenth century was dominated by these solo and duet forms containing elements of both the old high-dance style and the emerging low-dance style and three-hand and four-hand reel dances. There was very little reminder of the eighteenth-century ballroom and only a few country dances10 and cotillion figures and steps from that source survived. It is almost certain that the new dances of the ballroom the waltz 1812 quadrilles 1816 the gallopade 1829 the polka 1844 and the schottische 1848 were not taught by country dancing-teachers and thus did not reached the rural working population during this time. Some house servants from rural backgrounds would have undoubtedly observed their employers and their families and guests dancing ballroom creations and in some situations some servants were expected to make up the Irish emigrants dance in high dance style to a fiddle player below deck on their way to America. The Illustrated London News 1850 10 The term country dance relates to the figure dances practiced by elite society throughout Britain Ireland from the mid- seventeenth century. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 10 number in country dances at house parties but in spite of that the early nineteenth century ballroom repertory did not impose itself on the rural working population to any appreciable extent during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century. A scene in a low-class Irish house with a visiting union piper and a mixed couple dancing in high-dance style. The artist E. Fitzpatrick might have presented a retrospective view from memory or from other artists. The Illustrated Dublin Journal 28 December 1861 A domestic scene in a rural cottage. A man wearing shoes step-dances on a half-door to the fiddle of a visiting dance-teacher while a young woman puts on her shoe to dance next. Another E. Fitzpatrick cartoon source not known with the two figures seated on the left also appearing in the 1861 cartoon above. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 11 An indoor scene in rural Ireland. A dancing-master playing a fiddle instructs a young woman in bare feet and a young man in shoes in a dancing lesson. The style is high-dance. The Illustrated London News 17 January 1852 There is confusion in twentieth-century secondary and popular literature about the categories of dance and dance-tune metres at this period arising from the inappropriate application of twentieth century meanings to the words jig hornpipe fling and reel in eighteenth- century and early nineteenth-century contexts. The words jig hornpipe and fling were at that time attached to the generic solo and duet high-dance which existed in many personal and regional variations. The accompanying music was played in eight-bar rondo sequences in 68 98 128 and 44 time and the evidence suggests that each particular dance took the name of the tune rather than the rhythm and metre of the melody. Thus for example dancers might dance Tatter Jack Walsh as opposed to dancing a jig. In the early part of the nineteenth century as high-dance style gave way to low-dance style steps and figures that were performed in 68 time were identified as jigs and those in 44 time as hornpipes although they were the same dance in terms of origin development and construction. Dances performed to specific tunes in 68 and 44 time but with an irregular number of bars the set-dances were part of the same body of jig and hornpipe dances all of which were danced in a small compact space. The generic high-dance however mutated in a second direction as the solo reel which retained as an essential feature the high-dance characteristic of travelling over a relatively large floor space. The pre-Famine dance-tune repertory came from two broad sources namely Irish ethnic material rooted in much earlier dance music clan marches and Gaelic song and Euro-British material from the ballrooms theatres and publishing houses of elite society. The processes by which these came together from such segregated social and cultural origins and were melded into mature vernacular forms practised in rural Ireland are open to speculation. It is commonly believed now in keeping with a nationalist view of Irish music that the ornamentation Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 12 employed in twentieth-century Irish dance music is derived solely from union piping and sean nos old-style native-Irish singing. Little is known however about the performance style of urban dance musicians employed by the nobility and gentry during the Georgian period but it is likely that the use of baroque ornamentation was passed on from them by a process of oral transmission together with some tune repertory to rural artisan musicians through some social process as yet unfathomed. Reel-tunes and hornpipe-tunes entered the rural repertory at the earliest in the late eighteenth century considerably later than the introduction and development of jig-tunes and it is evident that there was limited incidence of such material in some rural areas as late as the mid-twentieth century. A rural dancing master in uniform of heavy shoes swallow-tail coat and britches holding a fiddle instructs a young woman with bare feet and a young man with boots holding her hand. The American painter Howard Helmick 1845-1907 has captured the shyness and awkwardness of the dance pupils and the affectation of the dancing master but the location is suspect. The Magazine of Art date not known Reg Hall Collection Tune repertory the bread and butter of artisan musicians was not passed around freely and was difficult to obtain. Contrary to modern belief it is most likely that artisan musicians in general had quite restricted repertories. ONeill stated that most musicians had manuscript books and he claimed he had several that had belonged to such musicians.11 This is hardly compatible with the number of blind musicians he infers and no manuscript tune-books from artisan musicians survive in his papers. No doubt some material circulated in written form but most dissemination was by aural transmission and absorption of material from outside rural culture was mediated by ear into rural music-making convention. ONeill discussing musicians who presumably were artisan musicians wrote that Every individual who undertook to teach had his own conception of method and proficiency both in style of execution and version of the music taught. Pupils picked up the peculiarities of their teachers as naturally as 11 Francis ONeill Irish Folk Music A Fascinating Hobby Chicago 1910 p.262. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 13 they picked up the local accent and idiom and any deviation from their acquired notions was a subject of criticism.12 The song repertory consisted of material some of which was unique to rural Ireland and some of which was common to rural England and Scotland. It was disseminated largely by oral transmission within households and kinship and friendship networks and augmented by new material introduced by street singers and ballad sellers and by people who moved in from other communities or had travelled away and had returned. This was a period of sharp decline in the use of the Irish language and the repertory reflected a move towards the use of English. Rural singing styles related to the intonation and rhythm of vernacular speech were untouched by the Western art-music techniques of church theatre and concert hall practised by elite and middle-class society. Each singer mediated his or her material in a personalised performance highly decorated or starkly unadorned according to local practice. There were epic narratives in the form of long ballads come-all-yes from ballad sheets local songs based on rural life songs of love comedy and politics and jingles and nonsense verses to dance tunes.13 Although there is still debate about the precise timing and nature of the effects of the Famine there can be little doubt that the effects were fundamental and brought about significant changes in the organisation and practice of music-making and dancing. The economic basis of dancing shifted from trade to amateurism as the exclusivity of a limited number of artisan musicians plying their trade gave way to innumerable domestic musicians pursuing opportunities for leisure and dancing and music-making moved from outdoor community public space to indoor domestic private space. It was the poorest members of the community with the least economic means of survival namely labourers cottiers and farmers holding less than five acres who suffered most during the Famine in terms of losses by emigration and death and loss of spirit. Other sections of the farming community however did well out of the Famine and between 1848 and 1852 for example one seventh of the land changed hands. Farm sizes increased family-sized holdings dominated the rural scene and land reform in the 1870s to 1880s gave tenant farmers a new economic deal and the security of regularised leases. The nature of farming changed as land previously used for tillage was given over to pasture and as a consequence to quote the historians Samuel Clark and James S. Donnelly there was an unprecedented prosperity in agriculture particularly in the livestock sector.14 The last two decades of the century also witnessed a general improvement in the quality and size of rural houses.15 Thus the rural working community was characterised by self-sufficient family units still poor but with an improving standard of living and some disposable cash and time for leisure. The form of economic and social intercourse between farming and trading units described as a general theme by Conrad M. Arensberg and Solon T. Kimball in their anthropological study of County Clare16 could only have been supported by rural society as it was constructed 12 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.410. 13 Some evidence for this is documented in the works of pre-Famine collectors but the main body of evidence is circumstantial collected after the Famine even into the late twentieth century. 14 Clark Donnelly Irish Peasants Violence and Political Unrest 1780-1914 Dublin 1983 p.9. Maura Shaffrey Irish Cottages London Artus Books 1990 p.119 The Land Commission established in 1887 was given powers to purchase and redistribute land by giving loans to tenant farmers and by 1896 80000 holdings had been purchased in this way. The Land Commission the newly created County Councils and the Rural District Councils all built cottages in order to improve the living standards of poor rural workers. 16 Arensberg Solon Family and Community. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 14 between the 1870s and 1940 and complex bonds of household kinship friendship and community loyalties and obligations were in part facilitated by the system of evening and night-time house-visiting. There were antecedents for this complicated system of social intercourse in pre-Famine Ireland and the legacy continued until after the Second World War but it was this social structure and these systems of social organisation that produced a golden age of Irish rural music-making and dancing. A post-Famine three-room cottage. courtesy Michael Plunkett A typical late nineteenth-century three-room cottage where kitchen dances might have been held. Internet It has already been suggested that the old systems of outdoor dancing and music-making had begun to break down in the 1830s as a consequence of poverty. Father Theobald Mathews temperance movement begun in 1838 accelerated the process which was given a further boost in 1849 by Archbishop Cullens policy of Romanising the Roman Catholic Church. This attack by the Church on rural social behaviour was directed against violence drunkenness and alleged sexual immorality the first two at least being associated with dancing at patterns and fairs. The mentality within the later rural working population of respectability and self-improvement owes its origin to both the Churchs advocacy of moral Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 15 social behaviour and improved living standards which in turn created the conditions for the shift of music-making and dancing into domestic settings. The Famine had reduced the number and thus the availability of artisan musicians as the death of each one deprived his community of his services and the exclusivity of the artisan as the communitys dance musician was broken as the conditions conducive to domestic music-making and dancing emerged. The availability of cheap instruments factory-made tin whistles and fiddles followed much later by mouth-organs concertinas and melodeons and band fifes circulating through the fife-and-drum bands of the temperance and land-reform movements gave the working population the means to play. The increased size of kitchens in improved rural housing provided a suitable domestic location for entertaining particularly for dancing and flagstone floors as opposed to earth floors subject to muddying by rain contributed to the development of post-Famine dance style. The pre-Famine systems operated by a limited number of artisan musicians limped into the twentieth century but in secondary position to the domestic systems evolved in households and kinship and friendship networks. Some artisan musicians diversifying their sources of income taught the fiddle to domestic players for gain and thereby hastened their own demise. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century the country-house dance associated with house visiting became the dominant vehicle for rural music-making and dancing. While the economic and social factors facilitating that can be understood the processes by which the phenomenon spread around so much of rural Ireland in a few decades and how the repertory was evolved and disseminated remain unclear. Artisan dancing teachers in an unbroken tradition from the eighteenth century were partly responsible for the dissemination of dance repertory and skills to the rural working population. The repertory that emerged in the last twenty or thirty years of the nineteenth century sets quadrilles half-sets and couple dances originated in the ballroom but was greatly mediated in form and style. Some mediation must have been the work of some dancing teachers but the main process of mediation was much more likely to have taken place within the rural working population itself as practical adaptation to new circumstances. Rural dancing and music-making were thus subject to continual processes of functional and artistic creativity. As the second half of the century progressed the rural dance repertory contained fewer elements from the pre-Famine period. The country dance if any variants were still known was unsuitable for adaptation to the cottage kitchen and most of the high-dance characteristics of solo dancing were seen as unsuitable for respectable domestic performance. The historian K. T. Hoppen comments on the shift from rural housing in crude mud cabins into modern and civilised homes associated with a new drudgery of domestic manners and expectations.17 The period saw the emergence of reel-tunes and hornpipe-tunes as staple instrumental repertory and the partial demise of some of the more eccentric rhythms such as the hop-jig single jig and the fling associated with earlier artisan pipers and fiddle players. In Britain the quadrille underwent a revival in the early 1860s as some members of the lower middle-class and upper working class had access to formal dancing through the Volunteers movement and there was a knock-on effect in Ireland. However it was not until the 1880s or possibly the 1870s that sets mediated from the ballroom quadrilles were established in the country- house dance repertory. Similarly mediated forms of ballroom round dances the waltz the 17 K. T. Hoppen Ireland since 1800 Conflict and Conformity London 1989 p.147. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 1 Music Dance in Rural Ireland. Page 16 mazurka the polka the schottische and the Varsouviana introduced into elite society in Britain and Ireland in 1812 1829 1844 1848 and 1859 respectively most probably entered the repertory of the rural working population at the very earliest in the last two decades of the century. Evidence given in later chapters suggests the introduction of some of this part of the repertory dates from as late as the 1920s. The barndance was the commonest variant of the schottische and the word itself did not enter the language until the mid-1880s. The most significant factor that shaped the character of country-house dancing was the requirement that men and women should dance together embraced as couples. Earlier forms of rural social dance required little bodily contact between males and females when dancing together except by hooked elbow swings or hands held at arms length. The ballroom embrace was an affront to established rural social behaviour between the sexes and although never articulated clearly by the clergy was part of the basis of clerical opposition to rural dancing. The mediation process from the ballrooms of elite society to the kitchen of rural cottages evolved an acceptable dance posture which brought dancing partners into close proximity but did not breach propriety. There is no available documentary evidence about the dance posture commonly used at late nineteenth-century kitchen dances but the style adopted by rural dancers in London in the 1950s and much later most probably dates from the initial concessions made in the 1880s. The dancer assumed a fixed stare over their partners shoulder thus avoiding eye contact and they held their bodies at an angle to each other with their bottoms protruding to avoid frontal bodily contact. Concessions to propriety the style might have been but there was nothing genteel about the nature of the dancing and men and women customarily danced together with great gusto. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 17 CHAPTER 2 IRISH SETTLEMENT IN LONDON1 Radical changes taking place in the economy of rural Ireland prompted marked emigration from the end of the eighteenth century.2 The historian Lynn Hollis Lees in Exiles of Erin Irish Migrants in Victorian London shows that by 1841 there were 75000 Irish-born residents recorded in London and ten years later following the exodus precipitated by the failure of the potato crop the figure shot up to 109000.3 The earlier immigrants had been typically young and single with females slightly outnumbering males but 1851 census figures showed that three-quarters of Irish households in London were headed by a married man and they hailed largely from the same general area in Ireland the marginally better-off counties in Munster and east Leinster. Henry Mayhews contemporary impressionistic view was that immigration into London was from Cork.4 The net number of Irish-born tailed off in the decades following the unusual famine years though the Irish population in London was to remain a large minority. The exact size is difficult to estimate as second and subsequent generations who formed an integral part of Irish London were enumerated in official censuses as London-born without comment on ethnicity. While some rough estimate can be made for second-generation London-Irish by looking at Irish-born heads of households the issue of identifying who considered themselves to be primarily Irish is complicated by fluctuating levels of national consciousness among descendants of Irish immigrants according to prevailing political and social moods. The precise measurement of the Irish-born and the London-Irish population in London is not essential to the drift of this book but the evaluation of trends and qualitative descriptions most certainly are. Irish emigrants as Lees writes were people touched by social and economic changes who had the will the information and the aspirations to move abroad.5 She might have added that they had the financial resources however small to make the journey. The poorest were not the first to leave she says indeed exodus from the most backward and densely populated regions in the west lagged far behind that from the wealthier counties of Ulster and Leinster until long after The Famine.6 This is supported by Mayhews observation that immigrants direct to London from Cork are rarely of the poorest class.7 The Constitution or Cork Advertiser edition of 11th March 1848 advertised the steam packet deck fare from Cork to London at ten shillings although by 1851 according to Mayhew it had gone down to five shillings.8 Paradoxically Leess general view is of the Irish immigrants being abjectly poor and being seen as a threat by the existing population. Mayhew was also aware of destitute new arrivals who made their way to London on foot from the quayside at Liverpool Bristol Newport and Glasgow.9 For some emigration was the last desperate attempt to stay alive but 1 This chapter covers the period after the Famine. There was Irish settlement in in every part of London before that but most intensively in the rookery dense slums at St. Giles between the foot of modern-day Tottenham Court Road and Cambridge Circus. 2 For comment on the effects of the shift from tillage to pasturage and from grain to the potato on emigration see John Archer Jackson The Irish in Britain London Routledge Keegan Paul 1963 pp.2-3. 3 Lynn Hollis Lees Exiles of Erin Irish Migrants in Victorian London Manchester Manchester University Press 1979 p.42 p.130 p.47. 4 Henry Mayhew London Labour and the London Poor London Griffen Bohn Co. 1861 vol.1 p.113. 5 Lees Exiles of Erin p.40. 6 Ibid. p.24. 7 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.113. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 18 for others the process of emigration and subsequent life in London were major factors contributing to their impoverishment. The corner of Wild Court Great Wild Street no.2 Wild Street near Drury Lane. The Builder 12 November 1854 Lees identifies three categories of Irish immigrants in London namely members of the middle class artisans and rural workers.10 The first category consisted of journalists lawyers artists and actors seeking fame and fortune in the capital and towards the end of the century they were joined by civil servants and clerks working in the seat of imperial government and commerce. Their education urban background and largely Protestant faith were the means of their integrating into mainstream society. The second category mostly country tradesmen and craftsmen were able to blend albeit with some difficulty into the social and work life of their indigenous peers. The seasonal nature of much of Londons manufacturing industry described by the historian Gareth Stedman Jones in Outcast London could however reduce them irrevocably to the status of casual labourers.11 Leess third grouping and by far the most numerous were country labourers and small farmers who found little cash value for their rural skills in an urban setting although some were able to find work with horses and in the dairy trade. Those in the second and third categories arriving in thousands during the late 1840s and the following decade had little choice of residence. Lines of least resistance guided them to existing slums within easy reach of the sources of casual employment. The largest 10 Lees Exiles of Erin p.7. 11 Gareth Stedman Jones Outcast London A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian Society Oxford 1971 pp.52-126. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 19 concentrations were in the West End around St. Giles on the borders of the East End and the City on the southern bank of the Thames in Lambeth and Southwark and in the dockland areas on both banks of the river. Lees analysis of census returns shows they found their new homes among the indigenous population tucked into the tumbledown corners of working class London.12 Most post-Famine immigrants in the first wave stayed in the area where they had first arrived but later there was movement in a complex but regular pattern from the center to the periphery and sometimes back again to the older Irish settlements.13 Church Street St. Giles Rookery. The Illustrated London News 13 March 1872 Fogartys Barracks Drury Lane Rookery. The Illustrated London News 13 March 1872 Lees points out there were no Irish ghettos nor were the Irish ostracised but most were relegated to the side streets and back alleys of their neighbourhoods.14 Artisans and living-in domestic servants fared best living in small numbers among the English in main thoroughfares. In adjacent cul-de-sacs and yards housing casual labourers and the 12 Lees Exiles of Erin p.56 p.62. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. p.63 pp.67-8. For a description of living conditions see Mayhew London Labour vol.1 pp.109-110. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 20 unemployed the proportion of Irish-born could be as much as 15. In Aldgate and High Holborn for example concentrations of Irish-born approached 35 of the population and in specifically pinpointed localities in Whitechapel the figure rose to 74. Later in the century according to Gareth Stedman Jones the working population was dispersed by the dual effects of slum clearance and the loss of employment possibilities as the economic base of central London moved from manufacturing to commerce.15 By 1881 as Lees wrote that the older Irish communities of the inner ring were fast disappearing fewer than half as many Irish lived in St. Giles Whitechapel and Southwark as had done twenty years earlier.16 Dudley Street Seven Dials St. Giles Parish 1872. Gustave Dor London A Pilgrimage 1872 Gross overcrowding characterised this population distribution. Almost half the labourers families in St. Georges in the East lived in one room in 1848 and only 27 had more than two rooms. Scarcity of space and high rents led to sub-letting by existing tenants and often more than one family lived in a single room.17 Appalling housing conditions with little or no sanitation are described graphically in contemporary reports by Mayhew and John Hollingshead.18 The second half of the nineteenth century brought little fundamental improvement in these conditions for as Lees wrote the Irish scattered throughout London... most moved from one crowded street to another from one cluster of dilapidated housing to its twin in a slightly different setting.19 The Irish according to Lees were heavily concentrated in a few trades in occupations that placed most of them among the lowest social and economic groups.20 Very few men entered highly specialised industries and much of the male work-force was involved in casual labouring particularly in the docks and on construction. Some were able to improve their 15 Stedman Jones Outcast London pp.152-5. 16 Lees Exiles of Erin p.60. 17 Ibid. p.80. 18 John Hollishead Ragged in London in 1861 London Smith Elder Co. 1861 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 pp.109-111. 19 Lees Exiles of Erin pp.70-1. 20 Ibid. p.92. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 21 social standing but certainly not in any significant numbers. Particularly at times when men could not find work families involved all possible members in earning enough to sustain them at subsistence level. Some women were able to work in semi-skilled trades but the wages were lower than those of casual male workers. Women and children were generally a cheap source of labour and they found employment and self-employment on the margins of the economic system. Mayhew estimated that around 1851 there were 10000 Irish street sellers men women and children many of them in the fruit and second-hand clothing trades where the capital outlay for stock and the turn-over were equally small.21 Mayhews collaborator noted at the same time that There are many flower-girls who are sent out by their old gin-drinking mothers to pick up a few pence in the street by the sale of their goods. They begin very young often as young as five and six and go on until they are old enough to become prostitutes when they leave off costermongering altogether or else unite the two professions. They are chiefly the off-spring of Irish parents or cockney Irish as they are called who are the noisiest the most pugnacious unprincipled and reckless part of the population of London.22 It was not all gloom however as Thomas Archer describing conditions in The Borough and Spitalfields wrote in 1865 Irish Mike carries a hod while his wife sits behind a fruit-stall at some street corner and between them they make a better income than many a decent mechanic for a tolerably pitched street stall is often worth a pound a week.23 For many families on the margin of poverty however the economic supplement was begging which Mayhew considered endemic among the Irish poor.24 Referring specifically to the period shortly after The Famine Mayhew wrote The Irish street-folk are generally speaking a far more provident body of people than the English street- sellers. To save the Irish will often sacrifice what many Englishmen consider a necessary and undergo many a hardship. From all I could ascertain the saving of an Irish street-seller does not arise from any wish to establish himself more prosperously in his business but for the attainment of some cherished project such as emigration. Some of the objects however for which these struggling men hoard money are of the most praiseworthy character. They will treasure up halfpenny after halfpenny and continue to do so for years in order to send money to enable their wives and children and even their brothers and sisters when in the depth of distress in Ireland to take shipping for England. They will save to be able to remit money for the relief of their aged parents in Ireland. They will save to defray the expense of their marriage an expense the English costermonger so frequently dispenses withbut they will not save to preserve either themselves or their children from the degradation of a workhouse indeed they often with the means of independence secreted on their persons apply for parish relief and that principally to save the expenditure of their own money...25 While being nominally Roman Catholic the bulk of the Irish in nineteenth-century London were not galvanised by collective religious observation. Church attendance had been poor in Ireland before they left home and as Lees points out referring to the church attendance census of 1851 and Booths surveys of 1902 and 1903 in London it was as low as 30 in 1851 and even lower at about 20 by the turn of the century.26 The Roman Catholic Church was weak in England during the beginning of the century and there were few Roman Catholic churches in London before the mass immigration following The Famine. Thus most areas of London 21 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.104 pp.114-8.Mayhew Bracebridge Hemyng in Mayhew London Labour vol.4 p.238. 23 Thomas Archer The Pauper The Thief and The Convict Sketches of Some of their Homes Haunts and Habits London Groombridge 1865 p.94. 24 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.112 p.116 p.458 p.463.Mayhew Ibid p.115. 26 Lees Exiles of Erin pp.180-2. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 22 had no provision for Roman Catholic worship. Emergency measures such as the establishment of missions and street evangelism were employed to deal with the new potential flock until resources could be gathered mainly by subscription from the poor for a comprehensive church-building programme.27 This process was begun in Dockhead Deptford and Millwall in the 1830s and 1840s and the early post-Famine years saw the dedication of further churches in areas of intense Irish settlement while some areas with potential for large congregations were surprisingly late in the field. Archbishop Cullens modernisation of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland which as Hoppen points out was associated with increasing ratios of clergy to population28 was thus replicated in London.29 However it was later immigrants rather than earlier ones who were most likely to have embraced the Church in London. A poor Irish family evicted in Leather Lane Holborn. The Illustrated London News 2 January 1892 In so far as the London-Irish were organised at all it was the Roman Catholic Church once it gained a foothold that was the dominant institution. Each parish kept some grip on its congregation by the formation of confraternities.30 These were clubs of male and to a lesser extent female lay church members under the patronage of the parish priest but largely self- governing. Religious functions included bible reading involvement in some church ritual and a show of Catholic strength in street parades to Mass on Sundays. Part of their attraction however was secular. Temperance was well to the fore and the confraternities served a secondary function as social clubs embracing a range of social activities in parallel with respectable mainstream London working-class organisations. While the Church has a high profile in the historiography the reality was that the majority of the Irish in London were not bound to the Church other than to mark births marriages and deaths. Some had married out of the faith many had been weaned away by education in 27 For a contemporary account see The Nation 27.7.1872. For the economics of building Our Lady of La Salette and St. Joseph and the strained financial situation of the clergy at that church see Weekly Register and Catholic Standard 4.5.1861. For a retrospective account of nineteenth century churches in London see James Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 4.1.1963. 28 Hoppen Ireland since 1800 p.145.Hoppen Pope Pius IX restored English Roman Catholic Hierarchy under the Primacy of Cardinal Wiseman Archbishop of Westminster Metropolitan of the English Province. Vincent Alan McClelland Cardinal Manning. His Public Life Influence 1865-92 London Oxford U. P. 1962 p.i. 30 For further discussion of confraternities see Lees Exiles of Erin pp.177-9 pp.191-3. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 23 Church of England schools but most led harsh deprived lives that could not embrace the discipline and the respectability of regular worship. Many no doubt could see no personal relevance for religious observance.31 THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISHES AND THE BUILDING OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN LONDON. St. Aloysius Phoenix Road Somers Town built 1798 The Most Holy Trinity Dockhead Bermondsey parish 1773 built 1834-5 St. John the Evangelist Islington parish 1837 built 1873 Our Lady of the Assumption Deptford parish 1842 built 1890 SS. Peter and Paul Clerkenwell parish 1842 built 1947 St. Georges Cathedral Southwark 1848 St. Anne Underwood Road Stepney parish 1850 built 1855 rebuilt 1905 Sacred Heart of Jesus Holloway built 1855 SS. Mary and Michael Commercial Road Poplar built 1856 SS. Mary and Joseph Poplar parish 1816 built 1856 Our Lady of Salette and St. Joseph Melior Street Bermondsey parish 1849 built 1861 Sacred Heart of Jesus Camberwell parish 1860 built 1863 St. Peter The Italian Church Saffron Hill Clerkenwell built 1863 St. Monicas Priory Hoxton Square Hoxton parish 1863 built 1864 Our Lady St. Catherine of Siena Bow built 1868 St. Edmund Millwall parish 1846 built 1874 Our Lady Immaculate Limehouse built 1881 St. Josephs Highgate built 1888 The English Martyrs Walworth Southwark built 1890 The English Martyrs Great Prescot Street Tower Hill Stepney parish 1865 built 1892 St. Patrick Wapping Stepney parish 1872 built 1892 The Most Precious Blood OMeara Street The Borough Southwark built 1892 St. Patrick Plumstead built 1893 St. Patricks Cathedral Lambeth Road built 1894 St. Patrick Waterloo built 1897 St. Alban Camberwell built 1904 St. Thomas the Apostle Nunhead Peckham built 1905 Our Lady of the Assumption Bethnal Green parish 1902 built 1912 The Guardian Angels Mile End parish 1869 built 1929 List constructed from The Catholic Directory of England and Wales Liverpool The Universe 1985 P. Murray The Irish of Upper Holloway c. 1850-1906 University of Warwick MA Thesis 1981. Alan ODay points out in his work on the political activities of the Irish in London32 that in the two decades following the Reform Act of 1867 when nationalist and Irish constitutional causes land reform and Catholic education were on the agenda of Irish political activists in London the Irish in London were too ill-organised to be an effective political force. Support for the Fenians fell away following their bombing campaign in 1866-7 as Irish communities in Britain felt the discomfort of consequent discrimination. The Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain founded in 1873 was particularly poorly organised in London. There was no precedent for Irish working men voting in Ireland and as late as the 1890s activists in London were unable to persuade significant numbers of Irishmen to register on the electoral roll. There was no tradition of Irish working men giving financial support to political causes weekly 31 For further discussion of lapsed Catholics and poor church attendance see Lees Exiles of Erin p.166 p.172 pp.180-3. Owen Dudley Edwards Patricia J. Storey The Irish Press in Victorian Britain in Roger Swift Sheridan Gilley eds. The Irish in the Victorian City London Croom Helm 1985 pp.158-178. 32 Alan ODay The Political Organisation of the Irish in Britain in Roger Swift and Sheridan Gilley The Irish in Britain 1815-1939 London Pinter 1989 pp.183-211 Alan ODay seminar London University 2.3.1988. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 2 Irish Settlement in London Page 24 contributions being more likely made to the Church than to political parties. Social divisions within the Irish population inhibited unity as middle-class and working-class Irish were unable to pull together and the practice of holding branch meetings in public houses alienated potential membership from within the temperance movement. An otherwise sympathetic journalist surveying the previous twenty years wrote cynically in Edinburgh Magazine in July 1901 that The London Irish dearly love playing at revolutionaries but they are careful not to overdo the jest. An impressive muster can always be obtained for a march with bands and banners to Hyde Park. ODay concludes that the Irish were drawn into mainstream politics at the end of the century in support of the Liberals. Curiously give the number of Irish journalists who worked in London at the end of the century the press was not used by them to rally the London-Irish working-class. Those newspapers and periodicals published in London or circulated from Ireland whether nationalist clerical or literary were directed at the middle class and there was no newspaper specifically appealing to or representative of the bulk of the Irish in London.33 33 Owen Dudley Edwards Patricia J. Storey The Irish Press in Victorian Britain in Roger Swift Sheridan Gilley eds. The Irish in the Victorian City London Croom Helm 1985 pp.158-178. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 25 CHAPTER 3 THE TRANSPLANTATION SURVIVAL AND ADAPTATION OF IRISH RURAL MUSIC DANCE IN LONDON Rural systems of music-making and dancing have seldom taken root to any great extent in Irish towns and cities where in common with London immigration from the Irish countryside added to population growth. If Irish rural workers lost much of their rural culture as the consequence of moving to Irish towns there seems little chance that rural music and dance practices would have become established in London. Most of the Irish in London were from the families of small farmers rural tradesmen or labourers and their root culture was that of the countryside. The first requirement for the effective transplantation of rural culture would have been commitment to follow old practices from home both corporately as group activities within the immigrant community and by individuals. This mentality implying that notions of known ways are the best ways or the only ways would value the practice of familiar patterns of behaviour as a means of retaining memories of home and perhaps of keeping open the option of eventual repatriation. Given some degree of community will and there is no certainty that such will existed there would then have been the issue of supply and demand. Men and women with sufficiently high levels of skills and repertory supported by a secondary willing but less-able group would have been necessary to sustain the body of cultural material and related processes and to have organised social practice. Demand for specifically Irish music and dance might have existed once the Irish in London had established their own social systems and it might have been met by recourse to old well-practised ways or by modifications of those ways. Equally new styles and genres might have been created London-Irish rather than Irish involving a relationship with mainstream London culture. A particular polarity has always existed among the Irish in London so that some social and economic forces have strengthened Irish identity while others have militated towards integration with the host community. The two forces have never been equally matched and some degree of Anglicisation and integration has always been most likely. An active sense of ethnic identity for members of any minority group requires deep-seated motivation constant stimulation and sustained reinforcement and for many Irish people religious and political affiliations and community ties provided them. For others perhaps the majority the stimulation was not forthcoming and the basic issue of survival in an alien setting dominated motivation and sapped energy. Custom and practice from the root culture not serving a useful purpose in new surroundings would have been abandoned. A correspondent in the Catholic press commenting on the songs and Irish national dancing witnessed at an Islington temperance tea-party on New Years Eve in 1860 suggested that the best mode of winning back the Irish to their religious duties is to conform to their natural tastes and deal with them in ways which they understand and to which they are accustomed in their own country.1 However the opposite view predominated as a means of moulding the Irish immigrant population into an active Roman Catholic community and according to Lynn Hollis Lees the Catholic Church in England actively fought attachment to the cultural world of the Irish countryside.2 1 Weekly Register 5.1.1861. 2 Lynn Hollis Lees Exiles of Erin Irish Migrants in Victorian London Manchester Manchester University Press 1979 p.179. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 26 Newly-arrived immigrants might have retained some of their country ways for a while but in the long-term in the face of apathy active opposition and perhaps more attractive options they would have inevitably adopted much of the behaviour and many of the values of town dwellers. New immigrants were likely to have reinforced a sense of Irishness in those already settled in London but new arrivals in each successive wave were not quite the same sort of people as those of earlier generations. Society in the old country was not static and changes in music and dance practice responding to evolution within the genres themselves and to economic shifts within rural society provided new immigrants with different experiences from those of their predecessors. Separate development in Ireland and London thus created the potential for two co-existing streams of Irish culture in London. One factor that might have determined the relative balance of Irish identity retention and integration into the London mainstream is the fundamental question of how different were the Irish in London from their social and economic peers in the host population How alienated in fact were the Irish in London Dislocation and difference of language were problems specific to the Irish. Poverty and adaptation from a rural to an urban way of life were problems shared with many of their English neighbours and work mates. Many English Londoners were in fact immigrant rural workers with some degree of cultural background in common with the Irish. A modern popular view commonly held by Irish people brought up on nationalist and Gaelic revival philosophies and English people indoctrinated with ideas of racial stereotyping characterises the cultures of Ireland and England as irreconcilably different. A radical challenge to this bigotry might examine the common ground and look for similarities rather than differences. Several hundred years of social intercourse between working people from both counties Irish migrant harvesters horse dealers cattle drovers navvies tinkers and house servants working in England Englishmen and Irishmen rubbing shoulders in the army at sea and in the colonies and English farm lads posted with their regiments to Ireland provided opportunity enough for cultural cross-over and shared development.3 An examination of the evidence in the light of prevailing social conditions throws some light on the extent that Irish rural systems of music-making and dancing were transplanted to London and how far in surviving in London those rural systems were modified and adapted to urban conditions. Although the written record is sparse and fragmentary a number of questions can be answered with confidence from the existing documentary evidence and circumstantial evidence can fill in the gaps. Connections can be made and some general conclusions can be drawn. Before emigration the common practice of singing for young and old male and female was contained within the privacy of the home and the work place. The singer sang purely for his or her own satisfaction or as part of family and kinship social life. The skill and means of singing were freely available within family and neighbourhood networks and performance was seldom other than intimate. Before the Famine many rural working families patronised local artisan musicians at outdoor dance sites patterns and fairs and some undoubtedly the minority hired the services of country dancing-teachers. Thus they were commercial consumers of music and dance. Amateur domestic instrumental music-making was limited 3 For comment on the interaction of Irish migrant workers and the indigenous English rural population see Alun Howkins Reshaping Rural England A Social History 1850-1925 London Harper Collins Academic 1991 pp.99-100. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 27 with the fiddle being rarely played. The practice of flute playing by amateurs was more common and step-dancing was endemic in many country districts though not to be assumed all over Ireland. It follows that immigrants from before The Famine and for some time afterwards were more likely to have been singers and dancers with some skill among them in step-dancing and perhaps some experience of country dancing than instrumentalists. The means of making instrumental music among ordinary people were scarce and if a victim of The Famine and immigration had once owned a fiddle or flute it would most probably have been sold to raise the fare to travel to London or to boost the familys domestic income once it fell below subsistence level. Subsequent purchase of a fiddle in London would have stretched the familys budget although in times of regular work tuppence might have been spent on one of Swindens or Clarkes tin whistles which came on the market in the middle of the century.4 The fiddle and union pipes would have been in the hands of artisan musicians and rarely if ever in those of amateurs. In the years immediately after the mass immigration to London as a consequence of The Famine the overall condition of social deprivation poverty bad housing appalling sanitation and particularly the lack of privacy caused by confined living space in multiple tenancies and shared rooms and the consequent exhaustion and demoralisation were hardly conducive to musical leisure pursuits. Immigrants were typically either single men and women or members of nuclear families that is married couples and their children whereas a common pattern in Ireland was the extended family embracing three generations including unmarried siblings of the adults and possibly living-in farm servants. Lynn Hollis Lees discovered in her research on Irish settlement in London that by the age of twenty most adolescents had left home to board with other families... and were in control of their own social lives.5 Thus they were released from social constraints which would have operated had they been in Ireland. Social pathologies within families fostered by city conditions included alcoholism and violence particularly towards women and children by adult males while endemic poverty caused admissions to the workhouse and forced some women into prostitution. Yet as Lees documents family life among some Irish did survive and flourish and Henry Mayhew was able to describe well-ordered households and house-proud women.6 Domestic behaviour in these circumstances is sparsely documented in the written record. No evidence has been forthcoming of instrumental music-making in domestic settings until the closing years of the century and then there is only a suggestion of circumstantial evidence but singing was another matter. Hugh Heinrick in writing in The Nation of 27th July 1872 about the condition of the poor Irish in Britain romanticised that The songs of his youth..... cheer the weary toiler during the day or bear to his home in the dingy and crowded alley when the days labour is over and the twilight thickens the citys gloom the memory and the light of the bright homestead in Ireland when first he heard them chanted by sister or friend mother or lover. The weary spirit is cheered even in the saddest and loneliest of Irish homes the lorn heart forgets its pain and the dimmed eye is relumed with its olden light as the melody of the past sweeps over the soul and the memories of long ago arise beneath its spell and people the then fancy with the forms of the distant and the departed... Like an angel with a message from home the spirit of melody and song enters and sits by the hearth of the Irish exile bearing on its wings the light and glory the passion and the joy of the dear old land. Oh what a joy and a gladness have this gift of melody and song been to the Irish people. 4 Henry Mayhew London Labour and the London Poor London Griffen Bohn Co. 1861 vol.3 p.201. 5 Lees Exiles of Erin p.150. 6 Lees Exiles of Erin p.148-163 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.110. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 28 Leslie Shepard has suggested that early in the nineteenth century there were Irish singers in the Irish slum area at Seven Dials which incidentally was the centre of ballad printing in London and that John Pitts issued some of their English language song material on ballad sheets.7 However later studies in the broadsheet ballad trade have found no evidence to support that idea. Around 1851 Henry Mayhew interviewed a street-seller who had bought a stock of music from a scrap-paper dealer and among the items Mayhew singled out were An Cota Coal in Irish script Cailin beeg chruite n ambo also given in Irish and The Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow the latter at least in manuscript form.8 An Irish family of street singers in London. etched by Henry Alken published by Thomas Mclean London 1822 Reg Hall Collection Those Irish men women and children who went on the streets to sing to earn a living followed time-honoured custom both in Ireland and in London. Hard times forced labourers and their families temporarily into this type of work which was normally the preserve of those who chose street singing as their preferred livelihood. Henry Mayhews piece on street singers covers ballad singers who sang primarily to sell ballad sheets and troupes of entertainers who sang non-Irish material.9 John Kynes report to the Diocese of Westminster in 1853 commented on the practice of some Irish poor busking in family groups. He mentioned Elizabeth Sheehan aged seven who sang all day in the street with her father and mother and Mary Johnston aged nine who went out singing with her mother two brothers and a younger sister while her father sold spectacles. Both children he added attended school every evening and Mary Johnstone regularly attended Mass confession and Holy Communion implying that poverty did not diminish the families resolve to keep up standards.10 The balance of probability suggests that these casual street singers made use of their rural domestic repertory and technique. 7 Leslie Shepard John Pitts Ballad Printer of Seven Dials London.1765-1844 London Private Libraries Association 1969 p.46.1969 p.46. Mayhew London Labour vol.1 pp.305-306. 9 Mayhew London Labour vol.3 p.191. 10 John Kyne in Catholic Standard 10.12.1853. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 29 Lynn Hollis Lees comments that the whole of Irish London was a maze of social networks.11 These were based partly on kinship and neighbourhood loyalties from back home and partly on new alliances forged in the work place and residential settings. The label Kinship and Friendship Networks might be applied to those groups of workers who though unattached to families were loyal to each other that is navvies building the railways and docks in London and those migrant harvesters who were employed temporarily in the docks before going back home to Ireland. Patrick MacGill in his novel Children of the Dead End based on his own experiences just before the Great War makes it clear that navvies very quickly became brutalised and lost interest in such activities as music-making12 and this is supported in general terms by Terry Coleman in his study of the railway navvies.13 Navvies living hand-to- mouth in rough conditions did not include musical instruments among their few personal possessions. Seasonal farm workers perhaps poorer than the navvies but not brutalised like them travelled light especially when on foot. Irish migrant harvesters on numerous farms in the West Country hired an English itinerant from London Whistling Billy to play for their evening dancing as they had no musician with them. Henry Mayhew gave Billys account in 1861 It was a penny a dance for each of em as danced and each stand-up took a quarter of a hour and there was generally two hours of it that makes about seven dances allowing for resting. Ive had as many as forty dancing at a time and sometimes there was only nine of em. Ive seen all the men get up together and dance a hornpipe and the women look on. They always did a hornpipe or a country dance. You see some of em would sit down and drink during the dance but it amounted to almost three dances each person and generally there was about fifty present. Usually the men would pay for the women but if they was hard up and been free with their money the girls would pay for them. They was mostly Irish and I had to do jigs for them instead of a hornpipe. My country dance was to the tune Oh dont you tease me pretty little dear. Any fiddler knows that air. Its always played in the country for country dances. First they dances to each other and then its hands across and then down the middle and then its back again and turn. Thats the country dance sir. I used to be regular tired after two hours. Theyd stick me up on a box or a tub or else theyd make a pile of straw and stick me a-top of it or if there was any carts standing by loaded with hay and the horses out I was told to mount that. There was very little drinking all this time because the beer- shops was shut up. Perhaps there might be such a thing as a pint of beer between a man and his partner which hed brought in a can along with him. They only danced when it was moonlight.14 Harvesters from the Sligo-Mayo border working in Yorkshire at the turn of the nineteenth century including Tommy Healys father are known not to have travelled with their fiddles and flutes. However MacGills fictional character Willie the Duck took his fiddle from County Donegal to the potato picking outside Glasgow around the same time presumably for fun whereas the artisan piper John Morris cited by ONeill who travelled regularly to England from Galway with migrant harvesters no doubt earned money from them.15 The chances of Irish male workers temporarily living in doss-houses lodging houses and hostels in London having played music in their leisure time is very slight. However as MacGill wove into the story lines of Children of the Dead End 1914 and Moleskin Joe 1923 navvies and harvesters were known to sing.16 11 Lees Exiles of Erin p.87. 12 Patrick MacGill Children of the Dead End London Herbert Jenkins 1914. 13 Terry Coleman The Railway Navvies London Hutchinson 1966. 14 Mayhew London Labour vol.3 p.202. 15 MacGill Rat-Pit p.110 p.114 p.174 p.191 Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels and Musicians Chicago 1913 p.229. 16 MacGill Dead End p.133 p.158 p.169 Patrick MacGill Moleskin Joe London Herbert Jenkins 1923 p.91 p.96 p.135. A shadow hangs over McGills infrequent reference to music. His daughter Patricia is quoted in the Donegal Democrat 30.8.2001 as saying My father was tone deaf. Paddy Boyle who knew the McGill family at home in an area where there was high-quality traditional music said they were not musical. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 30 The Irish rural social structure and the secular functions of the parish or half-parish were not replicated in London so that those customs that depended on a stable long-standing settled community such as bonfire gatherings on the eve of St. Johns Day and processions on New Years Eve were not carried into the new urban circumstances. Neither were informal community organisations like the wren-boys and the straw-boys requiring as they did patronage by a number of households within the community. Though Mayhew gives only a passing mention to the practice of waking the dead17 the Roman Catholic Church was aware disapprovingly of the custom and Rev. J. Furniss preached vehemently against it Is it not a scandal that when the soul of a person has but just departed from the body and gone to its last account before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ that there should be amongst his friends drinking and dancing mock marriages and things shameful and disgraceful going on around the dead body.18 Sen O Silleabhins study Irish Wake Customs describes a wide range of associated social activity and merrymaking back home in Ireland including drinking eating smoking snuff- taking story-telling flirting playing games and practical jokes singing and dancing.19 Many sources refer to the rural Irish practice of keening the wailing and lamenting in well-defined musical forms over the corpse by select mourners. The leading keener according to O Silleabhin was in some cases a community-based semi-professional in the same social position as a midwife.20 The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland at this time viewed drinking and violence at wakes as irreligious and barbaric. The wake prescribed by tradition was an inevitable community response to death and as illustrated by Patrick MacGill in his novel The Rat-Pit 1915 the expectations of kin and neighbours about what was right and proper could outweigh the disapproval of the clergy and could even be kept secret from them.21 Keening the most private and elusive of all music-making does not feature in the written record of Irish London but there is a strong likelihood of its having taken place there and Joe Fogarty for example believed his mother Deborah ONeill had witnessed wakes and keening in Bermondsey before he was born in 1920. There was some popular allegiance to churches and missions but it was not until the last thirty years or so of the century that the Roman Catholic Church was able to organise comprehensive coverage of Irish London by a patchwork of urban parishes and even then the appeal to the bulk of the Irish was limited. This newly re-formed Church did not support the practice of music-making and dancing from its members rural past which smacked to the Church officials of fighting and drunkenness while the confraternities political organisations benevolent clubs and unions active during that time though working class represented the respectable end of the working class with the accent on respectability. Individual singers who retained their rural repertory and style might have perhaps performed at an odd formal social evenings or men-only smoking concerts but press reports of such events often mentioning repertory but seldom if ever commenting on style indicate a predominance of more metropolitan performers of parlour ballads and music-hall songs. One of the earliest known Irish traditional musicians active in London was Denis Courtney or Courtnay or Courtenay who was reputedly born in 1760 in Ireland and died on 2nd Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.115. Lees Exiles of Erin pp.187-8 refers to Father Vere Random Recollections of Old Soho pp.44-5. 18 Rev. J. Furniss The Book of Young Persons London Dublin James Duffey 1860 p.6. 19 Sen O Silleabhin Irish Wake Customs Cork Mercier 1967. 20 Ibid. pp.130-145. 21 Patrick MacGill The Rat-Pit London Herbert Jenkins 1915 pp.80-96. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 31 September 1794.22 He travelled in England and Scotland23 and the theatre historian P. Highfill described him as an itinerant Irish musician of great fame in the British provinces24 though on what evidence he based that is not known. As will be seen further on he appeared in elite theatre productions and was therefore known to the gentry and patronised by some of them. However the tongue-in-cheek tenor of his obituary in 1794 suggests that Capt. Leeson was a man-about-town who attracted a large number of disreputable associates and that Courtney was his right-hand man in his carousing. The location of the funeral procession and the wake held in the slum district of St. Giless the nature of the crowd and the booze-up at the wake in the Hampshire Hog and in the church-yard further suggest Courtney was still a tradesman piper and a drunken one at that In the Middlesex hospital Mr. Courtenay the celebrated performer on the bag-pipes. He died of a dropsy which he is supposed to have contracted by hard drinking and was buried in Pancras church-yard. The funeral procession from the Hampshire Hog in Broad-street St. Giless a considerable way into Tottenham- court-road. The number of those in mourning could not be less than 80 or 90 couples who were preceded by two Irish pipers one of whom played on the union pipes used formerly with such wonderful effect by the deceased. The body was waked at the Hampshire Hog and all the expenses of the burial were defrayed by Capt. Leeson whose motives for ordering the wake to be held there was his great success in recruiting by means of the deceased who had some time since enlisted in his corps and had by that gentleman been appointed a serjeant. Courtenay was a wet soul and every thing about the body to its interment was entirely correspondent. During the continuance of the wake the greatest profusion of liquors was distributed. At the church-yard the same liberality in the distribution to every one who chose to drink was observed and the company happily parted without fighting.25 Describing the appalling living and social conditions in the St. Giless rookery in 1852 Thomas Meames wrote In the centre of this hive was the famous thieves public house called Rats Castle this den of iniquity was the common rendezvous of outcasts. In the ground floor was a large room appropriated to the general entertainment... in the first floor a free and easy where dancing and singing went on during the greater part of the night suppers were laid and the luxuries which tempt intoxication freely displayed. first floor a free and easy where dancing and singing went on during the greater part Mayhew wrote of Irish costermongers around 1850 that he did not hear of any amusements popular among or much resorted to by the Irishmen except dancing parties at one anothers houses where they jig and reel furiously and raffles where the article to be raffled was often not thrown for the evening being spent in dancing.27 Evidence back as early as 1799 in a murder trial at the Old Bailey points to the almost completely exclusive Irishness of the clientele at the Kings Arms in Maynard Street St. Giless. Defense witnesses testified that there were regular visits there from a fiddler at which time large numbers of Irish men and women assembled for the dancing.28 Evidence was given in a similar trial in 182029 of an occasion in a public house in Whitechapel where there was music and dancing. Mary MKennedy and Michael Lahoe referred to the murder victim Jeremiah Carthy P. Highfill et al A Biographical Dictionary of Actors Actresses Musiciansin London 1660-1800 Illinois 1973 vol.4 pp.8-9.pp.8 Ibid. Ibid. Obituary of Remarkable Persons in The Gentlemans Magazine and Historical Chronicle September 1794 pp.865-866 quoted in part in Walkers Hibernian Magazine September 1794.quoted in part in Thomas Beames The Rookeries of London London Thomas Bosworth 1852 p.26. 27 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.109.Mayhew The trial of Timothy Brian and others for murder The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 8 May 1799 ref t17990508-21 www.oldbaileyonline.org.www.oldbaileyonline.org Edward Callaghan murder Old Bailey 18 September 1820 ref t18200918-29. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 32 MARY MKENNEDY I knew the deceased. On the Sunday after this row I danced with him there was a large party more than three dozen there was a piper it was in George-yard New-court the floor give way under us and we all fell into the cellar the dance lasted three hours. Questioned by council You danced with him three hours Yes. We took it by turns. He brought the piper into the court.. MICHAEL LAHOE I was at the dance with Carthy on the Sunday after the row there were about fifty persons the floor gave way and Jerry and I fell in together he was in liquor he had been drinking with me the whole day and would not be satisfied until he had a jig. I picked him up his nose bled I took him into the George The George was subsequently the scene of the violent death of Jeremiah Carthy a week or so later for which Edward Callaghan 36 Mary Donovan 26 William Donovan 40 and Daniel Donovan 30 were convicted of manslaughter30 SARAH WILLIAMS. My husband is a seaman. I live in George-yard George-court Whitechapel the George public-house is in that court the back door joins the court. On the 20th of July I was in the taproom of the George Jeremiah Carthy was there I knew him by sight it might be nine oclock at night or a few minutes after he was sitting in a box smoking his pipe with two Englishman named Fortescue and Jones the four prisoners were in the room also William Garvin and Sylvester Marney. Two young women were dancing with Callaghan whose names I do not know. One of the women said Will you get up and dance Jerry Carthy He got up to dance and Callaghan immediately struck him.. JOHN FORTESCUE. I am a butcher and live in George-yard. I have frequently seen the prisoners about there. On the 20th of July I was in the George public-house the prisoners sat in a box on the other side by themselves Carthy sat in a box with me and Jones and another Englishman whom I do not know. The servant and another woman or two were dancing. Carthy went to light his pipe and dance with them I believe. Two of the Irishmen jumped from their box when they saw Carthy going to dance pitched into him.. WM. ROBERTSON. I am a carpenter and live in Wentworth-street. On the 20th of July I was in the tap- room of the George Carthy and I went in together. I do not recollect seeing S. Williams about twenty persons were there principally Irish. I recollect Callaghan and Mrs. Donovan there Callaghan was dancing with some women Carthy got up to go to the fire to light his pipe he took hold of the servant and said Betty we will have a step together Callaghan then struck him and immediately another man who is not here came out and struck him too The fact that raffles as mentioned by Mayhew were held to raise money for those in financial distress in association with a fiddler hired for dancing is an indication of positive action within the community and evidence of kinship and friendship support systems though both elements fund-raising and dancing to a fiddle were local English custom too.31 A good example from before the watershed of the Famine appeared in The Times on 30th August 1826 in the form of a court report of events in a rough low-class context at the rookery renowned as an Irish slum in the parish of St. Giless and it involved at least three Irishmen Donavan Brady and Sullivan MARLBOROUGH-STREET.Timothy Donavan John Glover John Harris John James John Lancaster John Brady Thomas Haynes and Michael Brookley all except the latter well known to the police of the metropolis as real and reputed thieves were brought from St. Giless watchhouse and placed at the bar in one lot. Furzeman the watchhouse-keeper of St. Giless parish and a very active constable stated that the first seven prisoners he had long known as indeed every one else belonging to the police did as part of a numerous gang of thieves that for a long time held their meetings at the Cross Keys public-house in Belton- street Long-acre but after great exertions by the police in watching and reporting the house they were banished from it but were immediately accommodated at the house of one Sullivan who keeps the White Edward Callaghan murder Old Bailey 18 September 1820 ref t18200918-29.Edward Callaghan murder For costermongers raffles tuppenny hops see Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.58 p.12 p15. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 33 Hart public-house in a court called Coal-yard in St. Giless. Repeated but unavailing complaints have been made to this Sullivan of his harbouring those thieves. He has ever since their expulsion from the Cross Keys had them in numerous gangs regularly every night at his house he himself presiding amongst them as chairman of their club and almost every night there is a subscription amongst them for the relief or defence upon trial of some robber or pickpocket. On Monday night Furzman got information that there was to be a large congregation of thieves at the White Hart to get up a raffle for the benefit of a man now under sentence of death for burglary and cards of invitation to the raffle were regularly printed and sent round amongst the thieves stating the object of the meeting. They accordingly assembled with a number of prostitutes and a fiddler to have a dance after the raffle but in the midst of their jollification Furzman rushed into the club- room where on this occasion too the landlord was in the chair and after a desperate resistance by many of the thieves he took these eight into custody but about a dozen more at least escaped. The greater number of those in custody have been tried and convicted and two of them are not above a week out of prison after undergoing their sentence. Brookley the last mentioned generally works very hard during the day with his brother who is a fishmonger but he is always at night to be seen in the company of thieves. The Magistrate ordered all the prisoners to be committed for want of bail and directed that an information should at once be laid against Sullivans house for harbouring thieves and that a report should be made by the vestry clerk of the parish to the licensing Magistrates that this house should be deprived of its licence George Cruikshanks cartoon St. Patricks Day at Seven Dials printed in The Comic Almanack 1838 depicting brawling drinking and dancing to a bagpiper is poorly observed calling on earlier equally poorly-observed stereotyped images as reference. At least however it indicates that Cruikshanks readers would have known enough about the area to have understood his humour. Further evidence of pre-Famine night life among the Irish poor in St. Giless rookery appeared in The Town a weekly rag for men about town on 28th September 1839 concerning the weekly goings-on on Wednesday nights at the Hare and Hounds kept by Joe Banks in Buckeridge Street The queen is selected from the flowers of loveliness among the fair cadgers..... Her duties are to keep order collect subscriptions in the plate to sing songs and to regulate the amusements of the evening inasmuch as dancing as well as singing forms a very prominent feature therein..... All the cadging girls wear their hair a la Reine and this is the only part of their appearance to which they pay the slightest attention. The girls without shoes and stockings clad in rags may be seen in the evening at Banks with clean faces and their hair parted in the plainness of royalty. The male cadgers are not so particular they as seldom use a comb as a pocket-handkerchief... It however may with truth be said of the male cadgers that they never wash their faces and of the females that they never paint their faces... The etching accompanying the article shows the presiding queen and a mixed couple step- dancing to each other in postures that are recognisable to those familiar with present-day Irish step-dancing. These depictions of Paddy from Cork and Dublin Peg it is claimed by paper are by no means caricatured they are hit off to the life. Henry Mayhew knew the pub and its clientele and he adds a little more colour to the scene In Buskeridge Street stood the Hare and Hounds public-house formerly the Beggar in the Bush at the time of which I speak 1844 kept by the well-known and much respected Joseph Banks generally called Stunning Joe a civil rough good-hearted Boniface. His house was the resort of all classes from the aristocratic marquis to the vagabond whose way of living was a puzzle to himself.32 32 Mayhew London Labour vol.4 p.299. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 34 The Town 28 September 1839 Reg Hall Collection In 1844 Mayhew visited another public house in the same locality of St. Giles as the Hare and Hounds but he did not specify if the clientele was Irish or English or they might have been both the Rose and Crown public-house was resorted to by all classes of the light-fingered gentry from the mobsman and his Amelia to the lowest of the street thieves and his Poll. In the tap-room might be seen Black Charlie the fiddler with ten or a dozen lads and lasses enjoying the dance and singing and smoking over potations of gin-and-water more or less plentiful according to the proceeds of the previous nightall apparently free from care in their wild carousals.33 At Thames Police Court in December 1847 evidence was given in a theft trial that a policeman searching for the suspect found him at a house of public entertainment in Grays- inn-lane where upwards of 100 Irish men and women were dancing to the music of the bagpipes.34 At Bow Street Police Court in January 1858 Sarah Collins was fined 40 shillings or 21 days imprisonment for causing a disturbance outside St Giless workhouse in the course of which she danced an Irish jig and a dance known in that locality as the fives.35 33 Mayhew London Labour vol.4 p.300. 34 London Standard 29.12.1847. Lloyds Weekly Newspaper 10.1.1858. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 35 The need for good copy about the Irish at Seven Dials for the edition of his paper covering St. Patricks Day in 1853 led the reporter at Marlborough Street Police Court to dress up the story line of a court hearing partly in appropriate journalese and partly with his tongue in his cheek. However the elements of the story ring true and smack of pre-Famine rural Ireland James Riley a merry-looking son of Erin was charged with assaulting Samuel Doherty.On St. Patricks-eve complainant and defendant went to a merry-making in honour of their patron saint which was held at the domicile of a piper named Pat Riley defendants brother in the fashionable locality of the Dials. As is usual in such occasions dhrink was plentiful and soon exhibited its effects on many of the company among whom was a good-looking lass named Norah Cullen who became the centre of attraction in the eyes of the merry-looking defendant who was speedily at her side and after having a few gentle whispers up they got to dance any other two in the room. This challenge was immediately accepted by the complainant and away they went at heel and toe double shuffle and all the other mysteries of the regular Irish jig. At length Sam Doherty and his partner gave in and the gallant Jem Riley and his fair Norah carried off the palm. This excited the ire of complainant who had formerly paid his attention to Miss Cullen and while the green-eyed monster was raging in his bosom he went up to her and requested her fair hand for the next dance which she refused. Complainant then challenged Jem Riley to a stand-up fight and the winner to have Miss Norah. The course was soon cleared and after several rounds the gallant defendant administered a tremendous topper on the nob of complainant which spiflicated him. As none but the brave deserve the fair Jem Riley took possession of the fair Norah and they let the place the complainant at the same time vowing to have the law upon his rival which threat he had carried out by having Jem Riley apprehended on a warrant and brought to court.About twenty witnesses amongst whom was the fair Norah herself bore testimony to the complainant being the first aggressor and giving the challenge to the defendant in the first instance so the magistrate at once dismissed the case.36 The cash value of Irish music-making was established in Ireland by artisan pipers and fiddle players who hired out their services mostly for a dancing clientele. Hugh Heinrick noted the existence in 1872 of such Irish artisan musicians living in England when he wrote in general terms of the blind fiddler or piper who has followed the fortunes of the inhabitants of his native village into the uncongenial atmosphere of the English towns.37 PUT IN GARAGHANS COMMENT ABOUT A PIPER FOR EVERY DAY. Sufficient evidence has come to light to show that there was dancing both in the street and in specific public houses to the music of paid artisan pipers and fiddle players a social process directly transferred from rural Ireland and similar dancing to barrel-organs and street-pianos which was an adaptation to local circumstances though chance busking in the street and in pubs was perhaps more of an opportunity in London than it had been in Ireland. One such artisan piper active in Westminster was Martin Flannagan who appeared for the prosecution in a larceny trial at the Old Bailey on 10th September 182338 ELIZABETH SHEEN was indicted for stealing on the 28th of July a set of bagpipes value 2l.10s. 2 10s the goods of Martin Flannagan . MARTIN FLANNAGAN. I play the bagpipes. On the 28th of July about seven oclock in the evening I was at Kennedys public-house in St. Jamess-street playing. I tied my bagpipes up in a bag and put them on the table and went into the yard for a minute or two and on returning they were gone. I had left the prisoner in the room. She was also gone I gave an alarm and have never found them. She came into the house half an hour after I asked her for them she said she did not take them. I did not detain her but she was apprehended afterwards. ANN CRAWLEY. I was at the public-house and saw the prosecutor there. There was a green parcel on the table I did not know what it was I saw the prisoner take it off the table and go out but whether she took it Lloyds Weekly London Newspaper 20 March 1853. 37 The Nation 27.7.1872. Proceedings Old Bailey t18230910-267. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 36 out I do not know I mentioned it five or six days after. When I found Flannagan had lost his pipes I told the landlady of it the same night The sighting of a similar piper busking in a pub at The Borough which appeared in a court report in The Times on 8th October 1824 gives a good account of the social context pipers worked in with the added perhaps unexpected variable of the tension between Irish Catholics and Protestants. The most significant aspect of the whole affair however was the haphazard nature of earning a living by busking and clearly the piper was not prepared to play with no prospect of coins in his collecting bag UNION-HALL.An Irish piper named Barny Dwyer was brought before R. J. CHAMBERS Esq. charged by a publican landlord of the Fountain in Falcon-court Southwark with having excited a disturbance and broken some glasses in his house in consequence of his persisting to play some Irish Croppie tunes. It appeared that on the preceding night the piper came to the sign of the Fountain and proceeded into the tap- room where he took from his bag a set of pipes and commenced the tune of Garryowen without receiving or even asking liberty to perform there. The moment the strain from his bag-pipes was heard crowds of Irish people who live in the neighbourhood flocked into the house and by the time Garryowen was ended the piper was called upon by one party for it appeared there were two political parties in the room namely an Orange and a Croppie party to play Croppies lie down. The piper in obedience to the command struck up the tune but before he got through the first verse he received a pelt on the head from a big fellow who sat on his right. This was a signal for a general rowone party swearing that the piper should proceed with Croppies lie down and the other vowing vengeance if he offered to tune his pipes to the same air again. By the time the two contending parties were all up in motion and a general battle took place between them when the piper who was the only man that stood aloof at the beginning of the affray now seeing a favourable opportunity and a good thick stick at hand took it up and began to wallop about without respect to either party until he made them all quiet. After tranquility was restored the piper was desired to play up quick but unfortunately he soon discovered that his bags were empty and so there was an end to the music. The two parties then left the house and the landlord finding that a large and valuable glass water-jug together with some rummers were smashed in the row detained the piper who was conducted before the sitting Magistrate R. J. CHAMBERS Esq. The defendant being called upon to state why he had entered the complainants house and tuned his pipes without receiving permission so to do replied that he was a poor piper and that he never dream tsuch a kick-up would have been raised because he played one of his own country airs to amuse the company.Although the jug and gasses were broken he had no hand in their destruction and if the Magistrate would be so kind good-hearted and condescending as to give him his liberty once more he would be bound to say that the tune of Croppies lie down should never proceed from his pipes again. The piper was then discharged after having paid the publican for the loss of his glass. A less fortunate artisan musician just over from Ireland appeared at the Old Bailey on 16th September 1830 the case being reported in The Times the following morning Anthony Nymaud an Irish piper was indicted for cutting and maiming James Brown the master of a vessel trading to the port of London with intent to kill and maim or do him some bodily harm. The prisoner pleaded not guilty and the most remarkable feature in the case was the total absence of all motive for the commission of the offence the prosecutor never having seen the prisoner until he was attacked by him It appeared that on the 12th of September as Mr. Brown was walking through High-street Shadwell in company with a Capt. Smith the prisoner who had a set of Union pipes under his arm rushed suddenly upon the two men and with a small clasp knife laid open the prosecutors cheek from the mouth to the ear. The prisoner then ran away was pursued and taken to the police-office at Worship-street and was fully committed to Newgate upon the capital charge. The facts of the case having been proved in evidence. The prisoner in his defence said he had no recollection of having committed the offence imputed to him. He came over from Ireland some months ago and obtained a living by playing on the pipes. He had once he said been confined in a lunatic asylum at Liverpool and since that time had been subject to fits of insanity. The unfortunate man went on to state that he had been taken to the Giltspur-street Compter for having made an attempt upon his life by throwing himself from the battlements of Blackfriars-bridge. Mr. Box the surgeon of Newgate and other persons connected with the Compter proved that the prisoner had been brought there under the circumstances described by him. It was the opinion of the witnesses however that the prisoner was not insane. Mr. Baron BOLLAND in his charge of the jury remarked that there was Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 37 obviously no motive whatever for the commission of the offence and he left it to the jury to say whether the prisoner was in such a state of mind at the time when he attacked the prosecutor as to render him accountable in the eye of the law for the consequences. The Jury without the slightest hesitation returned a verdict of Not Guilty on the grounds of insanity. The prisoner was ordered to be detained as a lunatic.39 Yet another piper working a pitch near the Haymarket theatre in the West End had his union pipes stolen and the committal proceedings at Bow Street were reported in The Standard on 24th March 1831 A man named Starling was charged with the following robbery. It appeared from the statement of a poor half-witted Irish lad named Cunningham that on the night of the 10th instant on his return home with his Irish bagpipes he was met by the prisoner who entered into conversation with him. Just as the complainant had got to the corner of the court in which he lived the prisoner suddenly knocked him down and kneeling on his chest deprived him of the power of calling for assistance. He then robbed him of the bagpipes and a sovereign. The complainant was found on the pavement nearly insensible. The prisoner was fully committed on the capital charge. The trial that followed at the Old Bailey on 7th April 1831 revealed the existence of two brothers both of whom were pipers and a more complicated set of circumstances40 CHARLES STARLING was indicted for stealing on the 12th of March 1 set of union-pipes value 5l. 5 1 sovereign and 1 half-sovereign the property of Owen Cunningham from his person. OWEN CUNNINGHAM. I play the union-pipes and live in Charles-street Drury-lane. On Thursday the 10th of March I had been in the Haymarket but I did not see the prisoner till I got to Charles-street near my own home he then came over and knocked me down he took my pipes and walked away I afterwards missed a sovereign and a half sovereign which I know I had in my pocket four or five days before and pinned with two pins. Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Were you quite sober A. I was I had drank part of a pot of porter I do not know where I have been in London four or five months but I should not be able to find the public- house again. Q. I recommend you to be very careful how you swear was it not the Crown and Thistle in the Haymarket and did not you go to that very house and ask if you had left your pipes saying you must have left them there A. I did not go the same night I went the next day I was robbed about eleven oclock at night the prisoner came of his own accord to me in two or three days afterwards brought me the pipes and said they had been left with him by a man. CATHERINE CUNNINGHAM. I am the wife of Martin Cunningham we did live at No. 3 Charles-street. My husband came home that night and said Owen was coming I looked out saw Owen laying down bleeding and covered with the dirt of the street and the prisoner standing over him I turned round to call my husband and the prisoner ran away with the pipes. Cross-examined. Q. Then he was standing quietly for you to see him A. Yes at first but he took his opportunity to run away I saw him plainly I knew he lived in the same street but I could not say the exact house he came to our house with the same pipes in two or three days we had made inquiries in the meantime and my husband went every where I never spoke to the prisoners wife till the pipes were got Owen was not tipsy he was sensible. COURT. Q. Did you afterwards see the prisoner and the pipes at your husbands A. Yes a man named Burke came first and then the prisoner the prisoner received 15s. and Burke 4s. 6d. the prisoner brought the pipes we were looking at them to see if they were all in their shape and form and the prisoner said If you dont have them as they are I will take them away money and all. MARTIN CUNNINGHAM. On Thursday the 10th of March I had been out with my brother the prosecutor we had each of us a set of pipes and we played at a public-house in the Haymarket we came away together and went straight home we got there about a quarter before twelve oclock I walked into my house I met 39 Also reported in detail The Morning Post 17.9.1830 The Standard 17.9.1830. Also documented in Proceedings Old Bailey t18300916-17 where Nynaud says of his pipes they are the cause of my getting my bread.Bailey Proceedings Old Bailey t18310407-187. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 38 my wife with the candle in her hand she asked where my brother was I said he was coming and to keep the candle there for him she called me in about three minutes I saw my brother down his face bleeding and his clothes disfigured on the next Thursday I went to the Sugar Loaf public-house I saw a man there named James Burke I was telling a man who had pipes there of my losing my pipes and that I would not begrudge 1l.1 to find them Burke then made a proposal to me he afterwards came to my house and after that the prisoner came with the pipes I gave Burke 19s. 6d. it was the prisoner brought the pipes they cost 20l. 20 I valued them at 7l. 7 but the gentleman valued them at 5l. 5 they belong to my brother I had his pipes and he had mine. Cross-examined. Q. Do you know a man of the name of Barry A. Not by name I knew a man of that name in Sligo but not in London. Prisoners Defence. A relation came to town on the Wednesday and on Thursday the 10th of March after work I went to a public-house and had a pint or two of beer in coming out a man named Barry was opposite he asked a young man to mind these things till the morning the young mans mother called him up and I said If you have any thing to leave you can leave them with my wife he said Yes and thank you too the next morning I told Burke the man had left me a set of bagpipes and on St. Patricks day I was drinking Burke came in and said I know who these pipes belong to if you will give them to me I will take them home I said No I will take them the prosecutor only lives three doors from me - I took them there openly the man was very much obliged to me and said he was very glad I said If any body took my things I should be much obliged to any one to bring them home. SIMON WESTLAKE. I am the landlord of the Horse Shoe Titchbourne-street. On a Thursday night in March I saw Owen Cunningham and his brother at my house at the top of the Haymarket on the following morning Martin Cunningham called on me asked for the pipes he did not complain that his brother had been robbed I reminded him that he and his brother had gone to another public-house and he had better go there and look for them. JOHN FENNELL. I am in the service of Colonel Burke of St. Albans-place Haymarket. Martin Cunningham came to our stables and asked me if I knew what he did with his pipes when he parted from me he and his brother were both intoxicated - one of them fell down.. I was with the prosecutor and his brother at the Crown and Thistle I cannot tell the day I left the house with them I asked them to leave their pipes with me and the landlady till next morning as they were not capable of taking care of themselves I went to the top of the Haymarket with them and they said they were capable of taking care of themselves which I knew they were not I lodged at the Crown and Thistle at that time The outcome of the case with its conflicting evidence was not guilty. Fortunately for Owen Cunningham he recovered his pipes and equally fortunate for the historical record the case provides primary evidence of two named pipers in a social context commenting also on their habitual drunkenness. The reward or perhaps ransom of 19s. 6d. for the return of the pipes was a good weeks wages for a labouring man set against a relatively high valuation on the pipes. ONeill received information about Owen Cunningham who hailed from Galway City that led him to write Cunningham was an exception among pipers. A splendid performer he played airs marches and descriptive pieces to perfection yet to quote the language of Mr. Burke he wasnt much on jigs reels or hornpipes.41 ONeill passed on Cunninghams reputation of being a wanderer with sightings in New York and Boston in 1861 and of his playing in the street in Melbourne and Sydney in 1868 and noted that in addition to patronage from various gentlemen in Ireland Cunningham claimed to have received a hundred pounds a year from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the Duke of Northumberland for six or eight week residences at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland around Christmas-time42 to have appeared before royalty and to have filled engagements at one of the most fashionable London hotels. It was part of an itinerant pipers trade to 41 ONeill Irish Minstrels pp.227-8 p.343. ONeills informant Nicholas Burke was himself a union piper. Hugh Percy 3rd Duke of Northumberland was Lord Lieutenant from 22 January 1829 until 4 December 1830 but Cunningham might have continued to refer to him as the Lord Lieutenant after that. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 39 publicise his achievements especially brushes with the nobility and gentry however fleeting they might have been but the Court report most probably gives a more accurate picture of his way of life. John Doyles 1840 cartoon The Wandering Minstrel or A Solo on the Union Pipes depicts a union piper playing in the street with a boy collecting for him with a cap. Though a political cartoon with the Duke of Wellington depicted as the piper and other leading politicians identifiable the setting of a piper busking must have been a familiar sight in London otherwise the cartoon would have had no resonance for its viewers in elite society. The Wandering Minstrel OR A Solo on the Union Pipes. published by Thomas McLean 26 Haymarket London 3 December 1840 Reg Hall Collection Richard Levey published his collection The Dance Music of Ireland in two volumes in 1858 and 1873. He spent his professional life as a theatre musician in Dublin43 but he states in a 43 The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Stanley Sadie ed. London Macmillan 1980 10 p.702. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 40 footnote that he took the tunes down without alteration from the street players of London.44 ONeill typically not declaring his sources said Levey noted them down from the playing of traditional fiddlers and fluters in Dublin and London.45 This evidence is conflicting but the common point is that Levey encountered Irish street musicians in London. Clearly artisan pipers in London had a struggle to make a living. Timothy Sullivan a blind piper for example made an application at Marlborough Street Police Court in 1852 for permission to busk in Fitzroy Market as the police had been stopping him from playing. The magistrate turned him down saying that he should go to a locality where the Irish are at least ten to one where his pipes would not be considered a nuisance. Begrudgingly Sullivan left the Court saying he would give up music in favour of selling fruit but it is more than likely he continued to earn a few pence with his pipes.46 A Highland piper from Inverness himself a street musician reported to Mayhew in 1856 that he knew of seven or eight Irish buskers in London who dressed as Scotch Highlanders adding bitterly that they do better than I do because they have more face.47 These pipers might have been trained in Highland regiments but it seems more likely they learned the Highland pipes by ear for the purpose of busking. Mayhew himself interviewed a blind musician around 1851 presumably an Englishman who knew of fourteen blind street musicians who were Catholic and lived near him though Mayhew did not specify the district in London. This is not hard evidence that they were Irish but it is strong circumstantial evidence that they were They are peculiarly distinguished by a love of music. Its a sure bit of bread to the most besides it makes them independent you see and thats a great thing to people like us. There is not one teetotaller I am told among the street blind but they are not distinguished by a love of drink. The blind musicians often when playing at public-houses are treated to drink and indeed when performing in the streets are taken by drunken men to play at taverns and supplied with liquor but they do not any of them make a habit of drinking.48 Mayhew had shortly before that in 1850 written of a blind street musician whom he described as a well-dressed middle-aged man of good appearance wearing large green spectacles led by a young girl his daughter I was eleven years old when I lost my sight from cold and I was brought to the musical profession and practised it several years in Ireland of which country I am a native. I was a man of private property small property and only played occasionally at the gentle-peoples places and then more as a guest yes more indeed than professionally. In 1838 I was married and began to give concerts regularly I was the performer and played only on the Union pipes at my concerts. Im acknowledged to be the best performer in the world even by my own craft excuse what seems self-praise. The union pipes are the old Irish pipes improved. In former times there was no chromatic scale now we have eight keys to the chanter which produce the chromatic scale as on the flute and so the pipes are improved in the melody and more particularly in the harmony. We have had fine performers of old. I may mention Caroll ODaly who flourished in the fifteenth century and was the composer of the air that the Scotch want to steal from us Robin Adair which is Aileen ma ruen or Ellen my dear. My concerts in Ireland answered very well indeed but the famine reduced me so much that I was fain to get to England with my family wife and four children and in this visit I have been disappointed completely so. Now Im reduced to play in the streets and make very little by it. I may average 15s. in the week in summer and not half that in winter. There are many of my countrymen now in England 44 Cited in ONeill Irish Folk Music p.53. 45 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.143. 46 The Morning Post 3.9.1852 The Standard 3.9.1852 The Daily News 3.9.1852 The Era 5.9.1852 Derby Mercury 8.9.1852 Belfast News-Letter 8.9.1852 The Nation 11.9.1852 The Sligo Champion 13 9.1852. 47 The Morning Chronicle 6.6.1850.The Morning Chronicle Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.400. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 41 playing the pipes but I dont know one respectable enough to associate with so I keep to myself and so I cannot tell how many there are.49 A further citing of a named blind piper appeared in The Times on 12th May 1862 following his appearance at Thames Police Court at Mile End John Sullivan a blind Irish piper aged 45 was charged with being drunk and disorderly using threats towards Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis the landlord and landlady of the Scots Arms publichouse High-street Wapping and violently assaulting Police-constable Asprey 35H. MR. SELFE said the prisoner had been before that court over and over again. Although blind he could not be allowed to commit these outrages with impunity. He was sentenced to three weeks imprisonment with hard labour. The prisoner called out from the dock Hoorah no Irish need apply and was then removed to the cells. The sordid circumstances of Stephen Keefe aged 39 were revealed at his trial for feloniously killing and slaying his wife at the Central Criminal Court as reported in The Daily News on 1st November 1862 the prisoner who is a blind man and obtained his living by playing the bagpipes at public-houses and in addition to which has a pension of 5l 5 per annum from the Clothworkers Company resided with his wife the deceased to whom he had been married 13 years and who had borne him several children in a lower room of the house No.12 Rose-alley Bishopsgate-street. The prisoner was in the habit of getting drunk and his wife was addicted to a similar habit but received at times most brutal treatment from the prisoner leaving her and children a whole day without food. At midnight on 27th September he came home and gave his heavily pregnant wife a prolonged and severe beating from which she later died. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude. On being sentence the prisoner with cool impudence asked whether his pipes with which he used to get his living might not be given up to his friend Murphy one of the witnesses examined in his favour. The RecorderCertainly not. Another union piper Daniel Mahoney came to the attention of the Gaelic League in 1899 and presumably through that contact ONeill was able to write that he had been born in 1837 in Bermondsey and that his father who had been born in Cork taught him the pipes.50 This could be an example of a tradesman passing on the skills of his trade to his son and thereby securing him the means of a livelihood. The son at some time during the post-Famine period assumed a stage name Michael OHara and was in some sort of musical partnership with another piper William OKelly.51 So little is known about the Mahoneys but John Murphy is even more of a mystery man being recorded as a thirty-two-year-old Irish-born musician visiting the home of Matthew Murphy a shoe maker at 3 Medlands-court Bermondsey on the night of the census in 1851. Another Murphy Michael Murphy aged 26 appears briefly in the historical record described as a fiddler at his trial at the Old Bailey on 16th August 1858 for feloniously killing and slaying Eliza Simpson. The incident a severe punching and kicking which took place at Keate Street in Spitalfields however had no relationship to music or dancing. Murphy got a years imprisonment.52 49 Henry Mayhew The Morning Chronicle 6.6.1850 reprinted in Mayhew London Labour vol.3 pp.162-3. 50 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.284 An Cliadheamh Soluis 11.11.1899 16.12.1899 9.2.1901 Inis Fail December 1905. 51 The Census from 1841 to 1911 cites several Daniel Mahoneys born in the area around 1837 but none can be pinned down to this particular Daniel Mahoney nor can William OKelly be identified ONeill Irish Minstrels p.284.to this particular Daniel Mahoney Proceedings Old Bailey t18580816-784. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 42 Five blind and lame union pipers were reported in the press as having appeared at the Irish National Festival at Alexandra Palace on the 18th March 1876.53 Press advertisements for the event made no mention of pipers while listing other attractions although they did announce an Irish jig competition for which subsequent evidence showed that at least one of the pipers played and one newspaper report referred to the jig dancers who exhibited their steps to the music of the fiddle or of the Irish pipes.54 It could be that the pipers turned up in order to busk or at least to get some unofficial exposure. A press reporter observed that one or two of them played on the train on the way home and one of them told him he played regularly in pubs in the East End on Saturday nights.55 ONeill gives some typically vague and therefore possibly inaccurate biographical material on an artisan fiddle flute player with a London connection.56 Dan Sullivan the son of a travelling tradesman was born around 1830 at Millstreet County Cork and later moved to Tralee County Kerry where he learned the fiddle from the Whelans and Mick Hurley a blind artisan fiddle player. He emigrated to Boston Massachusetts where he died in June 1912. However between his youth in Kerry and his mature years in America he spent twenty years in London possibly following his trade as a musician. Sound recordings made much later by his musical partner in Boston Mike Hanafin who had learned the fiddle from the same Kerry artisan musician as Dan Sullivan support the conclusion that Dan Sullivan in his early days at least was a traditional musician.57 Yet in London he reputedly acquired musical knowledge at the hands of a certain major which seems odd to say the least. ONeill having met Sullivan in 1905 described him as the most famous professional Irish fiddler in the eastern states and commented with a hint of irritation that he insisted on playing concertoes for our edification instead of old Irish melodies we hungered for. By concertoes ONeill most probably meant light-music pieces. It seems that Sullivan had augmented his fiddling skill with violin technique and thus had made himself acceptable to an audience higher up the social scale than the average Irish working man and woman. His son Dan Sullivan incidentally became an active pianist in Boston and his band Sullivans Shamrock Band made commercial recordings in New York from 1926 to 1934.58 His piano style is evidently heavily weighted towards conservatoire technique which would suggest that his father put him to a piano teacher as a child whereas the musicians in his band play in rural style. No hard evidence has come to light of union pipers playing at parish entertainments or concerts promoted by political or temperance organisations. Bearing in mind the respectability of such events pipers if they were known about at all might have been thought too disreputable Self-promoting artisan musicians were bound to have made capital of patronage however occasional by members of elite society and this is dealt with later in this chapter. Gratton Flood and ONeill in describing pipers used this aspect of their careers to enhance a respectable image they were projecting for Irish music and musicians in the early days of the Gaelic revival. 53 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876. The Daily News 20 March 1876. 55 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876 unprovenanced newspaper The Morning Star 20.3.1876. 56 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.326 p.328 pp.370-371. 57 See Richard K. Spottswood Ethnic Music on Records. A Discography of Ethnic Recordings Produced in the United States 1893 to 1942 V Urbana Chicago Illinois University Press 1990 pp.2760-1 pp.2860-3 Dan Sullivans Shamrock Band long-playing record London Topic 12T366 1979 Past Masters of Irish Fiddle Music CD London Topic TSCD605 2001 from which Mike Hanafins authenticity as a traditional performer can be judged. 58 Spottswood Ethnic Music on Records pp.2780-1 p.2826 pp.2855-6 pp.2860-3. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 43 Outdoor dancing like that in Ireland is hard to imagine in the filthy courts and alleys of the rookeries or indeed in the street yet John Hollingshead noted in 1861 in Pye Street a particularly decrepit and squalid location at Victoria that Short-haired young men with showy handkerchiefs round their necks and tight corduroy trousers were standing at most of the doors looking pretty sharply about them from under the peaks of their caps. A fiddler was playing a dancing tune to a mixed assembly of thieves and prostitutes and a morning ball was being arranged on both sides of the pavement.59 The evidence is not conclusive that these dancers were Irish although a good many Irish labourers were employed in the gas-works nearby and Hollingshead makes the point that labourers invariably lived near their job.60 The writer of the next piece James Greenwood stated strongly that the Seven Dials end of the St. Giles Rookery was populated exclusively by Irish people when he made the following observation in 1867 the Irish have got hold of Seven Dials beyond redemption.. There is one particular bit between Earl Street and Castle Street known as Neales Passage It was broad noon when I paused at the mouth of the passage and attracted by the sound of music and rejoicing looked down. Midway in the grimy thoroughfare which contained about twenty tall houses and reclining on a costermongers barrow were two Irish pipers real Irish pipers such as never in my life before have I seen in Londonwith genuine long-tailed coats and tall jauntily-cocked hats piping an inspiring tune while swarming the road and pathway were a great number of the female sex some dancers some lookers-on. Some of the females were hideous yellow-tanged and smoke-dried hags wearing nightcaps with full and flapping borders some were muscular creatures brawny- limbed and middle-aged with a manly expression of countenance and with their hair first twisted into a wisp about as smooth and certainly as thick as a hayband and then bundled up and secured by a substantial knot behind some very little old slovenly-bosomed draggle-tailed women of sixteen while others again were straight-limbed comely damsels with teeth defiant of neglect and with rosiness of a strength superior to all opposition. These latter for the most part wore handkerchiefs over their heads and tied under the chin. From almost every half-glazed rag-stuffed window in the face of the tall houses protruded a head sometimes two heads more or less hideous the lips as a rule bearing a filthy little pipe. Equally as a rule were the upper windows garnished with reeking rags suspended to dry on the thrust-forth clothes-prop or with ropes of onions or with shreds of dried cod or some other such dainty the outer wall being the only place beyond the reach of the picking and stealing digits of little children hungry as wolves in mid-winter. Some of the down- looking heads were haggard and wan and nightcapped engendering a suspicion that the unseen bodies were lying abed helplessly while other lookers-out bright-eyed and eager and strumming on the window-sills the tune the pipers are playing looked as if they would willingly have joined the merry party below if they had aught else to cover their shoulders than the scrap of blanket or bed-quilt that now adorns them. Only two of the dancersthere were ten or a dozen of themdanced at one time while the rest squatted on the thresholds of the wide-open doors or leaned cross-legged against the walls or sat on the kerb and regained their spent breath while at the same time they cooled their slipshod feet in the gutter. With the exception of the pipers there were no men present which went far to show that it was neither wake wedding nor extraordinary merrymaking but merely an ordinary afternoons piping by the ordinary St. Giless pipers whose Christian names were familiar in the mouths of the dancers who ordered Barney to play fashter and rebuked Mike Sullivan bad luck to yez for keeping incorrect time.61 Further evidence of street dancing appears in the report of a court hearing at Bow Street in The Times on 6th August 1856 John Callaghan Dennis Callaghan Catherine Callaghan and Mary Callaghan four of the Irish inhabitants of Orange-court with broken and bandaged heads and faces so covered with blood that the features were scarcely distinguishable were charges with disorderly conduct. The prisoner Mary Callaghan had on the previous day charged two women named Macarthy and Stark with assaulting her by way of revenge for 59 John Hollishead Ragged London in 1861 London Smith Elder Co. 1861 p.109. Beames Rookeries of London p.128 mentions low prostitutes and poor Irish living in James Court very close to Pye Street. James Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys or Byways of the Modern Babylon London 1868 chapter XVIII. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 44 giving evidence against them in a former case. Macarthy and Stark were fined 4l. 4 each and in default sentenced to a term of imprisonment. After the case was disposed of Dennis Callaghan the husband of Mary Callaghan when on his way home from the court gave vent to his joy at the result by executing a jig round an itinerant fiddler who was performing Irish melodies in Orange-court. This brought upon him the summary vengeance of a zealous Macarthy who cut his head open with a spade and in a few minutes all the Macarthys and Callaghans in Orange-court joined in the fray which assumed the character of a regular faction fight. On the approach of the police all but the four prisoners disappeared but these remained in possession of the ground loudly challenging their opponents to return. The police after much vain expostulation rendered quiet by removing them to the station. Mr. HENRY after a long and patient investigation decided upon discharging the prisoners who had already suffered enough and granted them warrants against those of the opposite faction who appeared to have been the first aggressors Perhaps the conditions were not quite so bad in a section of Southwark when Father Thomas Doyle of St. Georges Cathedral wrote in 1864 of the local presumably Irish Catholic children dancing in the side streets and courtyards. The poor people like the street organs exceedingly do let them have some pleasure. In the evening the whole children of this locality are turning round and round in our little streets and courts as my friend the organ man twists his handle. The instant he strikes up the merry tune out tumble the rising generation some with and some without shoes and round and round in pairs they thread their dusty way.62 Children dancing in a London street to a barrel-organ 1872. engraved by Gustave Dore Dancing booths at fairs in the country districts around London and perhaps even at Bartholomew Fair until its demise in 1855 would have aroused memories of patterns had any 62 Quoted in Canon Bernard Bogan The Great Link London Burns Oates 1948 revised 1958 pp.255-6. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 45 Irish people been present but no specific evidence of Irish participation has come to light. The last known printed reference to Irish people dancing in the street in London however dates from St. Patricks Day 1872 albeit it was the Sabbath the lively bars of St. Patricks Day to which sturdy couples were jigging it merrily could be heard from cracked fiddle or even tin whistle from more than one court off Drury-lane.63 The Cockney knees-up even in relatively recent times called the Irish jig by some Cockneys themselves danced solo in duet four-handed and in groups was characterised by stepping balancing arming and reeling.64 It derives almost certainly from the jig and four-hand reel danced in rural England and pre-Famine rural Ireland. For what its worth as circumstantial evidence of the Irish antecedents of Cockney culture the Cockney slang word for door or floor is rory rhyming slang from the title of an Irish jig tune Rory OMore.65 The practice of members of the London working population dancing this repertory in back streets and on Bank Holidays at Hampstead Heath to the street-piano might well be seen as a transplanted survival of the Irish rural practice of outdoor dancing. The obligatory payment of cash to the musician in this case the organ-grinder and the practice of dancing at the fair were elements of Irish rural practice that seem to have survived the mediation of the music repertory. There had been amusement fairs on the Heath from 1865 but it was the direct consequence of the Bank Holidays Act 1871 that established the custom of swarms of London shop domestic and factory workers congregating there for a days fun and recreation on Easter Monday Whit Monday and August Bank Holiday Monday. On Easter Monday 1888 it was reported that there were probably not far short of 80000 visitors to Hampstead Heath pouring in from all directions townwards sic and from the surrounding suburbs by train tramcars and omnibuses... Plenty of amusement of all kinds were provided for the multitude of holiday makers.66 There are few discovered written descriptions of nineteenth-century Cockney dancing and therefore little is known about the detail of style. One account covered the twenty-first annual gathering of the Ancient Order of Foresters at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham in 1878. Although at first sight this would appear to have been an English event the 32154 tickets sold on the day mid-week on a Tuesday suggests that most of the public werent actually members of the Foresters. There were formal theatrical entertainments band concerts and a circus but the large majority had evidently determined to seek their pleasure out of doors and for unlimited fun and evident enjoyment there would be little doubt that the second-class entertainment if it may be so described far outdid the first. A determination to enjoy themselves seemed to be the prevailing motive with all. If there was any evidence of a desire to take pleasure sadly it was to be found amongst those who discoursed sad music on concertinas but even the players of these instruments though not joyful themselves were the cause of joy in others. There was not a performer who was not the centre of a group of dancers executing a mysterious dance of the nature of an Irish jig which appeared to afford satisfaction both to the excentants sic and the spectators. It was not simply the young that took part in it. Elderly and sedate-looking women were bobbing gravely up and down with the evident determination to cease only when the music should give in and facing them were partners who if seen in their ordinary avocations of life might at once be acquitted not only of ever having danced but of ever having entertained the idea of committing such an art. The popular The Illustrated Police News 23 March 1872. This probably did not survive beyond the 1960s if that.This probably did not survive beyond the 1960s i Jonathon Green The Cassell Dictionary of Slang London Cassell 1998. The Morning Post 3.4.1888. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 46 jig however was not the only dance. There were quadrilles for those who wished there were slow and sober waltzes and there were wild gallops all of which were taken part in with great zest.67 Pictorial evidence in the form of engravings paintings and photographs at least shows the postures of dancers and something of the formation of their dances. G. Durands engraving Low Life Drury Lane published in The Graphic in 1872 for example depicts six lower- class adolescent girls dancing to a barrel organ in a crowded street at night in a known area of high Irish settlement. The girls are deadly serious with well prescribed upright postures arms down at their sides holding on to their skirts and executing precise footwork. The shape of the dance appears to be two lines of three beside each other with each line executing a reel of three. Low-Life Drury Lane engraved by G. Durand and hand-coloured later The Graphic 26 October 1872. Reg Hall Collection The reel of three appears in Cruikshanks Tom and Gerry engravings in the early 1820s so it was known in London before the mass Irish immigration after the Famine The suggestion of Irish people dancing a three-hand reel turned up earlier in the prosecution evidence given in a South London Chronicle Southwark Lambeth Ensign 24.8.1878. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 47 murder trial at the Old Bailey on 18th September 1820 previously cited of two young women dancing with Callaghan in the tap-room of the George in Whitechapel. Callaghan might have danced with then separately but they might all three have been dancing together. The circumstantial evidence surrounding the Cockney girls in Durands engraving suggests strongly that they were Irish though the accompanying text does not mention the Irish and discusses street dancing in general The most favourable locality for this sort of amusement is a good wide street through which there is very little carriage traffic and where the houses from basement to attic are let out in separate apartments so as to furnish a bountiful supply of terpsichorean performers. The weather should be neither so hot as to render violent exercise a bore nor so cold as to chill bare necks and arms the pavement should be dry but above all the organ-grinder should be provided with a rpertoire of tunes of the jig reel and hornpipe order.. Henry Street Hampstead Road or Cromer Street Grays Inn Road. In both these latter localities on a pleasant summers evening we have seen a hundred couples up at once and many of the girls dance with such grace and spirit that it is quite a pleasure to look at them. The girls on these occasions far outnumber the boys and are generally better behaved doing their steps with as much care and gravity as if M. Coulon and Mr. Nicholas Henderson had their eyes upon them whereas the boys are apt to introduce an offensive Ethiopian element into the performance they are fond of dancing dos--dos and bumping very hard against each other and sometimes they get up a grand charge and send all the little girls flying into the middle of the road.68 Reference in the piece to the fashionable dancing teachers Coulon and Henderson reflects the writers middle-class knowledge of ballroom dancing. The young women would certainly not have had access to dancing teachers the comment speaks to the precision of steps and movements and the unity of style suggesting a tradition in its own terms. The anonymous writer makes a further important point that neither the children nor their parents could have afforded to pay the organ-grinder and he speculates he was most likely sponsored by chance passers-by or perhaps by a particular gentleman who enjoyed watching the entertainment. Outside the Bull Bush Hampstead Heath London Bank Holiday Monday 1904. commercial postcard Reg Hall Collection 68 Anonymous The Graphic 26 October 1872 pp.378-379. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 48 Dancing to a street piano on Spaniards Road Hampstead Heath early 1900s. The photographer had probably moved the crowd back. commercial postcard Reg Hall Collection Dancing to a street piano London 1890s-1910s. Reg Hall Collection Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 49 Dancing on Hampstead Heath to a street piano 1890s-1910s. provenance not known internet Hired rooms in public houses might have provided suitable venues for some form of social dancing and Mayhew confirmed around 1850 that there were such events costermongers tuppenny hops organised by the costers themselves street traders in fruit and vegetables with hired musicians. Mayhew made the point however that these were supported exclusively by English costers as Irish costers socialised apart from their English peers. Mayhew described the life-style of Irish costers in detail and bearing in mind his view that tuppenny hops were very important to the English he says nothing to imply the Irish had anything similar. He generalised in fact that the Irish did not frequent urban amusements by which he seems to mean entertainment that was run as commercial enterprise. His evidence is contradictory however. Irish fathers and mothers he wrote do not allow their daughters even when they possess the means to resort to the penny gaffs or twopenny hops and then adds the phrase unaccompanied by them as if to imply the daughters might have gone if the parents had gone with them.69 The low-class dancing rooms in East End public houses particularly in Ratcliffe Highway which catered largely for seamen from the docks were written up in the second half of the century but no reference implies that Irish women being involved.70 The Roman Catholic Church preached against bad dancing and singing houses71 and Lynn Hollis Lees referring to Father Veres Recollections of Old Soho points out that as far as the Church was concerned the normal settings of most working-class social life pubs in shops races fairs music halls gambling houses theaters the street at night were viewed with strong disapproval.72 The views of the Roman Catholic Church newly re-organised were unlikely to have affected the behaviour of its nominal non-devout members very significantly and judging by the poor church attendance throughout the century the Church held little sway with the majority. Further evidence in London of the Churchs disapproval of dancing which is therefore also circumstantial evidence of actual dancing appears in a penny tract from 1860 The Book of Young Persons in which the Rev. J. Furniss observed that Roman Catholic 69 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 p.12 p.15 pp.104-118 p.109. 70 Beames Rookeries of London pp.97-99 Archer Pauper pp.110-1 p.113 Mayhew London Labour vol.1 pp.12-13 An East-End Midnight Meeting in East London Observer 27.1.1872.. 71 Furniss Book of Young Persons pp.6-7 Rev. J. Furniss What Every Christian Must Know London Richardson Son nd p.18. 72 Lees Exiles of Erin p.143 referring to Father Vere Recollections of Old Soho London no date traced pp.44-45. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 50 boys and girls who frequented dancing houses did not frequent the sacraments. He further wrote voicing the Churchs objection to dancing Poor young man to die in a dancing-house to die of a fight in a dancing-house What a preparation for Death. His soul went straight from the dancing-house to the judgement seat of Jesus Christ.73 The taproom of public houses offered some potential for male community activity in spite of the Churchs disapproval and the efforts of temperance evangelists. The glamour of the gin palace heavy drinking and the sense of anonymity that could prevail among the customers created an atmosphere quite different from that of the intimate Irish rural public houses and shebeens. Some London pubs were licensed for music which allowed and sometimes encouraged amateurs and semi-professionals to perform. Whistling Billy was a poor undernourished English lad who step-danced and played the tin-whistle at the same time. He claimed when he was interviewed by Henry Mayhew in 1861 that he knew fifty tunes Rory OMore The Girl I Left behind Me Fishers Hornpipe The Sailors Hornpipe and St. Patricks Day being among them. He hustled a hand-to-mouth living as a busker and particularly mentioned to Mayhew that he got a favourable response from the Irish around the pubs at The Borough When I dance in a public-house I take my shoes off and say Now gentlemen watch my steps. For the hornpipe I begin with walking round or twisting as the term is then I stands up and does a double-shuffle or the straight fives as we calls it then I walk round again before doing the back-snatches another kind of double-shuffle. Then I does the rocks of Scilly thats when you twists your feet and bends sideways next comes the double steps and rattles that is when the heels makes a rattle coming down and I finishes with the square step. My next steps is to walk round and collect the money. The Irish like to see me do the jig better than the hornpipe. Them two are the only dances I know.74 On 29th April 1893 Mary Ann Sullivan aged 29 just out of prison appeared before the bench at Southwark Police Court charge with being drunk and disorderly. She is reported to have danced into court and to have addressed the magistrate All right old man Ill give you an Irish jig and then carried on dancing. Deemed incorrigible she was sentenced to a month inside and danced out of the court-room.75 Dance references so far have been either domestic or community and essentially commercial that is with paid musicians but there is another possibility namely dancing associated with a formal event organised by members of the middle class or the respectable working class for the benefit of members of the respectable or deserving working class. To date only three such references have been discovered a temperance tea-party in Islington reported in 1861 when the evening was filled up with Irish national dancing a jig-dancing competition already noted at Alexandra Palace in 1876 and a parish-school feast at Seven Dials around 1870 when Father Vere observed that What the children liked most of all was a good organ that played jig tunes... Then to see how those children danced. None of your new-fangle step-dances with high kicks and whirligigs but plain wholesome honest modest Irish jigs.76 And a little further up the social scale perhaps at a St. Patricks Day celebration of the Croydon Irish National Club in 1892 73 Furniss Book of Young Persons p.4 p.6. 74 Mayhew London Labour vol.3 p.200 p.203.Mayhew Manchester Evening News 1.5.1893 also reported in The Illustrated Police News 6 May 1872. 76 Weekly Register and Catholic Standard 5.1. 1861 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876 Father Vere Old Soho p.38. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 51 Dancing commenced at about half-past ten under the direction of the M.C. Mr. W. H. Elliott and to the strains of Mr. Elliotts band. By this time there were several hundred persons in the hall. Dancing was kept up vigorously until nearly four oclock in the morning concluding with a vigorously performed Irish jig.77 The process of passing on rural music-making skills and repertory from one generation to the next if it were held to be desirable would not have been an easy proposition in the face of the changed structure of Irish family life in London and the impact of urban social institutions urban entertainment and fashion. Had families remained in Ireland the process of passing on repertory and style to children would have fallen to any or all the adults in the extended-family household. Among newly-arrived immigrants and second-generation London-Irish however nuclear households were more numerous than extended family households which were quite rare. It may have been only young children who would have been close enough to parents to have learned within the family. Such a case was Cecilia Costello ne Kelly a second- generation Irishwoman born in October 1884 and brought up in Birmingham who in describing to the BBC producer Charles Parker how she learned songs from her father in childhood and how she passed them on to her own children said Hed get me between his legs and hed start and he learned me all the songs as he knowed while he lived in Ireland. And there you are as I grew older I never forgot em... The first time my baby could walk my oldest I started... and I kept on with every one Ive had.78 Adults including old people were the prime performers of songs in Ireland and as most immigrants to London were young there may well have been a contraction of song repertory remembered from home particularly of material in the Irish language. However some native- Irish singers immigrants from the time of the Famine were discovered by members of the Gaelic League in Limehouse and Bermondsey at the beginning of the twentieth century and their material was noted79 and around the same time members of the League of the Cross at The Borough learned some song airs from their aging neighbours and relatives for conversion into their pipers-band repertory.80 Specific evidence of traditional singers in the second half of the century dates from the first decade of the twentieth century when the English folk-song collector Cecil Sharp spent several days in October 1908 and briefly in March and April 1909 taking down songs in Marylebone workhouse. The singers and their songs are listed below and the repertory English rather than Irish appears to be largely what rural singers might be expected to have sung rather than being nationalist patriotic or political. Unfortunately Sharp gave no biographical material on the singers and nothing about the context in which they might have sung then or in the past their ages however suggest they could have come to London as children as a consequence of the Famine.81 Mary Foley aged 69 of Limerick Englands a Beautiful City Jeremiah Healy aged 56 1911 Census aged 59 hammerman born in Cork Drahin Argh Machree James Kelly aged 68 St. Patricks Day Celebration in Croydon. Soiree at the Public Hall in Croydon Times 23.3.1892. 78 Her father was from Ballinasloe County Roscommon. Interview with Charles Parker in 1967 long-playing record Leader LEE4054. 79 An Claidheamh Soluis 14.12.1901 5.2.1902 1.3.1902. Ref Gaelic airs for Borough Pipe BandRef Gaelic airs for Borough Pipe Band The Cecil Sharp Manuscript Collection is held at Clare College Cambridge and is available online in the Full English Project at www.vwml.org. The songs marked above were published in Journal of the Folk Song Society vol.5 1914. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 52 Harvest Home The Roving Bachelor The Kerry Recruit John Murphy aged 67 of Solohead Co. Tipperary 1901 Census aged 62 coachman born in Ireland Acquittal of Thomas Holoran Loch na Garr Adieu to Nancy The Maid of Listowel The Bold Trainer O My Boughleen Dhown sic Buachaillin Donn Brian the Brave Old Ireland The Bumper Peggy Maclure Colleen Bann Phoenix of the Green Come O Freedom Come The Queen of Love Cruiskeen Lawn Rock Barton The Daughter of the Dungeon Shades of Evening The Elopement The Tan Yard Side The Irish Stranger Erin Sad Erin Trip over the Mountain Johnny Hart Turkeys Got Cheap Kate of Arglyn Two True Lovers The Kilkenny Girl United Ireland Morris Reardon aged 65 1901 Census Maurice Reardon aged 56 general labourer82 The Elopement McKinnons Dream Erins Green Shore Walter Wilcock aged 64 68 Black Eyed Susan Limerick Races The Bold Soldier Boy My Parents and I Could Never Agree The Cruiskeen Lawn Napoleon Talks of War Boys Doolans Ass The Soldiers Mother The Emigrant Terences Farewell Erin My Country The Whistling Thief The Grey Mare There is no other known evidence relating to the song repertory practised in domestic and community settings though the material printed in song books such as The Irish Comic Vocalists Companion Glasgow 1854 and The Bold Sojer Boys Irish Comic Song Book Glasgow London 1871 suggests the possibility of shifting emphasis from agrarian to patriotic and nationalist broadsheet material and humorous and sentimental songs from the stage although the printed repertory might simply reflect the attitude of the song-book publishers. People from the rural working populations in Ireland shared some aspects of music and dance repertory instrumental and vocal technique and social performance with their peers from rural England. There is a large body of collected songs common to England and Ireland and while folk-song and ballad students might identify the ethnic origins of individual pieces traditional singers themselves have seldom taken much notice of such classifications. Ballad sheets originating in one country and sold in the other have ensured there have not been completely separate and exclusive national song repertories. The circulation of some dance tunes common to England and Ireland primarily by personal contact was facilitated further by professional performance in the theatre publication of country-dance tune-books and the use of many country-dance tunes as regimental marches in the Army. A list of the dance tunes known to the Gloucestershire fiddler Stephen Baldwin c.1872-1955 illustrates the extent of a common Irish and English repertory. Field recordings made of his playing in 1954 represent a Marylebone given as his place of birth was probably a default entry taken from the workhouse records. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 53 working repertory from his youth and reflected the repertories of older local fiddlers he had heard. His style is ethnic English yet twenty tunes at least out of a total of twenty-eight have been known in some shape or form to Irish musicians.83 In the middle of the nineteenth century Irish immigrants had opportunities to hear English vernacular music on the streets of London. For example the hornpipes jigs and single reels played by four of Mayhews informants Whistling Billy who played the tin whistle Old Sarah who played the hurdy-gurdy an unidentified whistler and an organ grinder would have been familiar to some of them to some degree. Whistling Billy in particular as already noted was able to please Irish working men in the pubs around The Borough with his tin whistle playing and step-dancing and he also played for Irish migrant harvesters in the West Country as a hired musician for country dancing and step-dancing.84 Some street music however did not meet Irish taste and in 1854 Charles Manby Smith referred to some lads most probably Irish barracking an Islington trombonist busking in the street to play a couple of jigs Paddy Carey and Rory OMore.85 Two fiddlers already cited one noted by Hollingshead in 1861 playing for dancing in the street at Victoria and the other hired by Father Vere at Seven Dials around 1870 could have been either English or Irish.86 The immigrant population in London came from every part of Ireland but predominantly from Munster and East Leinster in the South. It might be expected therefore taking into account the statistical spread of the population that any Irish music and dance practised or performed in London would have been predominantly from Cork Kerry Limerick and Tipperary. The styles and repertories of Connaught would have been much less common and those of Ulster almost non-existent. The number of active musicians identifiable by name and place of birth in the printed sources is very small indeed and there is no specific evidence of individual singers. Given the paucity of evidence and the probability there was not a great deal of amateur music-making the musical activities of individuals and kinship groups unrepresentative statistically might have skewed the distribution of regional styles and material away from what might be expected from an analysis of the geographical origins of Irish immigrants in London. Documentary evidence of the transplantation in London of Irish rural music-and-dance repertory skills and practice by immigrants in the early post-Famine period is sparse but it points clearly to some limited activity in singing instrumental music-making and dancing. There are indications of some activity in households kinship and friendship networks and the community but there is no substantial body of evidence to present a broad picture. The extent and detail of the surviving rural practices of this immigrant population may therefore never be known. One conclusion that might be drawn from the collected evidence is that however impoverished and demoralised people might be they are able to find some comfort and 83 See Stephen Baldwin English Village Fiddler long-playing record London Leader LED2068 1976. Tunes though not necessarily the titles held in common are Gloucestershire Hornpipe Greensleeves Haste to the Wedding Flanagans Ball The Girl I Left Behind Me Irish Washerwoman Liverpool Hornpipe Napoleon March Cottage Hornpipe Untitled Hornpipe 1 Off She Goes Pop Goes the Weasel Cock o the North Soldiers Joy Irish Jig Untitled Schottische 1 Heel and Toe Polka Cabbages and Onions Pretty Little Dear Just as the Tide Was Flowing. Peter Kennedys 1952 recordings of Stephen Baldwin on Musical Traditions MTCD334 give a very similar result. 84 Mayhew London Labour vol.3 pp.200-203 pp.159-160 p.176. 85 Charles Manby Smith Curiosities of London Life or Phases Physiological and Social of the Great Metropolis London W. F. G. Cash 1854 p.125. 86 Hollishead Ragged London in 1861 p.109 Father Vere Old Soho p.38. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 3 The Transplantation Survival Adaptation of Irish Rural Music Dance in London. Page 54 satisfaction in singing. If music had an economic value as a means of earning or supplementing a living it would have been passed on to the second generation as a family asset and the only known example concerns Daniel Mahoney an artisan piper reputedly born in 1837 who was taught by his father in Bermondsey.87 Printed evidence dries up completely at the end of the century indicating perhaps that transplanted systems of organisation had withered but much more likely that they did not attract the attention of literary commentators and journalists. Hearsay evidence from oral sources at the end of the twentieth century however indicates that at the beginning of the twentieth century immigrants were transplanting practices skills and repertory from the lately developed country-house dance tradition. Some could play the fiddle tin whistle concertina and melodeon and some had knowledge of the sets. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the process might have taken place in the last one or two decades of the nineteenth century but there is no hard evidence. The activities of these new immigrants seem to have been confined to domestic settings and there was apparently no community trade or commercial outlet for their talents. It may be that in joining a well-established immigrant population new immigrants did not find it easy asserting themselves as practitioners of a new culture from back home. ONeill Irish Minstrels p.284. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 55 55 CHAPTER 4 IRISH TRADITIONAL MUSIC FOR ELITE SOCIETY IN LONDON There is some evidence of patronage by some London-based nobility and gentry of artisan union pipers from Ireland in the last decade of the eighteenth century and it was to continue to a limited extent into the early nineteenth century. This was set against a background of currency of the union pipes among a few members of elite society as a drawing-room leisure pursuit during a period of fashionable pastoral romanticism. The musician and historian Paul Roberts has observed this and has pointed out that John Geoghegans Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe published in London in 17431 with a succession of reprints up to about 1807 was aimed specifically at the gentry. Roberts actually goes further with evidence to suggest the union pipes were not a particularly Irish instrument at that time having considerable popularity in southern Scotland and northern England where they most probably originated.2 Much later in 1804 in London OFarrell a union piper from Clonmel in Tipperary published O Farrells Collection of National Irish Music for the Union Pipes Comprising a Variety of the Most Favourite Slow and Sprightly Tunes Set in proper Stile and Taste with Variations and Adapted Likewise for the German Flute Violin Flageolet Piano Harp with a Selection of Favorite Scotch Tunes Also a Treatise with the most Perfect Instructions ever yet published for the Pipes followed in 1805 1806 1808 and 1810 by four volumes of O Farrells pocket companion for the Irish or Union Pipes being a grand selection of favourite tunes both Scotch and Irish. Adapted for the pipes flute flageolet and violin some of which was never before publishd with some favourite duets for the above instruments.3 In total there were 407 tunes. Even if the runs were short the latter work ran to four editions which indicates some interest among the moneyed and literate classes. The title page of O Farrells 1 Advertised in The Daily Advertiser 29.9.1743 see Nicholas Carolan in An Pobaire vol.8 no.3 July 2012 p.24. 2 Paul Roberts Unravelling the History of the Uilleann Pipes The Union Pipes in England and Scotland in Common Stock The Journal of the Lowland and Border Pipers Society I 2 November 1984 pp.11-6. 3 ONeill Irish Minstrels pp.197-8 Wm. H. Gratton Flood The Story of the Bagpipe London Walter Scott 1911 pp.216-226 Brian E. McCandless CD insert notes OSullivan Meets OFarrell no issue number Jerry OSullivan Music 2005. Advertisement in Belfast Commercial Chronicle 3.7.1809 LATELY IMPORTED AND ON SALE BY ROBERT JOHN HODGSON OFarrels Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes 2 vols Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 56 56 Collection however made it clear in 1804 that there was an expectation that some members of the gentry would buy pipes which were To be had at McGervs 31 Carnaby Street Golden Square. Mr. O Farrels 64 Swallow Street. where Gentlemen may likewise be accommodated with Real Toned Irish Pipes.4 The introduction to the same work referred to Gentlemen often expressing a desire to learn the pipes5 and he advertised lessons in 1805 and the following advertisement appeared in the press in 1806 The Nobility and Gentry are most respectfully informed that Mr. OFARRELL who now performs at the Theatre Royal Covent-garden on the Union Pipes still continues to teach the above Instrument and by a short mode of instruction peculiar to himself will make any Gentleman play the Pipes genteely in five weeks..... Mr. Farrell attends Ladies and Gentlemen Concerts Parties Co.6 Gentlemen of course would have only played in private for their own satisfaction and possibly the entertainment of their friends and family. Dance tunes can therefore be seen to have had aesthetic appeal apart from their function as dance music. The collections were set not only for the pipes but for the fiddle flute flageolet with piano and harp accompaniments so not all the purchasers would have played the pipes. There is no available evidence to indicate the circulation of the publications beyond London though there might have been retail outlets elsewhere. Further collected evidence of the union pipes in London in the first half of the nineteen century is sparse confined to three classified advertisements which merely mention the existence of union pipes and an obituary which suggests that a Galway gentleman might have practiced piping in London during the 1850s until his death in 1866 The Morning Post 16 May 1806 HURDY GURDY UNION PIPES and a FRENCH HARP.To be SOLD for less than half what they cost..... Silver mounted Set of Irish Pipes silver keys complete for a gentleman performer price Twenty Guineas..... To be seen at the Music Shop.28 Haymarket. The Times 26 March 1816 Sales by Auction. .. Valuable Leasehold Premises Tunbridge Ware Jewellery Pair of Union Pipes c.By Mr. ASSERETI on the premises No. 50 Red Lion-street Holborn THIS DAY March 26 at 12 without reserve by order of the Proprietor. The Times 9 August 1839 IRISH UNION PIPES for SALE a complete set of ebony wood consisting of three regulators with 17 keys chanter with five keys and three drones. To view the pipes apply to Mr. Bates 6 Ludgate-hill. The Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser 28 March 1866 With sincere regret we have to record the death of John Blake Esq. late of Belmount Tuam which took place in London on the 11th inst.The gentleman though living out of Ireland for some 15 years is well remembered for his remarkable athletic powers which he possessed with the very rare combination of extraordinary intellectual gifts.. His talent for poetry painting of music were of the highest order and he was incomparably the best performer of the Irish pipes in the country. His perfections of moral and social character were equal to his others.. For ourselves we truly shall never see his like again. It cannot be assumed that the union pipes were used exclusively for Irish music. OFarrells treatise gives fingering charts for a fully chromatic scale and since fully-keyed chromatic chanters from the period exist it can be inferred that they must have been used to play music other than Irish traditional music which of course very rarely uses accidentals. Harmonic 4 Real Toned Irish Pipes most probably meant pipes that could be played in tune or perhaps were in the concert pitch of the time. 5 Quoted in McCandless OSullivan Meets OFarrell. 6 The Morning Post 9.5.1806. Also The Morning Post 8.7.1805. The Morning Post 1.4.1806 gives his address as 65 Swallow-street Hanover-square. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 57 57 accompaniment would have been perfectly appropriate to the music of popular pantomime and opera hence the value of the regulators. It is also a matter of historical record that the pipes were a favourite instrument of the Anglo-Irish gentry. ONeills Irish Minstrels and Musicians devotes a whole chapter to Gentlemen Pipers noting that George II was so much delighted with the performance of an Irish gentleman on the bagpipe that he ordered a medal to be struck for him.7 Presumably many such gentlemen would have aspired to musical tastes somewhat more refined than those of the Irish peasantry. O Farrells Collection of National Music for the Union Pipes London 1804. Note the Scottish costume. The collected evidence of the union pipes being played on the London stage falls into several phases reflecting theatrical fashion the first being towards the end of the eighteenth century. The pipers Denis Courtney OFarrell Edward Topham and John Murphy were contracted in the same way as actors singers and dancers were for seasons in the elite theatres in central London but presumably they had additional livelihoods that are not documented in the surviving press advertisements and playbills. As in the case of Courtney they might have had regular lower-profile engagements and patronage in London or as in the case of both Courtney and Murphy they were employed in the provinces or as in the case of Topham piping was only a secondary occupation. While some of their performances on the London stage were entractes solo and duets which allowed them some freedom in their choice of material and the style of their presentation they were rubbing shoulders with professional actors singers and dancers and even played in duet with concert harpists. The advertisements quoted below give a good picture of the circumstances in which they performed. Denis Courtney as already established was an artisan piper patronised by a member of the gentry Captain Leeson. He was known to the poor Irish in the St. Giles rookery and the 7 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.180. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 58 58 account of his funeral and wake already noted in full points to a less than respectable side to his life.8 A benefit concert was arranged for him in 1788 which did not imply he was in bad straits but was a conventional way for actors theatre managers dance teachers and their like to supplement their living.9 Courtney therefore was well enough known then to attract both a respectable upper middle-class clientele who would buy tickets and other performers who would give their services free The Times 10 May 1788 FREE MASONS HALL For the BENEFIT of Mr. COURTENAY Performer on the Union Pipes. ON WEDNESDAY May 14 will be a grand CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music under the direction of Mr. Pieltain the Vocal parts by Mr. Sedgewick Miss Bartless and Miss Leary the instrumental part by the three Mr. Pieltains Signor Partria and Mr. Courtenay. Bills of the Performers will be inserted on a future day. Tickets may be had 7s. 6d. each at Messrs. Longman and Broderips Cheapside and the Haymarket the Grays-inn Coffee-House Holborn and of Mr. Courtenay No. 1 York- street St. Jamess-Square.10 Four years later Courtney was engaged to play at an entertainment devised by John Collins in the Lyceum and though billed to appear again two days later on the 31st July 1792 he did not make it and John Michael Weippert covered for him.11 Shortly after that he made an appearance in a benefit presentation again in duet with Weippert which would have brought him further recognition but little or no financial gain The Times 29 March 1792 POSITIVELY but THIS NIGHT and SATURDAY. COLLINSS BRUSH LYCEUM STRAND. THIS present EVENING March 29 1792 will be presented COLLINSs NEW EMBELLISHED EVENING BRUSH. Comprising a copious diversity of Histrionic Sketches Dramatic Incidents Theatrical Blunders and Grotesque Examples of Stage Effect with a variety of NEW and ORIGINAL SONGS in lieu of those which were introduced in his former Divertisement. In the course of which several favourite Pieces on the Union Pipes and Harp by Mr. COURTNEY and Mr. WEIPPART. The VOCAL NOVELTIES of the NIGHT as follows- Kitty Grogan the Coach-Box the Mullberry Tree To- morrow Fallstaffs Ragamuffins the Bucket of Water the Desponding Negro the Bottle and the Hobbies of the Times. Boxes 5s.Pit 3s. gallery 2s.Begin precisely at Eight. Tickets to be had at Messrs. Longman and Broderips in Cheapside and the Haymarket and at the Lyceum where Places for Boxes may be taken.12 The Times 28 May 1792 For the BENEFIT of Mr. WILD. THEATRE ROYAL COVENT GARDEN THIS EVENING May 28.. After which 5th time the new Comedy of The IRISHMAN in LONDON Or The HAPPY AFRICAN .. A Planxty descriptive of Ireland will be sung by Mr. JOHNSTONE in Character. After the Comedy for the first and only time a Masquerade Anticipated in which the following Entertainments will be sung and recited in Character--.. A duetto on the Union Pipes and Hary sic Harp by Messrs. Courtney and Weippert.. Duetto Scotch by Mr. Incledon and Mrs. Mountain accompanied on the Pipes and Harp by Messrs. Courtney and Weippert. The unidentified author of The Secret History of the Green Room 1792 wrote that when Miss Broadhurst sang he was reminded 8 If the obituary in The Gentlemans Magazine already quoted in full is to be taken literally Captain Leeson raised a corps of volunteer troops and appointed Courtney sergeant. However there is a tongue-in-cheek air about the writing perhaps the interpretation should be that Leeson was a man-about-town that he attracted a large number of disreputable associates and that Courtney was his right-hand man in his carousing. 9 A classified advertisement in The Times 9.8.1790 listed Denis Courtney among the winners of the Irish State Lottery with a prize of 500. If it is the same man that would have altered his social status. 10 It would be interesting to know the social standing of No. 1 York-street St. Jamess-Square in 1788. Currently 1 Duke of York Street St. Jamess Square is a fish shop 11 Philip H. Highfill Kalman A Burnim Edward A Langham A Biographical Dictionary of Actors Actresses Musicians Dancers managers and other Stage Personnel in London 1660-1800 Carbondale Edwardsville Southern Illinois University Press 1975 vol.4 pp.8-9. 12 The event was reported in The Times 11.3.1792. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 59 59 of Courtnay on the Union Pipes who certainly commands great power and produces the most bewitching and various sounds on that Instrument which possibly can be conceived. His ingenuity seems to have made a new discovery in Instrumental Music.13 Denis Courtney in Scottish costume for Oscar Malvina at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden 1793. Isaac Cruikshank in The Whims of the Day of 1793 In January 1793 Courtney appeared at the Theatre Royal in Dublin14 when and where some of his dance-tune compositions were published. He performed entracte solos and duets with both John Weippert and Frederic Charles Meyers on the harp during Oscar and Malvina at Covent Garden and the Haymarket at occasional engagements from 1791 to 1794 The Times 7 8 10 17 February 1794 THEATRE ROYAL COVENT GARDEN THIS EVENING.. To which will be added a Ballet Pantomime called OSCAR and MALVINA or The HALL of FINGAL In which Mr. Courtney will perform on the Irish Pipes. The Harp to be played by Mr. Weippert. The Morning Advertiser 8 February 1794 The curtain drew up to the thinnest house we have witnessed this season and the attractions of Oscar and Malvina with Courtneys pipes alone drew an audience that rendered the theatre bearableso cold was it before half price. Courtney is reputed to have taught the pipes and it is possible that the two pipers who played in his funeral procession in London in 1794 were his pupils. The piper OFarrell appeared at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden in 1790 or 1791 in Oscar and Malvina15 and in 1803 he was at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. A one-off Grand Caledonian Fete held at the Royal Gardens Vauxhall on 6th July 1796 featured OFarrell in 13 Quoted in Highfill pp.8-9. 14 Hibernian Journal 4 7.1.1793. 15 O Farrells Collection of Irish National Music London 1804. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 60 60 a selection of Scottish songs on the union pipes in a programme which included performances by the Scottish fiddler Niel Gow with his band the celebrated piper Mr. Clark and a fireworks display.16 The last known press reference to OFarrell was in 1837 when he was still offering his services as a teacher of the pipes in London.17 Yet another piper McDonnell took advantage of the then-current vogue with appearances in 1793 arranged by the music publishers ball and concert promoters William and James Willis who had taken over Almacks Assembly Rooms and who had a branch of the firm in Dublin as well as London. The True Britton 14 March 1793 TO THE LOVERS OF HARMONY. Mr. MDONNELL The Celebrated PERFORMER on the IRISH PIPES Returns his sincere Thanks to the very Brilliant Audience who honoured him with their Presence on Monday 25th of February last and respectfully begs leave to acquaint them that he will ON FRIDAY EVENING Next the 15th of March 1793 perform a NEW VARIETY of the most-admired SCOTS and IRISH AIRS on the said Instrument at Mr. WILLISs ROOMS King-street St. Jamess Together with a SELECTION of the ANCIENT IRISH and SCOTS MUSIC Which will be divided into SIX ACTS. FOUR PIECES in each ACT. Between the Acts Mr. MDONNELL will play any Favourite Tune that may be desired by the Company. After the Performance a BAND of MUSIC will attend those Ladies and Gentlemen who are inclined to Dance. Doors to be opened at Seven oClock and the Performance to begin precisely at Eight. As none of the former Tickets will be received New Tickets 5s. each may be had at the Bar of the Thatchd House Tavern St. Jamess at Mr. McDONNELLs No. 55 St. Martins Lane and at the Office of this Paper. N. B. Mr. MDONNELL will attend any Party of Ladies and Gentlemen on the shortest notice.18 Edward Topham has been identified as an actor and writer and it is tempting to surmise that he might have learned the pipes in the wake of the success of Courtney and OFarrell. He appeared several times at Covent Garden in 1796 The Times 9 April 1796 THEATRE ROYAL COVENT-GARDEN THIS EVENING will be presented 1st time The LAD of the HILL or the Wicklow Gold Mine The Music partly compiled and the Overture new Music and Accompaniments by Mr. Shield. The Union Pipes and the Harp to be played by Mr. Weippert and Mr. Topham. John Murphy Performer on the Union Pipes at Eglinton Castle published A Collection of Airs Jiggs with Variations Adapted for the Piano Forte Violin and Violoncello in London in 1809.19 At some point before publication he was under the patronage of a member of the Seton Family Hugh Montgomerie 1739-1819 the 12th Earl of Eglinton at Kilwinny in Ayrshire. Presumably he was the Mr. Murphy who played both solo and in duet with John Weippert on the harp at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden and the Haymarket in 1798 and 179920 The Times 25 28 May 1798 For the BENEFIT of Mr. WILD Proprietor THEATRE ROYAL COVENT GARDEN. on MONDAY next May 28 will be presented.. A SOLO on the Union Pipes by Mr. Murphy accompanied on the Harp by Mr. Weippert. 16 Vauxhall Gardens Archive bound volume of cuttings with some bills etc. 1781-1835 held at the British Library. 17 The Morning Post 15 3.1837 cited by Carolan An Pobaire vol.8 no.3 July 2012 p.26. 18 Reproduced in An Pobaire vol.8 no.2 April 2012 p.13. 19 Cited and the tunes reprinted in Aloys Fleischmann ed. Sources of Irish Traditional Music c.1600-1855 Vol. II New York London Garland Publishing 1998 p.908. 20 Hibernian Journal 4 7.1.1793 Walkers Hibernian Magazine September 1794 The Gentlemens Magazine LXIV2 3 September 1794 pp.865-6 Gratton Flood Bagpipe p.183 Charles Beecher Hogan The London Stage 1660-1800 5 Carbonville Southern Illinois University Press 1963 p.1355 p.1459 p.1617 p.1653 p.1655 p.2089 Highfill Burnim . Langham Biographical Dictionary 4 pp.8-9 Roderick D. Cannon A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music Edinburgh John MacDonald 1980 pp.81-5. Nicholas Carolan in An Pobaire vol.8 no.3 July 2012 p.25 identifies Murphy as a one-time mans servant hairdresser with a possible reference in London in 1779 The Morning Post Daily Advertiser 20.9.1779. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 61 61 The Times 21 July 1798 NEVER PERFORMED. THEATRE-ROYAL HAY-MARKET. THIS EVENING will be presented An Historical Play in 3 Acts called CAMRO-BRITAIN With new Scenes Dresses and Decorations.. The new Music by Dr. Arnold. With an appropriate Overture accompanied by a Pedal Harp and the Union Pipes by Messrs. Weippert C. Jones and Murphy The Times 23 26 July 1798 THEATRE-ROYAL HAY-MARKET. THIS EVENING will be presented CAMBRO-BRITONS. With new Scenes Dresses and Decorations.. The new Music by Dr. Arnold. With an appropriate Overture accompanied by 2 Pedal Harps and the Union Pipes by Messrs. Weippert C. Jones and Murphy The Times 12 14 March 179921 THEATRE-ROYAL COVENT-GARDEN. THIS EVENING.. OSCAR and MALVINA. The Overture by Mr. Reeves with an Accompaniment on the Union Pipes and Harp by Messrs. Murphy and Weippert. The Times 14 16 This present evening April 1799 For the BENEFIT of the Author of ALMORAN and HAMET c.NEW ROYAL CIRCUS. Mr. CROSS begs leave to inform his Friends and the Public his Night as Inventor of the variety of Performers produced at the NEW ROYAL CIRCUS is fixed for TOMORROW EVENING when will be produced a New Comic Dance called the FOUNTAIN of LOVE.. and a NEW MEDLEY OVERTURE for Flute Harp and Union Pipes called The SEASONS or HARLEQUIN IN ALL WEATHERS..the Overture and New Music by Mr. Sanderson the Flute by Mr. Ling the Harp by Mr. G. Adams the Union Pipes by Mr. Murphy. The first period of union pipes appearances in London theatres seems to have passed by 1800. Subsequent rare newspaper sightings of pipers reflect perhaps only the tip of the iceberg such as the appearance of an Irish piper whose name was not reported who entertained at the anniversary dinner of the Ealing Shooting Society in the Pulteney Hotel in 1811.22 Events below a certain social level were seldom documented in newspapers either as advertisements or as reports and without evidence nothing can be assumed. The engagement of the Irish piper Fitzmaurice reported in the press in 1804 and 1806 was dependent on the patronage of the nobility and gentry. The Marquis of Douglas Lord Rivers Lord Rochefort and Sir John MacPherson attended the first and such senior members of the nobility as the Duke of Sussex the Marquis of Headford Viscount Duncannon and the Earl of Moira were at the second The Marquis of DOUGLAS had a select party on Tuesday evening who were entertained with some tunes on the Irish Pipes most admirably performed by the celebrated FITZ MAURICE.23 A very numerous meeting took place on Monday last at the Crown and Anchor Tavern to celebrate the Anniversary of Saint Patrick.. We have not room to notice the songs but we must not pass over without remark a novel delightful as well as very appropriate kind of entertainment introduced in a performance on the Irish bagpipe. Mr Fitzmaurice the celebrated performer on this instrument sat before his royal highness the Duke of Sussex and played the beautiful Irish air Erin go Bragh in a manner that delighted the whole company and his royal highness the Duke of Sussex was enraptured beyond anything ever witnessed before at this exhibition.24 On 21st March 1809 the Highland Society held a meeting at the Freemasons Tavern chaired by the Marquis of Huntley Mr. Gows band performed several of OSSIANS fine airs which with OFarrells favourite tunes on the Irish pipes added much to the harmony and entertainment of the evening.25 21 Hogan London Stage pp.2150-3 notes performances on 2 4 9 11 12 14 March 1799. 22 The Morning Post 11.5.1811 p.9. 23 The Morning Post 5.7.1804. 24 Walkers Hibernian Magazine March 1806. 25 The Morning Post 23.3.1809. A similar event was reported the previous year without mentioning the name of the Irish piper The Morning Post 28.3.1808. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 62 62 The clown Grimaldi appeared in 1818 in a harlequin pantomime at Sadlers Wells with union pipes and harp music in the supporting theatrical piece The Times 17th June 1818 To conclude with a serio-comic aqua-drama called ODONOGHUE and his WHITE HORSE. The Union Pipes by Mr. McGregor the harp by Mr. Nicholson. The scenery includes among other subjects the Scalp the Giants Causeway Ronayns island the Dargle the Lake of Killarney introducing an illusory appearance of the Spectre of ODonoughue and his White Horse and a concerted battle scene the last scene will represent the Castle of an Irish Chief on real water and conclude with its conflagration and the appearance of ODonoghue rising from the water. William Talbot who lived in Ireland appeared in London at least as early as 1823. At the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 7th February 1825 he was billed as The Famous Irish Piper and was scheduled to play Erin Go Bragh Fourth Dragoons March and God Save the King26 clearly a selection of programme music. Biographical material gleened by Sen Donnelly from primary newspapers sources and secondary evidence in the writings of Carlton Gratton Flood and ONeill27 seems to support the notion that Talbots prime musical activity at least later in his life was not playing for country people to dance. He was born near Roscrea County Tipperary most likely around 1760 and having lost his sight as a small child through smallpox he took up the pipers trade under the direction of a noted Munster piper John Crampton. There are reports of his playing and teaching in Kilkenny and Roscrea in 1784 and 1785 then he moved near the town of Waterford and in 1812 and 1813 he was engaged regularly in several Dublin taverns Dignams in Trinity Street the Struggler in Capel Street the Old Struggler in Cook Street and the Lamb Alley off Cornmarket. A contemporary press advertisement sets the context of such a tavern engagement while a retrospective account by William Carlton referring to the same circumstances describes the man his values the nature of his trade and his music TO LOVERS OF HARMONY O. P. TAVERN. DIGNAM PROPRIETOR returns his sincere thanks to his numerous Friends and the Public for the very liberal Support he has experienced since his commencement in Trinity street Being determined to make every exertion to retain this Patronage he has engaged the Celebrated Munster Piper Mr. Talbot a Pupil of the late Cramp to play every Evening after Eight oClock Sunday excepted at his House No. 14 Trinity street. Notwithstanding the unprecedented dearness of almost every article of provisions DIGNAM adhering to his original Motto O. P. Old Prince has made no additional charges on his customers.28 There was some years ago playing in the taverns of Dublin a blind piper named Talbot whose performance was singularly powerful and beautiful. This man though blind from his infancy possessed mechanical genius of a high order and surprisingly delicate and exact manipulation not merely as a musician but as a mechanic. He used to perform in Ladlys tavern in Capel-street where he arrived every night about eight oclock and played till twelve or as the case might be one. He was very social and when drawn out possessed much genuine Irish humour and rich conversational powers. Sometimes at a late period of the night he was prevailed upon to attach himself to a particular party of pleasant fellows who remained after the house was closed to enjoy themselves at full swing. Then it was that Talbot shone not merely as a companion but as a performer. The change in his style and manner of playing was extraordinary the spirit the power humour and pathos which he infused into his execution were observed by every one and when asked to account for so remarkable a change his reply was My Irish heart is warmed Im not now playing for money but to please muself. But could you not play as well during the evening Talbot if you wished as you do now No if you were to hang me. My heart must get warmed and Irish I must be as I am this minute.... Talbot though blind used to employ his leisure hours in tuning and stringing organs and pianos and mending almost every description of musical instrument that could be named. His own pipes which he called the 26 Theatre fly bill. 27 Sen Donnelly In Dublin 170 Years Ago in An Pobare February 1982 Sen Donnelly An Pobare January 1994 Gratton Flood Bagpipe p.190 ONeill Irish Minstrels pp.200-1. 28 The Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser Dublin 2 April 1812. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 63 63 grand pipes were at least eight feet long and for beauty of appearance richness and delicacy of workmanship surpassed any thing of the kind that could be witnessed and when considered as the production of his own hands were indeed entitled to be ranked as an extraordinary natural curiosity. Talbot played be- fore George IV. and appeared at most of the London theatres where his performances were received with the most enthusiastic applause. In person Talbot was a large portly-looking man red faced and good-looking though strongly marked by traces of the small-pox. He always wore a blue coat fully made with gilt buttons and had altogether the look of what we call in Ireland a well-dressed badagh or half-sir which means a kind of gentleman-farmer. His pipes indeed were a very wonderful instrument or rather combination of instruments being so complicated that no one could play upon them but himself. The tones which he brought out of them might be imagined to proceed from almost every instrument in an orchestra -- now resembling the sweetest and most attenuated notes of the finest Cremona violin and again the deep and solemn diapason of the organ. Like every Irish performer of talent that we have met with he always preferred the rich old songs and airs of Ireland to every other description of music and when lit up into the enthusiasm of his profession and his love of country he has often deplored with tears in his sightless eyes the inroads which modern fash- ion has made and was making upon the good old spirit of the by-gone times. Nearly the last words I ever heard from his lips were highly touching and characteristic of the man as well as the musician If we forget our own old music said he what is there to remember in its place words alas which are equally fraught with melancholy and truth.29 William Talbot. The Celebrated Performer on the improved Union Pipe. The Artists Depository 21 Charlotte Street Fitzroy Square London August 1823 OFarrell active in London in the earlier part of the nineteenth century appeared in 1830 before a full house at the Surrey Theatre in Blackfriars Road Lambeth in Barney Brallaghan a new piece by Mr. Bryant based on Blewitts popular song of the same name 29 William Carlton Tales and Sketches Illustrating the Character Usages Traditions Sports and Pastimes of the Irish Peasantry James Duffy Dublin 1845 reprinted in An Pobare vol. 7 no. 4 September 2011 pp.23-24. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 64 64 In the scene of Donnybrook Fair OFARRELL the Irish piper performed upon the Union pipes in a most extraordinary manner introducing imitations of the noises peculiar to a farm-yard. The most astonishing part however of his performance was the manner in which he played the old tune Polly put the kettle on. We have often heard it said the Irish make the pipes speak in this instance he completely verified the assertion the words Polly put the kettle on were almost as distinctly articulated as they could be by the organs of speech. His performance was loudly applauded. 30 Handbill New Ross Co. Wexford. Reg Hall Collection According to Gratton Floods un-referenced biographical pen picture the union piper Thomas OHannigan was in London from 1846 until 1852. Having been born in Cahir County Tipperary in 1806 and having lost his sight at the age of eleven he spent four years under a number of pipers and went on to earn a living as an artisan piper. He had a run of five appearances at the Adelphi Theatre in Dublin in 1837 where his repertory included The Coolin and The Hunting Chorus from Die Freischutz.31 In January 1843 he was featured in London in a series of four entertainments promoted in a hall just off the Tottenham Court Road by Frederick W. Horncastle. The classified advertisements in The Times point to a genteel presentation for the fashionable end of society and the notice in the Dublin Magazine in February 1843 describes the presentations as a series of lectures 30 The Morning Post 20.4.1830. 31 The Freemans Journal 23 26 28.12.1837 briefly mentioned in Gratton Flood Bagpipe p.192. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 65 65 MUSIC-HALL Store-street Bedford-squareThe Music of IrelandMr. HORNCASTLE of Her Majestys Chapel Royal begs to announce that he will give a series of ENTERTAINMENTS on the NATIONAL MUSIC of IRELAND with vocal and instrumental illustrations including some original songs in the Irish language. Vocal performersMiss A. Williams Miss M. Williams and Mr. Horncastle harp Miss Le Roy pianoforte Mr. Williams union pipes Mr. OHannigan. The first performance on Thursday evening January 12 to commence at 8 oclock. Tickets 3s. each private boxes for six or eight 1 10s. to be had at the hall and of the principal musicsellers.32 The subsequent newspaper reviews though brief were enthusiastic about Hannigans performances and repertory The Britannia 14 January 1843 and a piper with the characteristic name of OHannigan who plays the union pipes better than any one by whom we have ever heard them played except old Gandsay at Killarney.. It was curious to observe how his Horncastles audience warmed as the entertainment proceeded until they became as enthusiastic as Mr. OHannigan when he concluded the fox-hunt by the Fox-hunters Jig. The Sun 20 January 1843 Mr. OHannigan also diversified the evenings entertainment by several masterly performances upon the union pipes and we may say upon the whole that there was but one feeling of satisfaction and delight in the very numerous and fashionable audience which filled the hall. The Sun January 1843 Mr. OHannigan played The Fox Hunt on the Union Pipes in a very clever manner and gave an excellent imitation of hounds crying hunters horn-blowing etc. He is a blind minstrel but a very good performer. In Nora Criona he played the air with a triplet accompaniment in a very effective style. Morning Post January 1843 An Irish bard Mr. Hannigan played several airs in a masterly style upon the union pipes and was deservedly and most rapturously applauded. The Literary Gazette33 Mr. OHannigan is blind but his affliction is no hindrance to his playing and execution we never heard the pipes so admirably handled. The success of these entertainments led to a royal command performance at Windsor Castle noted thus in the Court Circular Mr. Hannigan a blind piper had the honour of performing before the Queen on Friday.34 32 Advertisements first concert The Times 3 5 7 10 12.1.1843 The Britannia 7.1.1843 second concert The Times 14 17 19.1.1843 third concert The Times 20.1.1843 fourth concert The Morning Post 30.1.1843 2.2.1843. Nicholas Carolan A Nineteen-Century Uilleann Piping Poster in Ceol na hireann no.2 1994 p.48 identifies Frederick William Horncastle as an editor of Irish music and a singer at Her Majestys Chapel Royal in London cites further performances on 26.1.1843 2.2.1843. 33 Cited by Carolan Ceol na hireann p.48 but no date given. 34 The Times 20.1.1843. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 66 66 The Limerick Chronicle early February 1843 Advertisements for a further series presented by Horncastle in March made no mention of the pipes but promoters White and Crouch presented a copycat series on four nights at that time in which OHannigan was featured having presumably been persuaded away from Horncastle IRISH MINSTRELSY Hannover-square Rooms Friday Evening March 3 7 17 and 24Night with Carolan Moore and Lover.Messrs. WHITE and CROUCH will give their Night with LOVER on Friday next. Illustrations M. S. Songs Traditions and Superstitions of Ireland by Lover and Primitive Songs. Vocalists for this nightMisses Bassano Cublitt OConnor and Mr. Perring In addition they have engaged OHarrigan sic the celebrated Irish piper. Gould concertina Stratter harp. Admittance 2s. Sixth entertainment March 10.35 P. W. Joyce saw Hannigan in Mitchelstown County Cork in 1844 and in his annotation to A Mhaires a mhuirnin he wrote I heard OHannigan a great Munster piper blind play these variations the runs all staccato with amazing brilliance and perfection of execution.36 A glowing press report covered his performance at the Court House in Charleville County Cork in September 184437 and in the November he was back in Dublin with a short season at the Theatre Royal billed as playing on the recently improved Chromatic and Diatonic Union Pipes.38 Flood states without citing his source that he returned to London in 1846 and stayed for six years39 but no supporting documentary evidence has come to light. He was back in Dublin in 1853 for a one-off high-profile performance at the Great Industrial Exhibition which reputedly had approaching 10000 paying visitors on the day he appeared40 On 30th April 1855 the Belfast News-Letter carried the following notice in its deaths column April 20 at Bray Mr. Thomas J. Hannigan age 50 years professor of the Irish Union Pipes. ONeill also cited the union piper Thomas Rowsome as having had engagements on the stage in Ireland London Glasgow and other British cities.41 His position as a tradesman piper in County Wexford is a little mysterious as he was born on a farm around 1867 into a musical family where both his father and brother were pipers. On the face of it there was too much competition to earn a living solely at the pipes in his home area 35 The Times 1.3.1843. 36 P. W. Joyce Old Irish Folk Music Song p.75. 37 Cork Examiner 9.9.1844. 38 The Freemans Journal 5 11 13.11.1844 briefly mentioned in Gratton Flood Bagpipe p.192. 39 Gratton Flood Bagpipe p.192. 40 Daily News 15 July 1853. 41 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.303. Thomas Rowsome does not appear in The Era the national weekly music hall trade paper. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 67 67 Jerry Wood the Prince of Patlanders Bagpipe Player and Jig Dancer was billed at the Royal Wear Music Hall in Sunderland in September 1864 and then as The Inimitable Irish Comic and Performer on the Irish Bagpipes featured as a solo act on a variety bill at the Victory Hall in the military town of Aldershot in Hampshire for a season in December 1864 and January 1865.42 A later notice revealed him to have been a show-business all-rounder when in 1867 he appeared in The Haymakers Run at the Canterbury Music Hall in Westminster Bridge Road in Lambeth. The piece set at a time before the Famine and based on Edmund Falconers Irish drama Oonagh though classed then as ballet would at a later times have been called a musical comedy Mr Jerry Wood appears as an exhilarating Hibernian piper and mounted on a cask forms part of the orchestra to which the young Irishwomen go through their very spirited dances. Another haymaker is supposed to accompany the Irish bagpipes with the Irish fiddle and Mr. Wood proclaims his versatility by singing a haymakers song. Such an admirable Chrichton cannot of course withstand the charm of female society and at the proper time Miss Julia Weston appears as his sweetheart. The pair of turtle doves sing Rory OMore as a duet and perform a dance of exultation to the intense satisfaction of the bystanders. Mr. Jerry Wood dances extremely well and Miss Julia Weston performs her share in the entertainment with wonderful animation. The proceedings are also enlivened by a fight a shillalegh duel between two brawny haymakers.43 Ned Edward Hogan from Cashel in County Tipperary on the other hand was sponsored to perform at the Irish Exhibition in London 1888 which aimed at the English public ran at Olympia in Kensington from 4th June to 27th October. An artisan piper with a high reputation among other pipers was from a family of artisan pipers and he was living in Dublin. According to ONeill John Hingston himself a union piper head steward at Trinity College Dublin fitted him up with a suit of olive green Irish broadcloth cut in the Irish style put a set of good pipes under his arm and paid his passage over to the London Exhibition.44 The Dublin firm of musical instrument makers and retailers George Butler and Company exhibited Irish bagpipes that is union pipes at this trade show and it may be that Hogan played on their stand or he might have performed on one of the mock-up village sets.45 William Ludwig an Irish actor and trained singer arranged a series of concerts in the Olympia concert hall in which Hogan took part and The Morning Post on 9th August 1888 reported Mr. Hogan is an admirable player and in his hands the instrument is most artistically employed. His performance always excites the highest enthusiasm. 42 The Era 18.9.1864 Sheldrakes Aldershot Sandhurst Military Gazette 17 24 31.12.1864 7 14.1.1865. Countless notices of him in The Era for the next few years performing in London and the Provinces refer to his singing dancing and comedy only. 43 The Era 24.3.1867. 44 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.238. 45 The Times 20.10.1888 Irish Exhibition in London 1888 prospectus official programme. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 68 68 Capt. Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 Hogan stayed on in London according to ONeill in Shoreditch in the East End and eventually by1893 found himself down on his luck. The following letter appeared in The Morning Post on 14th September 1893 I am asked to state that Mr. Thomas sic Hogan the blind Irish piper who came across to England at the time of the Irish Exhibition when his very fine playing attracted much attention at Olympia and who since earned a precarious livelihood in London playing on the pipes at Irish gatherings until his health broke down and is now in a condition of dire destitution and illness in a room in Deptford. He was completely prostrated by the fogs of last winter and the doctor holds no hope of his surviving the ensuing winter in London. His only wish is to lay his bones in his native land and a few pounds would be sufficient to send him back with his wife to his native country. The Very Rev Canon Fanning of the Catholic Church High-street Deptford has kindly undertaken to receive any subscriptions that may be sent to him to pay for Hogans ticket to Ireland and I am sure the appeal made on his behalf will be responded to. Yours faithfully MICHAEL CUSACK. The matter was put to a meeting of the Gaelic League in Dublin three weeks later by Thomas Meehan who described Hogan as perhaps the best performer on the Irish bagpipes now living. A collection taken up on the spot was large enough to satisfy Hogans pressing needs.46 46 The Morning Post 7.10.1893. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 69 69 Irish Exhibition in London 1888 programme. courtesy Olympia archive Thomas Garaghan also appears to have been a stage performer rather than a tradesman piper whose stage act included step-dancing and imitations of the Highland pipes and the piccolo on the union pipes. He was born in Leicester Street Coventry Warwickshire on 20th April 1845 the son of John Garaghan a labourer and Winifred Garaghan ne ORourke both fluent Irish speakers from County Mayo and he learned the pipes from James ORourke who was possibly a relative of Birmingham and Michael McGlynn of Aughamore. In 1904 he claimed that he had performed for forty years at the principle theatres and music halls throughout the United Kingdom which included a season in the comic opera Shamus OBrien at the Opera Comiqu in London in March 1896. He also claimed he had played in the presence of ODonavan Rossa Sean OLaoire Sean ODalaigh and Charles Kickham. He was engaged for private entertainments and was much sought after for St. Patricks Day celebrations. The Great Hibernian Festival featuring Irish costumes Irish music Irish jigs and Real Irish Pipes held at the National Skating Palace in Argyll Street on St. Patricks Day 1896 was most likely one his bookings.47 In 1897 he was taken up by the Gaelic League in London and he performed at the Oireachtas in Dublin in 1897 1912 and he made commercial recordings before 1904. In 1898 he was living at 9 Angel Court The Strand but by 1922 he had moved to Suffield Street Lambeth where he died on 4th February.48 47 The show with 36 prizes for ladies and gentlemens costumes was promoted by Henglers Grand Cirque The Morning Post 17.3.1896. 48 Unidentified press cutting unprovenanced 1896 in Manders Mitchenson Theatre Collection Alfred Loewenberg Annals of Opera 1597-1940 Geneva Societas Bibliographica 1943 p. 1896 The Times 2 3.3.1896 23.5.1896 The Daily News 3.3.1896 The Standard 3.3.1896 The Athenaeum Journal of Literature Science the Fine Arts Music the Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 4 Irish Traditional Music for Elite Society in London. Page 70 70 An unusual reference but nevertheless some indication of the familiarity of those in London entertainment circles with the union pipes appears in Charles Rices diary for 22nd May 1840 when he noted that at the Horse and Dolphin tavern a professional singer Mr. Byrne included in his act a good imitation of the Union Pipes.49 The rare sightings of William Talbot Thomas OHannigan Owen Cunningham and Thomas Rowsome to which might be added the unidentified piper seen by a press reporter at Alexandra Palace in 187650 the unidentified piper at an Irish National League meeting in Bermondsey Town Hall in 189251 and Thomas Garaghans theatre appearances leave questions unanswered about their day-to-day activities in London. Cunninghams reputed repeat hotel engagements could possibly have been after-dinner entertainment at the periodic meetings of some Irish association or other. The unidentified Alexandra Palace pipers claim to have appeared before royalty might have been at an official occasion but it could have been at something as casual as at the races If theatre engagements andor patronage by the nobility and the gentry were their main source of income why is there apparently so little evidence Have the theatre advertisements and playbill yet to be discovered However if they played in taverns and music halls the lack of documentary evidence in understandable. One such lucky find of a playbill dated 1st October 1875 for Patrick Feeneys farewell benefit night at Fredericks late Wiltons Royal Palace of Varieties in Whitechapel promised a matchless array of Fun and Elocution from a cast of mainstream variety-theatre performers and there in the list was KEEFE the Famous Irish Piper.52 The most important question perhaps is did they play at all within the Irish working-class immigrant community53 Drama 7.3.1896 The Theatre 1.4.1896 birth death certificates The Gaelic Journal VII December 1896 pp.126-7 quoted in An Piobaire 3 10 April 1992 United Ireland 23.1.1897 6 13 20.2.1897 10 24.4.1897 8 22.5.1897 The Cork Weekly Herald 6.5.1897 Gaelic League Ceilidh programme 30.10.1897 Fionn MacColuim quoted in Cullinane Aspects p. 17 United Ireland 13.8.1897 15.1.1898 12 13.2.1898 An Cliadheamh Soluis 7 14.4.1900 26.5.1900 19.1.1901 23 30.3.1901 20.4.1901 11.5.1901 15.6.1901 16.10.1902 29.6.1912 13.7.1912 Gaelic League Irish Music Festival programme 22.4. 1901 Catalogue of Zonophone Disc Records July 1904 p.6 Inis Fail February April 1909 ONeill Irish Minstrels pp.284-6 49 Laurence Senelick ed. Tavern Singing in Early Victorian London The Diaries of Charles Rice for 1840 and 1850 London Society for Theatre Research 1997 p.89. 50 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876. 51 The Daily News 24.3.1892. 52 Playbill Templeton Library University of Kent. 53 The variety-theatre performer George H. Chirgwin the White-Eyed Kaffir 18541922 whose stage act was partly Cockney and partly black-face minstrel said in interview that he could play the cello the Japanese fiddle the kit banjo the ordinary banjo the bagpipes the pine sticks the Irish pipes the violin and the piano. The Era 10.10.1896 p.10 This does not suggest however that he played Irish music on the pipes in his act Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 71 CHAPTER 5 THE CREATION OF URBAN GENRES OF LONDON-IRISH MUSIC DANCE Cultural integration and interaction between the Irish working population in London and the mainstream of the London working class took place in a number of ways. Some Irish men and women performed their rural music and dance material in situations that were not predominantly Irish. Much music-making by Irishmen and women expressing Irish sentiment employed forms common to the mainstream London working class. Some Irish material style and practice crossed-over into popular London culture. Some Irish people as far as their music-making was concerned joined the mainstream of London working-class and lower middle-class society. It is necessary at this point to establish there are fundamental structural differences between those forms of music that have their origins in ethnic vernacular aural tradition and those that belong broadly to Western art music. The differences are not only in the social function and the social milieu of the music both of which relate music performance to social class and status but in the performance technique and structure of the material. The nature of performance technique involves a number of variables namely the manner of sound production and related tone and timbre gradations of pitch rhythmic stress and attack ornamentation and variation interpretation and expression and presentation. The structure of musical material concerns its melodic rhythmic and harmonic structure parts including harmony and counter melody and arrangement and orchestration. Irish men and women from rural backgrounds probably throughout the whole of the nineteenth century were brought up within Irish ethnic vernacular aural tradition and had little or no experience of the conventions of Western art music or art-music derivatives in popular music. The exception might be when they had some town experience either in Ireland or England. It is possible for individuals to accommodate both systems of music-making within their own practice very often by compartmentalising them in their mind and by failing to recognise the similarities between them. More usually however some old practices eventually give way to the new or some aspect of old practice is hybridised with some aspect of the new. Irish immigrants arriving in London inevitably suffered culture shock in terms of experiencing new sorts of music-making and hearing types and styles of music strange to them. Music was readily available in public and was unavoidable in the form of brass bands German bands barrel organs and musicians of all sorts on the street and choirs and organs in church. For those who attended church or school there were institutional pressures to sing hymns and school songs. In the second half of the century music hall and variety theatre material was the popular music available to the working class. All these urban genres used the musical conventions and constructions of the art-music tradition and any move towards them was a move away from rural-based technique and repertory. Inevitably most Irish immigrants made adjustments of some kind although evidence of how the processes of assimilation worked is slim. There are a few recorded examples of immigrants responding to non-Irish music such as Irish children dancing to the barrel organ in Southwark tenement yards in the early 1860s. There are also references to some Irish performing non-Irish music such as Irish organ-grinders on the streets soon after The Famine Irishmen in black face performing minstrel material in the street around the middle of the century and amateur performers with Irish names singing music-hall material at a Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 72 Rotherhithe Church social event in 1891.1 J. H. Regan a Bermondsey dance and music teacher organised his Imperial Quadrille Band and he played for example at two fancy-dress balls in 1894 for the local Constitutional Club.2 Whether Regan was first second or third generation is not known but he is an example of a London-Irishman leading an orchestra which read stock arrangements of conventional commercial dance music whose musical values were those of Western art music. Those Irish working men who played in city bands and the Irish working-class members of the Tonic Sol-fa Choral Society associated with SS. Michaels and Marys Church in the Commercial Road reported in 18713 represent the process by which some groups of Irish people were acculturated into urban ways of approaching music. Before pursuing the examination of the musical activities of the Irish poor and working people in London it is necessary to look at activities within middle-class society that were to act as models for sections of the Irish in London lower down the social scale. At the beginning of the 1860s the legitimate theatre in London was heavily weighted by productions about Ireland. There was in fact a boom in Irish presentations and three major productions set the fashion. The Colleen Bawn or The Brides of Garryowen a play by Dion Boucicault opened towards the end of 1860 at the New Royal Theatre Adelphi and ran until July 1861. This was followed on 9th November 1861 by Peep o Day or Savoureen Deelish a play by Edmund Falconer at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Then on 10th February 1862 the Royal English Opera Covent Garden presented The Lily of Killarney an opera based on The Colleen Bawn written by Dion Boucicault and John Oxenford and composed by Jules Benedict. Each production received glowing reviews in the press and had extended runs. The two stories with remarkably similar plots set in rural Ireland at the turn of the eighteenth century are classic melodrama. The Anglo-Irish heroes and heroines the ribbonmen the rapparees the itinerant musicians and the peasants seem to be based on characters in the works of William Carlton and Samuel Lover. Much later critics of Boucicault taking exception to the portrayal of Irish stereotypes in his plays have labelled him the first stage- Irishman. At the time however The Colleen Bawn raised no such protest. It was so much of a smash hit that a second company opened on 2nd December 1861 at Astleys Royal Amphitheatre at Vauxhall in Lambeth and John Parry presented a musical version at the Royal Gallery of Illustration in Regents Street in January 1862. The plays continued popularity is illustrated by the frequency of revivals within only a few years. The first at the Marylebone Theatre in 1862 was followed by new productions at the Theatre Royal in Westminster in 18634 the Gaiety in 1872 Alexandra Palace and Questors in 1876 Astleys in 1880 the Britannia Hoxton in 1882 and the Adelphi in 1885. Cover versions proliferated. By August 1861 Mr. and Mrs. J. F. ONeill styled as the unrivalled delineators of Irish character were on their way to the provinces with Willie Reilly and His Own Dear Colleen Bawn after successful London runs at the Royal Marylebone Theatre the Pavilion Theatre and the Victoria Theatre.5 In the short season between October 1861 and March 1862 Aline 1 Bogan Great Link pp.255-6 Smith Curiosities p.6 pp.11-2 p.17 Mayhew London Labour III p.191 Southwark Recorder Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser 21.2.1891. 2 Kellys Directory 1891 Southwark Recorder Bermondsey Rotherhithe Newington Gazette 6 20.1.1894 Southwark Recorder Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser 18.4.1905. 3 Weekly Register and Catholic Standard ..1871. 4 Dion Boucicault The Colleen Bawn London Samuel French no date The Era 7.7.1861 23.3.1862 The Times 11.11.1861 8 10 11.2.1862 Royal Lyceum Theatre programmes 18.11.1861 16.12.1861 unidentified newspaper 15.2.1862 Theatre Museum The Illustrated London News 25.1.1862 15.2.1862 1.3.1862 10.5.1862 The Daily Telegraph .2.1862 Bells Life in London 16.2.1862 The Times 24.4.1863. 5 The Era 11 25.8.1861. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 73 The Rose of Killarney was presented at the Standard Theatre in Shoreditch The White Boys or Bouchaleen Bawn was on at the Victoria and the City of London Theatre and Eily OConnor or The Bride of Killarney was at the Britannia Hoxton and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.6 Around the same time The Cooleen Drawn a send-up version described as an operatic burlesque was presented at the Surrey Theatre in Southwark and the Effingham Theatre in Whitechapel.7 Dramatic action in Peep o Day included a scene at a pattern in which according to The Times on 11 November 1861 an Irish jig was danced with characteristic wildness by a mob of pisantry composed of the Ladies of the Ballet and countless supernumeraries and the scene ended with a spectacular faction fight. The parts of the itinerant piper fiddler and harper were played by actors and all the instrumental music was played by the pit orchestra. Peep o Day and The Colleen Bawn both have musical interludes of Irish songs and airs with a frantic mob roaring the chorus of the rebel song Shan Van Vogt in Peep o Day and the heroine in both The Colleen Bawn and The Lily of Killarney singing what was recognised then as an old Irish song Cruiskeen Lawn. The Times thought John Barnards arrangements for Peep o Day preserved an Irish tone while Benedicts pastiche score for The Lily of Killarney drew a favourable press notice The music of this opera has a character of Irish nationality which is wonderful in the work of a foreigner. It is evident that Benedict must have deeply studied the music of Ireland and made himself quite familiar with its peculiarities for his knowledge makes itself apparent not by professed and formal imitations but by a thousand minute and delicate traits of Irish rhythm and Irish melody...8 The publication of a ballroom waltz and galop made capital of the title Peep o Day though the pieces did not actually appear in the play. The publishers of The Lily of Killarney however were more aggressive in their exploitation of the sheet-music market. The morning after the opening night Chappell and Company were retailing the whole score the overture selections of favourite airs quadrilles songs a waltz a galop and several fantasias arranged for piano solo voice and duets. Not only did all the pieces incorporate imagery from The Lily of Killarney in their title but also a formidable array of established composers of light and ballroom music was engaged to add prestigious names to the arrangements. Irish imagery within the world of middle-class entertainment thus became a marketable product for two or three years. PUBLISHED MAINSTREAM BALLROOM DANCE MUSIC WITH IRISH TITLES The Lancers Quadrilles or Duvals of Dublins Second Set 1819 A Favorite Set of Irish Quadrilles c.1820 The Royal Hibernian Quadrilles c.1820 The Shamrock Waltz c.1820 The Northumbrian Quadrilles 1829 Irish National Quadrilles 1835 J. Weipperts First Set of Quadrilles from Moores Melodies 1836 The Royal Irish Quadrille 1841 The Inniskelling Polka 1844 The Kilkenny Polka 1844 The Royal Shamrock Waltzes 1844 The Tipperary Polka 1844 The Waterford Polka 1844 6 The Era 6.10.1861 2.2.1862 9 16 23.3.1862. 7 The Era 13.10.1861 2.2.1862. 8 Unidentified press cutting 15.2.1862. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 74 The Green Bushes Quadrilles 1845 The Quadrilles Waltzes of Ninety Eight c.1845 Royal Irish Waltzes c.1845 The Shamrock 1849 The Earl of Dublin Polka 1849 The Shamrock Polkas 1850 The Erin Polkas 1851 Dublin Exhibition Waltzes 1852 The Dublin Polka c.1853 DAlberts Irish Quadrilles 1853 Quadrilles Irish Evergreens 1854 The St. Patricks Quadrille c.1854 The Emerald Isle Polka 1855 The Irish Quadrilles 1855 Ireland quadrille c.1855 The Erin-Go-Bragh Quadrilles 1857 The Bay of Dublin Quadrilles 1858 St. Patricks Quadrilles 1850s Killarney Quadrille 1858 Erin-Go-Bragh Quadrilles 1858 Peep o Day Galop two different compositions 1859 Moores Irish Melodies Quadrilles 1860 Mulligan Guard Galop c.1860 Kathleen Mavoureen Waltz 1860 The Royal Irish Lancers Quadrille 1861 The Colleen Bawn Galop 1861 The Colleen Bawn Polka Mazurka 1861 The Colleen Bawn Quadrille 1861 The Colleen Bawn Waltz two different compositions 1861 Dublin Quadrilles 1861 Irish National Quadrilles re-issued 1861 The Cruiskeen Lawn Polka 1862 The Cruiskeen Lawn Quadrilles 1862 The Cruiskeen Lawn Waltz 1862 Eily Mavoureen Waltz 1862 Eily OConnor Polka 1862 The Killarney Galop 1862 Lily of Killarney Quadrilles 1862 Lily of Killarney Waltzes 1862 Old Ireland Quadrilles 1862 Peep o Day Galop a third composition 1862 Peep o Day Quadrille 1862 Peep o Day Waltzes 1862 Peep o Day Waltz 1862 Peggy Bawn Waltz 1862 The Rose of Ireland Valse 1862 The Real Irish Quadrille c.1863 The Shannon Valse 1863 The Irish Frisk Galop 1863 Kathleen Machree Quadrille 1863 The Blarney Waltzes 1864 The Colleen Bawn Polka 1865 Come Back to Erin Waltz c.1865 Emerald Wreath Quadrille 1865 The Irish Manufacture Quadrilles 1865 Kate Kearney Waltz 1865 The Grin Bushes Quadrille 1866 Marriotts Irish Quadrilles 1866 Blarney Quadrilles 1867 The Bells of Shandon Polka 1867 The Fenian Galop 1860s Cootes New Irish Quadrilles 1868 The Knights of St. Patrick Lancers 1868 The Tom Moore Quadrilles 1869 Ireland Quadrilles 1870 Queenstown Quadrille 1873 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 75 Souvenir Irlandaise Quadrilles 1870s Young Ireland Quadrilles 1870s The Connaught Lancers 1879 Connaught Polka two different compositions 1879 Dublin Quadrilles no date Emerald Green Waltz no date Irelande Quadrilles no date The Irish Quadrille no date Real Irish Quadrille no date The Wearing of the Green Galop no date A non-exhaustive list constructed from the holdings in the British Library newspaper and sheet-music advertisements. Interest in Irish subjects as vehicles for shows on the London stage tailed off later in the decade and while Fenian activity was responsible for an anti-Irish backlash in mainstream society the market was probably already played out by the mid-1860s. Boucicaults attempts to cash in on his previous successes with The Dublin Boy The Irish Emigrant and Arrah-na- Pogue proved only moderately successful.9 However Irish images still sold sheet music for ballroom dancing throughout the decade. Beginning in 1866 and continuing well into the twentieth century St. Patricks Night was marked in London by a Popular Irish Ballad Concert at St. Jamess Hall. An enduring programme format was established on the very first night with professional singers rendered songs from Moores Melodies and by Samuel Lover Jules Benedict and the like with pianoforte accompaniment. Mr. Santley having played the lead in the original production of The Lily of Killarney and having appeared at the first concert in 1866 was a perennial favourite and was still appearing on the bill in 1898. From time to time there were novelties as in the mid-1870s when Madame Antoinette Sterling sang Shula Agra in Irish. In 1866 the Band of the Coldstream Guards performed the St. Patricks Quadrille and ten years later the Band of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers played Gems of Ireland Shamrock of Ireland and other National Irish melodies. By the 1880s similar concerts were established in the vast concert halls at the Royal Albert Hall where 5000 tickets were available at a shilling each and the Crystal Palace in Sydenham.10 The West End theatre productions and the ballad concerts created a representation of Irishness that was both respectable and safe and acceptable to middle class society. The representation of Ireland coloured by fear of the Fenians as politically aggressive and consequently troublesome was countered by a de-politicised emasculated image promoted by the culture of the Establishment. The Ireland of Peep o Day and The Colleen Bawn was simplistic and sentimental and the Ireland of the parlour ballads was romantic heroic and comic but at the same time loyal and patriotic. An annual token celebration of the poor sister beyond the sea placed Irish nationalism safely in a manageable context. What could be less threatening to social order and the political status quo than the Band of the Coldstream Guards playing a selection of Irish national airs 9 The Times 8.2.1862 Bells Life in London 16.2.1862 Henry Morley The Journal of a London Playgoer from 1851-1866 London George Routledge Son 1891 pp.300-1. 10 The Times 16 17.3.1866 17.3.1875 17.3 1876 16 17.3.1877 16 17.3.1883 16 17.3.1897 16 17.3.1898 15 16 17.3.1910 17.3.1914 The Daily Telegraph 17.3.1876. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 76 Front page of The Times 17 March 1866 17 March 1876 Front page of The Times 16 March 1883 17 March 1896 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 77 The Irish immigrant middle class needed to shake off any suggestion that they might support the Fenian cause and they needed to demonstrate their loyalty to the Crown. In attending St.Patricks Night concerts they experienced some sense of Establishment approval and the idea that Irish culture as characterised by the London theatre and the parlour ballads was refined and respectable. These ideas barely touched the Irish poor who had no access to such occasions. Irish plays and ballad concerts were accessible however to the upwardly- aspiring sections of the London-Irish lower middle class and upper working class the same sort of people who achieved respectability within the congregations and confraternities of the Roman Catholic Church the temperance movement and political organisations. There were sixpenny seats in the upper gallery at Astleys in 1861 during the run of The Colleen Bawn and from the first St. Patricks Day concert at St. Jamess Hall in 1866 some tickets were offered at a shilling.11 In the 1880s the Royal Albert Hall though advertising in The Times was seeking a popular audience for its Irish concerts and offered 5000 tickets at a shilling each. The concert formula was taken up in 1866 by the Mohawk Minstrels resident company at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington who switched their nightly variety routine to an all- Irish programme each year on St. Patricks Day in aid of the fund for the relief of Ireland. In 1880 the harpist in the Mohawk Minstrels band John Francis led a Band of Harps in a selection which included an Italianate piece Carolans Concerto by the now famous itinerant harper Turlogh OCarolan 1670-1738.12 Seven years later at the time of the Home Rule debate the Mohawk Minstrels management placed a humorous notice in the trade press expressing sincere thanks to the Irish Party of 3500 Members who accorded such an enthusiastic reception to our Irish Bill on St. Patricks Day. The Second Reading will take place April 2nd.13 These ticket sales of 7000 for two performances even though only once a year indicate a mass audience for Irish ballads. Many upper working class and lower middle class Irish people in the absence of any other form of music that expressed their national sentiment or at least that did so in a respectable manner cherished the Irish songs of the London stage the concert hall and the soire. This repertory and the conventional manner in which it was performed and presented dominated popular entertainment at London-Irish parish and branch meeting level throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and well into the second half of the twentieth century when the imprint could be perceived in concerts put on by the Gaelic League. Soon after Waterloo until well into the twentieth century brass and military bands were standard vehicles by which working men within mainstream English society were organised into respectable leisure activity. A decade or so after The Famine Roman Catholic parishes began channelling members of their congregations into similar organisations largely through the temperance movement. In February 1861 it was reported in the Catholic press that the Islington Temperance Society had started a band of wind instruments following the example of the excellent band of St. Annes temperance society at Prescot Street in Shoreditch.14 Shortly afterwards the same paper noted that several such bands had played at the inaugural meeting of the Catholic Total Abstinence Association in the Hanover-square Rooms in March. Two years later the bands of St. Annes in Shoreditch St. Patricks in Soho 11 The Times 16 17.3.1866 Astleys Royal Amphitheatre handbill week commencing 30.12.1861 Theatre Museum. 12 Islington Gazette 12.2.1880 8 12 15.3.1880 14.3.1884 Agricultural Hall programmes 15.2.1889 May 1891 Theatre Museum The Artiste 4.4.1887 The Era 7.3.1896. 13 The Artiste 4.4.1887. 14 The Weekly Register 23.2.1861. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 78 and St. Aloysiuss in Somers Town had played at a monster meeting of the Catholic Abstinence Association at St. Peters in Saffron Hill.15 Cardinal Manning Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster launched his temperance organisation the League of the Cross in 1872 and in succeeding years bands from the League took part in a great procession to an annual temperance rally at Crystal Palace.16 At the rally on Whit-Monday 1876 forty bands were booked fifteen of which were specifically allocated to accompany the League of the Cross delegates.17 By 1871 at least the musical instrument dealer George Butler of the Haymarket had recognised the potential market and was advertising brass band instruments in the Catholic press.18 Brass and woodwind instruments were relatively expensive and some organisations set their sights lower on much cheaper band fifes. Drum-and-fife bands thus grew up in parallel with the brass band movement and the temperance Band of Hope for example had such a band at St. Patricks Roman Catholic Church in Soho in 1861.19 The Irish Festival held at Alexandra Palace Muswell Hill on Saturday 18th March 1876. The sketches appear to have been drawn from life so the depiction of the jig dancers might be reasonably accurate. The postures of the two male dancers suggest the old high-dance style of jig dancing one of them is middle class and he might be executing a stereotypical pastiche. Each mixed couple could be dancing independently of the other or they could be dancing a four-hand reel. The union piper looks down at heel. The hurling pre-dates the GAA codification. The Pictorial World 25.3.1876 15 The Weekly Register 4.4.1863. 16 Victor Alan McClelland Cardinal Manning London Oxford University Press 1962 pp.202-3. South London Chronicle 3.6.1876. This does not imply that the 15 bands were all London-Irish. 18 Weekly Register and Catholic Standard 7.1.1871 at other times. 19 The Weekly Register 6.4.1861. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 79 The Irish Festival at Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill20 organised by Irish representative bodies temperance societies labour organisations and Home Rule Associations from all over London brought together middle class and working class interests. It was arranged purposely on the Saturday following St. Patricks Day to ensure that working men could attend in the afternoon. The popular programme included a hurling match a jig-dancing competition and a procession in the grounds while in the concert hall there was an organ recital programmes by military bands two vocal and instrumental concerts a performance of The Colleen Bawn and political speeches.21 The Times reported that The event of the day was the procession of the societies. At 6 oclock they paraded at the East-terrace under the Marshalls and with 30 resplendent banners and about 20 bands not less than 16000 people formed into procession and marched through the grounds.22 Another report gave the total attendance figure as 18000.23 The Alexandra Palace festival illustrates the strength of the band movement although the reported twenty-odd bands might have included some that had come by excursion train with contingents from the North and the Midlands. Some insight into the attitudes of Irishmen in such bands can be seen by a public row in the correspondence column of the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser and Southwark Recorder in 1881 between members of the Tooley Street Abstinence Band also known as Dockhead Band from the Bermondsey branch of the Catholic Total Abstinence League of the Cross. The disagreement focussed on whether as sons of Irishmen they should have played at the Land League meeting held shortly beforehand in Hyde Park. All members of the band had attended as private individuals but the written constitution of the band precluded its taking part in political activities. Incidental to this main argument there was some agreement that the band should not accept payment for playing at engagements. Paradoxically the Southwark Home Rule Association which was a political organisation engaged the same band for a social event with an expectation on both sides that a fee should be paid24 Bands were frequently used for political rallies. The Boro of Hackney Times on 4 September 1869 reported on an event designed to revive the waning cause of Fenianism. Starting with a quotation from an advertising leaflet it read They appealed it said to all honest non-factious Irishmen to rally round on this glorious occasion and give a hearty and mighty support. The committee only ask the assistance of the aristocracy of intellect and honesty not of birth and will feel content to see themselves surrounded by men with frieze coats and honest hearts in other words the mob who are the hope of our nation although not its elite. About a thousand of a better dressed class... responded to the inspiring appeal and the party left St. Pauls pier in two steamers shortly before two oclock. They took with them a few harps and bands of music and despite the chilliness of the weather were able to demonstrate after the manner of noisy excursionists. It was part of the days programme to visit Rosherville and to occupy the afternoon by dancing and by what one of the stewards described as processioning and a bit of orating.25 For a detailed account see The Daily News 20.3.1876. 21 Tottenham Edmonton Weekly Herald 18 25.3.1876 The Times 20.3.1876 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876 The Daily Telegraph 17.3.1876 The Morning Post 18.3.1876 The Illustrated London News 25.3.1876 The Daily News 20.3.1876. 22 The Times 20.3.1876. The Illustrated London News 25.3.1876. 24 Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser Southwark Recorder 8.1.1881 29.10.1881 5 9 26.11.1881.Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser Southwark Recorder Rosherville pleasure gardens were about twenty miles down the Thames at Northfleet in Kent. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 80 It was reported in the local press in March 1874 that half a dozen bands were engaged to take part in a Fenian procession from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park26 and later in the same year a band drummed up enthusiasm at a Home Rule meeting held in the Beaumont Institute at Mile End by playing God Save Ireland and St. Patricks Day in the Morning.27 First the Fenians then Home Rule and then the Land League with the report in May 1881 of a brass band attracting a crowd to an open-air meeting of the Bermondsey Branch of the National Land League of Great Britain.28 Cardinal Manning addressed a large crowd at a Temperance League of the Cross rally at Tower Hill in 1878 and after several hundred people had taken the pledge the bands played the Branches homeward.29 A newspaper report in 1873 though far from sympathetic gives something of the atmosphere at a London-Irish temperance procession There is always something funny in a procession but of all the funny processions that I ever saw I think that which wended its way up Fleet-street on Monday was the most notable. The Roman Catholics having determined to hold a huge temperance demonstration under the presidency of the Archbishop Manning the Teetotalers and Good Templars from the East-end determined to send a deputation. And so it was that having procured a band and a banner of undoubted size they marched merrily along to the sound of an Irish jig very indifferently played. I am not exacting with regard to costume and in other countries have seen dresses varied and more or less ugly but in my mind the picture presented by some in that procession was far ahead of anything I had before witnessed. The only redeeming feature was that nearly all wore sashes of green. Even the women who carried children and kept step with the male element in the deputation wore green sashes and if the babes themselves were undecorated it was clearly because their parents were unable to provide the desirable material. But the music after all was the most noticeable feature of the procession....The din was simply awful and the promoters of the meeting gave strong proof of their earnestness when they allowed it to continue inside Exeter Hall.30 During the dock strike of August and September 1889 daily processions from Tower Hill to the City and less frequent processions to meetings in Hyde Park and Southwark Park made use of bands and their music. One such parade it was reported had eight brass bands and a large number of drum-and-fife bands.31 While these were not predominantly Irish Irish dockland workers were well represented. The Times reported on 6th September 1889 Mr. Burns led into the City from Aldgate a great procession in which all the labourers out on strike or kept from work by picketing had a part... There were not only dock labourers and waterside workers in the gathering but men of temperance and provident societies with their banners and an Irish society bearing the green banner with the golden harp..... Men carried collecting boxes by the way and the bands played popular tunes. The use of march music was designed to lift the strikers morale and the choice of material was significant. The repeated playing of The Marseillaise made a clear political statement and The Times for 2nd September commented on the supporting cheers that went up from soldiers in the Wellington barracks each time a passing band struck up The British Grenadiers. The next day The Times carried the story that the strike committee deciding to intensify picketing had sent leaders and supporting bands playing the Dead March from Saul to the dock gates to persuade workers to join the strike. Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser 21.3.1874.Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser East London Observer 14.11.1874. 28 Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser 28.5.1881.Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser East London Observer 17.8.1878. South London Chronicle 29.3.1873. 31 The Times 21-24 26 28-30.8.1889 2-4 7 10 11 13 16.9.1889. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 81 Procession with band banners during the Great Dock Strike 1889. Tower Hamlets Local History Library Archive These sorts of activities church processions temperance rallies political demonstrations and election ballyhooing were not exclusive to Irish communities in London. The brass-band movement had in fact taken root in towns in Ireland at the same time and for the same reasons and bands there were deployed in similar ways.32 The Irish workingmens band movement continued in London into the twentieth century with a fundamental shift from temperance and political allegiance to parish organisation. The instrumentation of the bands the method of teaching bandsmen and the basic repertory of published stock arrangements of marches and light classical pieces were the same as those of the English bands. It is not known if the London-Irish confraternity and temperance bands had any specially arranged or written material although the regimental band of the London Irish Volunteer Rifles formed in 1860 included Garryowen in its repertory33 and at the Alexandra Palace Irish festival in 1876 brass bands were reported as having played St. Patricks Day in the Morning God Save Ireland and ODonnell Aboo and drum-and-fife bands as having played The Rose Tree in Full Bearing.34 From January 1860 Chappell Company London music publishers circulated band arrangements in their monthly Brass Band Journal and the following pieces would have interested Irish bandmasters and bandsmen 32 For mention of temperance bands in Ireland see Ignatius Murphy West Clare Temperance Movement in the 1870s in Dal gCais 9 1988 pp.39-43. For examples of deployment of brass bands in Ireland see The Nation 31. 8. 1872 William Makepeace Thackeray The Irish Sketch Book andContributions to the Foreign Quarterly Review London Oxford University Press nd p.125. Brass bands are named in an account of Bryan Dillons funeral in Cork City in The Nation 31.8.1872 quoted from Cork Examiner. 33 East London Observer 21 July 1860 Lt.-Col. M. J. P. M. Corbally The London Irish Rifles 1859-1959 London London Irish Rifles 1959 pp.27-8. East London Observer 23.3.1861 reported on the organisation of the London Irish Volunteer Rifles band East London Observer 11.11.1871 reported it had 38 band members. 34 The Pictorial World 25.3.1876 The Morning Post 20.3.1876. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 82 Quick marches Oft in the Stilly Night no.12 The Young May Moon no.12 The Minstrel Boy no.12 Limerick Races no.12 Nora Creina no.28 Ballroom dances Kathleen Mavoureen Waltz no.7 Erin Go Bragh Quadrille no.21 Cruiskeen Lawn Quadrille no.27 Knights of St. Patrick Lancers no.63 Programme music Selection from Lily of Killarney no.26 Sprig of Shillela no.78. Membership of temperance societies and confraternities with their organisational structure of meetings committees and officers was one step in a process of gaining respectability for some sections of the Irish working class. This was compounded by the adoption of formal brass band music and the values although not necessarily the standards of academic music. The combination of light music and respectability was very powerful in dictating taste and regulating conduct and if Irish rural ways were to be put down as the Roman Catholic Church preferred participation of male members of the Irish working class in the brass-band movement was an effective way of achieving it. Dockhead Bands programme at the seventh anniversary celebration of the Bermondsey branch of the temperance League of the Cross in 1881 included a march from Mozarts Twelfth Mass a fantasia entitled Beauties of Ireland presumably based on Irish stage and parlour songs and an arrangement of ballroom dance music the Royal Irish Quadrilles.35 It is evident that the bands choice of music was as genteel as the prose of their members correspondence in the Southwark Recorder already mentioned. By 1870 concerts entertainments and balls held in connection with Roman Catholic church social groups temperance societies nationalist organisations and political parties were reported in the press. The format of the concerts followed closely that established by the commercial ballad recitals at St. Jamess Hall. Local newspaper reports from the 1870s 1880s and 1890s for example indicate little difference in the shape and content of these events.36 A selection of Irish airs on the pianoforte appears to have been obligatory and the harp in solo or song accompaniment was not uncommon. St. Patricks Day 1870 for example was celebrated in Shoreditch Town Hall by a concert in which Miss Nelly Hayes representing the spirit of the Emerald Isle played the harp and Mr. Delaporte played the Irish harp.37 Parlour ballads by respected professional song writers like Samuel Lover and Thomas Moore and popular pieces such as Rory OMore The Minstrel Boy Barney OHea and Come Back to Erin were featured regularly in the programmes.38 There were also some more stridently nationalist material such as Shan Van Vocht and the Irish national anthem God Save Ireland which were reported in the local press in March 1881 as having been performed at the Southwark Home Rule Associations St. Patricks Day concert and ball held at the drill hall in Neckinger Road Bermondsey.39 35 Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser Southwark Recorder 8.1.1881. 36 For example Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser Southwark Recorder 8.1.1881 26.3.1881 29.10.1881 Croydon Times 23.3.1892 Southwark Recorder Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser Newington Gazette 3.2.1894 24.3.1894. 37 The Borough of Hackney Express Shoreditch Observer 22.3.1870. 38 For example at the second annual Irish ball of the Southwark Home Rule Association at the Surrey Hall Camberwell New Road and the Southwark Home Rule Associations entertainment at the drill hall Jamaica Road Bermondsey reported in Bermondsey Rotherhithe Reporter Southwark Recorder 8.1.1881 and 29.10.1881 respectively. 39 Bermondsey Rotherhithe Reporter Southwark Recorder 26.3.1881. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 83 East London Observer 23 April 1870 Handbill. Reg Hall Collection THE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF ST. PATRICK The sixtieth anniversary of this truly charitable and benevolent institution ... was celebrated at the Freemasons Tavern Great Queen-street Lincolns Inn-fields on Friday evening when his Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge took the chair... An excellent military band was in attendance which during the evening delighted the company by playing a number of the most popular Irish airs. There was also a company of distinguished vocalists under the superintendence of Mr. Hawes who contributed materially to the evenings entertainment. Mr Fitzwilliam the celebrated Irish singer sang The Birth of St. Patrick by Lover in the presence of its author which was highly applauded and Mrs. Harrington the granddaughter of one of the founders of the charity evoked the most unqualified admiration and applause by the performance of several favourite national airs on the harp..... this society was established in the year 1784 and had for its object the educating clothing and apprenticing the children of the poorer classes of Irish in and around the metropolis and that it had every year since its commencement been progressing in efficiency and usefulness. In the year 1821 there were only 160 children on the establishment but owing to the liberality of its benefactors they now clothed and educated upwards of 550. The children after leaving the schools were apprenticed to approved masters for five years and during that time were regularly visited by inspectors belonging to the institution and premiums were given to those who conducted themselves properly... Toast Prosperity to the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick. Great cheering. The band playing St. Patricks Day in the Morning...... The collection and donations during the evening amounted to upwards of a thousand pounds. A newspaper account of a London-Irish entertainment. The Illustrated London News 18 March 1843 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 84 ST. JOSEPHS LEAGUE OF THE CROSS PARADISE STREET ROTHERHITHE. On Sunday night the Rev. Father Haynes presided at an enthusiastic meeting of the branch of the league held at Paradise Street schools Rotherhithe when a visit of some of the members of the Melior Street branch added interest to the proceedings. Mr. James Sullivan set the ball rolling with Its the hat my father wore meeting with a good reception. Mr. Tim Nuilans Teddy I. O. was greatly applauded and for an encore he sung Rose of Tralee. Mr. W. Gaffneys Gems of the Emerald Isle was also loudly applauded whilst Mr. Dick Brennans Widow of Wicklow was sang in a most pleasing style. Mr. Enrights Doctor caused great laughter and Miss Annie Sullivans Home Rule song was rendered in this singers charming style. Mr. Dougherty delivered a stirring speech which was received by frequent applause and concluded with an earnest appeal to those present to sign the pledge. A vote of thanks to the lecturer proposed by the rev. president ended a most happy evening the success of which is greatly due to Mr. Mahoney the genial vice- president. A newspaper account of a London-Irish entertainment. Bermondsey Rotherhithe Reporter Southwark Recorder 22 October 1881 ENTERTAINMENT AT BERMONDSEY DRILL HALL. On Monday evening a large gathering of Irishmen and Irish ladies was held at the Drill Hall Jamaica Road Bermondsey under the auspices of the Southwark Home Rule Association which had instituted a national anniversary celebration in the form of a concert dramatic performance and a grand ball. The programme was arranged in a most attractive form and consisted mainly of performances vocal and elocutionary by the McConnell family a most gifted trio and who could evidently sustain the interest of an audience throughout an entire evening. The proceedings were opened by a piano selection by Miss McConnell entitled Irish Emeralds which was brilliantly executed. Mr. McConnell then gave an introductory song..... This song was well received as also the trio Let Erin remember from the pen of Moore whilst the performance of Mr. McConnell upon the harp as he accompanied his own songs severally entitled The Country Im leaving behind The valley lay smiling by Moore and a new song Since Davitt awoke the West were enthusiastically encored. Miss McConnell was well received as she rendered the old songs Shule Agra and My love Dan. The topical song Our national ball and the humourous compositions Widow Machree and The old Irish jig both from the pen of the versatile Lover were equally praiseworthy. Miss McCarthy rendered The minstrel boy in capital style and the Irish Gaelic song Glan eirighe na Gealaighe or The rising of the moon was given with true pathos by Mr. F. A. Fahy. As a relief to the order of song which had been well maintained Mr. McConnell gave a recital in characteristic dress entitled Sentenced to death an evicted tenants story which was given with considerable dramatic power. Miss Kate Barry sang Barney OHea with considerable humour and another recitation followed given in good form by Master McConnell. Mr. McConnell again appeared attired in Emmet dress and sang first an inspiriting national song entitled The banners our forefathers bore which was delivered in true military form. A song entitled Griffiths valuation followed and which appeared to arouse the patriotic feelings of the audience who loudly applauded as the vocalist told them in song that if they waited they would see that the landlords would not refuse even this valuation but would come supplicating upon their knees in order to obtain it. The attitude assumed combined with the language used tended to raise the Land League spirit lying dormant within the breasts of the audience. This composition was followed by another of the date 1597 entitled ODonnell Abu which was given with great precision..... The whole family again united in a trio The song or the battle eve which was given in faultless manner Miss McConnell concluding this part of the proceedings by singing The only man for me in which she indicated the poets partiality for a man who would die for Ireland. The McConnell family then introduced a humourous sketch entitled A shanty in the backwoods in which Phil Sullivan a backwoods man is visited by his niece May OBrien and Little Lanty who have just arrived from the mither countree. During the conversation which ensues the condition of Ireland is referred to and Phil pleadingly asks Are there no men in Ireland then to which query May replies in a song in which the last word of each verse introduces a prominent Land Leaguer. The effect upon the audience was electrical as upon concluding the first verse she opened a book as she uttered the last word and displayed a portrait of C. S. Parnell. Tremendous cheering followed which was renewed as the second verse introduced a portrait of Father Sheehy in the same manner. John Dillon was the hero of the third verse and Michael Davitt of the fourth and last. By this time the excitement was great and the stentorian Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 5. The Creation of Urban Genres of London-Irish Music Dance Page 85 voice of a stalwart Hibernian whose form is familiar to Bermondsey folk was heard shouting Three groans for Gladstone a request which was not complied with to a noticeable degree but the cheers in honour of the men named were most vociferous thus plainly indicating the tendencies of the audience..... God save Ireland was then sang heartily by the audience and preparations were made for the ball which followed. The ball was under the direction or Mr. C. Benson assisted by Messrs. Hennessy Kissane Fahy c. as M.C.s who performed their part in a most satisfactory manner. The dances were varied and well sustained to an advanced hour. A refreshment bar was provided by Mr. G. Page of the Southwark Park Tavern who had provided a large stock of commodities which were met by a vigorous demand... A newspaper account of a London-Irish entertainment. Bermondsey Rotherhithe Reporter Southwark Recorder 29.10. 1881 Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 86 CHAPTER 6 THE ASSIMILATION OF IRISH RURAL MUSIC DANCE INTO THE LONDON MAINSTREAM The two main processes by which the Irish immigrant working population contributed to mainstream popular culture in London were first by performance of Irish material on the professional stage and second at street level by the absorption of Irish repertory and practices into Cockney culture. Irish men women and to a lesser extent children entered the world of commercial entertainment performing to mainstream London working-class audiences. Union pipers on the legitimate stage before the Famine set little precedent. The Irish colonisation of popular theatre in the second half of the century was on a totally different scale and social level responding to developments in the institutions of popular entertainment as well as the demands and tastes of a poor mass audience. The processes by which the Irish established routes into the profession are not clear. Circumstance suggests some poor Irish might have been employed in low-class outlets like the penny gaffs early in the period while more concrete evidence points to some Irishmen having had exposure in workingmens concerts by virtue of their working-class respectability. Such a case was John ONeil 1777-1858 from County Waterford. He was a Soho boot- maker a self-educated man on the border of poverty but nevertheless a published author and he sang a song called Corporal Casey at working mens concerts in the Ship in Chandos Street and the Black Lion in Berwick Street in the middle of the century. He also wrote the song Trim the Lamp and Fill the Bowl scratched out on a piece of leather at four oclock in the morning and set to music and published by Mr. Williams in The Strand which reputedly became a popular favourite in concert rooms and private parties...1 At around the same time there was a network of taverns that presented singers and other entertainers each night and a related network of semi-professional performers who took regular and one-off engagements. These artists had limited repertories of material and were normally accompanied by the resident pianist. One such singer Charles Rice recalled in his diary the night in the Horse and Dolphin tavern in 1840 when Jack Mahoney looked in sang Erin go Bra and The Irish family. Rice noted on another occasion in the same tavern that Byrne sang Paddys Wedding very tidily but he added there is a sameness about this gent anything but pleasing and the following week he wrote that Mrs. Byrne is a horrid wretch at singing her husband looks like a Donybrook prig.2 Much later evidence from local press reports reveals examples of Irish entertainers some of whom were amateur performing before mainstream working-class audiences. Master Korr the Irish comedian and dancer for example appeared in April 1881 at a temperance benefit concert in Bermondsey Working Mens Club and a few weeks later at a similar function in Bermondsey Drill Hall in July Mr. P. McCarthy an amateur champion dancer gave a performance which appeared to be much appreciated.3 In 1889 Brannigans Band described as that great obsurdity compared perhaps to the English names on the bill appeared at an East London Printers Benevolent Society smoking concert in the Kings Head in Mile End4 and in January 1894 Pat Power gave an Irish song and dance The lodger in grand style 1 Biographies of Noted Shoemakers in St. Crispin vol.1 no.8 20.2.1869 p.100 John ONeill Fifty Years Experience of an Irish Shoemaker in London in St. Crispin vol.2 no.42 16.10.1869 p.183 vol.2 no.49 4.11.1869 p.275. 2 Senelick Diaries of Charles Rice p.60 p.89 p.92. 3 Bermondsey Rotherhithe Advertiser 16.4.1881 2.7.1881. 4 The Eastern Star 17.4.1889. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 87 at Tom Lamptons annual dinner and smoking concert at the Cherry Tree in Bermondsey.5 It is tempting to include Mr. T. Woodcotts 1860 performance of The Limerick Races and an Irish hornpipe at the Pickwick Historionic Club entertainment in the Ballast Heavers Hall at Radcliffe Cross in this list but there is no certainly that Mr. Woolcott was Irish or that the Pickwick Historionic Club was working class though the location certainly was.6 By the early 1860s when evidence becomes more readily available in the form of trade newspapers Irish acts had already become well established and well represented in London music halls as well as the provincial halls including those of Dublin and the trend continued in the variety theatres that succeeded them. Typically a music hall would engage three Irish acts male comedians and dancers and female serio-comic singers to appear on an evenings bill. These artists were not all from London-Irish communities many came into London from the provinces as part of their touring schedule while a small minority arrived following successes in Australia and America. The popularity of Irish acts encouraged some English and Scottish artists to swing in and out of Irish character as and when work became available. In adopting an Irish stage-persona many did not try to create an illusion of authenticity by adopting an Irish stage-name though some did. Some like Dan Leno dropped their Irish tag as they proceeded through their careers and became mainstream English stage artists. The Theatrical Observer and Musical Review with Daily Bills of the Play 8 August 1859 Biographical material on these early Irish music-hall performers is scarce but some artists have been researched by music-hall enthusiasts. Of those cited here Sam Collins represents the first generation while Michael Nolan and Kate Carney represent the second. Sam Collins n Samuel Vegg 1826-65 a London-born chimney sweep built a reputation singing and dancing as a teenager in the 1840s at free-and-easies and concert rooms such as Evanss in the West End and he was able to move later into larger music halls like the Canterbury and Westons. In 1855 he acquired the Rose of Normandy Tavern in the Edgware Road and transformed it into the Marylebone Music Hall. The Era September 1861 Sam Collins gave up theatre ownership briefly in 1861 returning to the halls as a performer and together with Pat Feeney appeared in Donnybrook Fair at the Alhambra. Later that year he took over the Lansdown Arms for conversion into a music hall. With seating for a 5 Southwark Recorder 13.1.1894. East London Observer 3.3.1860. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 88 thousand it opened as Sam Collinss Music Hall at Islington Green on 4th November 1863.7 Although his performing career was a relatively short one he included many songs with an Irish hue in his act and a song book under his name published in 1858 contained 120 Irish songs among them being Billy ORourke Dan of Dublin The Day that Paddy Was Breechd Donnybrook Fair The Fiddlers Wife Irish Boy The Irish Wedding Judy Foy Limerick Races No Irish Need Apply Paddy Connors Wedding Paddy Dont Care Paddy of Age Paddys Dream Pat Murphy Im an Irish Boy Pat of Mullingar The Rocky Road to Dublin The Sprig of Shillelagh and The Twig of the Shannon.8 Sam Collins 1858. Sam Collins. sheet music cover Limerick Races An advertisement for his appearance at the New Royal Pavilion in Whitechapel Road in November 1858 billed him as the world-renowned Irish Vocalist and Dancer Sam Collins in his Songs and Jigs including the far-famed Limerick Races. 9 A report of his performance at Wiltons New Music Hall in 1860 mentioned his eccentric hornpipe. 10 7 The Era 25.1.1863 noted his Irish songs are highly relished. The Era 8.11.1863 reported the opening night of the New Music Hall Islington Green. Other material on Sam Collins from Roy Busby British Music Hall An Illustrated Whos Who from 1850 to the Present Day London Paul Elek 1976 pp.39-40. 8 The Times 27.1.1858 advertisement for 120 Irish Songs as sung by Sam Collins published at one shilling by Davidson Peters-hill St. Pauls E.C. The Times 23.10.1858 advertisement for Limerick Races Kill or Cure Irish Comic Songs singing with great clat by Sam Collins and J. H. Ogden. Both embellished with striking likenesses as sung in character published at two shillings each by Z. T. Purday 45 High Holborn. The Times 28.2.1861 advertisement for Pat of Mullingar new Irish comic song written and sung with the greatest success by Harry Sydney and sung also by Sam Collins claiming it to be one of the best songs of the style published since the Low Backd car. Harold Scott The Early Doors Origins of the Music Hall London Nicholson Watson 1946 pp 123-124. Michael Kilgarriff Sing Us One of the Old Songs A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920 Oxford University Press 1998 pp.160-1. 9 Shoreditch Observer 6.11.1858. 10 East London Observer 7.1.1860. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 89 Michael Nolan 1868-1910 was born in Clonmel County Tipperary and was brought up in Bradford in Yorkshire. He toured the provincial music halls as a boy tenor until his voice broke at which point to maintain his place in the profession he broadened the scope of his Irish characterisation. His emulation of the earlier stage headliner Pat Feeney is reflected in his original stage name The Boy Feeney. He established a reputation in London in 1885 with engagements in many of the halls and the music-hall historian Tony Barker has written By 12 June 1886 Michael could proudly claim to have spent the last ten months in London playing the halls there for over 200 consecutive nights. As well as engagements at the Oxford South London and the Canterbury he had spent 7 weeks each at the Marylebone and the Parthenon Greenwich 6 at Foresters 4 at the Middlesex Harwoods and the Royal Albert Canning Town 2 weeks each at Gattis Hammersmith and the Bedford Camden Town and 7 weeks the longest stay on record at the Star Bermondsey. It had been an unusually long first stay in London an unexpected marathon. Provincial proprietors had co-operated by postponing Michaels dates at their halls. They would however reap the benefits from his improved status when he eventually fulfilled those rearranged dates and were apparently only too happy to pay him more for his future services.11 IRISH SONGS INCLUDED IN MICHAEL NOLANS REPERTORY As Long as Shes Irish Shell Do C. M. Maloney AB Come in Sez Widdy Malone. Down at Flinns A Glorious Sprig of Shamrock for Your Coat Grace Conroy Has Anybody Seen Casey How Can They Tell That Oim Oirish How Hooligan Paid the Score The Irish Garcon The Irish Porter in England I Whistle and Wait for Katie Little Annie Rooney Logans Looking Glass MCormack McGuffins Troubles Matched to Fight McGinty Mickeys Birthday Mickeys Visiting Cards My Bridget Maloney My Irish Pet Name Girl Myself and Susie Malone My Son Mick Norah from Killarney Norah McEvoy Now Be Aisy Maam Pats Performing Bear Patsy and the Horseshoe Play Us an Old Come All Ye Proud of her Irish Boy Shelah Bagee Silver Falls of Erin Sing Us an Irish Song The Singer Was Irish Sullivan Pawned the Donkey Sweet Ella MacMahon Tony Barker William Nolan in Music Hall no.41 2002 p.8. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 90 The Sweet Irish Music There Was Hooligan Today Ive Made Sweet Annie Rooney My Wife We Were All Micks What Gave Paddy the Drum What Will Poor Callaghan Do Your Boy in the Irish Guards List constructed from Michael Kilgarriff Sing Us One of the Old Songs A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920 1998 freespace.virgin.netm.killysing.htm. Michael Nolan. Music Hall 2002 Nellie Power Kate Carney ne Catharine Mary Pattinson 1869-1950 was born in Newington in south London into a stage family. When she was a youngster Nelly Farrell the glittering star of Erin and Irelands Gem was a headliner in the music halls and Kate reputedly picked up Nellys Irish songs by watching her on the stage. She later sang them herself in a club in Bermondsey and as a member of the Band of Hope at their gatherings. Under the name Kate Paterson she began performing unpaid in some of the small halls including the Castle in Camberwell Road and the Rosemary Branch in Peckham and at the age of sixteen see married a stage comedian and step-dancer George Barclay n George Shea. Nelly Farrell died of typhoid in January 1889 and at the end of the year Kate assumed Nellys married name she had been married to the stage performer Pat Carney and for a few Saturday nights appeared as Kate Carney Irelands Gem at the Montpelier Music Hall in Montpelier Street Walworth in south London. Theatre owner Charles Relf saw her and offered her a short season at twenty-five shillings a week at the Royal Albert Music Hall in Canning Town where billed as Kate Carney the Irish Brilliante Patriotic and Descriptive Vocalist she made a marked hit with Heres My Love to Ould Ireland. She took further bookings in the Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 91 outer London suburbs and the provinces and by June 1891 her billing had changed from The Popular Irish Vocalist to The Hibernian Star and her repertory included The Spirit of an Irishman Drunk on a Saturday Night Gallant Dennis Doyle Janey Delaney Maggie Maguire and Erins Appeal. In 1893 she was offered a song Sarah on a Donkey Built for Two which set her in a Cockney character mould rather than an Irish one for the rest of her successful show-business career.12 Kate Carney. courtesy Manders Mitcheson Dan Leno comedian champion clog dancer gave up Theatre Collection his Irish stage image but retained the hornpipe in his stage act. source not known The biographies of other leading Irish stage singers remain un-researched but at least the titles of some of their songs are known Paddy Fannin 1840-88 The Irish Jaunting Car The Irish Volunteer Jude Foy The Private Still The Sports of Dublin Tipperary Dan. Pat Feeney 1850-1889 Dan Murphys Running Dog How Paddy Stole the Rope Michael Murphy and The Shaughraun. Pat Carey 1856-1910 Callagan Does It for Me The Dublin Car Man Easy to Tell He Was Irish The Irish Are Always In Front My Native Land so Green Pass the Word to Callaghan Where Are All the Irishmen With the Help of McCarthy and Magee. Nelly Farrell 1859-89 Dear Old Paddys Land An Irish Girls Opinion Tim Magee and Where the Sweet Green Shamrock Grows. 12 Material on Kate Carney from Tony Barker Kate Carney in Music-Hall Records no.4 December 1978 pp.64-69 Dave Mason Music-Hall Records no.9 October 1979 p.59 Kilgarriff Sing Us One of the Old Songs p.142. Kilgarriff Popular Song gives her date of birth as 1868. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 92 Dan Leno 1860-1904 The Irish Harvestman When Rafferty Raffled his Watch. Walter Munroe died 1914 The Agricultural Irish Girl Boys of the Emerald Isle Bridget MacCarthy Colleen Dhu Connemara The 18th Royal Irish Brigade Ennis When Burke Put Up for Mayor Gilhooleys Supper Party Hennesseys Fancy Ball How Go Mike How Rafferty Won the Mile The Irish Italian Organ Grinder or The Irish Mickey An Irishmans Way Irishmen Must Be There I Saved It up for Rafferty Is Your Mother in Molly Malone Kitty Maloney MGinniss At Home The Man That Struck OHara Mary Ann Maginty Patsy Brannigan The Pipers Elopement The Same Irish Nature The Shillelagh Sweet Rosie OGrady Thats Why Im an Irishman and The True Born Irishman.13 Few details of early repertory and performance style appear in the printed evidence. A reporter for Peeping Tom A Journal of Town Life14 wrote around 1865 of Mr. C. George an Irish singer from the East End who was appearing at the Borough Music Hall in Union Road Southwark he is most unquestionably an energetic person and if his vocal ability were only as harmonious as they were vigorous on the night of our visit that much abused instrument the Harp of Erin would form a capital accompaniment. The audience however appeared to be amazingly well pleased with his efforts and our artist becameconfused with the perpetual twirl of that time honoured property of every Irish singer his stick... C. George at the Borough Music Hall Southwark. Peeping Tom A Journal of Town Life 1864-5 A trade paper in 1887 carried a review of the show at the Middlesex Mr. J. P. Boston the Irish Comedian... has very few compeers in his own perculiar line of Hibernian comicality while the knockabout business of two eccentric Irish Comedians Ferguson and Mack won great approval... with their humorous sallies and clever business...15 The same paper three weeks later observed that at the Bedford the patter singing dancing and boxing of the funny Irish comedians Wallis and Langton won them golden opinions from all sorts of people16 and at the Star the correspondent wrote of 13 Fannin Kilgarriff p.192 Feeney p.195 Carey p.142 Farrell p.192 Leno pp.256-7 Munroe p.297-8 www. freespace.virgin.netm.killysing.htm. 14 Peeping Tom A Journal of Town Life nd 1865 no.3 p.18. 15 The Artist 5.2.1887. 16 The Artist 5.2.1887. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 93 Mr. W. P. Carey Irish comedian and dancer who rejoices in the possession of a good budget of songs of a pronounced Hibernian type. His manner is forcible and his dancing taking to a degree. Those Irish step-dancers who went on the stage in the middle of the century were part of a broad body of Irish British and American character dancers and black-face minstrels who offered solo jigs reels and sand dances in boots pumps and clogs to an enthusiastic public. How solo step-dancing of all varieties English Irish and American stage competition and domestic relate to each other in their genealogy as well as their style and content is a grey area in need of much more extensive exploration. However there seems to be little doubt that the popularity of such dancing on the stage at that time stems from the appearance of American professional jig dancers who came to Britain and Ireland with black-face minstrel shows. Jig in this context is a generic term as the music was almost certainly in 44 time rather than in 68. Writing from a New York perspective in 1873 the author of Jig Clog and Breakdown Dancing Made Easy saw jig dancing as peculiarly an American institution He cited the jig dancers Billy Woods and his two sons Jimmy OConnell Billy Quinn Joe Miles Pete Lane Bill Price and Billy Hedden as being among the first to introduce clog dancing in America. He also mentioned the renowned Irish Jig Dancer and Comedian Billy ONeil 1834-68 and a dancing match between Tommy Peel and Dick Carroll at Wallacks Theatre in New York on April 16th 1862.17 The surnames alone ODonnell Quinn ONeil and Carroll would suggest that Irishmen made a major contribution to this genre of dancing in America. Left Blacked-up dancer in Bouffes Amricain at the Concert de Paris. Le Monde Illustr 1855 Reg Hall Collection Centre Fred Wilson blacked-up. music cover Fred Wilsons Clog Dances Gilmore Russell Boston Mass. 1860 Right English-born American clog dancer Thomas Hengler 1844-1888. Country Dance Song June 1992 17 Anonymous Jig Clog and Breakdown Dancing Made Easy New York Edward James 1873 pp.1-2. Marshall Jean Stearns Jazz Dance The Story of American Vernacular Dance New York Macmillan 1968 p47 The white dancer Richard M. Carroll 1831-1899 was noted for dancing in the style of Lane Master Juba and thus earned the reputation of being a great all-round performer. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 94 In Jazz Dance The Story of American Vernacular Dance18 Marshall Jean Stearns push the Irish connection even further. They point to Master Juba William Henry Lane a free-born African-American as the inspirational star of jig dancing in the 1850s the one who pushed virtuosity to new heights and thus redefined jig dancing as a major contributor to popular commercial entertainment. Master Jubas youthful appearances were in the very rough Five Points district of New York in the early 1840s. The Stearns cite Herbert Asburys The Gangs of New York as their main source for stating that the area was thick with brothels saloons and dancing houses and most significantly that the local population was comprised of equal numbers of freed African-American slaves and recently arrived Irish immigrants thrown together by crushing poverty. The Stearns further quote Constance Rourkes deduction in this context that The Negro seemed to pick up the Irish musical idiom with facility and added a conclusion of their own that He also picked up the dance that went with it the Jig and improvised upon it19 Charles Dickens visited Five Points in 1842 chaperoned by two police officers and called in at a seedy dancing establishment where the landlord put on a regular break-down for his entertainment The corpulent black fiddler and his friend who plays the tambourine stamp upon the boarding of the small raised orchestra in which they sit and play a lively measure. Five or six couple come upon the floor marshalled by a lively young negro who is the wit of the assembly and the greatest dancer known.. Every gentleman sets as long as he likes to the opposite lady to him and all are so long about it that the sport begins to languish when suddenly the lively hero dashes in to the rescue. Instantly the fiddler grins and goes at it tooth and nail there is new energy in the tambourine new laughter in the dancers new smiles in the landlady new confidence in the landlord new brightness in the very candles. Single shuffle double shuffle cut and cross-cut snapping his fingers rolling his eyes turning in his knees presenting the backs of his legs in front spinning about on his toes and heels like nothing but the mans fingers on the tambourine dancing with two left legs two right legs two wooden legs two wire legs two spring legs all sorts of legs and no legs what is it to him 20 The interminable setting to partners by the five or six couples is reminiscent of descriptions of jig dancing in rural Ireland at this period. Dickens words to describe the steps the soloist performed may well have come from the Irish writer William Carlton who a decade earlier had written of his fictional character Phelim OToole that in performing a hornpipe no man could shuffle or treble or cut or spring or caper with him.21 The anonymous author of Jig Clog and Breakdown Dancing Made Easy states that Dick Pelham was the first white man to introduce Jig Dancing in England in 1845 or thereabouts. By this of course he means the particular genre of stage dancing under discussion here and not other forms of the jig which had been endemic in England for a couple of centuries. Master Juba arrived in 1848 and made a great hit on the London stage for a couple of years as a member of Pells Ethiopian Serenaders.22 18 Marshall Jean Stearns Jazz Dance pp.44-5. 19 Herbert Asbury The Gangs of New York New York 1927 no page reference given. Constance Rourke American Humor New York 1955 p.260. 20 Charles Dickens American Notes London Chapman Hall 1842 1867 edition p.218. 21 William Carlton Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry 1830-33 reprinted London Ward Lock Co. nd 1884 vol. I p.266. 22 Illustrated London News 8.5.1848. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 95 To return to an Irish perspective on this side of the Atlantic some aspect of American jig dancing must have rubbed off on Irish professional performers if only in the form of their presentation and the level of virtuosity to be emulated. The dancers themselves appear to have mixed the Irish and the minstrel images without concern. The Irish Minstrels appearing at the Rotunda in Dublin confused a correspondent for The Era by their apparent mixed idioms and he noted in the edition of 22nd June 1862 that their minstrelsy receives applause but why minstrels introduce jigs and reels we cant see. A week later The Era noted the appearance of Mr. Pike Irish jig dancer at the Monster Saloon in Crampton Court Dublin. Out in the provinces meanwhile to cite just a couple of representative examples Paddy Maguire the Irish Comic Singer and Jig Dancer appeared in Halifax Harry Waite the celebrated Irish Comedian and Jig Dancer appeared in Brighton and Paddy Teazle the Irish Comic Vocalist Jig Reel Dancer appeared in Aberdeen.23 The following trade advertisements illustrate how the demand for such skills among stage performers was satisfied The Era 2 August 1868 17 January 1869 24 The Era 14 January 1882 25 Press reports give little clue to the style of dancers in the theatre but two examples stand out. The first reveals an understanding or at least an awareness of Irish rural style on the part of the observer as opposed to the Irish jig of the legitimate stage the ballet version rather than that of the music hall. An anonymous correspondent in The Times reviewing the entertainment at Crystal Palace out at Sydenham in Kent on Good Friday in 1867 which incidentally was attended by 26000 at a shilling a head and included a stage show of burlesque comic ballet and Parisian mime wrote of a particular act being well worth seeing and then continued So also is the Hibernian Eccentricity though his conceptions of the art of jig dancing differ widely from those of the native professors of that art. The popular English notion is that an Irish jig is a sort of mild Terpsichorean orgy accompanied with shouting and much gesticulation while in fact a real Irish jig as danced among the peasantry is almost as solemn and certainly much more quiet than an Irish funeral the partners never speaking or looking up but concentrating all their attention on steps so intricate that they might have puzzled Taglioni.26 The second relates to an appearance at Gattis music hall in Westminster Bridge Road in 1897 which noted accurate complicated and rapid stepping The patrons of Gattis Westminster are great critics of step dancing and the wrapt observation which they devote to such extraordinary performances as those of the Sisters MNulty is scarcely compatible with a foreshortened view of the stage. The two sisters are indeed marvellous dancers. Every beat of heel and toe 23 The Era 19 23.1.1862. Breakdown implies black-face minstrelsy and burlesque is the American equivalent of music hall. Yankee Henri Carney was a well-established comedian singer dancer instrumentalist in provincial variety theatres. There is no other known evidence to suggest that he played the union pipes.There is no other known evidence to suggest that he played the union pipes. Crystal Palace in The Times 23 April 1867. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 96 comes distinct and accurate and the rapidity and complication of some of their pedal achievements fully account for the rapturous applause with which they are recalled.. ecstacised sic would more exactly describe the frame of mind of the appreciative audience.27 The eclecticism of national image can be seen in the early career of a self-taught singer and dancer from the East End of London called Tom Leamore 1866-1939. According to the music-hall researcher Tony Barker he made a name for himself during his first extended season at the Star in Bermondsey in 1885. His own press publicity at the time read The Wonder of all Clog Dancers is TOM LEAMORE Anglo-American Variety Performer and Eccentric Irish Comedian and Champion Dutch Impersonator of the World. The biggest success ever known at the STAR BERMONDSEY. Proprietors should see him. Shortly after that his billing at Harwoods Varieties in Hoxton was Irish Dutch and American Eccentric Variety Performer and High Pedestal Clog Dancer. By November 1886 however he had added Englands Champion Dancer to his billing and in January 1887 he was billed as Englands Champion Clog Dancer. By February 1888 presumably in response to audience taste and fashion his act concentrated on Irish stage business and his dancing and again shifted its emphasis to songs in character with his move to the West End.28 In 1897 George E. Belmont of Sadlers Wells Theatre and a former stage clog-dancer himself wrote during the whole of my professional and private career I have seen all sorts and conditions of clog-dance champions English Irish Scotch and American such as Charles Queen Billy Welch W. H. Allen John Williams c. but I conscientiously declare that as infinitely the best of the whole bunch of clog-dancers old timers and up-to-daters and for originality of steps coupled with extraordinary heel-and-toe execution I place Dan Leno first with Tom Leamore a strong second.29 Tom Leamore. Music Hall Record 1979 The Era 6.3.1897. 28 Material on Tom Leamore from Tony Barker Tom Leamore in Music-Hall Records no.6 April 1979 pp.104-114 Mason in Music-Hall Records pp.58-9. Clog-Dance Reniniscences in The Era 23 .10.1897. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 97 Unidentified stage dancers date not known. Reg Unidentified female stage dancer date not known. Hall Collection Reg Hall Collection Unidentified Irish stage dancer date not known Reg Hall Collection Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 98 Maggie John Fielding Irish champion jig and sand dancers. South London Chronicle 11 November 1871 Location date not known. From The New York Public Library The cash prizes for jig or clog dance competition in America were often very high indeed and winning boosted a professionals drawing power. Even for amateurs in London the business was a serious one as can be seen from a notice in The Artist on 5th March 1887 for a competition at the Sebright Music Hall in Hackney Road Grand Amateur Clog Dancing Carnival the week before Easter for the Championship of London. Entrance 5- Twenty of the best steps First Prize Silver Belt Second Prize Gold Medal Third Prize Silver Medal. All to dance in costume. Send in your merry little dollars. Further supporting evidence comes from the other end of the country in Birkenhead Cheshire where for the week beginning the 14th of that same month March 1887 the Prince of Wales Theatre presented JOHN WILLIAMS The World-Famed Descriptive Baritone and Vocalist and CHAMPION CLOG DANCER OF ENGLAND AND AMERICA. Winner of the 30 SOLID SILVER CUP at the Parthenon Music Hall Liverpool January 14th 1887 defeating J. H. HASLAM by 755 Votes. The Thursday of that week being St. Patricks Day a gala evening was scheduled as a benefit for John Williams on the eve of his departure for Australia with the added attraction of a GREAT DANCING CONTEST as a treat for all dancers.30 30 In addition to singers billed as character topical pathetic ballad operatic and serio-comic vocalists the following Irish artists were advertised The Muldoons Blanche and Ted The Eminant Irish Dutch and Tyrolean Vocalists and Dancers McQue McKay The Original Swells from Ireland the Millionaires the Irish M. P.s and the Funniest Knock-about Comedians ever seen. 6ft. 3in. and 3ft. 6in. That is Long and Short of it. The First Appearance this Season of the Langans no description given. A similar poster on 13.12.1886 advertised Mr. Gus Gauntlet Vocal Character Comedian Top Boot and Skate Dancer Mr. C. Roberts The Pedestal Prince Topical Vocalist Irish Comedian Sand Clog and Boot Dancer Mr. Dan Phillips Irish Comedian and another on 3.1.1887 advertised Miss Louie Luke The Talented and Refined Serio- Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 99 The popularity of such dancers on music hall bills required suitable music from the pit orchestra which probably accounts for the publication in 1858 and 1873 respectively of The Dance Music of Ireland Volumes 1 and 2 by the theatre musician Richard Levey. Eighteenth century elite theatre had established the questionable notion of there being dances with national characteristics most notably the reel the hornpipe the maggot and the fandango. Their leading dancers of whatever national origin performing a pas de seul or a pas de deux between the acts donned the appropriate English Scottish Irish Welsh Spanish French or Turkish peasant costume to fit the chosen material. A century later popular theatre took the model and as a symbol of empire and the unity of the United Kingdom the Sailors Hornpipe the Highland Reel or Highland Fling and the Irish Jig were presented often in the same stage act representative of English Scottish and Irish national dance. All three dances were balletic in nature and the stage version of the Irish Jig still taught today in ballet schools and seen in show-business productions represented the grotesque movements of a feisty washerwoman. It was most probably that version of stage-Irish dance that offended the early members of the Gaelic League and it should not be assumed that the dance of the average Irish comedian was anything like that. Dermot Doyle. Date not known. From The New York Public Library They were billed as Irish Comedians Dancers when they appeared at the South London Palace in 1882. Are they dressed as Irish washerwomen for a stage-Irish Jig As for the early songs and singing styles there are few if any clues. Certainly the description comic did not necessarily mean that the performers were buffoons any more than the dancers were it meant that they were not serious As Irish stage singers became Comic and Neat Song Dance Artist introducing Clog and Skipping Rope Dances Rosina Ruth Versatile Comedienne Character Vocalist and Champion Lady Clog and Acrobatic Dancer. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 100 professionalised however and sought work in regularised halls they conformed to the standards of those establishments and performed song material specially composed for them. Hack song-writers in the music publishing trade learned the tricks involved in writing acceptable Irish songs and later in the century material from similar sources was imported from America. Irish popular song exploited a number of stereotypical images of home and immigration that were received by Irish audiences in London as sincere and meaningful sentiments such as Kate Carneys Heres My Love to Ould Ireland. Stock language and allusion and familiar imagery gave audiences positive messages about Ireland and all things Irish. Sentimental key phrases such as my own native home the old cabin and my poor old mother which Nelly Gannon c.1855-1926 sang in Only a Few Miles of Water written by Harry Wright and J. M. Harrison in 1895 expressed the deep sense of loss experienced by immigrants. The common experience of bereavement inadequately mourned because of separation was touched on in the context of loyalty to the Crown in the same song with the lines My brother a soldier soon followed poor dad For Queen and for country he died... An essential ingredient in Irish stage performance was the delineation of supposed national type. Acts went on stage in Irish character with costume and props and performance material to identify themselves as Irish. C. George and Sam Collins as can be seen from contemporary illustrations wore costume and struck characteristic postures reminiscent of depictions of Irishmen in the published works of Samuel Lover William Carleton and Mrs. S. C. Hall. Sheridan Gilley argues that Paddy the archetypal Irish caricature portrayed as shifty drunken violent foolish and contrary was a racist creation.31 Racism expressed openly and by innuendo was compounded when some Irish performers accepted the prescribed stereotypical image for themselves. An apparently blatant example was reported in the local press in 1870 when two comic gentlemen true natives of the Green Isle known as Paddy Fannin and Bryan o Lynn performed at a St. Patricks Day entertainment in Shoreditch Town Hall. Though the audience consisted predominantly of Irish people the performers kept them in a roar of laughter by their delineations of the grotesque character of their countrymen.32 Of course the Irish audience might not have seen them as grotesque after all it was Irish self-parodying humour performed by Irishmen for an Irish audience. Perhaps it was the reporter who mis-interpreted the situation. Paddy Fannin much later appeared at a concert and political meeting held by the Bermondsey Irish National Club where according to the Southwark Recorder of 10th October 1885 he rendered comic songs and dances and there was no suggestion in the written notice of paddy-whackery. The wholesale derogatory labelling of Irish music hall and variety theatre material as stage- Irish while being ideologically sound from a later Irish nationalist perspective obscures valid contemporary class perspectives. At the end of the century Irish nationalists particularly those in the Gaelic League damned the entire genre as anti-Irish. In the early 1880s a nationalist campaign made a vigorous attack on the practice of caricaturing Irishmen and women on the music hall stage and it was claimed retrospectively in a letter by Thomas Glynn to United Ireland on 27th February 1897 that the slanderous so-called comic song disappeared from the programme of every concert organised by members of the various Catholic societies. 31 Sheridan Gilley English Attitudes to the Irish in England 1789-1900 in Colin Holmes ed. Immigrants Minorities in British Society London George Allen Unwin 1978 pp.84-87. Racism and anti-racism only emerged as analysed and defined concepts in the late 1970searly 1980s. The word racist had probably not been coined when Gilley was writing his piece. 32 The Borough of Hackney Shoreditch Observer 22.3.1870. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 101 This viewpoint echoed respectable mainstream middle-class values that found music-hall material in any shape or form vulgar and it is significant that they did not turn their attention to the racial stereotyping endemic in the genteel works of Dion Boucicault. To condemn Irish music-hall material and performance out of hand denies the possibility of the Irish and London-Irish working population having discerning taste in its own medium and ignores the subtleties of vernacular culture and the function of self-caricature as an agent for consolidating ethnic group identity. While without doubt racism as we configure it now directed at the Irish was expressed in popular theatre Irish music-hall acts created by lower-class performers many of whom were Irish for lower-class consumption needed to be mindful of the sensitivities of the lower-class London-Irish population who provided a substantial proportion of the audiences. Some Irish artists in fact made overtly nationalist political statements as a reviewer in a trade paper in 1887 commenting on Nelly Farrells performance at the Middlesex Music Hall in Drury Lane pointed out She gives us two songs in the cause of Ireland which is almost quantum suff albeit she sings them with charming tunefulness. Still Home Rule for Ireland and Theyd do as the Irish do are well written and the sentiments are worthy of the approval they receive.33 Michael Nolan in a song he performed praised the courage of an Irishman who died for his country but his country was clearly both Ireland and Britain There was Hooligan Gallant Hooligan He gave his life for the land that bore him Whilst the British flag flew oer him. There fell Hooligan without any thought of clan Like a Hooligan a soldier and an Irishman34 Pat Raffertys song for the variety theatre What Do You Think of the Irish Now written by Albert Hall and Harry Castling in 1900 made a pro-Irish political statement commenting on the loyalty and bravery of Irish regiments in the South African War as a counter to some anti- Irish feeling over the Home Rule issue Weve heard a few Irish speak out for the Boers And the methods of England condemn. If they thought they were speaking the thought of our Race What a lesson Glencoe was to them. Their names may be Irish their births Irish too. Black sheep may be found anywhere. In the Fusiliers wounded and glorious dead All the names are as Irish as theirs The sort of Irishman who does and dares. Chorus What do you think of the Irish now What do you think of the boys You said we were traitors but upon my soul You read the names on Glencoes death roll What do you think of the Fusiliers Who dashed oer the fire-swept brow. You used to call us traitors Because of agitators But you cant call us traitors now35 33 The Artiste 2.5.1887. Kilgarriff p.18. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 102 Pat Rafferty n Henry Brown 1860-195236 was born in Birmingham of Irish parents and having begun his song and dance act at the age of twelve in competitions he progressed from provincial free-and-easies and small music halls to the smaller halls in London and eventually to the West End. His Irish material ranged from the comic through the romantic to the heroic illustrated by the words of a correspondent in 1893 commenting on his performance at the Standard Music Hall in Pimlico Mr. Raffertys next vocal contribution is of an entirely different kind. It is entitled Irish as she is spoken and bears eloquent testimony to the many good qualities which belong to the Hibernian race. One of the most prominent of these is admittedly courage in the face of the enemy and the audience generously endorses the claims made by the vocalist on behalf of his fellow countrymen.37 It is difficult to identify any survival of rural Irish elements in Cockney stage performance in the late Victorian period. The medium by now so well established fed on its own traditions and values but the London-Irish presence could still be felt. One of the greatest Cockney artists was in fact London-Irish. Bessie Bellwood 1856-96 was born Catherine Mahoney in London of County Cork parents.38 Though little evidence has come to light about her Irish repertory a poster advertising her appearance at the Canterbury on 3rd April 1889 when she must have been at the height of her popularity warned her fans that by desire she was due to sing The Kerry Dancers.39 She was brought up in Bermondsey London employed as a rabbit-skinner in the New Cut. For an extra few shillings a week she sang Irish ballads at the Jolly Tanners in Southwark which led to her earliest professional music-hall appearance at the Winchester and Star Bermondsey.40 It has been stated in some secondary sources that she made her first music-hall appearance at the age of twenty that would have been in 1876. However Bessie Bellwood Characteristic appears on a playbill for the South London Palace in Lambeth during Easter holiday week 1872 which would have made her sixteen. Bessie Bellwood became the first lady singer of cockney songs arriving at this role by the uncertain route of Irish ballads. Her repartee was renowned throughout the business and she could master nay outshout the rowdiest audience she once held a five-minute slanging match with a fifteen stone coal-heaver during her act from which he retired hurt and demoralized. Her acts of charity to the poor such as giving away her possessions taking in laundry cleaning homes and looking after children were also known to her audiences perhaps this is why they loved her as a genuine person.....41 Pat Rafferty recorded this song in July 1902 it was issued on GT 2-2122. It is not known if a copy of this seven-inch disc still exists. Rafferty recorded 15 songs 1902-1903. 36 Material on Pat Rafferty from Tony Barker Pat Rafferty in Music-Hall Records no.14 August 1980 pp.23-37. 37 The Era 18.11.1893. 38 She has been reported in secondary sources as being Elizabeth Ann Katherine Mahoney from Monkstown County Antrim but her great grand niece Carole Cumber of Ontario Canada has researched her birth and baptism to have been in London www.londonancester.com 25 11.2003. 39 Rusby British Music Hall p.24. The Kerry Dancers not to be confused with Molloys The Kerry Dance 1879. 40 Roy Rusby British Music Hall An Illustrated Whos Who from 1850 to the Present Day Paul Elek London 1976 p.24. 41 60 Years of the British Music Hall no further provenance quoted in www.the-music-hall.haisoft.net 25.11.2003. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 103 Bessie Bellwood. One of the most humorous and certainly one of the sauciest serios ever seen in even the saucy halls of her time was Bessie Bellwood. Although lacking the versatility and characteracting genius of her great rivals Marie Lloyd and Jenny Hill Bessie was a real artist of the brainiest most alert kind. She would take on any of the audience at any time and on any topic conducting her arguments in the most voluble slum-slang. Some of her utterances and reports often savoured very strongly of the blue bag. Although La Bellwood gained her chief stage effects as a pattering Irish Cockney she was no mean warbler. Many even now will remember her chief ditties such as Woa Emma Wot cher Ria Rias on the Job and that very clever song Aubrey Plantagenet I knew poor Bessie thoroughly from the moment she made her music-hall debut in Bermondsey where she had been a rabbit puller or skin-dresser in a local factory. I always found her really more educated than she pretended to be. She was a relative of the renowned literary and poetic priest who signed himself Father Prout and was born Mahoney as Bessie was.42 She often talked books and poems etc. with me. Also she confided to me many of her most private matters especially concerning her association with sundry aristocrats who did her no kind of benefit either in her profession or out of it. In fact poor Bessie who thought herself so clever was always being swindled or done in by somebody. She was a woman of boundless benevolence and of deep devotion to her Roman Catholic Creed. In fact I found her always either helping some sad case of distress or paying even with her last earnings for Masses for some dying or departed soul. In some cases these Masses as I well knew were for those who as she would have put it had done her a bit of no good Like Florence St. John who we all called Jack and Marie Lloyd dear old Bessie Bellwood would perform the most menial most trying and painful offices for the needy sick and dying. And to these I have often heard her like others too give not only her last coin but even what is still harder to such superstitious hearts her last mascot. Such was the slangful saucy serio Bessie Bellwood born Mahoney An erratic but noble soul.43 An equally famous Cockney comedian and singer Harry Champion n William Henry Crump 1866-1942 from Shoreditch made his stage debut at the age of 15 at the Royal Father Prout was Francis Sylvester Mahoney writer of The Bells of Shandon. 43 H. Chance Newton Idols of the HallsBeing My Music Hall Memories H. Cranton 1928 chapter 16. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 104 Victoria Music Hall in Old Ford Road Bethnal Green in July 1882 where he appeared as Will Conray. He danced the hornpipe as part of his act and many of his songs delivered at speed shared the characteristic of eight quavers to the bar with the reel though they did not have the pulse and accent of the reel. The orchestrations of some of his recorded songs quote briefly from Irish tunes such as Colliers Reel The Rose Tree and The Turkey in the Straw and some with no Irish references in the lyrics have stage-Irish musical clichs in the score.44 Harry Champion with tin whistle circa The audience at the London in Shoreditch. George Sims Living London 1903 1938. LONDON MUSIC HALLS AND VARIETY THEATRES WHERE IRISH ACTS PERFORMED IN THE 1850s 1860s 1880s Agricultural Hall Islington Green. Alhambra Theatre of Varieties West End. Bedford Music Hall Camden Town. Bermondsey Palace of Varieties. Borough Music Hall formerly The Salmon later The Alexandra then Beaconsfield Music Hall then Raglan Music Hall Southwark. Britannia Theatre Hoxton. Canterbury Hall Woolwich. Canterbury Theatre of Varieties. Collins s Music Hall Islington Green. Crystal Palace Sydenham Deacons Music Hall Clerkenwell. Eastern Lyceum East End Framptons Music Hall Euston Road. Fredericks late Wiltons Whitechapel. 44 Tony Barker Harry Champion in Music-Hall Records no. 26 August 1982 p.24 p.35 quoting from Willson Disher Winkles and Champagne wikapeadia. For 78 rpm recordings quoting Irish tunes or stage-Irishisms in the orchestration see Never Let Your Braces Dangle London John Bull 407534 Twin 317 both recorded 1910 Robin Redbreast London John Bull 407556 recorded 1910 Ginger Youre Barmy London Columbia 149 recorded 1910 John Bull 41059B31a recorded 1911 Lets Have a Basin of Soup London Zonophone 413 recorded 1911 Samuel Duff London Coliseum 834 recorded 1915 Everybody Knows Me by My Old Brown Hat London Regal G7772 recorded 1922. Some are re-master on Harry Champion Cockney Bill of London Town Windyridge WINDY CDR3 2001. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 105 Gattis Palace of Varieties Vauxhall. Gattis Charing-Cross Music Hall Villier Street. Grecian Theatre City Road. Hammersmith Theatre of Varieties. Lansdowne Music Hall. London Pavilion West End. Marylebone Music Hall. Metropolitan Paddington. Middlesex Music Hall Drury Lane. Monarch National Standard Theatre Oxford Music Hall West End. Paragon Theatre of Varieties Mile End Road. Parthenon Theatre of Varieties Greenwich. Peckham Theatre of Varieties. Peoples Palace of Varieties Peckham. Prices Caledonian Road. Royal Alhambra Palace West End. Royal Cambridge Hall of Varieties. Royal Foresters Music Hall Mile End. Royal Standard Music Hall Pimlico. Sadlers Wells Clerkenwell. Sebright Music Hall Hackney. South-Eastern Music Hall. South London Music Hall Elephant Castle. Star Music Hall Bermondsey. Sun Tavern Knightsbridge. Trevor Music Hall Knightsbridge. Trocadero Palace of Varieties West End. Turners Music Hall Whitechapel. Washington Music Hall Battersea. Westons Music Hall Holborn. Wiltons Music Hall Whitechapel. A non-exhaustive list from sampled trade papers local newspapers and other sources. Deacons Music Hall Islington opposite Sadlers Wells demolished in 1891. Date not known. courtesy Mander Mitchenson Library Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 106 IRISH STAGE ARTISTS WHO PERFORMED IN LONDON DURING THE 1850s-1880s AS BILLED IN TRADE AND LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ON PLAYBILLS.45 Ashcroft Delineator of Irish Character Irish Comedian J. P. Boston Irish character comedian The Irishman an Irish Vocalist Boston possibly as above Most truthful delineator of Irish Character Champion Dancer Buckley Mr. Irish comic vocalist Frank Caffrey Irish Comedian W. P. Carey Irish comedian and dancer Pat Carney The True-born Irishman Pat Cashman Irish Comedian Sam Collins the Celebrated and Unrivalled Irish Comedian and Vocalist the only Irish Singer and Irelands Own Boy the great Irish singer the Irish delineator will introduce his favourite Hibernian entertainment the great Irish Humorist and Dancer Gardiner Coyne Irish delineator jigs reels The Brothers Craig Juvenile Irish Comics Mike Curran the legitimate Irish Vocalist and Dancer the Irish Vocal Comedian Wal Curtis Irish comedian and clog dancer Nora Darrell The New Irish Gem 45 Ashcroft South London Palace playbill April 1873. Boston South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 26.1.1881 The Artiste 1 8 15 22 26.2.1887 South London Palace playbill 1879. Buckley East London Observer 20.11.1858. Carney The Artiste 1 8.1.1887. Cashman Islington Gazette 18.1.1884 The Artiste 1 8.1.1887. Collins The Era 13.10.1861 17.11.1861 5.1.1862 2.2.1862 27.4.1862 The Times 28.8.1860 24.12.1860 22.2.1861 8.2.1865. Coyne East London Observer 23.6.1860. Craig The Era 28.7.1861 13.10.1861 2.2.1862 20.4.1862. Curran The Era 6 27.10.1861. Curtis The Artiste 15 22 29.1.1887. Darrell Gyles Brandreth The Funniest Man on Earth The Story of Dan Leno London Hamish Hamilton 1977 p.18. Dawson The Era 13.10.1861 17.11. 1861 5.1.1862 2.2.1862 27.4.1862. Dempsey MGuiness East London Observer 30.4.1859 8.10.1859 The Theatrical Observer and Musical Review 8.8.1859 The Era 7.7.1861. Dempsey Star Music Hall playbill nd. Southwark Local Studies Library. Dermot Doyle South London Palace playbill 1882. Devlin South London Palace playbill Easter 1872. Donnell The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 21 24.2.1887. Fannin East London Observer 8.10.1859 16.6.1860 The Era 26.1.1862 2.2.1862. Farrell Wilmot The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 5 21.2.1887. Farrell South London Palace playbill Easter 1879 Islington Gazette 1.2.1884 The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 5 21.2.1887. Boy Feeney South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 2.2.1881. Feeney The Daily Telegraph 17.3.1876 The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 21.2.1887. Ferguson The Artiste 5 21.2.1887. Foley ONeill South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 30.3.1881. Folloy S. Theodore Felstead Stars Who Made the Halls London T. Werner Laurie 1946 p.67. Forrest The Artiste 26.12.1887. Gannon South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 2.2.1881 The Artiste 1 8 15.1.1887 5 12.2.1887. B. J. Gibbons The Era 4.8.1861. B. W. Gibbons The Times 6.6.1861. Graham McBride South London Palace playbill October 1878. Hawkins The Era 9.2.1862. Hayes Hurley East London Observer 18.9.1858. Heffron South London Palace playbill 1882. Hussey South London Palace playbill 6.11.1876. Keefe Gill South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 1.1.1881. Steve Keeffe playbill Fredericks late Wiltons 1.10.1875. Leno Brandreth Dan Leno p.3 p.4 p.23. Lewis The Artiste 5 12.3.1887. McCormack playbill Britannia 4.3.1889. McEvoy South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 5.2.1881 Bermondsey Advertiser Southwark Recorder 26.2.1881. MGann The Era 16.2.1862. Mace The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 21.2.1887. Mann The Era 7.7.1861. Miles South London Palace playbill April 1873. Mikes The Artiste 21.2.1887 5 12.3.1887 4.4.1887. Mills South London Chronicle 11.11.1871. Munroe The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 4.4.1887. Murphy The Artiste 1 8.1.1887. Nixon The Artiste 21.2. 1887. Nowlan The Era 2.2.1862 16.3.1862 8.6.1862. Ogden The Theatrical Observer Musical Review 8.8.1859 East London Observer 16.6.1850. Power The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887. Rafferty cited in Music Hall 14 August 1980 p.27. Ryan The Era 10 17.3.1872. Sullivan Islington Gazette 11.1.1884. Tennyson The Artiste 1 8 15 22 29.1.1887 ogormanbros.co.uk. Wallace South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Recorder 2.3.1881. Wallis The Artiste 26.2.1887. Watson South London Music Hall playbill 1864. Whealey Traynor South London Palace playbill 25.11.1879. Wilkinson The Artiste 22 29.1.1887 12.3.1887 4.4.1887. Brothers Wilkinson South London Palace playbill Easter May 1878. Wood The Era 19.6.1864 2.9.1866 25.1.1866. Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 107 J. S. Dawson Irish Comic Vocalist and Dancer Dempsey MGuinness the celebrated Comic Vocalists and Dancers the popular comic singers and dancers Hugh Dempsey Irish Comedian Dancer Dermot Doyle The Two Funny Ds Irish Comedians and Dancers Dick Devlin Irish Comedian The Donnells James Katie Irish Duettists and Dancers Paddy Fannin Irish Comedian the Little Irish Gem Farrell Wilmott the Irish Dancing Masters Nelly Farrell properly styled glittering star of Erin Irelands Gem The Boy Feeney Michael Nolan Irish Comedian and Dancer Pat Feeney the greatest Irish Comedian in London Pre-eminent among histrionic Irishmen the Man that comes over from Ireland Ferguson Mack two eccentric Irish Comedians Frank Foley The Harvey Boys Irish Comedians Folloy ONeil the celebrated Australian Irish knock-about Comedian and Dancers Pat Folloy Irish Comedian Arthur Forrest Irish-American singer dancer comedian Nelly Gannon Serio Comic and Comedy Artiste C. George the Great Tower Hamlets and Mile End Milesian B. J. Gibbons the Musical Irishman B. W. Gibbons the Irish dancer and vocalist Graham McBride Delineators of Irish Life Kate Gurney Will Hawkins the Funny Irishman Hayes Hurley the Irish jig reel dancers Pat Heffron Irish Comedian Miss St. George Hussey Irish Character Keefe Gill two Irish boys in their delineation of Irish character Steve Keeffe the Famous Irish Piper Dan Leno aged 8 the quintessence of the Irish Comedians aged 9 Descriptive and Irish Character Vocalist The great Irish Comic Vocalist and present Champion dancer of the World Lewis Bennett Irish Knockabouts The McCormacks Popular Irish Comedians and Eccentrics Nellie McEvoy Irish Serio Comic and Star of Erin the Glittering Star of Erin J. S. MGann English and Irish Comic Vocalist Jig Dancer c Paddy Mann Irish Vocalist and Dancer Mr. Mrs. Miles The Hibernian Stars Paddy Mills Irish Comedian and Champion Jig Dancer Walter Munroe Irish Entertainer The Murphys Irish Entertainers Brothers Nixon Irish Duettists and Dancers Paddy Nowlan Irish Comic Vocalist Reel and Jig Dancer J. H. Ogden the greatest Irish comedian since Tyrone Power Nelly Power Pat Rafferty Irish songs well executed dances Delineator of Irish character Barry Ryan essays the Hibernian 3 Irish Songs and a dance Little Sullivan the dancer Tennyson OGorman the True Storytellers the Talkative Men The Two Irish Gentlemen Two Merry Macs Irish Comedians Part 1 The Nineteenth Century. Chapter 6 The Assimilation of Irish Rural Music Dance into the London Mainstream. Page 108 The Two Mikes Irish Knockabouts Wallace Harrington Irish Entertainers Wallis Langton Irish comedians Mr. Watson Irish Comic Whealey Traynor Two real Gems from the Emerald Isle F. W. Wilkinson Irish Comedian Brothers Wilkinson Delineators of Irish Life Jerry Wood Irish Comic Vocalist The Irish Singer Irelands Gem Setting the Scene for Parts 2 3. The London-Irish 1890-1945. 109 SETTING THE SCENE FOR PARTS 2 3 CHAPTER 6a. THE LONDON-IRISH 1890-1945 By the end of the nineteenth century the population of London contained a sizeable Irish minority. Those within the fold of the Roman Catholic Church in the riverside boroughs comprised the London-Irish community. Some members were immigrants with fading memories of life in rural Ireland a minority were recent arrivals while the majority were second or third generation London-born with only tenuous connections with rural Ireland. Inevitably while this community created a corporate identity for itself largely through the religious and secular activities of the Roman Catholic Church it forged values and social behaviours relevant to urban life moving further from the ways of the working population of rural Ireland. Those outside the embrace of the Roman Catholic Church that is those living outside the centres of Irish settlement the transients and those who had English spouses comprised the unattached Irish who were the most likely to have been assimilated within the host community and culture. The polar extremes of social possibility were the togetherness of the London-Irish and the assimilation into the mainstream of the unattached and alienated but had the processes continued as they had done in the nineteenth century the weight of probability points to the entire Irish population in London being assimilated into mainstream culture within a few decades. The combined forces of Gaelic revivalism and Irish nationalism however changed the course of that process at the turn of the century. The established Irish communities in the East End Stepney Poplar Bethnal Green West Ham and East Ham and south east London Southwark Bermondsey and Camberwell held together in spite of losses among the men in the Great War and the many who went to Ireland to avoid fighting what was for them the wrong war. This working-class population consisted of several generations of London-born and Irish-born in a social structure of nuclear and extended families similar to the population at large in those areas. The community was self- regenerating absorbing in the process a small but steady flow of new young single immigrants. The London-Irish as they chose to call themselves have not been the subject of any other academic research and still remain largely hidden from history. The docks dominated employment although there was a shift into other manual and semi- skilled work and the London County Council the railways and the gas companies became significant employers. Poverty and slum conditions still prevailed as noted in the Gaelic press in 1904. The London Gaelic League has recently had painful evidence of the fact that Irish people are foolish enough to leave home and come to London in the vague hope of finding employment in a city in many of whose quarters there are hundreds unemployed and where pitiful distress prevails. Some of the cases have been terrible to witness. Priests doctors and other representative men in various districts give similar instances of unhappy new emigrants young and old some of them quite destitute and in many cases pathetically unfitted for London conditions.1 A few bettered themselves as publicans or shopkeepers and as the historian M. A. G. O Tuathaigh pointed out it was possible though unusual for limited promotion in established employment.2 Yet an observer could write in July 1901 that we have never known a single instance of a London-born Irishman who has risen much above the condition of his parents.3 1 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.1.1904. 2 M. A. G. O Tuathaigh in Roger Swift Sheridan Gilley The Irish in the Victorian City London Croom Helm 1985 p.18. 3 Anonymous The Irish in London in Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine July 1901 no. 170 p.132. Setting the Scene for Parts 2 3. The London-Irish 1890-1945. 110 For the Catholic churchgoer the parish could provide a completely London-Irish world. Priests Marist brothers and nuns mostly born in Ireland satisfied spiritual needs and went a long way towards satisfying secular and social needs as well. Catholic elementary schools were available within each parish and for a small proportion of working-class girls there was secondary convent education. The Gaelic League found outlets for its education programmes and social events on parish premises with ready-made groups of consumers and supporters among the parishioners. Confraternities flourished and the season of Catholic outdoor processions from May to August was the highlight of the social calendar rivalled only by Archbishop Amigos annual visit to the Kent hop-fields to say Mass for the London-Irish hop- pickers. A significant section of the growing Irish middle class was engaged in the Gaelic revival movement which heavily influenced organised Irish cultural life at the turn of the century. Political activity focussed first on Home Rule with the period from 1913 to 1916 seeing preparation for the Easter Rising as some working men engaged openly in military drilling in St. Georges Hall by Southwark Cathedral and the German Gymnasium in St. Pancras Road and some men women and children raised funds covertly at parish and street level. London Volunteers fought at the GPO in Dublin while paradoxically the London Irish Rifles fought on the Western Front and in Palestine. There were police raids on Irish locations in London and some Londoners were imprisoned. Branches of Sinn Fein and the Irish Self- Determination League of Great Britain proliferated in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and united the London-Irish in national consciousness. Terence MacSwineys hunger strike and martyrdom in Brixton prison in 1920 and the execution of Reginald Dunn and Joseph OSullivan for the assassination of Major General Sir Henry Wilson in 1922 were rallying points for nationalist fervour. Nationalist unity however was to be rent in two by the Treaty and the subsequent Civil War. Working-class supporters of the Free State had little or no focal point in London and Irish nationalist activity among the working class throughout the 1920s and 1930s was almost exclusively republican. Intermittent police harassment continued and there was further Irish Republican Army activity just before the Second World War. Working-class London-Irish Irish first but nevertheless Londoners identified with the wider British working class and supported first the Liberals at the beginning of the twentieth century and then the Labour Party after the Great War making a considerable contribution to local Government particularly in the East End. The conflict between Catholicism and socialism created a paradox in the 1930s when many East End Irish working men and women who voted Labour also supported Franco during the Spanish Civil War. The same community however was unequivocal in its opposition to Oswald Mosleys anti-Semitic activities in its streets. Contrary to current thought in the field of Irish Studies London-Irish communities organised a comprehensive programme of religious political and leisure activities for themselves with music and dance high on the agenda. These activities were very largely community-based in social clubs associated with the Roman Catholic Church nationalist organisations and sports clubs and eventually in commercial dance halls with other activity taking place less formally in domestic settings and within kinship and friendship networks. The London-Irish working class synthesised its own urban traditions incorporating some values and models from both rural Ireland and the Gaelic League which were simultaneously Catholic Irish and Cockney. Setting the Scene for Parts 2 3. The London-Irish 1890-1945. 111 Irish-born men and women predominantly from the southern counties of Cork Kerry Limerick Kildare and Dublin and the north-western county of Mayo continued to come to London between the wars. Irish labour was employed in heavy construction such as building Wembley Stadium St. Pancras Town Hall and the Craven A cigarette factory at Mornington Crescent. Their conditions were tough and they were open to harsh abuse not from the employers but from their Irish supervisors.4 Michael Burke spoke from his own experience The type that you have mixed with through the music in the Fifties were a completely different type to the men who came here before the War. Slave drivers some of them. I would go so far as to say that Irish gangers who were on public works before the War a lot of them were no credit to Ireland. The way they treated some of the lads coming over. In some of the places I know this for a fact in Scotland because I was on a site once near an airbase when I was training up at Eventon and the lads used to have to give half-a-crown a week out of their earnings to the foreman. Well it was unofficial but it twas the done thing. Many men working as navvies were transitory while others adopted a more settled way of life in Camden Town Hammersmith and elsewhere in London. Speaking of a young Tipperary man who arrived in London before the War another commentator wrote He followed a well-beaten track to Camden Town in London where the practice was for two or three young Irishmen to take a furnished room for 18- a week. The furnishings were usually a single bed a double bed and not much else but it was at least a roof over the head until better could be afforded. Jim joined a firm which had an ambition to cover the world in reinforced concrete floors and in helping them realise this strange aim he travelled extensively over five or six of the Home Counties. The Irishman Abroad those times would be easily recognisable usually he was well sunburned and healthy looking from his outdoor occupation but almost as a uniform there would be the orange shoes and Irishmans Blue serge suit with the double-breasted jacket. Cafes in Camden Town were cheap a good meal with stewed lamb and 3 veg. and a sweet to follow would set you back l7d. Pay was 2131 for the first 50 hours and as much overtime as you could wish. These were great times and Jim looks back fondly to them but then came the war. The emphasis then was on building aerodromes and runways.5 The demand for labour in the hotel public-house and catering trades particularly in the West End and around Bayswater produced a new type of Irish-born worker namely male and female living-in domestic and bar staff. The bulk of these workers and the student nurses employed in the suburban hospitals were recruited directly from Ireland by agents or through the small-ad columns in the Irish county newspapers. In the absence of a London-based Irish newspaper the Cork Weekly Examiner sold on Sundays on the pavement outside the parish churches covered Irish events in London between the wars. Its only rival Irish Freedom first published on the eve of Munich and similarly dependent on street sales stood little chance of significant readership through clerical opposition to its left-wing politics. Speakers Corner in Hyde Park was a recognised Sunday afternoon meeting place where recent arrivals from Ireland could depend on finding townies or relatives from back home. Immigrants and London-Irish met together at ceilithe run by the Gaelic League and the Gaelic Athletic Association. They attended Gaelic sporting events and followed dog and horse racing and boxing. These activities together with Sunday- night dancing at the commercial Irish dance halls constituted the most popular leisure pursuits among the young Irish working men and women in London. The Second World War was a turning point in the fortunes of the London-Irish and although their social institutions survived the War they were barely sustainable beyond the early post- 4 John Neary spoke of a ganger taking on six men and announcing that the one he considered the worst worker would be sacked at the end of the day and another man would be taken on and he did that every day. 5 Coaimhghin Broichin Jim Lynch in Treoir vol.19 nos. 3 4 1987 p.39. Setting the Scene for Parts 2 3. The London-Irish 1890-1945. 112 war period. After the War a new community of Irish in London was created by a vast influx of rural immigrants who owed loyalty to but felt little empathy with the decaying infrastructure of Irish London. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 113 PART 2 THE INVENTION OF TRADITION MUSIC DANCE OF THE GAELIC REVIVAL 1890-1945 CHAPTER 7 GAELIC REVIVAL IDEOLOGY AND ITS PRACTICE IN IRELAND 1880-19141 Gaelic revivalism was a powerful and innovative force in the life of Irish communities in London from the turn of the nineteenth century. It ran in close association with the Gaelic revival in Ireland where it looked for inspiration and leadership. It follows that an exploration of the London experience requires an understanding of the underlying ideology of Gaelic revivalism and its practice in Ireland. The philosophy lying behind the possibility of a Gaelic Renaissance and the processes by which that philosophy found public expression have never commanded majority support within Irish society. However they played a significant part in creating and shaping the values of Irish nationalism and ideas and images of Irishness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Advocates of Gaelic culture reaching back to the early nineteenth century contributed to the generation of nationalist sentiment and later once it had taken on institutional structure as an organised movement the Gaelic revival became a vehicle for nationalist expression. The two movements nationalism and Gaelic revivalism moved closely together to achieve their related objectives and they shared a dual task to disallow the cultural dominance of what they perceived as their colonial oppressors and to replace it by native-Irish culture. The two complementary themes of purging Englishness from all aspects of Irish life and of creating and fostering approved models of Irishness while never capturing the imagination of the bulk of the Irish working population impinged on the lives of all Irish people everywhere and they were to become standing items on the agenda of Irish social and political debate. The Gaelic revival has been primarily a literary and language movement its activists and supporters holding the view that the means by which a nation defines itself as a separate and corporate entity is through its language.2 The uniqueness of a nations language the argument runs reinforces national identity and defines its difference from other nations. In the case of the Irish nation it was believed that rehabilitation of the native language would repair the ethnic and cultural damage inflicted by English colonisation and the continued use of the Irish language into the future would remove Ireland from the risk of further cultural contamination from England. National purity not just in the sense of an Irish culture purged of foreign influence but purity in its own right occurs as a recurring theme in Gaelic revival idealism.3 A free Irish nation determining its own destiny would rehabilitate the true and ancient religion of the Irish and thus Irish manhood and womanhood would flourish as God intended. Young men would be honest and athletic and young women graceful and chaste. 1 Much of this chapter has been constructed from notices and reports of activities in the Gaelic press An Claidheamh Soluis United Ireland. References are not given to substantiate documented fact such as the date location and nature of events. 2 See Francis A. Fahy The Irish Language Movement London Gaelic League 1901 quoted by Maureen McLoughlin in Teaching of the Irish Language in London M. A. thesis University of Ulster 1985 p.29. 3 See Father MacNamaras address to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in Limerick reported in An Claidheamh Soluis 29.4.1899. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 114 If Irish culture was to be defined as being uniquely Irish while sharing some common ground with that of other Celts it had to be seen to be different from that of the English. The English in their role as heretics and colonial exploiters were by definition morally corrupt. Since they were considered to be a quite distinct race from the Irish it was implicit and determined by God that cultural incompatibility was an indisputable fact. The rapid decline in the use of the Irish language throughout the nineteenth century in favour of English identified by the historian F. S. L. Lyons as the path to economic advancement4 was viewed at the time by some Irish nationalists as a process of cultural genocide. Douglas Hyde President of the Gaelic League considered Anglicization... another name for extinction and as reported in a collection of his essays and lectures he spoke publicly of ...the devouring demon of Anglicization whose foul and gluttonous jaws have swallowed everything that was hereditary natural instinctive ancient intellectual and noble in our Irish people our language our songs our industries our dances and our pastimes...5 Douglas Hyde born 1860. The nobility and gentry in Ireland at least by the early eighteenth century shared values and fashion with their peers in England. Gaelic revivalists understood their culture to be that of the English whereas it was in reality the culture of the privileged ruling classes. It did not enter Gaelic revivalist thinking that class attitudes and behaviour could straddle ethnic divides and that Irish and English vernacular cultures might share characteristics of content and form derived from social contact and shared history. Gaelic revival theorists expounded no political analysis in terms of class and took little account of social and economic stratification in Irish society even though they themselves must have been aware of how different they were from lower-class Irish men and women. All Irish people to them could be Gaels whether they were 4 F. S. L. Lyons Culture and Anarchy in Ireland 1890-1939 Oxford Clarendon Press 1979 p.8. 5 Douglas Hyde Language Lore and Lyrics Dublin Irish Academic Press 1986 p.178. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 115 rich or poor while unrepentant Anglicised Irish were referred to disparagingly as shoneens Johnnies and West Britons.6 Irish nationalism and Gaelic revivalism were part of a broad political philosophy that affected subject peoples and ethnic minorities in other parts of Europe. While there was some recognition of the language movements in other countries there was and still is a pervasive tendency for the Irish to see the re-construction and rehabilitation of their own national culture as a phenomenon uniquely Irish. It can be seen now through the work of for example Hugh Trevor-Roper Roy Judge and Dave Harker that parallel courses of national revivalism were pursued in Scotland England and Wales7 and that misinterpretation and distortion of evidence justifying desired ends was far from being an Irish monopoly. The roots of Gaelic revivalism reach back to the amateur antiquaries of elite society in the seventeenth century who were collectors and students of Irish historical and literary texts and who achieved academic legitimacy with the founding of the Royal Irish Society in 1785. Lyons points out that the earliest stages of the revival were largely the preserve of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy.8 Some subsequent leading activists and supporters in the movement were found among men and women in that section of the Irish population who had the greatest doubts about their own identity as Irish men and women. These Protestant Anglo-Irish experienced increasing discomfort about their position in Ireland as the nineteenth century proceeded. Their political autonomy had been undermined by the Act of Union in 1800 and their economic security was threatened by the rapid decline in Irish manufacturing industry and the inability of Irish agriculture to make any real economic progress. As the end of the century approached their social and economic base as landowners seemed under threat.9 Being neither purely English nor purely Irish their identity was uncomfortably ambiguous and some of them in order to ease their position opted to become more Irish than the Irish. Many of the leaders in the movement were moneyed and privileged while the bulk of the organisers and activists were from the petty bourgeoisie in the main teachers civil servants lawyers journalists and priests and their mothers wives sisters and daughters. By making use of their positions of privilege together with the organisational structures of the Gaelic League and related associations they were able to disseminate to a wide public idealised constructions of Irishness. Unlike earlier associations the Irish Literary Society founded in London by Francis A. Fahy in 1891 and the Irish Literary Society in Dublin founded by Douglas Hyde in1892 that circulated literary material among a coterie of the dedicated the Gaelic League founded in July 1893 had a mission to evangelise to a broad Irish public. Its early leadership had vision energy and charisma and the League was able to define its own boundaries and its own arguments. Debate took place among its members at branch meetings in the pages of the Gaelic Leagues weekly publication An Claidheamh Soluis and to a limited extent in the national press. The Gaelic Leagues public events projected a considered position representing its values and policy which were then reflected in sympathetic national and local newspaper coverage. Its objectives published in The Proceedings of the Second Oireachtas in 6 The film director Ken Loach makes an interesting point quoted in the context of the War of Independence in The Independent 19.5.2006 People confuse the Government with the people but people have more in common with people of the same social position in other countries than those at the top of their own. 7 Hugh Trevor-Roper The Invention of Tradition The Highland Tradition of Scotland in Eric Hobsbawm Terence Ranger eds. The Invention of Tradition Cambridge Cambridge University Press 1983 pp.15-41 Roy Judge DArcy Ferris and the Bidford Morris in Folk Music Journal 4 5 1984 pp.443-480 Dave Harker Fakesong The Manufacture of British Folksong 1700 to the Present Day Milton Keynes Open University Press 1985 P. G. Payne Welsh Peasant Costume Cardiff National Museum of Wales 1964. 8 Lyons Culture and Anarchy p.28. 9 Ibid. p.71. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 116 1898 were The preservation of Irish as the National Language of Ireland and the extension of its use as a spoken tongue. and The study and publication of existing Gaelic literature and the cultivation of a modern literature in Irish. While these were directed exclusively at the language question the Gaelic Leagues president Douglas Hyde made it clear that the objectives were much broader when in addressing a fund-raising meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1905 he said We stand immovable on the bedrock of the doctrine of true Irish nationhood an Ireland self-centred self- sufficing self-supporting self-reliant an Ireland speaking its own language thinking its own thoughts writing its own books sings sic its own songs playing its own games weaving its own coats and going for nothing outside of the four shores of Ireland that can possibly be procured inside them.10 The Gaelic Leagues secondary interest in music and dance was essentially a means to an end. The most pressing tasks in pursuit of the primary aims were to save the living Irish language before it was too late and to ensure that the enclaves of native-Irish speech the Gaeltacht areas remained bilingual for all time.11 Hand-in-hand with these processes there was to be an education programme introducing Irish to the mass of the population as both an official and a vernacular language. The Irish literary movement centred on the Abbey Theatre in Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century was energised by these issues and its supporters engaged in debate and in-fighting about the conflicting merits of an Irish literature in Irish backed by Douglas Hyde and an Irish literature in English that could hold its own with the great literature of the civilised world backed by W. B. Yeats.12 This polarity illustrates a fundamental issue that was to affect many aspects of Irish national life until the Republic entered the European Economic Community. Could Irelands independence and national identity be expressed only by her remaining parochial insular and backward looking or could they be achieved only by Irelands contributing to international culture and commerce Membership of the Gaelic League was open to anyone of Irish descent. Peers bishops college professors MPs and magistrates were among those who served as patrons and branch presidents and some were influential leaders of the movement. The grass-roots leadership was largely comprised of professionals small-business men and white-collar workers and the membership was drawn from the lower middle and upper working classes. While there was little chance of attracting membership from the lower end of the social scale the annual subscription of five shillings at the turn of the century was an effective barrier. Men were in the majority but in some areas men and women were fairly evenly matched numerically. Women served as branch committee members as teachers in evening classes and as performers and competitors at branch and public events. The governing body Coisde Gnotha met in Dublin and branches were established through local initiative and using local resources in the major county towns in Ireland and in cities with large Irish populations in England Scotland the USA and elsewhere. The main appeal of the Gaelic Leagues programmes and organisation was to town and city dwellers. The movement however met with some success in small country towns like Ballymote in County Sligo Miltown Malbay in County Clare and Nenagh in County Tipperary where although set in a rural hinterland the populations were urban in character and outlook rather than rural. The Gaelic Leagues strategy involved a two-pronged challenge to popular Irish and Anglo- Irish culture and to the monopoly of Establishment cultural values. First it established its own 10 Hyde Language p.179. Exeter Plymouth Gazette 18.6.1906 reported Douglas Hyde had just sailed from New York having raised 10000 for the Gaelic League. 11 Hyde Language pp.36-7. 12 Lyons Culture and Anarchy pp.47-8 p.51. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 117 alternative systems of education and organised leisure inspired staffed and financed by its own resources. Enthusiastic voluntary workers and a small number of paid workers organised a comprehensive programme which included tuition and practice in Irish language Gaelic song poetry drama and literature Irish history myth and folklore and Irish dance. Second it entered the fabric of the State by adopting a high profile in public office and public institutions challenging the Establishment from the inside. The Gaelic League had members in national politics local government and the Church and it received practical moral and financial support from the clergy municipal and County councils and chambers of commerce in establishing and sustaining annual festivals. Furthermore it could rely on relatively uncritical coverage in the press with some provincial newspapers offering weekly accounts of its events and several regularly printing a column or two of Irish-language copy. All Gaelic League gatherings had a didactic function. Lectures and addresses were slotted into the programmes of concerts and socials and any business meeting or class might end with a song or recitation provided it was ideologically sound. Several types of event were evolved some in conjunction with the Gaelic Athletic Association which combined sporting pleasure with the serious business of promoting Gaelic culture. The most important of these were the feiseanna festivals of arts and crafts sometimes non-competitive but more usually competitive that were organised annually throughout the country. The great showcase for the movement was the national feis the Oireachtas held annually from 1897 in prodigious circumstances in Dublin.13 An Claidheamh Soluis 9 December 1899 13 For an account of the first Oireachtas see United Ireland 22.5.1897. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 118 An Claidheamh Soluis ..1899 An Claidheamh Soluis 9 December 1899 Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 119 An Claidheamh Soluis 9 December 1899 The musical tastes and values of the early Gaelic Leaguers reflected their bourgeois social background and education. In nursery school college and seminary they had learned to recognise what was musically proper. Church music was underpinned by the unchallengeable authority of organised religion. In the parlour home music-making was a Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 120 manifestation of social respectability while in the concert hall and theatre music conformed to established values of art and high-class entertainment. In considering music as a vehicle for furthering the Leagues aims the majority of the leadership unquestioningly applied familiar criteria which were the values of the European high art and light classical tradition. Here then was the making of a dilemma that has never been resolved. If Irish ethnic music was being destroyed by more dominant Euro-British culture how could it be saved by the application of conventional Euro-British musical values The paradox was not recognised at the time largely because the Gaelic Leagues dominant social values were bourgeois shared by the middle classes in England and the rest of the western world. The League as a whole embraced little or no knowledge and understanding of the music and dance repertory and practices of the rural working population. Consequently the bulk of its leadership identified no need for reconciliation or compromise between the cultures of the rural working population and the urban middle class. Some prominent Gaelic Leaguers were aware of the rural cultural tradition but they appear to have been concerned with how elements of that tradition could be absorbed by the urban middle class14 rather than how the rural cultural tradition could be understood more fully and thus fostered. Popular urban music-making and dancing as they existed in the variety theatres and much later in the dance halls were despised in Gaelic revivalist circles partly as they represented what seemed to them cultural impurity but more significantly as they were expressions of lower class vulgarity. An idealistic vision within the Gaelic revival of a new Irish popular culture with the standards of high-class culture as we can see it now could have had little chance of realisation. It was perhaps the less idealistic devotees that moved the Gaelic revival into the cultural middle ground veering towards the high brow while avoiding the low brow like the plague. At Gaelic League concerts and entertainments many performers both professional and amateur sang and played in the manner of the music conservatoire being both musically literate and organised by the printed page. For example the Dublin Gaelic League Orchestra formed in 1902 or 1903 was a conventional orchestra. The published repertory consisted of Gaelic songs and airs collected in the field such as those in the Petrie and Joyce collections and mediated by the processes of notation and arrangement settings of lyrics by for example Thomas Moore to Irish airs patriotic lyrics such as the poems of Thomas Davis set to march tunes and nineteenth century parlour and concert songs by for example Samuel Lover. These texts and melodies were generally considered to be the true expression of Irish artistic and national ideals.15 Apart from the use of such Irish material and the predominance of the Irish language there was nothing uniquely Irish about the performance style and presentation. The intention was to move away from Establishment views of Irishness but the Leagues concerts bore striking similarities to the mid-nineteenth century St. Patricks Night concerts in held in London. Competition classes at feiseanna were dominated by conventional notions of art and respectability and were most commonly judged by those standards. Conventional brass-and-reed bands were usually hired for outdoor events such as fetes sports meetings and excursions and until at least 1901 Euro-British ballroom dances appeared exclusively on the Gaelic Leagues ball programmes. Measures were taken to ensure that all music performed at these Gaelic League events was Irish but the performance style was inevitably within the European light-classical tradition. 14 For example see Thomas Hayes in Leader 22.7.1902. 15 For information on Irish parlour ballads see Nicholas Carolan The Irish Songs of John McCormack in The Talking Machine Review 69 December 1984 pp.1895-7. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 121 Two radical themes however can clearly be identified within Gaelic revivalism. Conservationism and antiquarianism though only commanding minority support in their radical stage were highly significant when the consequences of these two mini-movements entered the mainstream of Gaelic revivalism. Advocates of conservation identified and directed their attention to three vernacular entertainment and art forms union piping step-dancing and sean-nos or old style native- Irish singing. Viewed erroneously in the case of the first two as survivals of ancient Irish culture they were ascribed high aesthetic value and considered to be a worthy bedrock for the Gaelic revival. Rural home-spun music practices such as lilting whistling and playing the ivy leaf received some recognition as unspoiled archaic survivals to the extent that a lilting competition was held at the Ardmore Feis in County Waterford in 1899 whistling competitions were included at the Munster Feis in Cork in 1901 and 1902 and an ivy leaf competition was included at the Mayo Feis in Castlebar in 1909.16 Advice was offered in the Gaelic press in November 1907 to adjudicators in whistling competitions to discourage the straight whistle for the traditional style on the grounds that a good whistler can imitate the pipes with astounding accuracy.17 General interest however did not extent to music- making and dance practice current in rural working communities and their social dancing fiddle and flute playing and singing in English were largely but not totally overlooked or disregarded as being culturally tainted or unworthy. Mainstream revivalist knowledge and thought was so far removed from vernacular culture that Arthur Darley 1873-1929 a respected Gaelic League violinist and professor of the violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music expressed what was then an acceptable view in the Gaelic press when he wrote in 1909 that the fiddle is not an Irish instrument and there is no traditional method of playing it in Ireland. I have often heard airs played with real musical insight and charm of phrasing by country fiddlers but all effect was lost by reason of the scatchy tone bad intonation and other faults in technique.18 Further on in the same text he said the same of the flute. Padraig Mac Aodhagain S. P. later argued in An Claidheamh Soluis that the violin was the only instrument capable of rendering the Irish scale properly yet he advocated the creation of a new Irish violin style apparently in complete ignorance of current rural fiddle playing.19 16 Noel Pepper letter Treoir vol. 10 no.1 Marla 1978 recalled an old man who used to call at Tommy Walshs house in Rosberg Westport Co. Mayo and used to pluck an ivy leaf from the wall and get the most beautiful music from it. Like a blackbird it was. 17 An Claidheamh Soluis 20.11.1907. 18 An Claidheamh Soluis 3.8.1901. 19 An Claidheamh Soluis 27.8.1910. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 122 Arthur Darley. An Claidheamh Soluis 31.7.1909 The Irish Press 25 May 1932 Following the late eighteenth-century model set by the Irish Harp Society in attempting to save the dying tradition of the harpers conservationists located exponents of the union pipes step-dancers and native-Irish singers in order to have them pass on their repertories and skills before they were lost. This pioneering project was due largely to the vision and efforts of two small independent groups the Pipers Club in Cork and the Dublin Pipers Club Cumann na bPiobairi founded in March 1898 and 1900 respectively and to a number of individual enthusiasts. The pipers clubs each located and patronised several elderly artisan union pipers and the Cork club also found a rich source of local step-dancers.20 Writing in The Waterford Star in 1899 a correspondent advocated that an effort should be made to recover our beautiful airs by means of oral transmission before the day falling on the coffin-lids of certain very old women shall have silenced them for ever.21 Dr. Thomas Costello of Tuam in County Galway and a few other individuals moved by this sentiment and inspired directly by nineteenth-century collectors searched for songs and singers in the Gaeltacht. Their initiative encouraged some organisers of provincial feiseanna to include competitions in their programmes for singers in native-Irish as early as 1899 at the Miltown Malbay Feis in County Clare and 1902 at the Tuam Feis in County Galway and a Feis Cheoil was arranged in Tuam during Easter 1911 exclusively for local singers in native-Irish. Modern technology in the form of the cylinder phonograph was employed in a modest way by Mr. MDonald at the Feis Ceoil as early as 1897 by the Oireachtas committee by Sean Wayland of the Cork Pipers Club Richard Henebury in County Waterford and unspecified others to record the subtleties of traditional performance.22 In not dissimilar circumstances and for very similar reasons Bela Bartok in Hungary Percy Grainger Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams in England and Marjory Kennedy Fraser and Lucy Broadwood in Scotland were doing the same. 20 John Cullinane Aspects of the History of Irish Dancing Cork Cullinane 1987 p.58. 21 The Waterford Star 12.8.1899. 22 Belfast News-Letter 9.5.1898 P. J. Jones in Cork Weekly Examiner 4.5.1935. For 1899 see Belfast News-Letter 25.3.1899. For Heneburys recordings see Susanne Zeigler From Waterford to Berlin and back to Ireland... in Thrse Smith ed. Ancestral Imprints Cork University Press 2012 pp.1-20. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 123 THE FEIS CEOIL 1898 Another interesting competition is that of the Irish pipers to decide who isthe best player. There are thirteen entries as follows---Mr Philip Goodman Castleblaney Mr John Cash Co. Wicklow Mr Patrick Toomey Poulaphouca Mr Thomas Rowsome Dublin Mr. Denis Delaney Ballinasloe Mr. R Thompson Cork Mr Jeremiah ODonovan Cork Mr J F Wayland Cork Mr T Crosdale Cork Mr Patrick Gallagher Co. Mayo Mr Dan Markey Castleblaney. The Country Fiddlers competition will prove a novelty. There are four entries one of the competitors being a woman Mrs Bridget Kenny. The others are---- Master Willie W Bourke Mr Thomas Matthews Mr Joseph Murphy 86 Moyne road. THE FEIS CEOIL 1898 In the Irish pipes competition a great improvement was manifested as compared with last year. In the slow music the performers were rather weak but their dance music was capital both in time and expression..... IRISH PIPES 1.Mr. Thompson Cork 2. Mr. Cash Wicklow 3. Mr. Flannigan Dublin and Mr. Kelly Galway equal Highly recommended Mr. P. Goodman Carrickmacross County Monaghan. COUNTRY FIDDLERS PRIZE Mr. William J. Warden-Bourke Waterford There were five entries Belfast News-Letter 9 May 1898 An Claidheamh Soluis 19 July 1902 Pipers and step-dancers patronised by the Gaelic League and encouraged by small fees and opportunities to win cash prizes were afforded new social status as performers and were presented to new and wider audiences at county feiseanna and on the competition and concert stages of the national Oireachtas in Dublin. Sessional employment though very limited was available at piping and step-dancing classes organised variously by the Gaelic League for its members and the Dublin Pipers Club for example held a fortnightly class for the union pipes run by Nicholas Markey. However the club so often innovative and out of line with the rest of the movement also organised a fiddle class in 1904. Run by Bridget Kenny a Dublin street musician and the daughter of an artisan piper called McDonagh the class was poorly attended and was discontinued in 1905 when its membership fell to one but was restarted briefly the following year by Bridget Kellys husband Tom. The Dublin Pipers Club advertised in 1904 for two native-Irish singers one from Connaught and the other from Munster to teach in the evenings on a liberal salary. Eamonn Ceannt the clubs secretary wrote that we attach more importance to the traditionalism of the singer than to the voice or teaching abilities.23 The post was given to Seamus Donnelly from Waterville County Kerry and the clubs president Edward Martyn sponsored him out of his own pocket at thirty 23 An Claidheamh Soluis 14.5.1904. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 124 shillings a week.24 Michael O Duibhginn of the Dublin Pipers Club much later advocated in a letter to the Gaelic press a system of piper-in-residence at Gaelic summer schools. He pointed out that James Byrne an artisan piper from Kilkenny had often been present at the summer school in Ring in the Waterford Gaeltacht.25 Meanwhile in Belfast Francis J. Bigger 1863- 1926 Protestant solicitor nationalist and antiquary extraordinary took it upon himself to pay for young Frank McPeakes union pipes tuition. He arranged for the blind Galway artisan piper John Reilly to stay in the McPeake household for three months paying him a pound a week and the McPeakes seven shillings and sixpence a week for his board.26 Sean Wayland Cork Pipers Club. Capt. Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 Cork Weekly Examiner 4 April 1935 24 Breandn Breathnach The First Pipers Club in Dublin in An Pobare 56 March 1971 pp.2-3 Seosamh Breathnach Cumann na bPiobairi Baile Atha Cliath in An Pobare 3 November 1969. 25 An Claidheamh Soluis 7.6.1913. 26 Roger Dixon Francis Joseph Bigger Belfasts Cultural Don Quixote in Ulster Folklife vol.43 1997 pp.40-7. See also Sen Cuinn Francis Joseph Bigger of Ardrigh in Treoir vol.23 no.4 1991. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 125 Contestants at the Feis Ceoil Dublin 1901 Anna Barry Robert Thompson Margaret Barrys grandfather Miki Cumba Suilleabhain Pat McCormack Martin Reilly John Cash Dinny Delaney Pat Ward Edward St. John Patrick Toomey. courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Dublin Anna Barry who after a months tuition from Mollie Morrissey of the Cork Pipers Club. Capt. Thompson OSullivan Wayland at the Cork Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 Pipers Club entered the Feis Ceoil. Evening At fourteen fiddle union pipes war pipes harp Telegraph 11 May 1901 step-dance. Ladies Pictorial 10 June 1905 Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 126 Sean Waylands pupil union pipes war pipes step- May McCarthy 1955. An Piobaire Fomh 1988 dance. Capt. Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 Step-dancing did not initially arouse the same degree of attention within the Gaelic revival as union piping and thus does not feature extensively in the early written record.27 While rural domestic step-dancing was hidden from the view of revivalists the semi-public profile of competitive step-dancers within the working population of Cork City and north-east Cork came to the attention of the Cork Pipers Club. In 1931 P. J. Lyons wrote on the history of step-dancing in Cork City mostly before the founding of the Cork Pipers Club in 1899 it would be unsafe however to assume that the Cork Pipers Club membership back in 1899 had any such detailed knowledge and in fact the statement of its intentions at its inaugural meeting in March 1899 made no mention of step-dancing at all.28 Here is what P. J. Lyons had to say The history of the practice and development of traditional dancing in Cork city may be easily traced as far back as the middle of the last century. Ned Moore has been styled the father of Irish dancing in Cork. Another dancer named Dan Gallivan preceded Moore by a decade or so but Moore identified more with teaching than did Gallivan but these two dancers laid the foundation of the art as known to-day. Moores name is still commemorated in a lovely step called Moores Dream. In the hey-day of the Butter Market in Cork the coopers were the best paid artisans in the city and took a very active interest in every sport and 27 The observations made in this chapter about the nature of rural and stage step-dancing as opposed to Gaelic League step- dancing are made from a survey and synthesis of nineteenth century evidence. It is difficult to deconstruct that work to offer precise references here. 28 The Freemans Journal 9.3.1899 lists the founding committee President Alderman Phair Vice-presidents J S Wayland and P J Lawless Hon Secretary J ODonavan Professors R Thompson champion Irish piper and R L Mealy Committee R Mealy D ODonavan D Curtis D A OShea C Cromer T Crosdale and Jeremiah Kelleher. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 127 pastime from step-dancing to bowl-playing and from cock-fighting to coursing. Many of the coopers were great step-dancers but few are now remembered except Moore. He commenced to teach dancing in 1860 and continued teaching for close on half a century. Some of his pupils became brilliant dancers and won championships of Ireland and other honours. A number of them are still known or remembered with pride Tommie Murphy Stephen Comerford Morgan Lenane Jim McCarthy Jack Horgan Bill Keeffe Christie Murphy and others. After these came still more brilliant pupils represented by the brothers Willie and Freddie Murray Jim Morley Jack OBrien and the Driscoll brothers of Douglas Cormac OKeeffe Arthur Barry Richard Sisk the Coleman sisters Miss Deasy Miss Tarrant Miss Lawton and others of the present day represent an unbroken line of exerts whose knowledge and skill can scarcely excelled anywhere else in Ireland. A shoemaker named David Cleary who resided in Blackpool and was a native of Ballyhooly in the Fermoy district had a wonderful repertoire of steps. He taught all his reel jig hornpipe and set dances to Jimmy Moynihan of Fair Hill. Mr. Clearys steps are acknowledged to be the finest examples of the genius of the dancing masters of old but few are acquainted with them. Cleary was taught by a great dancing master named Kennedy who taught all round Charleville Mitchelstown and Fermoy. Before Feiseanna were held in Cork step-dancing competitions and displays took place almost every Sunday. Dancers from various parts of the city and suburbs met at some appointed place such as Kerry Pike Douglas Riverstown Ballgarvan etc. and took part in friendly contests. No medal or other prizes were contested for and there were no adjudicators. These no-decision contests helped to make dancing a trial of skill so much so that the leading participants did all in their power to gain individual supremacy. In this way dancing became the fine art that it is in Cork at present and its characteristic intricacy of step is the result of intense training and practice in those days. Mr. James J. Murphy presented two attractive belts as trophies to be competed for by traditional dancers. They were presented in l895 and one of them the Munster Belt is still competed for annually. Tommie Murphy was the first holder. The other one styled the Championship of Ireland Belt was put up for competition only on three occasions. It was last won in 1907 by Mr. Fred Murray but for some reason or other it was not put up for competition although it is still in existence. Six schools of Irish dancing flourished in Cork in 1904. The Pipers Club founded by Mr. Sean Wayland Eire Og Tirnanog and Father OLearys Hall being the best known.. The various step-dances are composed of many constituent parts. The old dancing masters rarely allowed any one of these constituent parts or movements to exceed one bar of the music an eight-bar phrase in order to avoid wearisome repetition. Almost every one of these standard movements has a particular nomenclature. The term Rocking Step explains itself. The Cross-keys is a most attractive piece of footwork and used more in Cork dancing than in that of any other centre. Drumming battering rolling waving trebling double-trebling in-locking grinding shuffling double shuffling Kerry tipping ancient Kerry tipping sliding and many other intricate movements form essential parts of Irish dancing. The various long and set step-dances have special centre-pieces in each step and are much more difficult than ordinary reel jig or hornpipe steps. All reel steps are the same length but jigs and hornpipes vary in length according to the tune. Napoleons Retreat the Blackbird Job of Journey Work Garden of Daisies and other long step-dances are very attractive and difficult but few can dance them to perfection..29 29 P. J. Lyons Irish Step Dancing. Sidelights on Grammar and Technique in Cork Weekly Examiner 3.10.1931 p.6. See also Rakish Paddy Traditional Songs and Steps in Cork Weekly Examiner 24.11.1934 Cullinane Aspects p.58. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 128 A step-dancer with John Wayland at the Cork Pipers Club 1904. Mr. OKeefe Cork Cormac OKeefe Miss Hogarty Clonakilty Mr. Coveney Ballyfeard Miss Walsh Bandon with unidentified fiddle player at the Aeridheacht Sports Timoleague Co. Cork JuneJuly 1915. Cork Weekly Examiner 3 July 1915 Commenting on the Ardmore Feis in County Waterford in 1899 an anonymous columnist wrote that We are fortunate in having such perfect exponents of the art as Messrs. Riordan who obtained the prize. It was also convincing evidence that Munster dance can be saved only by Cork.30 This Cork style shared features with some music hall practice where at least since the 1860s various performers claimed to be champions of the jig reel and hornpipe. It 30 The Waterford Star 12.8.1899. The Freemans Journal 7.8.1900 reported on the Feis at Ballyvourney Co. Cork Step Dance Irish Jig and Hornpipe---M ORiordan Cork 1st M. Kelleher Cork 2nd. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 129 appears mostly likely that formal competition in Irish step-dancing derived from the music hall though informal competition at the social level of earlier outdoor dancing and later kitchen dances was a characteristic of solo dancing and the following piece by a theatre manager illustrates how common formal step-dance competition was in America in the second half of the century and there is ample precise evidence of its occurrence on this side of the Atlantic Jig and Clog both lent themselves to competition..... Many of the leading theatre companies claimed the worlds champion dancer and competing contests were of frequent occurrence causing the utmost excitement wherever held. Each of the leading cities of the country had its favorite dancer and when a general tourney was held as frequently happened there was as much excitement as might be caused today 1912 by a great automobile contest. Time style execution and numerical advantage in steps were considered by the referee and the public applauded its favorites with a prodigality that was indeed very strong.31 The most telling common feature was the costume favoured by male competitive dancers from Cork and Limerick school which was later adopted by members of the Gaelic League. It was strikingly similar to that of earlier black-face minstrels and contemporary stage clog- dancers and working-class competitive clog-dancers in the North of England. Jean Ritter black-face dancer on the British stage second half 19th century American jig clog breakdown dancers New York 1873. 32 31 M. B. Leavitt Fifty Years in Theatrical Management 1859-1909 New York Broadway Publishing Co. 1912 p.33 quoted in Rhett Krause Step Dancing on the Boston Stage 1841-1869 in Country Dance Song no. 22 June 1992 p.4. 32 Reproduced in Harry Reynolds Minstrel Memories The Story of Burnt Cork Minstrelsy in Great Britain from 1836 to 1929 London Alston Rivers 19271929 p. 106 Jig Clog and Breakdown Dancing Made Easy with Sketches of Noted Dancers Ed. James New York 1873 cover illustration. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 130 The clog dancer John Williams the Famous Lancashire Lad 1885 Irish dancer James J. Coleman Limerick Chicago 1909 Irish dancer Patrick Walsh New York circa 1914. 33 To attract competitive dancers to their activities the Gaelic League embraced some of their values and thus step-dancing was the exception among feis competitions in labelling prize winners champions. Joseph Halpin from Limerick for example was declared the champion dancer of Ireland at the Limerick Feis in 1899 without any regional or knock-out preliminaries in circumstances that though genteel were reminiscent of all-comer challenges in fairground booths and variety theatres.34 A press advertisement for the Great Irish Festival billed as the Tailltenn sic held at Joness Road Dublin on St. Patricks Day 1895 mentioned only the following attractions 12 Teams of Tug-of-War Contests and 10 Competitors from Cork Limerick and Dublin for the Irish Jig dancing35 which seems to suggest that Irish jig dancing was seen by early Gaelic Revivalists as a sport. The school of step-dancing initially promoted by the Gaelic League was in fact part of a much more diverse genre than was understood at the time. It was just one manifestation of a broad British Irish and American urban tradition of competitive and exhibition step-dancing and 33 Troy Margaret West Kinney The Dance Its Place in Art and Life New York Frederick A. Stokes Co. 1914 opp. p.174 Lancashire Songs Dances New York Hitchcocks Music Store 1885 cover illustration The Dance Music of Ireland Chicago IMCA 1959 p.6. 34 An Claidheamh Soluis 3.6.1899. The Freemans Journal 25.3.1899 lists the competitors at the Feis Ceoil in Limerick and although there are Irish pipers and country fiddlers at what is essentially a classical music festival there is no mention of dancing at all. Joseph Halpin however had competition success around the same time in Dublin reported in The Freemans Journal 8.6.1899 THE OIREACHTAS..... Irish Jig double a gold medal. The judges disagreed being unable to decide between Joseph Halpin Limerick John Horgan Cork and Peter MDonagh Dublin. His Eminence Cardinal Logan said that if Dr. Douglas Hyde gave an additional prize he would give another so that each of the three competitors might obtain a prize. Irish Jig single or hop jig. The prize of a gold medal was awarded to Joseph Halpin of Limerick. 35 The Freemans Journal 15.3.1895. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 131 clog-dancing that was performed by amateurs in dancing academies and working-class competitions and by professionals on the variety stage and in black-face minstrel shows. During its first decade or so the Gaelic League did not evolve a clear corporate view of the nature of step-dancing. Handicapped by a seriously flawed history of Irish dance and very little first-hand knowledge its middle-class membership appear to have had no inclination to understand and evaluate the genre. Revivalist philosophy informed the Leagues general view that there were two forms of Irish step-dancing namely the authentic and the bogus. The former was seen to be a representation of archaic Gaelic culture which was hopelessly wide of the mark and the latter was considered debased by the music hall and the English. This is illustrated by a report in the Gaelic press of the Oireachtas competitions in 1900 where The judges criticised the dancing very severely as partaking sic rather of the Dublin stage style rather than of the genuine Irish style of dancing...36 Daniel ODriscoll a competitor at the 1902 Oireachtas and a self-confessed old traditional Irish dancer was incensed by the style of dance offered to and accepted by the adjudicators and he was moved to write to The Leader that the majority of the competitors... performed nothing else than a mixture of stage dancing Highland fling etc. etc. to represent traditional Irish dancing. I saw very few real traditional Irish steps performed such as I used to see performed at the Patterns some years ago. Too much of the dance was manufactured and could not be considered Irish traditional step-dancing in any sense. It was nearly all a monotonous promenade of stage dance and some of the dancing was commended as being good when it should have been disqualified and ignored altogether.37 Reporting on step-dancing at the 1904 Mayo Feis P.A.W. wrote in the local paper that The entries for the dancing reached the respectable total of 120. It was a great strain on the judges but they bore up manfully. Naturally great interest centred in these competitions and the performances were creditable in the highest degree. In some instances there was a tendency to clog-dancing and other displays rather more suggestive of English than Irish style. These were few. In general the dancing was characterised by gracefulness and excellence of execution. Personally I am not inclined to favour rigidity of the arms as I lean to the conviction that the arms played an important part in old Irish dancing. I saw an old man dancing at a country celebration. His style was traditional if anything ever was. He was certainly a splendid dancer. His arms swung rose and fell in rhythmic motion and the effect was admirable. He certainly reached my conception of what an Irish dancer should be. I should like to see this point authoratively decided38 36 An Claidheamh Soluis 26.5.1900. 37 The Leader 31.5.1902. 38 The Western People 11.6.1904. There is no way of knowing what if anything he knew of English step-dancing. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 132 The Irish Jig - Leading off Double. A commercial picture postcard produced in Dublin postmarked 1907. Reg Hall Collection Mens step-dance competition at an outdoor feis Killorglin Co. Kerry before the Great War. photo Cork Examiner By 1907 the Oireachtas prospectus reflected some acknowledgement of these criticisms and prescribed that In all the dancing Competitions the steps are to be genuinely Irish innovations such as Lancashire clog and barrack-room dances being excluded. Within the Gaelic League there was a minority informed view of what constituted authentic Irish step- Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 133 dance and for example the judges at the 1900 Oireachtas did not award a prize for the Irish jig single or hop jig to any of the six entries because of their inauthentic style. They approved however when By request of members of the audience an exhibition in Irish dancing was given by Messrs. Patrick Archer Dublin OLooney London and Ward Tory Island Co. Donegal who were loudly applauded.39 Two of them Patrick Archer editor of An Claidheamh Soluis and Liam OLooney were dedicated revivalists who had learned or at least improved their step-dancing in the London Gaelic League dancing class and the third James Ward from Tory Island County Donegal was most probably a rural domestic dancer. Yet as late as 1901 the Oireachtas committee was employing the language of the theatre and mainstream dance academies when it referred to the Irish jig as opposed to the jig and the Gaelic press even accepted an advertisement as late as 1904 for a display of the Irish jig presented by a hundred pupils of Professor and Madame DVine almost certainly in nineteenth-century theatrical style at the academys annual St. Patricks Ball in the Rotunda.40 An Claidheamh Soluis 12 March 1904 The Journal of the Leinster Regiment July 1910 In 1902 aware of its lack of knowledge and policy the Oireachtas committee commissioned an inquiry into the nature of Irish dance but even after the commission had presented its confused and confusing findings the League continued to organise dance competitions without devising criteria by which competitive performance could be judged. In many feiseanna for example at Dungarvan in County Waterford and Miltown Malbay in County Clare in 1899 and at the Oireachtas the preliminary qualifying criterion had nothing to do with dance at all but had been a conversation test in Gaelic. The conservation of step-dance skill and repertory very soon gave way to disseminating the limited skill and repertory available to the Gaelic League to its members and supporters. Competitive step-dancing of the Cork school had been a male adolescent and adult preserve taught by artisan dance teachers. However at the tail-end of the nineteenth century dancing 39 An Claidheamh Soluis 26.5.1900. 40 An Claidheamh Soluis 12 March 1904. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 134 was being taught at Cork Pipers Club meetings in Marlboro Street to male and female adults adolescents and children establishing a practice that was to be adopted by Gaelic League branches increasingly during the first decade of the century. This shift of ownership of step-dancing was highlighted as early as 1902 by Daniel ODriscolls complaint in The Leader about the step-dancing competitions at the Oireachtas Little girls in their teens were put to dance in the All-Ireland double jig competition and one of the former got the first prize although I fail to see why or on what grounds considering there were some splendid jig dancers who came up to waste their energy.41 The Gaelic League employed some dance instructors such as the Sligo step-dancer and fiddle player James Morrison who taught a local Connacht rural style in Mayo Sligo and Leitrim from 1910 to at least 1912.42 Others however set up on their own and while they subscribed to the values of the Gaelic revival teaching dance provided them with a supplementary income. The Gaelic Leagues public promotion of step-dancing was at feiseanna where various competitions were included in most programmes for cash prizes. The repertory was very limited with the double jig being standard the hornpipe being quite common the reel a relative rarity and set-dances almost unheard of except in County Cork.43 Many districts were actually reputed within the Gaelic League to have had poor repertories of steps and rhythms and low standards of performance. Looking back to the turn of the century Frank Healy wrote in the Cork Weekly Examiner on 9th June 1934 Thirty or more years ago there were very few Irish dancers in Dublin and fewer still in Belfast... Ten years ago there were so few dancers in Ulster that it could aptly be said One small head could carry all they knew and a small area would hold them all. Conservationism achieved some initial success but was soon marginalised as a concept as the Gaelic revival evolved its own repertory and performance skills and it only came into its own again in the 1950s with the field recording efforts of Radio ireann and the general activities of Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann. Sean-nos singing continuing in decline in rural domestic settings was never established as a lasting or widespread Gaelic League activity. Union piping and step-dancing however were given a new lease of life by the Leagues attention. In the process of popularisation however there was a drastic shift in ownership and social function as piping passed from rural tradesman as a means of livelihood to members of the urban lower middle class and upper working class as a leisure pursuit. Similarly step-dancing passed from being a largely adult male rural activity to being one dominated by young urban females. Antiquarianism was concerned with constructing national icons and images of Irishness. The success of the revival movement required a Gaelic history ideologically sound and widely accepted that would authenticate Gaelic revival values and activities values. Lyons argues that the Reformation characterised Protestantism as civilised and Irish Catholicism as barbaric and in order to counter this persistent dominant idea the Irish constructed a consoling image... of an ancient civilisation as their lost heritage. They needed an heroic cultural pedigree and Lyons continues they created a notion of history where what had actually 41 The Leader 31.5.1902. 42 Harry Bradshaw cassette insert notes James Morrison The Professor Dublin Viva Voce 001 1989 p.3. 43 For example there was no reel competition at Dungarvan Feis in 1899 announced in An Claidheamh Soluis 9.12.1899. There was a rare competition for the set-dance The Blackbird at Iveragh Feis in 1914 announced in The Killarney Echo and South Kerry Chronicle 18.7.1914. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 135 happened seemed lost in the swirling mists of nostalgia and mythology.44 Conventional Gaelic revivalist belief emerging from this mentality constructed a romantic history of a pre- colonial Golden Age dominated by chieftains warriors and bards. The Gaelic League set about reconstructing Irelands lost heritage by variously resuscitating reconstructing and inventing national symbols in the field of music and dance. Where living memory and historical texts were unable to contribute to the reconstruction gaps were filled by recourse to the Scots and Welsh perceived as Celtic kin who were actually generations ahead of them in inventing national traditions.45 Most notable among these national icons were figure dancing the war pipes or piob mor national costume and the Irish harp and they will be discussed separately and in that order. Figure dancing such as the four-hand jig four-hand reel eight-hand jig and eight-hand reel appeared early in the twentieth century as competitive exhibition dancing at feiseanna and as social dancing at Gaelic revival meetings. This form of dance was created by members of the Gaelic League in London and is discussed further on under the heading The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. Irish dancing as step-dancing and figure dancing were called within the revival was promoted as both a living art and an antique survival. Even as they entered popular culture between the wars there was always an aura of antiquarianism about the Leagues presentation particularly after Independence when they were displayed in international settings as symbols of Irish nationhood. The Irish war-pipes movement is said to have originated in the militia in the 1880s46 although there were precedents in the Army with unsubstantiated but unchallenged reports of Irish military pipers in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Royal Tyrone Fusiliers appointed pipers around 1859 and in 1864 the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers had a combination pipe.47 The 87th Regiment the old Faugh-a-Ballahs while stationed at Aldershot in 1864 had a piper who played the combination-pipe a pipe which could be played as the present Irish pipe is played or like the old Irish warpipe. The piper had been a sergeant in the regiment.48 The Morning Post carried the following report in its edition of 26 May 1885 The drones of the Scotch pipes are spread like a fan and have streamers while on the contrary the Irish have drones strung close together and carry no streamers. These war pipes are not often seen now and form part of the band of the old Royal Tyrone Fusiliers now 4th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at present training at the Curragh which we believe is the only Irish Regiment that has adopted this form of ancient music.49 The band was reported at camp in 189250 and a further report of eight pipers appeared in 1896.51 There is a contemporary report from 1898 of pipers of the 4th battalion being stationed at the regimental depot in Omagh County Tyrone and that band was still functioning in 44 Lyons Culture and Anarchy p.11 p.13. 45 See Trevor-Roper Invention of Tradition Payne Welsh Peasant Costume. 46 Michael Flanagan On the Present Day Condition of Music Brought about by the Recent Irish Revival in Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels and Musicians Chicago 1913 p.467. 47 Ian Hook The Irish Pipes Origins and Dress in Elizabeth Talbot Rice Alan Guy eds. Army Museum 85 London National Army Museum 1986 pp.15-6. This refers to The Regiment 5.12.1896 p.135 and corrects William H Gratton Flood The Story of the Bagpipe London Walter Scott 1911 p.197. 48 Huddersfield Chronicle 1.12.1896. This probably means the bag could be filled either by bellows or by mouth. 49 See also letter in The Irish Times 25.5.1885 reprinted in Celtic Times 1887 and An Claidheamh Soluis 20.5.1899. 50 Belfast News-Letter 20.5.1892. 51 The Regiment 5.12.1896 p.135 quoted in Hook Irish Pipes p.18. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 136 1910.52 Colonel George Cox commanding officer of the 2nd battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers from 1887 to 1891 presented his battalion with eight sets of bagpipes. These were modelled on the sixteenth-century piob mor presumably based on the illustrations in John Derricks Image of Irelande 1581.53 By 1910 the pipe band of the 5th battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers had been disbanded and its instruments passed to the Royal Garrison Artillery in Waterford.54 However the 1st battalion had a band of six pipers and three drummers in Trimulgerry in India in 1913.55 The exact nature of the earliest Gaelic revival pipers bands is not known. A general formation emerged comprising a number of pipers in a band uniform playing in unison supported by side drums tenor drums and a bass drum and directed by a pipe-major a drum- major and a mace-bearer with various trappings. Some later enthusiasts for the war pipes such as Orpen-Palmer and Gratton Flood chose to view this beginning as inspired by the Gaelic revival. The roots however were without any doubt in the military tradition of officers providing a band for ceremonial parades at their own expense for the splendour of the regiment and the model was very clearly that of the standard Scottish Highland regimental pipe band. Derricks Image of Irelande had been reprinted in 1883 and the illustrations of sixteenth century Irish military bagpipes with two drones as opposed to the three drones of the Highland bagpipe aroused some antiquarian interest. It was taken as the historical precedent for a modified distinctively Irish bagpipe based on the Highland pipes with one bass and one tenor drone instead of one bass and two tenor drones. Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Castletown having consulted John Hingston of Trinity College an acknowledged expert on the pipes56 presented the 4th battalion of the Leinster Regiment in 1903 with sets of specially made two-drone bagpipes.57 Through the enthusiasm of a junior lieutenant G. de M. H. Orpen-Palmer a band was formed in the 1st battalion of the Leinster Regiment and paraded for the first time on St. Patricks Day in 1909 and the 2nd battalion followed suit in 1910.58 The 2nd battalion of the Dublin Fusiliers and the 3rd battalion of the 18th Royal Irish later formed regimental pipe bands59 and at least by the time of the Great War the Munster Regiment and the Irish Guards had regimental pipers.60 52 The Sprig of Shillelagh A Monthly Journal of the 27th Inniskilling 1.12.1898 p.65 Lieut. G. de M. H. Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes in Journal of the Leinster Regiment vol.1 no.3 April 1910 p.230 Flood Bagpipe p.214. R. G. Harris The Irish Regiments A Pictorial History 1683-1987 Tunbridge Wells Nutshell Publishing 1989 p.127 has a photograph of six pipers from the Regimental Depot Omagh at the Bournemouth Centenary Fete 6-16 July 1910 described as the first appearance of regimental pipers outside Ireland. The event was reported in The Daily Telegraph 7.7.1910 quoted in R. G. Harris The Irish Regiments A Pictorial History 1683-1987 Tunbridge Wells Nutshell 1989 p.132. 53 Flood Bagpipe p.197 Hook The Irish Pipes p.16. 54 Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.230 Flood Bagpipe p.214. 55 Flanagan in ONeill Irish Minstrels p.467. 56 Flanagan in ONeill Irish Minstrels p.467. 57 Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.230 Flood Bagpipe p.214. 58 Army List September-October 1909 Journal of the Leinster Regiment I 3 p.50 Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.230 Flood Bagpipe p.214. 59 Flood Bagpipe p.214. 60 Cork Weekly Examiner 9.1.1915 Rudyard Kipling The Irish Guards in the Great War I London Macmillan 1923 p.215. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 137 The Pipers and Drums of the 1st Leinster Regiment. The Journal of the Leinster Regiment October 1909 In parallel with the development of the bagpipe movement in the army the war pipes were adopted in the mainstream of the Gaelic revival as a consequence of the pioneering zeal of Sean Wayland of the Pipers Club in Cork members of the Dublin Pipers Club and Francis Joseph Bigger in Belfast.61 Their place in the Gaelic Leagues scheme of things was acknowledged as early as 1897 at the first Feis Ceoil in Dublin. After that date most feiseanna included a competition for pipers directed at solo musicians but the tendency in the field was towards the formation of pipers bands. The organisation of such bands which involved leadership and recruitment the expense of instruments and uniforms tuition and development of repertory the creation and exploitation of appropriate official functions and promotion of an acceptable image to the public was embraced by the nationalist and Gaelic movements. It should be noted however that pipe bands were already established in the north as an alternative to flute bands in the Orange lodges. By 1910 when a small secondary literature on the subject first appeared there were perhaps twenty such bands spread throughout the country62 and two years later Michael O Duibhginn of the Dublin Pipers Club wrote in the Gaelic press that pipers are to be numbered by the score if not by the hundred and Pipe Bands are springing up like mushrooms in the large towns in the villages and in most unlikely country places.63 A decade or so later Billy Andrews wrote about the early days About 1910 the late Mr. Edward Martyn who was a generous subscriber to and President of the Dublin Pipers Club presented a trophy to the Gaelic League called the Edward Martyn Cup for annual competition at the Oireachtas for the Pipe Band Championship of Ireland. This competition gave a great fillip to correct pipe-playing. The adjudicator was supplied by the Gaelic League of Scotland and was himself a first-class Piper whose criticisms and awards were of great benefit to the competitors. The band which I had formed in connection with the Dublin Pipers Club at the suggestion of the late Eamonn Ceannt who was then secretary of the club won the championship for the first two years. We attributed our success to the attention we gave to the proper fingering of the Chanter. Being a player of the Uillean Pipes I had realized the necessity of this care early and having got in touch with a Pipe Corporal in the Cameron Highlanders a true Gael from the Isle of Skye I got the necessary instruction from him which I was later able to impart to the members of my band.64 61 Michael O Duibhginn in An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1912. 62 O Duibhginn in An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1912 Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.230. 63 An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1912. 64 Liam Mac Andrieu in McCulloughs Irish Warpipe Tutor and Tune Book McCulloughs Dublin Belfast early 1920s. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 138 Cork Pipers Club. Cork Weekly Examiner 28 March 1914 In addition to the pipers band competition at the Oireachtas the Band Championship of Ireland was introduced at the first Athletic Carnival in Dublin in 1910 and these two events were combined for a piping gala held at the arena in Joness Road Dublin on 30th June 1912 at which over a dozen bands competed. Francis J. Bigger an energetic and influential activist in the piping world proposed a meeting of pipers to take place on that day and it was reported that It was unanimously decided that a Pipers League for the Piob Mor be formed all the members to be speakers or students of Irish speaking Irish on all occasions and as far as possible wearing national costume made in Ireland of Irish material. A discussion took place on the music to be played and it was decided to play Gaelic music which is intended to include the music of Scotland as well as Ireland.65 The original concept of the war-pipes movement was to recreate something Irish but of necessity participants in the movement had to turn to the Scots for tuition technique and repertory and the manufacture and supply of instruments. Two drones instead of three made a national distinction between Irish and Scottish pipes and there was continuing discussion in the Gaelic press about the authenticity of the two-drone Irish pipes. Michael Flanagan a revivalist union piper described them disparagingly as an inferior imitation of the great Highland pipe.66 His view was supported by Eamonn Ceannt of the Dublin Pipers Club who advocated the use of three drones on aesthetic grounds as he considered that two tenors were required to balance the bass. The Dublin Pipers Club finally made a decision reported by Eamonn Ceannt in the Gaelic press in August 1910 to use three-drone pipes. They also deplored the use in some bands of small-sized pipes reel pipes that were designed for indoor playing for dancing.67 They had been bought primarily because they were cheaper than the full-size model and clearly they were not going to be replaced immediately. Two years later Michael O Duibhginn made his point in the paper that their poor tone and lack of volume outdoors let the movement down.68 Sean Wayland of the Cork Pipers Club however stuck rigidly to his view of the authenticity of two-drone pipes.69 65 An Claidheamh Soluis 6.7.1912. 66 Flanagan in ONeill Irish Minstrels p.467. 67 An Claidheamh Soluis 27.8.1910. 68 An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1912. 69 P. J. Jones in Cork Weekly Examiner 4.5.1935. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 139 The Killarney Pipe Band Co. Kerry 1912. Lusk Irish Pipers Band Killarney Co. Kerry 1918. Irish Pipe Band Association 70 Gorey Irish Pipers Band. Co. Wexford 1912. Irish Pipe Band Association In 1911 William Walsh and David Glen published Irish Tunes for the Scottish and Irish War-pipes in Edinburgh and bearing in mind a connection between Glen and Bigger this 70 Standing L-R Charlie Heston Dick McCardle John Devine Matt Kelly Jack McNally Pat Kelly Willie Meehan seated L-R Dickie Aungier Paddy Doyle Pat Endell Frank Murphy Matt McCann. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 140 might at least have been used by the Ulster bands. Orpen-Palmers Irish Airs for the War Pipes compiled from an army band perspective in 1913 was not well received by Seamus Mac Aonghusa James Ennis Seamus Enniss father of the Dublin Pipers Club who in a newspaper review of the book took the view opposed to that of Orpen-Palmer. Mac Aonghusa considered that attention to authenticity and antecedents should be shelved while the movement got down to practical issues of performance.71 By 1911 the advice of the Dublin Pipers Club to pipers was to use a Scottish printed tutor and to listen to Scottish pipers whenever possible72 and the previous year Eamonn Ceannt had gone so far as writing in the Gaelic press that I personally favour a closer union with the Scots and the open annexation of all that is desirable in their pipe music folk song literature and dress.73 This all seems rather late in the day as the Pipers Club minute book shows that as early as 1903 they were negotiating with the pipe major of the Seaforth Highlanders to undertake tuition at the club. In support of the Pipers Club policy ONeill wrote of the war pipes in 1913 if its popularity is to stand the test of time its music and system of execution must be standardized like the Scotch and not left to individual whim or capacity. This can best be done by the engagement of competent Scotch instructors who as a result of the accumulated skill of generations have attained the acme of execution and efficiency...74 G. Butler Sons long-established musical-instrument makers and suppliers in Dublin sold war pipes at 3.12s. a set and in the firms letter to An Claidheamh Soluis on 18th June 1910 claimed they had sold thirty-five sets in a month. It was realised within the movement however that Butler sold only pipes made in Scotland and England and a campaign was mounted in the Gaelic press to avoid imported pipes and to establish makers based in Ireland.75 Pipe-Major MacKenzie a Scotsman set up a pipe-making shop in Dublin at sometime before the 1916 Easter Rising and left the city immediately after it. Daniel McCullough at the suggestion of Francis J. Bigger however had been manufacturing Irish war pipes in Belfast under the direction of David Glen of Edinburgh since about 1900 and after the Treaty he moved his firm to Dublin.76 Irish Freedom May 1913 The ideas behind the adoption of national costume as an icon of Irishness were bound up with a proposed fundamentalist restructuring of Irish society. Distinctive dress was considered 71 An Claidheamh Soluis 2.8.1913. 72 Ceannt in An Claidheamh Soluis 16.9.1911 O Duibhginn in An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1912. 73 An Claidheamh Soluis 27.8.1910. 74 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.478. 75 An Claidheamh Soluis 25.6.1910 2.7.1910 16.7.1910 30.7.1910 An Domnallach in An Claidheamh Soluis 10.12.1910. 76 Roderick D. Cannon A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music Edinburgh John Donald 1980 p.279 refers to Piping Times September 1970 Billy Andrews Liam Mac Andrieu in McCulloughs Irish Warpipes Tutor and Tune Book Dublin McCullough nd 1920s introduction unpaginated. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 141 one important criterion for defining nationhood home-produced fabrics and home-designed fashions would contribute to a national economic renewal and not least the wearing of national costume would make an anti-English political statement. National dress was linked by association with Irelands glorious past with the manly virtues of physical health and development and one advocate Proinnsias Aodh Paor Frank Power wrote in a letter to the Gaelic press in 1907 Back to a rational national costume should be the cry of our young men who for too long have been sneaking along the road to national and physical degeneracy... It is a shame for us who prate so much about racial difference to be wearing on all occasions the breeches and other unsanitary monstrosities that John Bull in his zeal for our welfare foisted upon us.77 Mac Fionngall was revealed as more of a realist in a letter he had written eight years previously I am not such an enthusiast as to have a dream of having our ancient dress restored to common use in Ireland that is out of the question but I do hope to see the day when it will be worn by our pipers and our dancers and also by the officials and competitors at the Feis Ceoil the Oireachtas and such like national gatherings throughout the land.78 There was no form of distinctive national dress extant and antiquity was to provide models in the form of the dress of kings chiefs and clansmen from the vague dimness of the past. The contemporary Merrie England movement with its pageants and dubious recreations of mediaeval costume music and dance was clearly play-acting but for Francis J. Bigger and Sean Wayland the reintroduction of an archaic national dress was a serious matter though their prototype versions bordered dangerously on fancy dress. They focussed their attention on pipers and during the first decade of the century many pipers bands turned out in some combination of loose tunics down to the knees hose cross-laced leggings skullcaps floppy hats cloaks and capes ornamented with Celtic embroidery. The first were probably the pipers of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Fusilliers in 189679 and in 1908 the Cork Pipers Club Band appeared in Dublin in what was described as 5th century costume.80 77 An Claidheamh Soluis 14.9.1907. 78 An Claidheamh Soluis 29.4.1899. 79 Daily Sketch unprovenanced 1896 described in Hook Irish Pipes p.18. 80 An Claidheamh Soluis 1.8.1908. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 142 No information. Irish Piper in National Costume. unidentified The Armagh Pipers Band costume designed by publication credited to F. J. Bigger courtesy F. J. Bigger. Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society Enniscorthy Museum of London October 1908 Scotland again provided a more dominant alternative model in the uniforms of the Highland regiments and enthusiasts argued about how to turn Scottish accoutrements including the kilt into authentic Irish ones. In 1906 an Irish Costume Association was formed and it was Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 143 reported in 1906 that about a score of young Gaels in various parts of the country habitually or occasionally sport the kilt.81 National costume of various designs emerged during this period some particularly those of the arty set reflecting images of the arts and crafts movement but mostly the kilt and associated trappings were worn by pipers and a handful of Gaelic League hard-liners. Male step-dancers performing on the concert stage or competing in feiseanna at this period wore a white shirt and tie black breeches boots and a distinctively Irish green sash while female step-dancers and figure dancers customarily wore a white dress and a green sash. As early as 1914 at a Gaelic Athletic Association concert in Cahirciveen County Kerry it was reported in the local newspaper that Mr. T. Chambers in old Irish costume danced a hornpipe...82 but it was really only after Independence that dancing costumes began to be devised as national costume. Francis J. Bigger in his introduction to McCulloughs Irish Warpipes Tutor and Tune Book published in Dublin and Belfast in the early 1920s summed up some common sentiments within the Gaelic revival about national costume and the war pipes when he wrote The increase of pipers bands arrayed in Irish dress is much to be desired in every city town and parish of our native land. To inspire youth with a national spirit to give them a noble bearing on the march in the playing field or on solemn and sad occasions to instruct them in the full flavour of our rich Gaelic music is surely a desire that should receive every encouragement from every spring of the nations life. Since the concert harp was already a symbol of Irishness to the British middle class the Gaelic revival needed to recover the harp as its own with a specifically Irish harp and an ancient repertory. There had been no living exponents of the Irish harp tradition for eighty years83 and the continuity of practice had been broken beyond living memory. However some of the repertory and playing technique had been documented84 and a modern Tutor for the Irish Harp written by M. A. C. was published in 1903 and reproduction wire-strung Irish harps were offered for sale by rival instrument-makers The Celtic Harp Company in Belfast and James MacFall in Dublin at least by 1902 and 1905 respectively.85 The reconstructed instrument however did not take on and revivalists resorted to the use of the concert harp and the techniques of the music academy. Its chief exponent was Owen Lloyd a teacher at Padraig Pearses Irish-Ireland St. Endas school in Dublin and he satisfied the demand for the presence of the harp at the first Oireachtas in 1897 and for many subsequent years though at a concert in Rathmines in 1903 he also played the Ancient Irish Harp. 81 An Claidheamh Soluis 14.4.1906. 82 The Killarney Echo 21.3.1914. 83 One of the last known references is to Miss OReilly a harper mentioned in public performance in The Freemans Journal and National Press 31.3.1816. 84 For an account of the activities of the Society for the Revival of the Irish Harp see The Freemans Journal and National Press 12.2.1810. 85 Celtic Harp Co Belfast An Claidheamh Soluis 3.12.1904. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 144 An Cliadheamh Soluis 7 January 1905 An Cliadheamh Soluis 28 January 1905 An Cliadheamh Soluis January 1903 In this exploration of the Gaelic revival three strands have been identified conservationism fostering surviving Irish culture antiquarianism the revival or invention of extinct Irish culture and the expression of Irish ethnicity through the medium of the Euro-British bourgeois cultural tradition. These three strands appear to have co-existed without any great ideological clash. Their advocates often with a foot in each camp co-operated in a shared understanding that as the movement progressed the culture of the Irish at large would become more exclusively and recognisably Irish. Co-operation there may have been but not without the expression of some opposing views. A broad debate established at the turn of the Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 145 century centred on the authenticity and validity of performance by Gaelic League artists and turned on the issues of traditionalism and ethnicity. The criteria for presentation and adjudication at competition level exercised the minds of the Music and Art Sub-Committee of Oireachtas in 1902 and recognising the opposing arguments resolved that in the present state... the question as to what is characteristic of an Irish style of singing be left to the adjudicators in the singing competitions.86 W. H. Gratton Flood a music academic and the Gaelic singer Seamus Clandillon approached the same sub-committee the following year about establishing a standard style of singing by competitors87 and apparently found no accommodation. This avoidance of decision-making left competitors and adjudicators to their own devises and inevitably brought some of them in conflict with each other resulting in a flurry of indignation at the 1905 Oireachtas when some competitors were disqualified as a consequence of their chosen performance style. The pages of An Claidheamh Soluis took up the debate with first Peter P. Walsh advocating that Gaelic singing within the conventions of European art music although he did not phrase it like that should be approved of and that criteria for competition should be worked out.88 In response to that Gratton Flood made it known that he disapproved of part-singing and harmonised accompaniment in Gaelic song as being non-traditional.89 Florence Maguire writing from Claremorris in County Mayo argued for acceptance of choral harmony on the grounds of its value in the musical education of children and for some notion of progress and development.90 Eamon Ceannt saw the issue simply that group singing in unison is traditional and group singing in harmony is not. He went on to express a view that was at the heart of Gaelic revivalism a comment that illustrates how out of touch Gaelic Leaguers were generally with the culture of the rural working population and how self-righteous they were as the self-appointed saviours of Irish culture. He wrote that he took for granted that traditional that is Irish singing will henceforth be cultivated almost exclusively in Gaelic circles...91 By Gaelic circles he meant of course the Gaelic League. Editorial comment in An Claidheamh Soluis in June 1906 argued a more mature reasoned view that was perhaps lacking in earlier discussion traditionalism is not essentially Irish. One finds a traditional mode of singing and a traditional mode of reciting in every land in which there is an unspoilt peasantry... The traditional style is not the Irish way of singing or declaiming but the peasant way it is not and never has been the possession of the nation at large but only in a class of a nation...... This is not written by way of decrying traditionalism. Quite the contrary. Its object is simply to put those capable of dealing with the subject from the technical standpoint on the right track which they have not been on up to the present. They have seen in the traditional style the dbris of an antique native culture. We see in it simply a peasant convention which in its essentials is accepted by the folk everywhere... Thus it comes that the only arts which have survived to us from Irelands past are peasant arts just as the only Irish speech which is living to-day is a peasant speech. And those who would build up a great national art an art capable of expressing the soul of the whole nation peasant and non-peasant must do even as we propose to do with regard the language they must take what the peasants have to give them and develop it... We hope that traditional singing and traditional recitation exactly as we know them will always be heard in Ireland by cottage fires in the winter evenings. We would not have them on the stages of great theatres we would not bring them into the brawl of cities. Not that they are not worthy to be heard in the high places of art but that they demand for their fitting rendering and their fitting appreciation an attitude of mind on the part both 86 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.8.1902. 87 An Claidheamh Soluis ..190 88 An Claidheamh Soluis 26.8.1905. 89 An Claidheamh Soluis 2.9.1905. 90 An Claidheamh Soluis 2.9.1905. 91 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.9.1905. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 146 of artist and of audience which is possible only in the light of a turf fire blazing on an earthen floor. They are of the countrysides and for the countrysides let us keep them in the countrysides. To transplant them were to kill them. We hope in the second place that an art culture distinctively Irish will grow up in the land... Our artists we refer in particular to singers and reciters must imbibe their Irishism from the peasants since the peasants alone possess Irishism but they need not and must not adopt any of the peasant conventions. Duly impregnated with an Irish spirit duly in tune with the soul of Ireland they need not be afraid of modern culture.92 It was argued by some that Irish trained concert artists could be trusted to construct an Irish art-form from Irish rural material while others underlining those performers roots in European art music challenged their musical values and authority.93 The alternative of presenting rural singers and musicians to revivalist concert audiences was fraught with difficulties and was thus out of the question but a few pondered on whether Gaelic League members should or could adopt rural performance techniques. A small minority of activists Seamus Clandillon among them had high regard for rural singing and endeavoured to promote it within Gaelic League circles whereas other influential revivalists such as Arthur Darley and Patrick OShea argued that rural musicians and singers were technically incompetent because they were untutored and unskilled.94 There was a body of opinion expressed in the An Claidheamh Soluis editorial of June 1906 already quoted that held that rural music-making practice was not transferable to the concert platform. Much later the notion was expressed in the Gaelic press that concert artists should not be expected to assume rural singing techniques.95 Seamus Clandillon however performed successfully on the concert stage modifying techniques he had learned from domestic rural singers and he was quick to answer the editorial of June 1906 the following week advocating that young singers should Learn the peoples methods learn their utter forgetfulness of self in their singing learn their intense power of expression and their reverence for the words they express and be very careful what you discard... Of course if your tutor is an old work-worn man or woman with a cracked voice you should not endeavour to reproduce the effects of old age and infirmity. Otherwise... stick to your model. He will bring you every day nearer and nearer to the heart of Gaeldom.96 Arthur Darley and Patrick OShea were professional musicians with too much to lose if they conceded that their conservatoire techniques were inappropriate for the performance of Irish music. They advocated that rural source material should be mediated by the musically educated and given that both the source and the mediation process were Irish the end product would inevitably be Irish. Their concern perhaps compromised by their vested interest was Irish ethnicity rather than cultural authenticity. In support of this was the notion of the universal laws of music that were more correctly the invented laws of western art music. A partly anonymous correspondent OD had already in 1903 advanced the argument in an article A Plea for the Advancement of Irish Music that as art cannot be restrained by 92 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.6.1906. 93 For a challenge to the values of trained musicians see Encouraging Irish Music by plain piper in The Irishman July 1912. 94 For examples of positive regard for rural Gaelic singing see Father H. Berwerunge in Leader 15.3.1902 12 26.4.1902 Thomas Hayes in Leader 22.3.1902 Edward Martyn in An Claidheamh Soluis 23.8.1902 An Claidheamh Soluis 16.6.1906 Eilis ni Maeleagain in An Claidheamh Soluis 30.7.1910 An Claidheamh Soluis 30.7.1910 4.3.1911 11.1.1913 Impressions of the Feis at Ardmore in The Waterford Star 12.8.1899. For examples of negative regard for rural music- making see Patrick OShea in Leader 8.3.1902 Peter P. Walsh in An Claidheamh Soluis 26.8.1905 2.9.1905 Annie M. Stoer in An Claidheamh Soluis 16.9.1905 Arthur Darley reported in The Freemans Journal and National Press 21.10.1908 in An Claidheamh Soluis 20.11.1909. 95 An Claidheamh Soluis 30.7.1910. 96 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.6.1906. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 147 prohibitions Irish music must inevitably develop within the discipline of European art music.97 The discussion went under cover as far as the printed word is concerned but it stirred again in the Gaelic press in July 1910 However experts may differ regarding the traditional singing and pipe and fiddle playing it is undisputed that the traditional musicians have saved our old tunes. For this reason if for no other they deserve our support and attention. The exponents of the traditional style if style there be must not be condemned because some modern musicians do not believe in them. Some day a gifted and skilled traditional musician may arise to explain and defend the style the merits of which are now disputed.98 Presumably this editorial comment was a preface to the conference on traditional singing scheduled in the Oireachtas programme for 3rd August 1910. The Gaelic press was remarkably silent on the outcome save for an item many months later in March 1911 in which it was advocated that efforts should be made to support old style native-Irish singers in rural parts. It mentioned that the committee of the Feis Cheoil in Tuam County Galway were making positive arrangement to do just that.99 A year later in July 1912 an anonymous correspondent identifying himself as A Plain Piper wrote to a London newspaper The Irishman. He put forward a view strongly in favour the rural performer and against the academic musician a view that has had a powerful resonance until the present day. ...let us expect nothing from the cultured musicians around us to-day. They did nothing in the past. With a few noble exceptions they will do nothing now. Their pride or prejudice their whole training or tradition are against. Whatever we wish to see done to keep what is left us of our heritage we must do ourselves. And let us remember that the mere noting down of airs will not preserve our music. In spite of all our learned friends tell us we more especially those of us who happen to be pipers or fiddlers or singers cannot blind ourselves to the fact that there is something in Irish music which defies notation something intangible indescribable which no signs we have yet designed can commit to paper something which denies itself to all but those who approach it with love and sympathy which seems to deny itself above all to those who approach it from the heights condescendingly grudgingly patronisingly. And this is a thing which our great Irish artists vocalists pianists violinists will not believe. Tell them that they cannot absolutely cannot sing or play Irish music They are astounded None the less it is so. They may question our judgment but we country singers pipers fiddlers know that what we say is true. They cannot sing or play Irish music. We have heard them heard them all and we know. They sing or they play the cold notes tunefully correctly in proper order but the spirit the music escapes them. That is what we have inherited from our fathers who made it and if they want it they must seek it as we have sought it. The adjective traditional came into general usage in this context at this time and while the noun tradition was never defined the adjective implied something ancient and genuine. For some including the Dublin Pipers Club the word traditional described the repertory and performance styles of the rural working population which is close to modern popular and ethno-musicological meanings.100 For others it qualified an historical reconstruction or a collected piece set down on paper or a newly composed pastiche or simply a Gaelic song sung unaccompanied as opposed to the same song and singer accompanied by a pianist. The historical record is thus unfortunately generally unclear about the nature of early Gaelic League music and dance practice that was labelled at the time as traditional. The League never resolved the debate satisfactorily. It embraced the notion of tradition as an ingredient in its own authenticity and it was inhibited from applying it to anything of English or 97 An Claidheamh Soluis 31.1.1903 4.2.1903. 98 An Claidheamh Soluis 16.7.1910. 99 An Claidheamh Soluis 4.3.1911. 100 Breathnach First Pipers Club 4 March 1970 pp.2-5 see Impressions of the Feis at Ardmore in The Waterford Star 12.8.1899 Thomas Hayes in The Leader 22.3.1902. See Traditionalism in An Claidheamh Soluis 9.6.1906. Part 2 The Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 7 Gaelic Revival Ideology and Its Practice in Ireland 1880-1914. Page 148 European origin. Inevitably fundamentalism triumphed over rationality in the Leagues censorship policies and as a consequence the League proscribed many aspects of music and dance practice of the rural and urban working populations. The meaning of the word traditional in relation to Irish traditional music was reasonably well understood from 1950 to about 1970 to mean music played and sung by people from the rural working population tradition of music-making. It is still held to mean that by many but since about 1970 and particularly from about 1990 the term has began to take on the meaning of anything musical from Ireland101 101 A wide divergence of meaning is represented by the contributors to Crosbhealach an Cheoil The Crossroads Conference 1996 Tradition Change in Irish Traditional Music eds. Fintan Valley Hammy Hamilton Eithne Valley Liz Doherty Dublin Winstone Music 1996. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 149 CHAPTER 8 THE GAELIC REVIVAL IN LONDON 1890- 19141 The Gaelic revival operated in London through a number of Irish-Ireland organisations inter- related by some common membership and shared aims. These were the Southwark Irish Literary Club founded in 1883 by Francis A. Fahy the Gaelic Athletic Association 1884 the Irish Literary Society of London 1891 which grew out of the Southwark Irish Literary Club the Irish Texts Society 18956 and the Gaelic League 1896. The Celtic Society of London 1872 was probably the first such organisation with lofty ambitions of Gaelic scholarship and unity but it appears to have disappeared from the record before the others were formed. The Irish Folk Song Society of London 1904 leaning more towards the Establishment than Irish-Ireland was also part of this network. Each society was constructed on a conventional constitution of published rules formal membership and elected officers and committees. Many pioneers in the movement brought with them experience of radical political activity in the Home Rule Association the Irish National Land League of Great Britain the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Amnesty Association of Great Britain. The Irish National Land League of Great Britain had established in a policy decision of 1885 an important working principle that the success of their movement was dependent upon a membership partly sustained by social activities within its branches such as concerts balls sporting clubs and picnics and this principle was carried forward by the organisations of the Gaelic revival.2 The main organisation concerned with music and dance was the Gaelic League. Its initial formation in 1894 by Douglas Hyde president and Francis A. Fahy secretary under the auspices of the Irish Literary Society of London was abortive. Some months later on 9th October 1896 it was re-formed as a branch affiliated to the Gaelic League in Dublin. Its committee the Ard-Choisde consisted of Francis A. Fahy president3 Dr. J. P. Henry vice- president John OSullivan treasurer Fionn Mac Coluim honorary secretary T. Santry assistant secretary Maggie Ryan J. G. OKeeffe P. T. Carroll Stephen MacKenna and J. Savage. A second branch at Forest Gate in East London was affiliated separately to Dublin in November 1897 and was absorbed into the London branch in the autumn of 1904. Its original committee consisted of Thomas Flannelly president Una McFadden and Dennis Doyle vice- presidents Dennis Leehan treasurer John OKeane and Patrick Archer honorary secretaries John OKiersey Tadhg MacSweeney and Kathleen ODineen. Many pioneer members some creative activists among them were destined for better and higher things.4 1 Much of this chapter has been constructed from notices and reports of activities in the Gaelic press An Claidheamh Soluis United Ireland Inis Fail Eire-Ireland Gaelic Athlete The Irishman Irish Exile. References are not given to substantiate documented fact such as the date location and nature of events. 2 The Nation 20.7.1872 Maureen McLoughlin Teaching of the Irish Language in London M. A. thesis University of Ulster 1985 p.32 Michael Bowes manuscript Dublin 1986 in Fionn Mac Coluim papers University College Dublin Alan ODay The Political Organisation of the Irish in Britain in Roger Swift and Sheridan Gilley The Irish in Britain 1815-1939 London Pinter 1989 p.205. 3 Francis Arthur Fahy was born on 29th September 1854 in Kinvara Co. Galway. He emigrated to England in 1873 and lived in Clapham. He was a founder member of the Southwark Irish Literary Club the president of the Gaelic League in London from 1896 to 1908 and a published poet. He retired from the Civil Service at 65 and died on 1st April 1935 aged 81 from Kinvara A Seaport Town on Galway Bay Tireolas 1998 paraphrased on www.kinvara.com. The 1901 Census has him as a clerk at the Board of Trade. 4 McLoughlin Teaching of Irish quoting Ryan 1945 pp.157-177 An Claidheamh Soluis 18.11.1899 Art O Briain Gaedhil Thar Saile Some Notes on the History of the Gaelic League of London in Capuchin Annual Dublin Fr. Mathew Record 1944 p.117 p.163 p.119 Donncha Silleabhin Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain 1894-1917 Dublin Conradh na Gaeilge 1989 p.8 p.10. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 150 The Irish National Society the United Irish League of Great Britain Sinn Fein the Irish Self- Determination League of Great Britain and Cumann na mBann all associations that were specifically political and nationalist adopted the Gaelic Leagues music and dance policies for their social events. However as revealed in advertisements in The Irishman in March December 1911 associations of Irish professional men and businessmen the Irish Club in Charing Cross Road the Four Provinces Club in the Inns of Court and the Union of the Four Provinces of Ireland asserted their identity as Irishmen but subscribed largely to British ideas of Irishness in their music and dance taste. Many of course were of Anglo-Irish origin. The Gaelic League projected a middle-class image. The various premises used for its office were well appointed in central London and invariably the central committee booked prestigious halls for its social events.5 Membership too was predominantly perhaps overwhelmingly middle class. Initially the pool for potential membership consisted of doctors priests journalists and other men of letters but it was soon to embrace another section of the Irish middle class. Demand for clerks and administrative staff in the West End and the City was partially satisfied by a new type of Irish immigrant young men and to a lesser extent young women who had come up through the national school system and further education in Roman Catholic colleges. Opportunities for advancement particularly for successful candidates in Civil Service examinations frequently led to employment in the capital. Art OBriens retrospective observation that a considerable proportion of the Gaelic League was made up of school teachers and civil servants is supported by Tom Barclays comment that in 1901 and 1902 most members of the Gaelic League in London were employed in the Customs or the Post Office.6 One member hiding under the name Seamrog Shamrock wrote in United Ireland in 1897 of the Leagues composition as a top-surface of gentlemen from Whitehall and Somerset House a straggler or two from the G.P.O. and an odd journalist or two.7 Activist members who were civil-servant included Francis A. Fahy 1854-1935 Fionn Mac Coluim at the India Office Daniel Kelleher and Michael OSullivan in Customs and Excise John OKiersey and Michael Collins in the Post Office and J. G. OKeeffe in the War Office. Padraig Conaire worked for the London County Council W. P. William Ryan was a journalist and author and Arthur Patrick Art OBrien was a mining engineer. Thomas OFlannelly was a Gaelic scholar though it is not certain whether he was a professional academic or simply an enthusiastic amateur. Doctors were well represented in the League seventeen being mentioned by name among those who attended the St. Patricks Eve social reunion and dance in 1900. Several MPs representing Irish constituencies were members including W. J. Duffey John OConnell Thomas ODonnell Conor OKelly William Redmond M. A. MacDonnell and Patrick MacDermott adding support as and when necessary. Two members of the clergy Father Michael Moloney and Father Crowley the latter schooled in Gaelic studies at Maynooth Seminary College took Gaelic revivalism in their secular and pastoral activities to their working-class parishioners.8 While some League members were family men with professional and domestic responsibility and security many were in fact young and single living away from home in lodgings and rented rooms. The broad spectrum of the Gaelic activities offered them a respectable niche 5 Gaelic League headquarters were at the following addresses 55 Chancery Lane WC2 8 Adelphi Terrace WC2 9 Duke Street W1 77 Fleet Street EC4 Newman Street W1 31 Red Lion Square WC1 28 John Street WC1. 6 O Briain Notes p.124 Tom Barclay in Memoirs and Medleys The Autobiography of a Bottle-Washer Leicester Edgar Backus 1934 p.96. 7 United Ireland 13.2.1897. 8 O Briain Notes p.118 United Ireland 20.2.1897 McLoughlin Teaching of Irish p.25 p.66 Mac Coluim papers UCD Irelands Own 24.2.1989 Tim Pat Coogan Michael Collins A Biography London Arrow Books 1990 p.15 An Claidheamh Soluis 24.3.1900 14.4.1900 27.7.1901 24.8.1901 11.1.1902 15.2.1902. See British Library catalogue for W. P. Ryans published works and Inis Fail June 1905 for Fr. Michael Moloneys obituary. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 151 and outlet in what they perceived as a potentially lonely and alien environment and it provided them with the excitement of sharing pioneering endeavour with kindred spirits. The Gaelic League Ard-Choisde London 1903 on the occasion of Eileen Drurys return to Ireland to marry Dr. Thomas Costello. Included are Art 0Brien Father Michael Moloney standing third left Sen 0 Cathin Francis A. Fahy Daniel Mescal Samus 0 Brannagin W. P. Ryan Michel Breathnach Dr. J. P. Henry Dr. J. J. Atteridge Art 0Keefe. Capuchin Annual 1944 It is a comment on the calibre of Gaelic League membership in London that calling on experience within that organisation some moved into positions of authority and political power during the Troubles and in the Free State. Michael Collins became the national leader who signed the Treaty. Art OBrien while still president of the London Gaelic League was the Envoy of the Irish Republican Government to London in 1919 and the president of both the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain and the Sinn Fein Council of Great Britain. In 1923 or 1924 he was deported and interned in Ireland he filed a writ of Habeas Corpus and was released by the Court of Appeal but was re-arrested on charges of seditious conspiracy. In 1935 he resigned from the Gaelic Leagues presidency to become Irish Minister Plenipotentiary to France and Belgium. Sean Nunan was the Irish Minister to Washington before being appointed Secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1932. Seamus Clandillon B.A. and Dr. Douglas Hyde members of the London branch though resident in Ireland were to become respectively the first director of the Dublin radio station in 1925 and the first President of Ireland in 1938.9 The active participation of women in the movement was established from the very beginning. As early as 1885 the Irish National Land League of Great Britain had attracted female membership as a matter of policy the Southwark Junior Literary Club was organised by women and the Southwark Irish Literary Club was specific in its objectives that it should 9 See Tim Pat Coogan Michael Collins A Biography London Hutchinson 1990 Public Record Office Kew HO1443577 indexed but closed for 100 years Cupuchin Annual 1944 p.455 The Free Press 30.5.1936 Ernie Nunan in An tglach Autumn 1966 Maurice Gorham Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting Dublin Talbot Press 1967 p.3. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 152 provide a medium of social and intellectual intercourse for Irish people of both sexes.10 Women were well represented as members of the Gaelic League. Many were the wives and daughters of male members but some had employment and lived in rooms and the majority were single. A published list of members who had paid their annual subscription by June 1906 shows that 249 40 of the total 615 were women. Women were not heavily represented as serving as officers on the Ard-Choisde the London branch committee. However there were a number of important female appointments namely Norma Borthwick an honorary vice- president in 1897 Una McFadden a founder vice-president in Forest Gate in 1897 Mire nic Aodhahain an honorary secretary around 1922 and Mire Ni Fhlannghaile who became vice- president in 1924 and served as president from 1935 until her death in 1942.11 Some women however were elected as committee members and there were several female assistant secretaries. Typically there were six men and five women present at a meeting of the London branch committee in May 1899 and five male officers and a committee of two women and four men was elected at the annual general meeting of the Forest Gate branch in 1900.12 The situation was a little different on the local school committees for while in 1906 all nine secretaries and twelve of the other officers were men seven officers were women and there were twenty-nine female committee members to thirty-five males.13 Reports of concerts and other social events show that women and men appeared as professional and amateur performers roughly in equal proportions. However there was some role differentiation by gender and playing the piano and cello for example were activities almost exclusive to women whereas playing the war pipes was exclusive to men. The extent to which women taught at the Gaelic Leagues evening classes can not be estimated as there are no comprehensive records. It is difficult to judge the extent of working-class membership. The five-shilling subscription would have been prohibitive but conflict of class values may well have been more of a barrier. At the turn of the nineteenth century it was explicit policy to keep riff-raff away from the Gaelic Leagues social events with such ploys as admission by introduction only.14 A criticism voiced in 1897 from within the League in a letter by Seamrog to the Gaelic press commented on the air of superiority civil servant members assumed over working-class fellow members though it would be fair to state that other correspondents wrote challenging his criticism The working class and artisan element which form the bone and sinew of Irish Nationality all the world over... preponderate but they are being driven out surely and steadily by the select coterie who for the moment boss the show... On entering the room where the meetings are held one may observe a half-dozen or so of the select snugly ensconsced in chairs round the fire apparently oblivious of the existence of the ordinary members huddled away in the corner shivering in the draught. The democratic element is unwilling to protest though... no general meeting has yet been held but is equally unwilling to endure.15 The Gaelic League in London reached its membership peak between 1900 and 1906. No complete membership lists have been found and there is therefore no exact measure of the extent of the membership. Donncha O Suilleabhain in his retrospective study of the London Gaelic League suggests a foundation membership of about thirty rising to two hundred in 10 ODay Political Organisation p.205 W. P. Ryan The Irish Literary Revival Its History Pioneers and Possibilities London author 1894 p.12 p.16. 11 United Ireland 5.6.1897 Silleabhin Conradh na Gaeilge p.10 An Claidheamh Soluis 29.4.1899 Inis Fail January 1922 O Briain Notes p.125. 12 An Claidheamh Soluis 20.5.1899 6.1.1900. 13 Inis Fail January 1906. 14 An Claidheamh Soluis 10 24.3.1900 Fionn Mac Coluim reported in John Cullinane Aspects of The History of Irish Dancing Cork Cullinane 1987 p.17. 15 United Ireland 13.2.1897. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 153 1898. Fionn Mac Coluim estimated many years later that there were eight hundred before he left London in 1902 rising to a thousand when Art OBrien became secretary. A partial listing of 615 published in the Gaelic press in suggests a figure of less than a thousand16 though a report in The Times in 1904 gave a figure of about 3000.17 It was pointed out in 1906 that in spite of some combined events involving the Gaelic League and the GAA many members of each organisation did not know of the existence of the other.18 The initial thrust of activity in the London Gaelic League was in Irish-language tuition offered to members at evening classes but from 1899 a policy of expansion concentrated on reaching a wider range of Irish men and women and applied special attention to children. Part-time satellite schools were established in areas of Irish settlement with staggered programmes to enable volunteer teachers to staff several classes each week and complementary courses were offered in singing drama history and dancing. Expediency resulting from a scarcity of teachers and experts required the use of the monitor system in which some teachers students themselves in other classes passed on what they had learned only the previous day.19 All Irish children in London ought to see that their children are enrolled in the Childrens division of the Gaelic League. The subscription is only a shilling a year. The artistic membership card if card is not too plain a term is something to charm the imagination of the little ones. Inis Fail January 1905 Inis Fail September 1905 16 O Suilleabhain Conradh na Gaeilge p.11 Fionn Mac Coluim papers Department of Irish Folklore Dublin Inis Fail April May June 1906. 17 The Times 19.12.1904. 18 Inis Fail July 1906. 19 Seamrog letter United Ireland 13.2.1897 Sionainn in United Ireland 20.2.1897. See also An Ordinary Member Who Sometimes Takes A Class in United Ireland 20.2.1897. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 154 Inis Fail October 1905 Fundamentalists totally dedicated to the movement took part in the whole programme as committee members students teachers organisers and performers but this was not normal practice among rank-and-file members. Complaints appeared in the movements press about the lack of enthusiasm while there was also acknowledgement that over-zealousness was unhealthy. Pioneering zeal however led some members into new fields when often the Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 155 objectives were not clear and there were no precedents or models to follow. The foundation of the Pipers Band in 1905 is a good example and that will be discussed further on. Regular social events arranged by the Gaelic League served a number of practical functions. They provided practice in the use of Gaelic they exposed Gaelic culture to an Irish public they provided a vehicle for students to practice what they had learned thus strengthening their motivation and they created social bonds adding to the movements cohesion. A social calendar was instituted with four revived Gaelic festivals Feile Brighde or St. Bridgets Eve Feile Padraic or St. Patricks Day Beltaine or May Day and Samhain or Halloween which were celebrated by large formal gatherings arranged by the Ard-Choisde. St. Patricks Day was marked annually from 1899 to 1902 by a Social Reunion and Dance at Holborn Town Hall or St. Martins Town Hall at Charing Cross. The first Gaelic League celebration of Samhain called a ceilidh was held at the Bloomsbury Hall in Holborn on Saturday 30th October 1897 and it took the form of an opening address and a concert while the Feile Brighde ceilidh held at the same location on 31st January 1900 was billed as a lecture by a visiting speaker from Belfast Alice L. Milligan with Irish songs music and dances offered as a secondary attraction. Programme of Ceilidh of the Gaelic League of London at Bloomsbury Hall Hart Street W. C. to celebrate the old Gaelic Festival of Samhain on Saturday 30th October 1897 at 8 p.m. ChairmanMr. Francis A. Fahy President Gaelic League of London. courtesy University College Dublin The success of the 1900 Beltaine concert at St. Martins Town Hall reported as having been the largest and best Irish musical entertainment ever held in London prompted the committee to book the larger Queens Hall in Langham Place for succeeding Irish Musical Festivals. That hall seated 2800 and according to Art OBrien in the early years hundreds were turned away.20 By 1903 the event was invested with so much prestige it was transferred to St. Patricks Day replacing the annual ball that had been customary. The Gaelic League 20 O Briain Notes p.122. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 156 organised an Aonach or trade fair annually from 1903 first in the Bishopsgate Institute and later in the Royal Horticultural Hall in Westminster. Described as a Gaelic exhibition and sale of Irish manufactured goods musical entertainment inevitably was built into the official programme. The Leagues first financial failure came as a nasty jolt particularly as the signs were that the League was riding the crest of a wave. The 1904 Samhain music festival was under- supported partly through organisational inertia but more significantly as the consequence of the programme being exclusively high-brow including as it did an Irish sonata Fodhia and arias from the opera Muirgheis both by Mr. OBrien-Butler. By St. Patricks Day 1906 however the League had recovered sufficiently to justify two houses matinee and evening for its music festival at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Inis Fail March 1905 The Irishman March 1912 The local Gaelic League schools arranged frequent fairly informal events modelled initially on the Gaelic Nights first held by the Southwark Irish Literary Club in 1884 and the Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 157 Scottish social gatherings of the Gaelic Society of London held in the City.21 By 1899 patterns were established and during the next five years they were honed into lasting formats. Gaelic descriptive terms were applied with a degree of imprecision and the words plearaca sgoruidheacht feis and ceilidh appear to have been almost interchangeable describing functions that combined branch business with self-made entertainment. The word seilg however was more precise in its meaning as an excursion to the outer suburbs culminating in an open-air plearaca. At least by 1899 the word feis had assumed the specific meaning of a competitive festival. The first to be held in London was at the Bermondsey school in June 1904 and the West London Feis for the Gaelic League schools at Kew Fulham and Kensington and the East London Feis for the schools at Commercial Road Forest Gate and Tower Hill were inaugurated in 1904 and 1905 respectively. The first combined All-London Feis and Tournament was held at the GAA ground at Lea Bridge on Whit Monday 1906.22 The Scottish Gaelic word ceilidh current then in some parts of Ulster as vernacular English for a visit and a chat was in use by the Gaelic Society of London to describe their formal Highland social evenings in Fetter Lane. In the spirit of pan-Celtism it was adopted by the Gaelic League in London in 1897 to describe similar Irish events and was taken up by the Gaelic League in Ireland by 1898. The earliest known such reference in Ireland was of a ceilidh held in Donegal town which was reported in the Gaelic press in January 1898.23 Thirty years later and probably not much earlier it had come to mean a Gaelic League event where Irish social dancing predominated. Inis Fail June 1904 The Irishman. July 1910 21 See Ryan Irish Literary Revival p.21 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 22 An Claidheamh Soluis 2.9.1899 25.6.1904 8.7.1905 Inis Fail June 1904 August 1905 July 1906. See Reminiscences of the Seilg 1906 in Inis Fail June 1907. 23 Fainne an Lae 8.1.1898. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 158 Three unidentified pipers at a Gaelic League seilg at the Hadleigh Woods Hotel Hadleigh Essex 1906. Inis Fail June 1907 A Gaelic League seilg with a piper at Oak Hill Farm Theydon Bois Essex 1906. Inis Fail June 1907 The Irish Folk Song Society of London mooted within the English Folk Song Society as early as 1901 and founded upon a similar model in 1904 was never explicitly a Gaelic revival organisation. Its aims published in its Journal in April 1904 were to collect all the unpublished traditional airs and ballads of the Irish race and to print and publish as many as possible from time to time.24 The following edition carried additional objectives to promote and encourage by whatever means the Committee shall consider best the practice and culture of the national folk music of Ireland.25 The Societys membership totalled around three hundred in 1905 including the Marquis and Marchioness of Londonderry its president the Earl of Shaftesbury and Lord Castletown and was clearly at the elite end of society. Its fashionable address was 20 Hanover Square the premises of the Irish Literary Society and some of its concerts and soires were given in the London residences in Park Lane of Lord Londonderry and Lord Castletown.26 While it shared some common membership and purpose with the Gaelic League the Society was remote and exclusive never courting popular support and never making any impact beyond its own elite membership many of whom were Anglo- Irish Protestants. No doubt nationalists within the League had their suspicious of the Societys Establishment links and one member Alfred Perceval Graves was criticised in the Gaelic press in 1901 for wooing the nobility.27 24 Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society of London vol.1 no.1 April 1904. 25 JIFSSL vol.2 nos.1 2 1905 p.48. 26 Ibid. pp.45-7. 27 An Claidheamh Soluis 6.7.1901. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 159 By 1915 the steam had gone out of its programme almost certainly the result of confusion and divided loyalties over the Home Rule issue. The journal was published annually until 1924 and then occasionally in 1927 1932 1936 1939 to present The Bunting Collection of Irish Folk Music and Songs edited by D. J. OSullivan. Inis Fail June 1904 Folk Song Concert at the United Arts Club given by members of the Irish Folk Song Society of London 8 June 1908. Journal of IFSSL vol.6 October 1908 The Gaelic League had a more comfortable partner in the Gaelic Athletic Association whose main purpose within the context of the nationalist movement was to organise healthy and ideologically sound physical recreation for young Irish men and women by means of athletics hurling and Gaelic football for men and camogie for women. GAA clubs Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 160 established throughout London bound sections of the Irish community together and had appeal for some new rural immigrants with experience of Irish sports at home. GAA league matches home and away brought Irish men and women together from all corners of the metropolis and instilled a sense of national and social solidarity. Club social events followed the pattern of Gaelic League concerts and ceilidhthe and although there was a degree of separate development in running them there was also considerable interchange and co- operation with the Gaelic League. Joint ventures usually on Bank Holiday Mondays included GAA sports days at Kensal Rise and Finchley and Gaelic League carnivals which combined competitive team games track events and cycling with singing music and dancing competitions. For the sports day of the Graine Mhaol Cycling Club to be held at the National Athletic Grounds on August Bank Holiday in 1908 for example it was advertised that a good band will be in attendance and there will be dancing go leor and fine music for it. The Irishman 1910 Decline in the fortunes of the Gaelic League in London from 1908 resulted from the inability of the organisation to capture and sustain the interest of its potential public. The Gaelic League like similar pioneering organisations suffered the effects of declining enthusiasm once its exciting innovation had become institutionalised as normal. Dissatisfaction within the ranks began to show when some members criticised other members publicly in the press for their crass social behaviour and the social programmes as being unattractive.28 These problems were compounded by the steady loss of some of the Gaelic Leagues most energetic and inspiring organisers many of whom went home to Ireland as the opportunity arose. Patrick Archer went as early as 1898 followed by John OKiersey and Michael OSullivan in 1901 Dr. Annie Patterson by 1904 and John OKeane Fionn Mac Coluim Eileen Drury 28 An Cluasach The Manners of the Gaelic League in Inis Fail June 1906. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 161 Art Ward Joe MacMenamin W. P. Ryan and Art OBrien between 1904 and 1906. In Fionn Mac Coluims case he decided to leave London because his promotion in the Civil Service was blocked as a consequence of the interest taken in him by Scotland Yard. Father Michael Moloney died prematurely in 1905. Frank Power An Paorach the charismatic populariser of the war pipes left in 1906 for employment in County Tipperary as one of the Leagues travelling teachers. Francis A. Fahy resigned the presidency in 1908 through ill-health but stayed on in London until he died in 1935.29 The London Gaelic Leagues monthly journal Inis Fail founded during the Leagues heyday in 1904 was unable to continue publication in 1910. It was replaced by The Irishman designed for wider less-sectarian appeal but it too ran into circulation difficulties and ceased publication in 1913. From then on the Gaelic League in London received poor press coverage. During the War of Independence the Irish Exile covered nationalist matters with some space given to the educational and social events of the Gaelic revival but essentially from 1913 onwards the London Gaelic League was depended on brief irregular reporting of its affairs in the Irish press. It has been possible to describe and analyse the organisational structure of the Gaelic revival in London its appeal to certain sections of the population and some aspects of the social organisation of practice from documentary evidence. Issues surrounding performance practice repertory and style fundamental to an understanding of the nature and social significance of music and dance are less easy to describe and analyse. The written record is far from clear in its treatment of aesthetics and related cultural values and its middle-class bias assuming current bourgeois values as absolute and largely deprecating the culture of rural and urban working populations side-steps many of the questions that seem pertinent now. Nevertheless in spite of the omissions in the historical record there is sufficient evidence to explore the repertory and performance styles of the Gaelic revival in London. A definition of Irish music was available to the early London revivalists from a small body of material popularised from printed collections and a working repertory had been evolved by amateur and professional performers alike at temperance parish and St. Patricks Day concerts during the last thirty years or so of the nineteenth century. Revivalists thus inherited a repertory a manner of performance and a social context. This repertory criticised by some at the time as unrepresentative of the true spirit of Ireland gave some people a sense of discomfort. Change however was to be revisionist rather than radical. The most important aspect of the new repertory as it evolved was the emphasis given to Gaelic songs and airs. The sources of Gaelic material available to the early Leaguers are not known precisely. The collections published in the nineteenth century were out of print but material from them would almost certainly have been circulated possibly in selected manuscript copies by the Leagues antiquarian and scholarly members. By the turn of the nineteenth century the Gaelic League in Dublin was publishing and circulating Gaelic songs. The Feis Ceoil committee issued material specifically for competitors at the Oireachtas and in 1899 the Leagues weekly newspaper published in Dublin An Claidheamh Soluis began printing in its editions songs in tonic solfa notation for use in Gaelic League schools. Towards the end of 1901 the Gaelic League in London began publishing Ceol na hEireann a series of three-penny song- sheets with piano accompaniments written by Agnes MacHale. She and Eileen Drury an 29 Bowles in Mac Coluim papers UCD United Ireland 5.3.1898 O Suilleabhain Conradh na Gaeilge p.17 An Claidheamh Soluis 3.8.1901 26.4.1902 6.8.1904 2.3.1905 17.7.1905 14.3.1908 Inis Fail May 1905 February June 1906 O Briain Notes p.123 see also Inis Fail December 1906 Stanley Sadie ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians London Macmillan 1980 14 p.302. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 162 infants school teacher at St. Michaels in Buckingham Palace Road both literate musicians were pioneers in teaching Gaelic singing in Gaelic League classes although Francis A. Fahy and Michael OSullivan both native-Irish speakers had previously established a Gaelic singing class at headquarters in January 1897. Solo unison and part singing in Gaelic were commonplace at the Leagues social events and many officers and committee members are reported as having sung at such gathering. Tadhg MacSweeney for example performed his own composition Slainte na nGaedheil and Francis A. Fahy composed a number of songs designed to replace the stage-Irish material that was then current.30 Eileen Drury Donahoes Magazine January-June 1902 the notice of her death. Irish Independent 15 March 1962 A major turning point in the content of repertory came with the Beltaine concert in May 1900 when advance press publicity announced that Nearly fifty old Irish airs many of which are little known will be rendered. This meant the rehabilitation of obscure material and thereby the fruition of one of the Leagues ideals. Having proved it could be done and having achieved some critical success the following year there was a retrogressive shift with only eleven of the songs performed in Irish and twenty-four being described as Anglo-Irish of a varied character.31 The Irish Folk Song Society of London was equally dedicated to the resuscitation of ancient Gaelic airs and from its inception in 1904 its concert and soiree programmes reflected the material that its members had recently collected in the field and had been published in its journal. However a correspondent writing in the Irish press in February 1906 under the name Forgail argued strongly against harmony and the anglicising effect of the tempered scale upon the modality of Irish music and condemned the piano the big Erard Gothic harp and 30 O Suilleabhain Conradh na Gaeilge p.19. 31 An Claidheamh Soluis 11.5.1901. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 163 arrangements in art music convention for the sake of bringing airs up-to-date and rendering them suitable for the Kensington drawingroom. Acknowledging the validity of the combination of flute and fidil playing in unison and advocating oral and aural transmission he or she went on I have observed in the highlands of Donegal one fidilir learning a tune from another and in another part of the country one singer learning the words and music of a ballad from another and in both cases I was aware of the most satisfactory results.32 MEMBERS OF THE GAELIC LEAGUE WHO WERE REPORTED IN THE PRESS SINGING IN IRISH AT THE LEAGUES SOCIAL EVENTS IN LONDON 1897-1899 AND THE SONGS THEY SANG. United Ireland 16.1.1897. T. Mitchell Leaghan Ui Duibhir an Ghleanna Patrick Archer Caitheamh an Ghlais. United Ireland 6.2.1897. Norma Borthwick La Mhuirnin Dhilis Michael OSullivan Sinbhal a ruin P. J. OHanlon Oglaoch na rann Patrick Archer Cloga Sheanduin. United Ireland 13.2.1897. Miss K. Hayes song not listed Michael OSullivan song not listed J. A. OSullivan song not listed C. MacEvoy song not listed J. G. OKeeffe song not listed. United Ireland 25.9.1897. Michael OSullivan Eire ta deora T. Mitchell Na thog air a bhfile Fear deorach John OLeary An spealadoir Faghaim aris a cruiscin. John OLeary Staicin Eornadh An Spealadoir. United Ireland 13.2.1898. Michael OSullivan Maire Bheilatha-hambhais Mary of Ballyhaunis J. P. Troy Caitheamh an Ghlais The Wearing of the Green Norma Borthwick Lann lounrach Eirinn Bright Sword of Erin Norma Borthwick Eileen Drury 2-part song Fainne gael an lea The Dawning of the Day. United Ireland 13.8.1898 two editions give different accounts. Miss S. OBrien Cibhlin a ruin Ros deighionach an t-sambraidh John OCarroll Bean an fhir Ruadh Bruach na Carraige baine John OKiersey Sa mhuirnin dhilis An Cuil-fionn J. G. OKeeffe Carraig donn Paisdin Fionn John OLeary Buachaillin fior-og me Geobhaim aris a cruiscin agus biodh sean Daniel Kelleher Caitheamh an Ghlais. An Claidheamh Soluis 8.4.1899. J. T. Carroll Cad a dheramid feaste gan adhmad Miss Mitchell Eileen Drury 4- part song Banchnuic Eireinn o Michael OSullivan J. G. OKeeffe 4- part song Fainne gael an Lae John OLeary An Ros geal dubh Michael OSullivan An Paisdin Fionn Seamus mo mhile stoir Eileen Drury An Fuisheog dearg Mr. Biggers Sa mhnirnin dilis. An Claidheamh Soluis 17.6.1899. Tadhg MacSuidhne Slinte na nGaedheil Ril na h-Eireann Eileen Drury Finne geal an lae Abhran Gradha John OKiersey Sa mhuirnin Dilis. An Claidheamh Soluis 14.10.1899. Katie Dineen Sln le Inis Fail Mo mhallachair mo mhuintir John OKiersey Jimmy mo mhile str Be in Eirenn i Eileen Drury Finne geal an lae Fionn Mac Coluim Cath Cim-an- fheidh Tadhg MacSuidhne Slinte na n-Gaedheal Cois Leasa. 32 Inis Fail February 1906. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 164 An Claidheamh Soluis 16.12.1899. Eileen Drury Ris Geal Dubh Katie Dineen Mo mhallacht are mo nhuintir J. G. OKeeffe Crann Salighe J. OGarvey Eibhln Arin John OKiersey Jimmy mo mhle Stir Fionn Mac Collum Ar Eireann ni nesainn cia h-f Misses Patton Miss OCarroll 3-part song Fainne Geal an Lae Eileen Drury Members of the singing class Dn-mholadh na Gaedhige The Gaelic Leagues repertory continued to embrace songs in English. There was decreasing interest in nineteenth-century romantic settings to ancient airs and no interest whatsoever in the songs in English of the rural working communities. No St. Patricks Day music festival would have been complete without a good proportion of nationalist material stirring heroic martial pieces like The Boys of Wexford The Wests Awake The Men of the West and Who Fears to Speak of 98 and the last mentioned was sung at most meetings in the centenary year of 1898.33 One press reviewer Pdraic O-hEigreartaigh wrote in 1908 that what the audiences want what they crave is not music as music not art but national music national sentiment national excitement.34 Many who attended these concerts were not members and consequently the organising committee saw the festivals as a rallying point for what they thought of as exiled Gaels. Audience participation was generally encouraged and communal expressions of nationalist ardour whooping and shouting were customary. Pdraic O-hEigreartaigh continued When John MacCormack in response to an imperative demand for an aris encore came on and the accompanist tapped out the notes of Men of the West the pent-up enthusiasm broke forth in a way which no one will forget. At the conclusion of the first verse the audience laughed for sheer joy and so did MacCormack. The predictability of the programme though criticised by some was defended by the organisers as being reassuring to the public and one regular concert-goer supporting that idea wrote to the Gaelic press in 1910 that We go to the Festival to get a bath in patriotic sentiment.35 Programmes at Gaelic League public concerts were heavily weighted with professional singers. Typically the Musical Festival at the Queens Hall on 22nd April 1901 before an audience approaching 3000 presented the tenors Patrick OShea Donncha O Suilleabhain Denis OSullivan and Joseph OMara the soprano Harriet Rose-Byrne the contralto Lucie Johnstone36 and two other singers H. Plunkett Greene and Alicia Adelaide Needham. Of these OShea and Rose-Byrne were booked after successes at the Oireachtas and Feis Ceoil in Dublin just as the tenor John MacCormack was later in 1907. While Denis OSullivan was known in London for his leading role in Shamus OBrien in 1896 he was actually American of Irish parents and worked mostly in the United States. Referring to OSullivans London appearance a few months earlier and then of Johnstone in general C. Milligan Fox wrote His recital in November was a most remarkable display of a singer who can go from grave to gay from lively to severe with consummate art striking responsive chords in the hearts of the listeners. His singing of The Lark in Clear Air Mollie Machree Widow Malone Owen Roes Lament and the West Asleep is never to be forgotten.. Miss Lucie Johnstone is a well known Ulster singer and has lately taken up Gaelic songs. She can well claim to be the most distinguished Irish contralto of the present day. She has sung at every Feis Ceoil and appears at all 33 Reports in United Ireland throughout 1898. 34 Inis Fail April 1908. 35 Inis Fail April 1910. 36 Lucie Johnstone appeared at a concert held in Princes Hall Piccadilly on 7 October 1893 in a season promoted by the West London Mission handbill. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 165 the St Patricks Day concerts and Gaelic Oireachtas. Her favourite Gaelic songs are Lough Lein and Grannia Weale.37 Lucie Johnstone. Donahoes Magazine January- Denis OSullivan Donahoes Magazine January- June 1902 June 1902 Patrick OShea. Donahoes Magazine January-June 1902 An Claidheamh Soluis 11 October 1902 37 C. Milligan Fox Irish Folk Songs and Their Singers in Donahoes Magazine Boston Mass. January June 1902 vol. xlvii pp.161-162. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 166 Patrick OShea whom C. Millington Fox described as a purely Gaelic singer38 was a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Dublin and a later performer the baritone William Ludwig toured the international concert circuit. While these artists sympathised with the Gaelic movement none was a single-minded specialist in Irish-Ireland material and they spent most of their professional lives performing in the style of Euro-British art music. Evidence suggests that Gaelic League concert instrumentalists in the early years of the movement played in conservatory style. Two such musicians active at the turn of the century Annie Patterson D. Mus. 1868-1934 and Agnes MacHale established musical standards and attitudes within the revival that were to out-live them. They introduced Gaelic part-singing and they organised a Gaelic choir and various instrumental ensembles including a Ladies Orchestra in 1906. Their performances of Gaelic and old Irish airs from the printed collections were presented at Gaelic League events as programme music a genre of course quite unknown in rural working communities. Other conservatory musicians performed material described as selections suites and arrangements. They included Signor Volanti Armitage of Highgate a distinguished professor of music at the ceilidh in May 1897 Dr. Charles Wood on the grand organ and Maud McCarthy an Irish-Australian violinist in 1901 and Isobel Purdens quartet of two violins cello and harp during the years 1904 to 1907. Two trained musicians from Dublin the concert harpist Owen Lloyd and the violinist Arthur Darley were invited to appear at several London concerts. The bulk of Gaelic revival music-making mentioned so far was set firmly in the Euro-British art music tradition. Conservationism ensuring the survival of ancient ethnic practice skills was achieving some success in Ireland where sources existed waiting to be discovered. In London however such discovery seemed scarcely a viable prospect yet some enthusiastic members applied their energies to the problem and set about conserving union piping step-dancing and native-Irish singing in London. Two middle-aged union pipers came to the attention of the Gaelic League and were subsequently booked for public appearances. Thomas Garaghan 1848-1922 had appeared in Jessop and Stanfords romantic comic opera Shamus OBrien at the Opera Comique for a twelve-week season from 2nd March to 23rd May 1896.39 Though this was far from being an Irish-Ireland piece Stanford was well regarded within the Gaelic movement as an Irish composer and Garaghan was thus seen by Irish theatregoers some of whom joined the League a few months later.40 After its run in London Shamus OBrien had transferred to Belfast where in November 1896 Garaghan saw the opportunity for a little extra work. He electrified the audience by his performance at a Gaelic League social meeting in Queen Street41 while a few days earlier he had put a small ad. in the local daily paper MR. GARRAGAN. PROFESSOR ON THE IRISH PIPES. PERFORMS EVERY NIGHT THIS WEEK in Shamus OBrien Opera Company Theatre Royal. Any Irish Lady or Gentleman desirous of hearing the pipes may do so up to 7 p.m. and from 9.30 p.m. after stage duty at 10 Newport Place.42 Later in the month he reappeared at a Gaelic League meeting and included The Irish Washerwoman among his selection of dance tunes and two or three sentimental songs.43 38 Milligan Fox Irish Folk Songs p.162. 39 For reviews see The Graphic 7.3.1896 The Standard 3 March 1896. The whole cast including Garaghan played a matinee at The New Theatre Cambridge on 21.5.1896 The Era 30.5.1896. 40 For a full account of Shamus OBrien at the Opera Comique see The Graphic 7.3.1896 where it says a player of the genuine Irish bagpipes strikes up a jig. See also The Standard 3.3.1896 The Daily News 3.3.1896. 41 Belfast News-Letter 5.11.1896. 42 Belfast News-Letter 2.11.1896. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 167 Thomas Garaghan. Left as Lynch on the set of Seamus OBrien at the Opera Comique in 1896. unprovenanced press cutting courtesy Mander Mitchenson Theatre Collection Right as he appeared at the Gaelic League Irish Music Festival on 22 April 1901. courtesy Irish Traditional Music Archive Garaghan appeared back in London at the Leagues three ceilidhthe in 1897 and performed in Dublin at the Feis Ceoil and the first Oireachtas the same year.44 In March 1898 he was featured in a concert at the Ulster Hall in Belfast45 days later Denis OSullivan engaged him to play at his St. Patricks Day afternoon recital of parlour ballads at the Queens small Hall in London46 and on the 21st March he played in William Ludwigs concert at the Rotunda in Dublin.47 Garaghan made various appearances for the League in London between 1897 and 1902 with no further reference in the Gaelic press until his appearance at the Leagues St. Patricks Day concert in 1909 and he was engaged to play at the Dublin Pipers Club in 1912. It is not known how the other piper Michael OHara real name Daniel OMahoney reputedly born in 1837 was contacted but if he had any profile at all as an entertainer in his native Bermondsey he would have been noticed by the parish priest Father Moloney who was a leading light in the Gaelic League. His reported appearances for the Gaelic League covered a brief period from 1899 to 1901 and Professor Reidy wrote implying he was still active in 190548 while Francis ONeill reported him in decline in 1913.49 Garaghan and OHara were born in England and were city dwellers. They were artisan professional pipers earning some of their income in music halls and theatres neither appears to have become a member of the Gaelic League and probably all their appearances at the Leagues events were paid engagements. There is no evidence of the League having proposed any arrangement for their piping skills to be passed on and it was probably their status as working pipers that served as a barrier to their passing on their skills to 43 The Freemans Journal 30.11.1896. 44 The Freemans Journal 7.5.1897 Belfast News-Letter 18.5.1897. 45 Belfast News-Letter 5 7.3.1898. 46 Lloyds Weekly Newspaper 20.3.1898 Belfast News-Letter 28.3.1898.. 47 The Freemans Journal 23.3.1898. 48 An Claidheamh Soluis 11.11.1899 16.12.1899 21.1.1900 9.2.1901 Inis Fail December 1905. 49 Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels and Musicians Chicago 1913 p.284. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 168 the amateurs of the Gaelic League besides that their variety-theatre repertory like Garaghans comic version of Polly Put the Kettle On was hardly likely to have been to the taste of Gaelic League purists.50 Five union pipers were later active in London Paddy Cronin from Cork Dave Walsh from Limerick and Bill Donovan and two London-born pipers Seamus Jim OCarroll and Harry Hough and there is no available evidence to connect any of them to Garaghan or OHara. Daniel OMahoney courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Dublin Thomas Garaghan Patrick Reidy. Capt. Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 50 The Standard 18.3.1899 reported that Garaghan played Polly Put the Kettle On at Mr. Santleys St. Patricks night ballad concert at St. Jamess Hall. The nature of his performance might be explained by a report in The Morning Chronicle 25.12.1858 of another artisan professional piper Master James Blake at an event in South Africa. He played ... Polly put the kettle on and make me quick some tea. By some means he managed to make these very words come from the body of his instrument in such a comical manner that the company fairly screamed with delight... Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 169 Conservation of step-dancing was a quite different matter. In Ireland the practice of step-dancing was widespread and common as a skill belonging to amateur performers in the rural working population and practised in the company of family and friends at country-house and outdoor dances. Dancing teachers passed on some skills to some dancers while others learned informally from other dancers and some were self-taught. The consequence was a great diversity of regional and personal style repertory and ability. The rural context was not transferable to Gaelic League society in London and step-dancing had no existing place in Irish bourgeois culture. The Gaelic revival however was concerned to revive Irish pastimes and to encourage athletic skill. The Irish jig which was mentioned often enough but only briefly in some eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century travel books and short stories fitted the bill both as a national pastime and a feat of physical skill elegance and endurance. Among the early membership there were a few who remembered some steps from their childhood or adolescence. Michael OSullivan for example wrote to The Leader in 1902 that he had seen traditional Irish step-dancing ever since he had been able to see anything and that when he was in practice he had been considered a very fair dancer.51 Fionn Mac Coluim the Leagues secretary recalled many years later that he had hired a room for an hour once a week in Mesdames Geres Ballet Dance Parlours in Leicester Square where he arranged for two young members J. G. OKeeffe from County Cork and Kathleen OBrien from County Limerick to help a few others mostly young office workers with what bits of step-dancing they knew.52 This could have been only very shortly after the founding of the London branch in October 1896 and the class was very soon transferred to headquarters. By January 1897 Patrick Archer was reported in United Ireland dancing some jigs in real Irish style at a headquarters meeting. A week later United Ireland carried a report of Some Irish step-dancing by a few members who are able exponents of the art and made reference to a display of Irish step- dancing which the society is endeavouring to revive. A fortnight later the same paper in a report of the Feile Brighde ceilidh held on 1st February noted that jigs and reels... were danced in real old Irish fashion by Kathleen OBrien Patrick Archer and William OLooney.53 For the Beltaine ceilidh on 1st May 1897 CHECK YEAR it was announced in advance that Facilities for Irish dancing will be afforded to all who desire to take part in it beside which there will be a splendid display by accomplished exponents of the art.54 The language of reporting step-dancing within the Gaelic press in those early days echoed that of earlier literary pieces by the likes of William Carleton Mrs. Hall and Samuel Lover where step- dancing was referred to in a generalised if not off-hand manner as jigs and reels or Irish jigs and reels. The blandness of these descriptions points to the writers apparent ignorance of the values associated with rural step-dancing. Typically then when the union piper Thomas Garaghan step-danced at the branch meeting on 5th February 1897 Fionn Mac Coluim could only write of it blandly in the Gaelic press that he danced some Irish jigs and reels.55 Such an event should have warranted a few more descriptive sentences particularly as Garaghan was a stage professional who most probably showed up the raw amateurs with a dynamic and seasoned performance. Shortly after that there appeared on the scene a step-dancer with impeccable credentials. Patrick D. Reidy a man aged about forty-eight was then living in Hackney on a police pension. He had 51 The Leader 21.6.1902. 52 Fionn Mac Coluim manuscript radio script no date 1950s in Mac Coluim papers UCD. 53 United Ireland 16.1.1897 23.1.1897 6.2.1897. 54 United Ireland 24.4.1897. 55 United Ireland 13.2.1897. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 170 been a constable in the Metropolitan Police from 14th September 1874 when he was about twenty-five until he left with a clean record on 18th October 1890 and he had served in K and J Divisions in West Ham and Bethnal Green.56 His father a pupil of Thomas Carn had been a dancing-teacher in Castleisland County Kerry and Patrick Reidy having learned from him had set himself up there as a dancing-teacher. He later gave Frances ONeill accounts of his activities between 1866 and 1869 in his late teens when he had danced solo in the homes of the gentry and had held his dancing-class in association with the union pipers Eugene Whelan Michael Scanlan and Tom Carty.57 There is no evidence to indicate what if any his dancing activities had been in London and how he had come to the attention of the Gaelic League although of course he had worked and was living in an area with a large Irish population. His relationship with the League was professional being engaged as a dancing-teacher and occasional performer. He was never a member of the League and in 1897 he was the beneficiary of a benefit cinderella ball organised by the League which would seem to indicate that he might have been in distressed or reduced circumstances at the time.58 Respectfully addressed as Professor which was a standard form of address for veteran teachers in the Gaelic League he was highly regarded in London for his performance skills his knowledge and his teaching ability. The Gaelic press however paid him little attention and strangely Francis ONeill in spite of having been in correspondence with him published very little about him in Irish Minstrels Musicians Chicago 1913. Reidy had sent ONeill a manuscript copy of his unpublished treatise Dancing Theory as It Should Be59 the title of which odd though it may be seems to have been modelled on the genre of dancing instruction books published by much earlier dancing-masters for elite society. Neither the correspondence nor the dance treatise is known to exist but the manuscript book of dance tunes Reidy sent ONeill has survived in the ONeill collection at Notre Dame University Indiana. The provenance of Reidys tune book is far from clear. Reidy attributes twelve tunes to Michael Buckley Shanahan who he told ONeill was a celebrated violinist the son of a piper born in Kilrush County Clare with a great reputation in Kerry and Limerick in the 1860s60 but in the tune book Reidy does not locate Shanahan anywhere A Grand Hornpipe noted by Reidy as Preferable for the Stage A Reel A Hornpipe The Brown-eyed Girl A Favorite Reel Composed By M. B. Shanahan 1865 The Irishmans Heart for the Ladies alias Drops of Brandy Slow ODonnell A Bu Planxty OKelly The Rakes of Strade Grand Reel The Bridal Jig The Wind that Shakes the Barley Bonnie Kate A Very Grand Reel Miss Thorntons Reel 56 Public Record Office at Kew Attestation Book MEPO 4352 where his signature appears on p.13 Register of Leavers MEPO 4339 which states he was a P.C. Class 1 at the time he left. His service record and pension record are not held. The 1881 Census gives his age as 32 and his address as 6 Wilmot House Bethnal Green. The 1901 Census lists Patrick Reidy 57 a watchman living in Hackney. At the front of the tune manuscript book Reidy sent ONeill he wrote From 1st of Nov for 6 years my address if spared will be P D Reidy 2. Fore Road Victoria Park South Hackney London. At the back two addresses legible but crossed out 14 Victoria St King Edward Rd Hackney London N E 24 St James Place Victoria park N.E and on a slip pasted on the same page he wrote From Nov 1st 1910 to 1916. Address P D Reidy Professor of Dancing No 2 Fore Road Victoria Park South-Hackney London. It is not known how he could anticipate where he would be living for the next six years 57 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.228 p.231 p.423 p.425. Mac Coluim papers UDC. 58 A cinderella ball ends at midnight. 59 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.425. 60 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.343. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 171 Reidy attributed two tunes each to Thomas Gallivan who he placed both in Trallee and Castleisland County Kerry and Michael OGrady from Castleisland and ten tunes were given no attribution Jeanie Picking Cockles St. Patricks Day in the Morning The correct traditional version Slieve-na-Mhor or Poll Halfpenny Grand Hornpipe The Stack of Barley a Hornpipe The Old Walls of Liscarroll Co Cork The Groves of Erinn Boil the Kettle Early Geese in the Bog My Love is in America Gallaghers Jig Bar not perfect Peter Street Violin The Butchers March The Missis is Sick The Floging Reel It seems most likely that all this material dates from Reidys activity in Kerry before he came to London in 1874. The badly damaged state of the manuscript book might point to considerable use over a long period. However it is here that the evidence becomes clouded. All the tunes seem to have been written out in the same hand and the collection a body of material attributed to a young fiddle player active within the Gaelic League namely Daniel Kelleher variously noted by Reidy as Daniel J Kelleher D J Kelleher D. Kelleher Daniel Darby Kelleher D. D. Kelleher from Clonough Castleisland County Kerry. The Boys of Newgarth Jig Jacksons Morning Brush Very good for Country Dance. To be played quick. Slow for step-dancing The Oak Stick The Blackbird Dance Music. Slightly imperfect. Barren sic barring incorrect61 The Dear Irish Boy Song air Boher ohogue to Tralee The Rising Sun Stylish Reel The Strawberry Boxes Whiskey Beer Most Perfect Daniel the Sun alias Donal A-Grna Reynardine Hornpipe The Flowers of Edinburgh Hornpipe The New Post Office Reel A reasonable conclusion would be that Reidy had the pre-1874 tunes either in manuscript or in his head that Kelleher contributed his tunes somewhere between 1897 and 1910 and that Reidy either wrote them out or had someone write them out specifically to send to ONeill. The manuscript collection does not necessarily represent Reidys working repertory but rather the tunes he chose to submit to ONeill. It is highly significant the Reidy made no comment in the manuscript book about the suitability of the material for the seven figure dances published by J. G. OKeeffe and Art OBrien in A Handbook of Irish Dances London 1902 which were attributed to him 61 Seven bars in the first part 14 in the turn whereas the version common now has 7 bars in the first part 15 in the turn. If it were a standard hornpipe with a long turn it would be 8 16. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 172 Within a very short time the League created interest in step-dancing and constructed a context for it as visual entertainment at its informal and formal gatherings. A dancing class was held at the London branch premises at least as early as December 1897 presumably taken by Professor Reidy. Soon after that the class was moved to the Bijou Theatre off The Strand. The League had authenticity in Reidy and he was soon joined by two expert step-dancers with authentic credentials from County Cork Jack OBrien of Blackrock and Willie Murray making a formidable trio of performance skills and teaching ability. OBrien and Murray were sent over with a recommendation from Sean Wayland founder and secretary of the Pipers Club in Cork and they were found work as bricklayers building Marylebone Vestry.62 Willie Murray born around 1876 had been a pupil of Din Moore and Steve Comerford. He was described by Frank Healy many years later as having been a born dancer and possessed of an attractive personality.63 He had won the Championship of Ireland Belt in 1898 so naturally upon his arrival in London he was billed as the champion step-dancer of Ireland and in 1901 he was described as the Champion of Ireland for the last three years. Healy considered Willie Murray a more brilliant and attractive dancer than Jack OBrien but he admired the latters modesty He never made any claims to greatness and would be the first to congratulate Murray after their performances. Jack OBrien joined the League in July 1899 and Willie Murray joined in August 1901.64 These three men Reidy OBrien and Murray set high standards although Reidy thought the two younger men were too acrobatic and lacked grace65 and local pupils men women and children performed in their company at Gaelic League social events.66 William OLooney from the Forest Gate branch danced at the Oireachtas in Dublin in 1900 and T. T. Doody and J. J. Sheehan began teaching at Hoxton and Camberwell respectively in 1901. Joseph Halpin from County Limerick winner of the Oireachtas in 1899 and billed as the Champion Dancer of Ireland appeared at the Queens Hall in 1904 together with his young daughter Teresa.67 Healy recalled another visitor to London from the same stable as Murray and OBrien Mickey Dan OHare was another very stylish dancer who delighted London and Manchester audiences. He possessed a chain of gold medals won in his native city and county as well as a belt of silver medals and other prizes. His death at a very early age was greatly regretted.68 62 The 1901 Census gives John OBrien 21 a brick layer labourer born in Cork living in St Pancras. 63 Cork Weekly Examiner 9.6.1934. 64 Mac Coluim incorrectly attributed as 1897 quoted in Cullinane Aspects 1987 p.41 Cormac OKeeffe reported in Cullinane Aspects 1987 p.38 An Claidheamh Soluis 15 22.7.1899 12.8.1899 7.9.1901 London Gaelic League concert programme 22.4.1901 Frank Healy in Cork Weekly Examiner 9.6.1934. Southwark Recorder and Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser 26.12.1891 reported on a club musical evening at the Grange Institute in Southwark at which Will Murray sang and step-danced with neatness and precision. Will and Willie Murray may well not have not been the same person but it is possible they were as Willie Murray was about fifteen at the time. 65 Mac Coluim incorrectly attributed as 1897 quoted in Cullinane Aspects 1987 p.41. 66 Willie Murray and his pupils danced at an Irish National League festival in the Greyhound Hotel Croydon. The Croydonian 13.1.1904. 67 Teresa Halpin Treasa Ni Ailpin subsequently played the fiddle and harp. She toured America with the Gaelic League in 1914 and recorded on the fiddle for Parlophone in Dublin in 1929 HMV IM422 Topic TSCD605. 68 Cork Weekly Examiner 9.6.1934. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 173 Willie Murray probably 1901. Gaelic League programme 22 April 1901 courtesy Traditional Irish Music Archive Since the days of Reidy Murray and OBrien step-dancing has been disseminated in London in an unbroken line until the present day. Although it has been mediated by successive generations of teachers and performers and its social contexts and the uses made of it have been changed drastically the legacy of exhibition step-dancing from Kerry and Cork has been saved as a living vernacular art and entertainment. Some native-Irish speakers in London although having entered the middle class through education and occupation had roots of some kind in rural society and some had memories of Gaelic songs from that background. Fionn Mac Coluim and Michael Keating two early leading members of the Gaelic League seem to have been among them as they were reported in the Gaelic press as singing in the good old style in rare old style and in quaint old style and of Mac Coluim C. Milligan Fox wrote that he was educated at Mount Melleray and used to hear the good monks singing The Spalpan Fanach and she added that she later found that the air which the monks sang was the original version of The Girl I Left Behind Me.69 John OLeary was reported in 1897 as singing two fine Munster songs An spealadoir and Faghaim aris a cruiscin in genuine old Irish style.70 Francis A. Fahys singing of Glan eirighe na Gealaighe or The Rising of the Moon with true pathos at a Southwark Home Rule Association concert in 1881 might possibly have been in the same style.71 Most Leaguers of course did not share that background and some set out to seek roots for themselves or at least to hear the real thing. In August 1899 a party of London Gaelic Leaguers attended the St. Gobnats Feis at Ballyvourney in County Cork in an area regarded at the time by those in the know as being outstanding for native-Irish speaking and singing. That group included Eileen Drury Fionn Mac Coluim D. P. Moran Michael OSullivan Tadhg MacSweeney J. G. OKeeffe and Art OBrien. A smaller party then moved on to Glenbeigh in County Kerry viewed by the same 69 Milligan Fox Irish Folk Songs p.163. 70 United Ireland 3.4.1897. 71 Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser and Southwark Recorder 29.10.1881. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 174 select few as a bastion of unspoiled Gaelic culture. Just a few weeks later at Forest Gate Katie Dineen sang a humourous song Mo mballachair ma mhuintir which had recently been taken down in west Cork and eighteen months later in February 1901 Maurice Dodd was reported as having sung a song he had taken down in Glenbeigh.72 If Gaelic singing could be found in Irish-speaking communities in Ireland it seemed feasible that a depository of traditional song lay hidden in London-Irish working-class communities among native-Irish speakers. The subject was broached by the Gaelic League committee and efforts were made to locate native-Irish singers. In June or July 1901 The Committee sanctioned the purchase of a Gramophone for collecting songs in the old style.73 A gramophone of course was a cylinder recording and play-back machine and a few months later in February 1902 it was in use at the Leagues language practice sessions in the office premises where it was noted that Traditional songs as a rule wind up the proceedings any rare ones forthcoming being recorded on the gramophone.74 At Limehouse in December 1901 the entertainment at a sgoruidheacht in the Catholic Schools included songs in the traditional strain by two veteran Gaels from the neighbourhood.75 Advance notice for the next sgoruidheacht in January 1902 announced that All Gaels in the East End of London are cordially invited to attend and old-style singers will be doubly welcomed by Father Crowley. In the event A remarkable feature of the proceedings was the number of veteran Gaels who came forward to sing and dance some being more than half a century in the East End of London in spite of which their knowledge of Glenflesk Sraid-a-Mhuilinn Millstreet County Cork and Droichead na Banndain Bandon Bridge County Cork and of the people living there is as real as if they had left Ireland but yesterday.76 If their singing was in an old rural style what was their dancing like Meanwhile at Dockhead in Bermondsey on the insistence of Father Michael Moloney the local committee decided to make special efforts to bring into the active service of the League all the traditional singers who can be found in this large district.77 Father Moloneys method a little different from Father Crowleys was just as effective and shortly afterwards it was reported in the Gaelic press that About sixty of the oldest Irish people in Bermondsey were brought together on Saturday last and given an evenings treat in the shape of a tea party and Sgoruidheacht beag by Father Moloney and the local Gaelic Leaguers. The old folk sang their old songs and related stories with the greatest satisfaction both to themselves and to some of the younger generation present. A few of the songs which have not been published were taken down.78 Even in the formal atmosphere of a sgoruidheacht in the Athenaeum Hall in Tottenham Court Road singers used to performing in an intimate domestic setting were encouraged to come forward. At one such event in February 1902 The chairman invited any person in the audience who could sing in the traditional style to do so with the satisfactory result that four excellent songs not on the programme were rendered by Mayo Galway and Kerry Gaels.79 72 An Claidheamh Soluis 29.7.1899 5 12.8.1899 14.10.1899 2.3.1901. In the 1901 Census Maurice Dodd 26 is given as a clerk of the LCC born in Kerry living in Streatham. 73 An Claidheamh Soluis 6.7.1901. 74 An Claidheamh Soluis 1.3.1902. 75 An Claidheamh Soluis 14.3.1902. 76 An Claidheamh Soluis 15.2.1902 1.3.1902. 77 An Claidheamh Soluis 11.1.1902. 78 An Claidheamh Soluis 1.3.1902. 79 An Claidheamh Soluis 15.2.1902. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 175 Reporting in this vein ceased in 1902 although it was noted there were many old native-Irish speakers around Prescot Street at Tower Hill and elsewhere80 and it is not known whether the process continued. Nor is it clear if these discoveries influenced Gaelic League policy and attitudes or if there were any other lasting consequences. The cylinder recordings have not survived and if transcriptions of the songs were made they have not come to light. Nor does the written record indicate if any members learned the songs and the manner of performance from these old singers One report said that a beautiful unpublished air was obtained from the Bermondsey union piper Michael OHara and set to Gaelic lyrics was taught to the singing class at 3 Bedford Street in 1901.81 This mediation of material was typical of the folk-song movement in general and of the Irish Folk Song Society of London in particular and may have characterised the Gaelic Leagues attitude to their poor working-class informants. A decade later the Gaelic press reported that at the Gaelic League branch in Hatton Garden Roman Catholic school a girl of eight had sung a song in Gaelic which she had learned from her grandmother. The ambiguous report three months later that Bermondsey has notable Irish talent could have referred to native-Irish speakers rather than native-Irish singers.82 Several members of the Irish Folk Song Society of London collected slow airs dance tunes and songs in Gaelic and English and published them in the Societys journal. In the first edition for example Herbert Hughes contributed The Gentle Swan from the singing of his brother who had learned it from their nurse a native of County Tyrone who had learned it from her grandfather.83 Among the first active collectors was Kate Lee ne Catharine Anna Spooner 1859-1904 an English woman with Anglo-Irish forbears who was active in several related branches of the pioneering folk-song movement. She joined the Irish Literary Society around 1895 the English Folk-Song Society in 1897 and the English Folk-Lore Society in 1898 and served briefly as the honorary secretary of the Irish Folk Song Society. Within a short space of time however from 1896 until her death in 1904 she was an active field collector of English songs in England and Irish songs in Ireland. While she was in Ireland she wasnt afraid to move amongst the poor She attended a cabin dance ... and had to lead off with her partner the darkest man in the place who whirled her through space at an alarming rate. The excited audience shouted applause and Youre a fine boy Micky Just show her how we dance in Ould Ireland and Shure Mollys nose will be out of joint were some of the expressions used to show their appreciation. At the conclusion of the dance she asked Micky where he had learned such wonderful steps to which he replied In my cell in prison entoirely shure I had plenty of toime as I was in there jist now for seven years.84 Kate Lee was a professional concert and opera singer and in the later years of her short life she performed pan-Celtic songs and some of the material she had collected at public concerts. Described by C. Millington Fox as having had a special gift for singing folk songs in the old style and without any accompaniment at the Gaelic League ceilidh in Bloomsbury on 30th October 1897 she sang Ban-chnoic Eireannagh The Fair Hills of Holy Ireland and Caitheamh an Ghlais The Wearing of the Green presumably in Irish.85 80 Inis Fail November December 1904. 81 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.2.1901 82 The Irishman March 1911 June 1911. 83 JIFSSL vol.1 no.1 April 1904 p.17. 84 Reported in an account of Kate Lees lecture at the Borough Polytechnic Reviving Traditional Music in The Southwark and Bermondsey Recorder and South London Gazette 1.2.1902. 85 Milligan Fox Irish Folk Songs p.162. For accounts of Kate Lees activities and biographical material see Southwark Bermondsey Recorder 1.2.1902 C. J. Bearman Kate Lee and the Foundation of the Folk-Song Society in Folk Music Journal 1999 vol.7 no.5 pp.627-644. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 176 The English folk-song collector Cecil Sharp who had briefly been a member of the Irish Folk Song Society at the beginning collected from Irish inmates of Marylebone workhouse in 1908. Most probably he didnt set out to find Irish material but having come across it he published a selection in the Journal of the Folk Song Society in 1914. In 1912 C. Milligan Fox collected dance music from fiddle players in County Waterford with a cylinder recording machine86 and the following year A. M. Freeman noted nearly a hundred songs in Gaelic during his two holidays in Ballyvourney County Cork.87 In 1915 other members of the Irish Folk Song Society collected songs from Cork in an unspecified London location.88 Among them were Herbert Hughes who collected material from middle-class informants in London who had learned in childhood from rural workers in Ireland. Kate Lee. Donahoes Magazine January-June 1902 Some recognition of rural style may have paved the way for bringing Seamus Clandillon from Ireland to perform at St. Patricks Day concerts in 1905 1909 1910 and 1911. Born in 1878 in Gort County Galway he was a graduate of University College Dublin and between 1903 and 1912 he taught under the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Tipperary and Cork but more significantly he was a semi-professional singer of Gaelic songs.89 An anonymous Gaelic press reviewer in London indicated some knowledge of rural music-making when he wrote in 1909 that Seamus is the very genius of humour and might be an old country singer so aptly has he caught the traditional country style.90 If the conservation and the rehabilitation of union piping step-dancing and sean nos singing concerned some sections of the Gaelic League what of dance music Dance music played on the 86 Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society of London vol.12 1913 pp.20-21 vol.13 1914 pp.26-27. 87 Journal of the Folk Song Society vol.6 nos.23-25 1920-21. 88 JIFSSL vol.15 1916 p.9. 89 Paddy Clarke Dublin Calling 2RN and the Birth of Irish Radio Dublin Radio Telefis ireann 1986 p.28. 90 Inis Fail April 1909. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 177 union pipes clearly was within the conservationists frame but there is no significant evidence to suggest that the League in its formative years had any view or policy about the nature of dance music. The League required music to be played to accompany step-dancing and later for figure dancing which will be discussed further on and it is almost certain the musicians available approached dance music as academy trained pianists violinists and flautists. The earliest reports of such musicians were soloists accompanying exhibitions of step-dancing at various Gaelic League functions and between 1897 and 1901 the following names were reported John OKiersey Professor Maguire B. A. Mus. Mr. Delaney Daniel Kelleher Dennis Din Tarrant Mr. Cadell and Mr. ORiordan on the violin and Francis OConnor on the flute. Mr. Delaney is also reported as having played the violin in duet with Michael OHara on the union pipes and Agnes McHale Dr. Annie Patterson Miss Walsh Miss OCarroll Miss Ward and Mrs. OShaughnessy are reported as having played the piano for figure dancing91 and of the latter the Gaelic press reported in 1907 that at a plearaca held by the South London school in Clapham Mrs. OShaughnessy never seemed to tire of playing jigs and reels.92 If any of the legitimate musicians interpreted written notations with any danceable quality by changing the rhythmic stress from the written score which is very unlikely it is even more unlikely that they shared any technique with rural players. One exception among these named musicians was Dennis Din Tarrant who was reported at a number of Gaelic League events from 1898 until 1901 including an occasion in December 1901 when he played for James OKeeffe to dance The Rocky Road To Dublin and for Willie Murray to dance The Blackbird. He was a rural fiddle player from Kingwilliamstown now called Ballydesmond in the district of County Kerry known as Sliabh Luchra and he was the brother of Dan Tarrant who later became the Mayor of Camberwell and the uncle of Paddy and Richie Tarrant who much later played in Frank Lees Tara Ceilidhe Band. He was known back home in Ballydesmond in her youth by the fiddle player Julia Clifford. A sighting of Din Tarrant. Inis Fail April 1905 The other exception was Daniel Kelleher whom Patrick Reidy identified as having come from Castleisland County Kerry which is also in Sliabh Luchra93 but is elsewhere identified with the native-Irish speaking area of Achadh Bolg Mscraigh in County Cork. On 2nd October 1915 A. M. Freeman an English member of the Irish Folk Song Society of London recorded the tin whistle playing of Frank Brewe or Brue from Ruan County Clare in London. Of the three pieces recorded only The Humours of Bandon still exists on the original cylinder in the Vaughan 91 Unprovenanced manuscript Samhain celebration 30.10.1898 University College Dublin An Claidheamh Soluis 17.6.1899 12.8.1899 14 21.10.1899 11.11.1899 16 23.12.1899 20.1.1900 3.3.1900 14.4.1900 26.5.1900 24.1.1901 2.2.1901 9.3.1901 7.12.1901 19.1.1901 26.10.1901 7.12.1901 .3.1902 Inis Fail April 1905 Tom Barclay The Autobiography of a Bottle-Washer Leicester Edgar Backus 1934 p.98. 92 Inis Fail January 1907. 93 Patrick Reidy tune manuscript book sent to Capt. Francis ONeill. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 178 Williams Memorial Library. There is no further available evidence to confirm one way or the other whether there were any other rural fiddle or flute players embraced by the Gaelic League in its early days. The press report in December 1901 that two flute players Francis OConnor and James Barry were playing in the company of Din Tarrant and Daniel Kelleher at the Athenaeum looks promising.94 So too does a note in 1906 of Pat OLeary supplying the music as only he knows how at a seilg arranged by the Forest Gate branch.95 The sighting of an unidentified musician who was almost certainly a traditional one was reported in the Gaelic press in May 1906. Daringly as if acknowledging it was not the party line the correspondent wrote of dancing to a concertina also referred to in the same piece as a melodeon at a seilg on Chorley Common to the great delight of the party of Gaelic Leaguers Gaelic Holidays and a Concertina. We may expect before long to have a hot debate raging as to whether or not the concertina is a Gaelic instrument. Possibly An Paorach would no more allow a Gael to play the concertina than he would allow him to wear trousers. Even he however would scarcely have blamed the little company of Gaelic Leaguers who left Hampstead on Easter Monday and marched across Chorley Common to a tune on the melodeon. Originally a fiddler had been called for but somehow he was prevented from coming and the enthusiast with the concertina was received in his place with open arms. One does not look on the instrument as particularly well-suited to airs like An Cirionn or Savourneen Deelish but there can be no question that a jig or reel can be performed on it with great spirit. As the musician sat in a ditch playing with a girls hat on his head the Hampstead Gaels were able to dance their fill and not feel at all like bank-holiday trippers. So occupied did they become indeed with their dances in the sun that they completely forgot to go to Chorley Woods which in the morning they had set out to see. They seemed as it were bewitched by the strange music. At the end of the day they assured themselves that the concertina had not denationalised them but that they had succeeded in nationalising the concertina. 96 Given that most of the musicians available to the Gaelic League in its early days were trained in conservatoire technique they would have played dance tunes as written with the stress on the first and third beats of the bar rather than on the second and fourth beats. It is very unlikely they had any sense of the pulse and lift associated with rural musicians and certainly none of the decoration subtlety of pitch and the placement of notes that give rural music it character. Models of ornamenting and stressing dance tunes were available to them if they were interested in the playing of union pipers known to the League. It is likely that none of them did and perhaps it is unreasonable to have expected any of them to have applied technique from the union pipes to the piano flute and violin. Building a repertory of dance tunes was also a problem as there were few if any published collections available either in print or in library copies. Richard Leveys The Dance Music of Ireland in two volumes was still in print and Patrick Reidy made his manuscript tune book available but the problem was not generally solved until Francis ONeill published his mammoth works Music of Ireland in 1903 and The Dance Music of Ireland in 1907 but even then they were only published in America and were not on general sale in London. Of all the musicians noted during this early period only Agnes MacHales name continued to appear in the Gaelic press after 1904. A solo instrument is the ideal accompaniment for a solo dancer as the performance is in reality a duet with potential for artistic balance and rapport between the performers. Social dancing with large numbers of people on the dance floor at the same time calls for something more robust louder stronger and more vigorous in the form of a band or an orchestra. While bourgeois social convention allowed for members of the same social class to play for dancing in private it 94 An Claidheamh Soluis 7.12.1901 95 An Claidheamh Soluis 25.6.1906. 96 Inis Fail May 1906. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 179 required paid professionals to play for public dancing. The formation of an amateur band within the Gaelic League the members of which were peers with the dancers was a major break with convention. James Nunan was a central figure in the creation of such a band. A journeyman tailor born in Ireland in 1856 or 1857 and living at 76 Crawford Street in Marylebone he was first reported playing the violin alone for informal dancing in 1904. Early in 1909 the OCarolan Musical Society was formed. Led by James Nunan with W. K. MacGee as its secretary it advertised for engagements as the OCarolan Orchestra.97 Reminiscing many years later about James Nunans sons Sean and Ernie the Gaelic Leaguer Maurice OConnell recalled to James A. Whelan of the Cork Weekly Examiner that Two brothers from London the Noonans were in the Rising. They were members of a very musical family the father was always at the Saturday night ceilis with members of his family and the two boys and one of the daughters were the major portion of the regular bands. They never once accepted a penny even for expenses and always considered that their part in the movement was to provide the music in this way. Both Sean and Ernest fought under Pearse in the G.P.O. were imprisoned at Frongoch and served terms of imprisonment at Exeter and elsewhere. Sean was a very good violinist and a very good dancer and learned step-dancing from Jack OBrien dancing champion of the time. Irish dancers here wore evening dress of long tails knee breeches black socks and shoes with silver buckles. Sean Noonan after many years in the U.S. where he did invaluable work was re- instated in the Civil Service and was Secretary of the Irish High Commissioners office at Piccadilly House from about 1939 for some years. He eventually became Secretary of the Department of External Affairs and retired from that post a few years ago.98 Gaelic press reports of James Nunan and one of his sons playing together in 1910 and 1911 were followed by reports of his orchestra in 1912 when on one occasion they were joined by Mr. Aherne and Mrs. Barratt and on another by Mr. McGowan on the violin and Agnes MacHale on the piano. At St. Georges Hall Westminster in May 1911 Ernie Nunan played a violin solo as part of the general entertainment. Molly Tiernan remembering the evenings in Lisson Grove before the 1916 Easter Rising when Sean Nunan sometimes played the piano said Nunans never run anything really. The old man used to play but all for no money. All to be happy. James Nunans collaboration with Agnes MacHale suggests he might have been musically literate to some degree while the name he chose for his orchestra taken from that of the seventeenth and eighteenth century harper OCarolan and the address of his other associate W. K. McGee in the artists garden suburb of Bedford Park in Chiswick point to the possibility of an arty turn of mind. None of that is at all certain and their joint artistic endeavours might simply have been an expedient reflecting their common cause in the Gaelic revival. Whatever the origin of James Nunans musical skill might have been he most likely developed his skill and possibly modified his style as a consequence of regular playing for dancing and sitting in with any and every band until the outbreak of the Second World War.99 Other reports of dance musicians at this period name Masters Kiely and ORegan in duet in 1910 and P. McGowan and Regan in duet in 1911 whose excellent music was a great incentive to dancing. The musician mentioned above as Mr. McGowan and P. McGowan was almost certainly Henry John McGowan about whom brief biographical details have come from his grandson Kevin Crowley. Harry McGowan was born in 1870 in the Galway town of Ballinasloe where he was known as Bands McGowan because if ever there was a band he used to follow it. He married Nora OMalley from The Claddagh the first cousin of the Irish language writer Padriag Conaire and they settled on the outskirts of Galway City. He served in the army in India Egypt 97 Inis Fail October 1904 January 1905 December 1906 Inis Fail March April August 1909. The 1901 Census gives the address as 76 Crawford Street while the Post Office Directory 1906-1940 gives 76 Lisson Grove. Crawford Street is in the area known as Lisson Grove. 98 Cork Weekly Examiner 6.9.1958. The 1901 Census gives John Sean aged 10 and Ernest aged 3. 99 The 1901 Census lists James Nunan 44 born in Ireland working on his own account as a tailor the rest of the family born in Marylebone wife Bridget 39 Mary A. 15 John 10 Eileen 6 Ernest 3 Rose 1 Michael P. 3 months. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 180 Malta and Gibraltar and he ended his service as a colour sergeant at Sandhurst officers training college. Upon discharge before the Great War he worked in the Post Office in London. In his time he was a sprinter in the army and a rugby player with the London-Irish good enough to have been selected as a reserve for Ireland. Kevin Crowley knew him to have been self-taught on the fiddle and to have been a fiddler not a violinist. He was an active musician in London beyond the confines of the Gaelic League from well before the Great War until shortly before his death on 21st May 1935. His local church of St. Winifreds in Hither Green normally had a congregation of about eighty but on the day of his funeral there were a thousand and as his grandson remembered They were all round. The whole area was covered and you could just hear the Mass and respond to it. He used to play at all the dances all over London. Hed go anywhere to play and he was known wherever anything Irish was on. Harrys daughter Nora born around 1903 noted in the press as having won the Irish Self- Determination League step-dancing competition at Camberwell Baths in January 1922 married the piano player and bandleader Frank Lee. Harry McGowan centre before the Great War courtesy Kevin Crowley National icons arising out of antiquarian mentality were trappings in the process of forging a Gaelic identity for revivalist exiles and immigrants in London. Step-dancing and the union pipes already discussed in the context of conservation became symbols of national identity and national dress at this period was restricted to the kilt worn by war pipers. Antiquarianism however informed three other major topics namely the harp figure dancing and the war pipes all of which came to stand as symbols of Irish-Ireland. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 181 The concert harp was a relatively common instrument in nineteenth-century London played by British middle-class amateurs and by professionals earning a living in concert halls dancing- rooms and music halls on pleasure boats and on the street and harpists had been customarily engaged for formal Irish affairs. However as the concert harp represented a stereotypical image of Irishness in mainstream society the Gaelic revival needed to rehabilitate a form of the harp to be uniquely its own and to this effect some London revivalists flirted with the reproduction wire-strung Irish harp. Such an elegant specimen of Irish harp was used by Madam Morley who played An-Cuil-fhionn Sly Patrick The Moreen Gradh mo chroidhe and The Groves of Blarney at the ceilidh in Bloomsbury Hall on 1st February 1898. A week later Dr. Annie Patterson presented a lecture and recital entitled The Harp and Irish Music to the South London Irish Club at Lambeth New Baths in Kennington with musical illustrations by Mary Harris Clare Edwardes who was the conductor of Hampstead Harmonic Society and Kathleen Purcell but there is no indication in the Gaelic press report of what kind of harp was used. At the meeting of the Gaelic League on 30th June 1898 it was proposed to form an Irish harp class in the autumn. On 26th November 1904 Mrs. Milligan Fox honorary secretary of the Irish Folk Song Society lectured on the subject at the Irish Literary Society in Hanover Square with musical illustrations given by Miss May Coleman who sang in Gaelic with her own accompaniment on the small Irish harp... and by Miss Rowe who gave examples of bardic recitation in the ancient gapped scales accompanied by Miss Georgina Macdonald who used a small bardic harp.100 Reference to the revived Irish harp very soon vanished from the printed record and Gaelic revivalists resorted to the use of the concert harp and its classical technique. Organisers of the Gaelic League annual concerts drew on established and approved Oireachtas artists such as Owen Lloyd from Dublin. The appearance at the Queens Hall concert in 1902 of a band of harps directed by Madame Fortesue seems to indicate that the presence of a national icon was more important than the ethnicity of the performing artists. While it has already been suggested that the discovery and subsequent promotion of two union pipers were moves towards conservation it might equally be argued that the Leagues patronage of Garaghan and OHara should be viewed as a manifestation of antiquarianism. This was certainly the case in the later practice of booking union pipers from Ireland to play at London events. The most important of these was the blind artisan piper Dinny Denis Delaney from Ballinasloe County Galway. He was engaged for the St. Patricks Day concert in 1905 with additional appearances at a ceilidh in the Bijou Theatre and at the Kensington School and the following St. Patricks night he was on at the Royal Opera House a situation far removed from his native habitat.101 He was clearly a character as ONeills second-hand account of him reveals Though totally blind he is strange to say unsurpassed as a judge of cattle and other kinds of farm stock and so well recognized is his skill in this respect that at fair and market his opinion is eagerly sought when trading is in progress. Stranger still is the fact that furniture moving is his principal occupation. With a table on his head or a cupboard on his back he can make his way safely all over town. To see him thus engaged and without a trace of timidity in his footsteps a stranger would never suspect that he was blind. Gifted with great conversational powers an endless fund of humor and a tenacious memory he is naturally the life of every gathering which he attends. With such attractions not to mention his qualifications as a prize-winning piper we can understand how he won the heart and hand of a buxom young colleen half his age it being his second matrimonial venture.102 100 Journal IFSSofL vol.2 no. 1 2 1905 p.44. 101 Inis Fail April 1905 102 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.305. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 182 Dinny Delaney. Capt. Francis ONeill Irish Minstrels Musicians 1913 Union pipers booked for other Gaelic League events included Luke McEvoy from Liverpool in 1902 James Flannagan from Dublin in 1902 Mr. Anderson from Cork in 1904 and T. OHara in 1908 but unfortunately no background information is available on any of them. John Flannagan103 who came over from Dublin in 1910 was known from his multiple successes in the piping competitions at the Feis Ceoil in Dublin in 1897. He would also have been known through his mother-in-law the fiddle player Bridget Kenny and was most probably like her a street player rather than a Gaelic revivalist. Billy Andrews born in Dublin 1873 was from the Dublin Pipers Club and he was booked in 1912 following his success the previous year in the Oireachtas pipes competition.104 Figure dancing entered the Gaelic revival repertory at the turn of the nineteenth century in London and not as might be supposed in Ireland. Its initial purposes were as social recreation visual display and a vehicle for competition. More significantly it was presented as the ancient dance of Ireland and it was at the time generally believed within the revival movement to be so. Severe criticism of its authenticity appeared in the press in Ireland in 1904 provoking little or no response from its promoters in London and the loss in its popularity through doubts about its antecedents was short lived. Figure dancing ceilidh dancing or Irish dancing all three terms were used went on to bigger and better things believed by the Irish public at large even at the present time to be both uniquely Irish and archaic though it is in fact neither. There is sufficient documentary evidence available however to de-construct the mythology and to construct a radical early history of ceilidh dancing. 103 ONeill Irish Minstrels p.323. 104 Sleeve notes Topic 12T262. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 183 At the turn of the nineteenth century a need was identified within the Gaelic League in London for an Irish form of social or ballroom dancing as an ingredient in a complete Irish cultural programme. It has been suggested that this realisation came about when in 1897 some Gaelic Leaguers saw the guests at a Scottish event the Gaelic Society ceilidh in Fetter Lane dancing Scottish country dances. This idea emanates from Fionn Mac Coluim who was active in the Gaelic League at that time and who wrote about it five decades later.105 Step-dancing while satisfying sound ideological criteria of technical brilliance manly virility and womanly gracefulness could only serve the purposes of visual entertainment and competition and was quite unsuited for general social dancing. As far as members of the League thought at that time there was no Irish genre of social dance extant and if there were dances practised in rural Ireland they were considered to be inauthentic as having been tainted by their association with English and European culture. Those Leaguers who had been born in Britain or in Irish towns would have had no experience and probably no knowledge of the repertory and practice of the country-house dance. Those from a rural working background having spent several years in higher education would have been largely conditioned to forget or deny their roots. The same improved economic circumstances that offered them an education and a way out of rural life offered those who stayed behind new opportunities for leisure in the form of domestic and community music-making and dancing which led to the introduction and adaptation of new practice and repertory. Thus rural immigrants who had entered the middle class in London were removed not only from their roots but also from the changes going on at home. It seems very unlikely therefore that among the leaders of the Gaelic League in London there was any knowledge of the many and varied vernacular versions of the quadrille sets and the couple dances barndance schottische mazurka La Varsouviana and waltz that had some currency at that time at country-house dances back home. Gaelic Leaguers in early middle age would never have seen such dancing in their rural youth as they did not exist then. Some of those who had entered the professions by way of university would almost certainly have learned at least the rudiments of conventional ballroom dancing and etiquette. Younger less well-off middle-class immigrants might have taken ballroom dancing lessons in London as a means of achieving social advancement. However outlets for ballroom dancing for members of the lower middle class Irish or English were quite limited at this period most balls being run by clubs and societies and few were open to the general public. The first Gaelic League ceilidh the first Irish formal social function anywhere in the world to have been called by that word was held in London on St. Brigids Night 1st February 1897. The programme as reported in United Ireland on the following day included speeches songs in Irish Thomas Garaghan on the union pipes step-dances by members of the League and a speech and a song from two Scottish Highlanders. There is no contemporary evidence that St. Patricks Day 17th March that year was celebrated by any big event and later evidence suggests it definitely was not. At the second ceilidh held in Bloomsbury Hall on 1st May 1897 Thomas Garaghan featured again together with singing by representatives of other Celtic nation of songs in their particular languages. It was announced in advance that Facilities for Irish dancing will be afforded to all who desire to take part in it besides which there will be a special display by accomplished exponents of the art.106 It can be deduced from later evidence that Irish dancing at this stage meant step-dancing. Evidence of what went on at the third ceilidh held in the Bloomsbury Hall on 30th October 1897 is stronger than the earlier newspaper reports as a printed programme is held in University College Dublin. Like the previous two it was clearly an entertainment not a ball no band was 105 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 106 United Ireland 27.3.1897 24.4.1897. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 184 engaged and there could have been no expectation by the guests that there should have been ballroom dancing. There was an exhibition of Highland dancing by members of the Kings College Gaelic Classes and their programme consisted of a Highland Reel and the Sword Dance neither of which is a country dance and an exhibition of Irish step-dancing by members of the Gaelic League. Reminiscing about the first ceilidh in a script written in Irish for Radio ireann some fifty or so years after the event Fionn Mac Coluim wrote that At St. Patricks Day ceili the people were asked to form two facing lines men and women to dance double jig began with rising step between steps a kind of figure for each two hand across to partner change places finish half-step beyond left hand across back home finish half-step in place then another step and the figure until 4 or 5 steps were completed... there were other figures for the single reel and for the slip jig no girl could go out without a male partner he would do the rinnce cruaidl at the end after releasing his partner. translated by Nicholas Carolan Apart from the fact that there was no ceilidh on St. Patricks Day in 1897 Fionn Mac Coluims memory seems to be slightly out understandably so after so many years as this fits the evidence Facilities for Irish dancing will be afforded to all who desire to take part in it of the second ceilidh on 1st May rather than the first ceilidh on 1st February. The dancing he described was clearly not country dancing nor was it in any sense a figure dance. It was a jig for couples part stepping and part arming and changing places for as many couples as wished. Mac Coluims description does not suggest that the couples engaged with any other couples and thus there were no figures between couples. Patrick Reidy had a specific name for this formation rincci sios direach which translates literally and enigmatically as dances directly down107 and in Reidys teaching days back in Kerry it would have been an ideal structure for his dance class. So the first myth can be brushed aside. The evidence simply does not support the conclusion drawn first by Breandn Breathnach108 and accepted without challenge or further research by so many secondary writers since that a form of proto-ceilidh dancing was practised at that first Gaelic League ceilidh in 1897. It did not even take place at the third ceilidh. Shortly after the third ceilidh the South London Irish Club held its first dance in January 1898. They booked the Horns in Kennington and a good quadrille band was engaged. There were several Irish items on the dance programme though as reported in the Gaelic press only a small percentage of the dancers seemed able to cope with them.109 The exact nature of the Irish items is not known and in the absence of precise evidence the probability is that they were step-dances for the few who knew them. For their celebration of St. Patricks Day 17th March 1898 the Gaelic League decided upon a Social and Reunion Dance the first such event they had ever held rather than hold a ceilidh. This seems to have been a move away from an idea of Irishness towards more standard bourgeois behaviour. There is no evidence to suggest there was any social dancing in vernacular rural style which in any case would have been considered vulgar by the bourgeois guests and circumstantial evidence points to the use of the standard Euro-British ballroom repertory of waltz polka quadrilles the Lancers schottische and barndance. That was the normal bourgeois expectation of the time and there is no reason to assume otherwise. Certainly the Gaelic press reported nothing revolutionary or innovative. A Gaelic press report of the St. Patricks night ball the following year mentions that the music was composed from start to finish of Irish airs specially harmonised and arranged for the occasion.110 Though it might have been a talking point at this first successful venture in running a ball in itself it is not particularly remarkable as mainstream society had been organising 107 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 108 Breandn Breathnach Dancing in Ireland from 1700 in Dal gCais no.5 1979 pp.39-42. 109 United Irishman 8.1.1898. 110 Fainne an Lae 25.3.1889. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 185 Shamrock Balls on St. Patricks nights for years.111 What however did the exclusivity of Irish airs mean in terms of the dance programme J. P. Fitzgeralds Quadrille Band hired by the League for these occasions was nothing other than a conventional dance orchestra of the time and Fitzpatrick could have found enough Irish material for ballroom dancing among the stock catalogues of the music publishing houses. At the following years St. Patricks night event in 1900 it was noted in the Gaelic press that Irish reels and jigs were included among the dances.112 This could simply mean that Fitzgerald who again had played exclusively Irish music selected jig and reel tunes for the standard ballroom quadrilles. More probably however Irish jigs and reels referred to the music played for exhibitions of step-dancing though there is a highly improbable long-shot possibility that there was a demonstration of the Four-Hand Reel that was by then being reported at events in the branches. The phrase Irish reels and jigs once again is the language of early nineteenth-century literature hardly the language of somebody well informed. In all these references the evidence contains ambiguities around the meaning of Irish dance and Irish music. The safest interpretation is that step-dancing was presented as visual entertainment at three ceilidhthe in 1897 and the practice was continued in the series of annual St. Patricks Night balls from 1898 to 1902. Sometime towards the middle of that period a small number of enthusiasts had learnt some figure dancing in classes held in the Leagues schools. This figure dancing might have been presented as an exhibition at the bigger events to entertain onlookers and if it was included in the social dance part of the programme it would have been for only a small section of the general throng. The Gaelic press said nothing specific about figure dancing at the gala events presumably it had nothing to report. If a minor revolution in social dance practice hadactually taken place the evidence is far from illuminating and certainly not conclusive. 111 The Boro Mercury 12.3.1920 ran advertisements for two such dances. Mr. and Mrs. Nuttings Irish Ball held at Balham Assembly Rooms on 16.3.1920 was a conventional ballroom event run by professional dance teachers and featured a ballroom dance called The Donneybrook and a stage Irish jig by Miss Nonah Nutting. Harry Austins Grand Fancy Dress Ball held in the Parochial Hall Tooting was specifically billed as being on St. Patricks Night. These events were for mainstream rather than Irish patrons. 112 An Claidheamh Soluis 24. 3.1900. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 186 courtesy University College Dublin So much for the gala events of the Gaelic League at the turn of the nineteenth century. In branch meetings however the repertory of Irish dance or ceilidh dance was slowly being developed. Patrick Reidy according to Fionn Mac Coluim organised the Gaelic League dance class on the model of his school in Kerry decades earlier. The men were separated from the women between the dances and they had to approach a prospective partner bow to her and ask her to dance in a prescribed and quaintly old-fashioned idiomatic phrase Lady would it be pleasing for you to Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 187 march with me113 Reidy appears to have been ridiculed to some extent about this formality though it was little different from the behaviour taught in mainstream dance academies and a second wave of dance pupils within the League began to make dance classes less formal social events. Fionn Mac Coluim was to write many years later that Reidy was a great teacher and a great help to the Gaelic League. Fionn Mac Coluim. An Claidheamh Soluis 24 September 1910 The first specific evidence of the figure-dance repertory in the written record appeared on the agenda of the inaugural meeting of the London branch on 10th October 1898 after the summer recess which read Four hand Reel. To be danced by those who know it already others to look on learn. General instruction by Professor assistants.114 The professor of course was Patrick Reidy who had been available to the League for probably little more than a year. Reports on the repertory in An Claidheamh Soluis followed only spasmodically and the next one was of a very graceful Four-hand reel danced at Forest Gate on 2nd June 1899 and another on 6th October. These would appear to have been demonstration performances.115 So here are three reports of the four-hand reel and nothing else that could be construed as ceilidh dancing. Late in September 1899 at the seilg at Epping Forest in addition to solo step-dances there was a fine display of jigs reels and spirited country dances.116 This was the first reference to country dancing and was incidentally an early acknowledgement that ceilidh dancing was country dancing. The country dance it should be understood is not a dance from the country it belongs to the genre of dances performed in the elite ballrooms of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Some fifty years after these events Fionn Mac Coluim was specific when he wrote that the first dance Reidy taught at the Gaelic League dancing class was the long dance Rinnce Fada and the second was the eight-hand reel. He cited later dances as Cor Muirgheis Morris Reel the four-hand reel The High Cauld Cap St. Patricks Day and an eight-hand jig called The Humours of Bandon.117 113 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 114 Ibid. 115 An Claidheamh Soluis 17.6.1899 19.10.1899. 116 An Claidheamh Soluis 30.9.1899. 117 Mac Coluim papers UCD. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 188 It is curious particularly as Fionn Mac Coluim was a frequent contributor of branch news that no contemporary press reports mentioned this new dance activity until the four-hand reel was danced on 10th October 1898 and spirited country dances were dance in September 1899. If Reidy had been revealing a new dance repertory from the beginning of his association with the Gaelic League dancing class and had been teaching it to Gaelic League enthusiasts why was it not mentioned before and why when it was mentioned was it done in such an off-hand manner By this time however Patrick Reidy was no longer the sole source of dance material. Fionn Mac Coluim has described how in August 1899 he and a party of London Gaelic Leaguers J. G. OKeeffe Eileen Drury and Art OBrien journeyed to Glenbeigh in County Kerry after attending the feis at Ballyvourney in County Cork. There they met a dancing-teacher of at least middle age Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin and had some dialogue with him about dancing.118 It is not known how the contact was made but there seem to be two possibilities either Gaelic Leaguers in Cork or Kerry knew of him or Patrick Reidy knew of him. Since Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin was or had been an artisan dancing-teacher it also seems unlikely that he would have given his material and trade secrets away for nothing. The question then arises about how Patrick Reidy reacted when the smart educated party of middle-class Gaelic Leaguers returned enthusiastically to his dancing class with new material from Silleabhin.119 A point to note is that the visit to Silleabhin was in August and the first reference to spirited country dances was in September. Did the party of Gaelic Leaguers come back excited with Silleabhins material which then prompted Reidy to come up with material of his own The four-hand reel was next reported as an exhibition dance at the ceilidh in the Bloomsbury Hall on 31st October 1899 and at the sgoruidheacht in the main school at 3 Bedford Street in December. A social event at the Forest Gate branch on 23rd February 1900 was reported in two editions of An Claidheamh Soluis both dated 3rd March 1900 with a significant shift in terminology. One read a four-hand reel joined in by the full of the floor showed that language is not the only thing Irish that is becoming more generally known and appreciated while the other read A country dance for which nearly everybody got up was then danced. It would seem that two different writers were commenting on the same phenomenon one described it as a four-hand reel and the other as a country dance. But still there is no report of any expansion in the repertory until a year later at the dancing class held at 3 Bedford Street on 31st January 1901 the dances described as National dances were two step-dances the double jig and the hop-jig and four figure dances the four-hand reel the eight-hand reel St. Patricks Day and Rinnce Fada or the Kerry Country Dance.120 Note the specific use of the phrase country dance. The report probably written by Fionn Mac Coluim who had been to Glenbeigh went on to say that There are numbers of fine old dances still remembered in Ireland which through not being practised are in danger of being lost. It is considered that branches of the Gaelic League ought to take steps to conserve such traditions amusements as well as language being a most important factor in a distinct nationality. In June 1901 the old country dance almost certainly Rinnce Fada or the Kerry Country Dance was enjoyed at a seilg in Epping Forest and Rinnce Fada was specifically mentioned again at a sgoruidheacht in Epping Forest in August and in October the report of an event in Wellington Hall used the expression country dances.121 118 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 119 Patrick Logan Fair Day Belfast Appletree Press 1986 p.134 mentions a dancing-master in Glenbeigh at the end of the nineteenth century called Morty OMoriarty ackt. Helen Brennan but he is not mentioned in the context under consideration. 120 An Claidheamh Soluis 9.2.1901. 121 An Claidheamh Soluis 15.6.1901 3.8.1901 12.10.1901. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 189 No reports came from Ireland of such social dancing or exhibition figure dancing until one in May 1901 which said of a ceilidh held in the Athenaeum Enniscorthy County Wexford that A dance in the second part of the programme formed the most novel item of the night. This was a four-hand reel by eight members of the Enniscorthy Gaelic League and could not be surpassed for grace and rhythm. It is a dance that should certainly become popular again.122 There was a positive connection between London and Enniscorthy in the person of Michael OSullivan who had been one of the London representatives to the Ballyvourney Feis in 1899 and was shortly afterwards an active member of the Enniscorthy branch. A newspaper feature about the preparations for the first Feis Charman held in Enniscorthy in 1902 published retrospectively in The Free Press on 30th May 1936 places Michael OSullivan in a key role in the branch Mr. Stamp was dancing a hornpipe as hard as he could hammer it out Mr. Michael OSullivan was whistling the tune for the dance.. Mr. Michael OSullivan taught them all the dances and also the language. The Four-Hand Reel dance at the Enniscorthy ceilidh in May 1901 was almost without a doubt learned in London by Michael OSullivan and passed on by him to the Enniscorthy branch of the Gaelic League. Further press reports in London throughout 1901 mentioned nothing new in the dance repertory. On 14th September 1901 however An Claidheamh Soluis printed a letter from a London member Daniel Kelleher who seemingly assumed that interest in the discovery of Irish social dance was the monopoly of the London Gaelic League and in his letter he advocated that members when holidaying in Ireland should search out dances. He named some dances and singled out as the most appropriate source to begin with Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin of Glenbeigh in the south-west of County Kerry the traditional instructor there for nearly forty years who cannot be excelled in the quality and variety of his dances and steps and method of teaching. As Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin most probably had an established route he travelled as a dancing teacher and as Daniel Kelleher was a traditional fiddle player either in County Kerry andor County Cork they most probably knew each other. Kelleher added a further point in his letter about mediating source material into a national repertory Owing to the immense variety of traditional dances in Ireland no two districts at present have exactly the same specimens. This lack of conformity interferes considerably with their spread amongst our people generally. It would be very desirable to have certain dances adopted as standards and instructions for their performance printed in the Claidheamh or separately. I would suggest to start with the four-hand reel and the Rinnce Fada or Kerry county dance on account of their grace and simplicity. Fionn Mac Coluim wrote again half a century after the event that he and some other London Gaelic Leaguers Art OBrien Eileen Drury Miss Dodd and Una Ni Dubhda attended the Oireachtas in Dublin on 29th 30th and 31st May 1901. At the official reception in the Mansion House on the 28th they asked if they could show some Irish dancing new to themselves and completely unfamiliar to the assembled guests. Strangely Daniel Kelleher who was listed as a delegate for the London branch at the Oireachtas as well as being an advocate for the repertory and technique of Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin and being able to play the fiddle does not feature in the account. The Londoners sought the assistance of a violinist from the orchestra and danced long dances most probably Rinnce Fada or the Kerry Country Dance and a Four- Hand Reel. Augmenting their team with some members of the Dublin Keating branch whom they must have instructed in advance they then performed an Eight-Hand Reel. Fionn Mac 122 An Claidheamh Soluis 18.5.1901. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 190 Coluim recollected that some of the audience were disapproving Sir Joseph Glynn being overheard to say Whats the Mansion House coming to to have such things put on. Others however were inspired and the London contingent spent the rest of the week teaching their dances to members of various Irish Gaelic League branches.123 In February 1902 the four-hand reel was featured in the competition syllabus of the Glasgow Feis the first feis to have been held outside Ireland and in August 1902 the eight-hand and the four-hand reels appeared as competition categories at the Munster Feis in Cork.124 Meanwhile back in London on the 2nd February 1902 J. G. OKeeffe lectured on the National Dances of Ireland at the North Kensington Gaelic School and his use of practical illustrations by Professor Reidy Willie Murray and eight others points to the probable inclusion of both step- dances and figure dances. As reported in the Gaelic press He announced at the end of his discourse that it was proposed to publish a small handbook on the subject embodying instructions in all forms of Irish traditional dances and invited anyone interested in the subject to communicate with him and the piece included that he would incorporate all the information available from living and traditional sources.125 Gaelic League Irish dancing at The Athenaeum in Tottenham Court Road 1902. G. R. Sims Living London 1902 In September 1902 with no acknowledgement to anyone or to any source J. J. Sheehan another London Gaelic Leaguer issued a three-penny handbook A Guide to Irish Dancing through John Denvirs publishing firm in Fleet Street Denvir being active in the Irish literary movement in London at the time. This work contained a moralistic nationalistic preface about the value of Irish dancing and gave notations of several four-hand and eight-hand dances in reel and jig time. A month later Sheehan lectured on the subject at the Dockhead branch.126 Close on Sheehans heels An Claidheamh Soluis announced on 20th December 1902 that A Handbook of Irish Dances by J. G. OKeeffe and his co-author the new honorary secretary of the London Gaelic League Art OBrien was just out. Published in Dublin by ODonaghue 123 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 124 Rinnce na h-ireann New York The Gaelic League of the State of New York no date 1907 pp.1-2- In the summer of 1902 a member of the New York Philo-Celtic Society revisited Ireland and found that the Gaelic League besides reviving the Language had brought to life here and there throughout the country some of the beautiful figure dances which had been forgotten in most parts of Ireland for more than half a century. One of the prize winners in the Four Hand Reel Competition at the Munster Feis in that year wrote a detailed description of the Four and Eight Hand Reels and Rincce Fada and as a result these dances were introduced into New York in October 1902 by THE NEW YORK PHILO-CELTIC SOCIETY.. the CUMANN NA RINNCE was established in February 1904. 125 An Claidheamh Soluis 15.2.1902. 126 An Claidheamh Soluis 11.10.1902. An Claidheamh Soluis 21.2.1903 needs to be checked for a possible second lecture. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 191 Company it was soon re-set though not revised and reprinted by Gill. By 1903 the appearance of the four-hand and eight-hand reels at feiseanna as competition figure dances was common place an example being the inclusion of the four-hand reel the eight-hand reel in the competitions at Carlow Feis in July 1904. Within a few months of its first appearance in Ireland figure dancing was accepted within the Gaelic revival as an exhibition and competition genre and it was on its way to being established as an approved form of social dance. Some Gaelic Leaguers in Ireland however challenged the authenticity of the dances at this stage claiming they had never been seen in Ireland before and that they had been re-hashed from English quadrille figures. Once the historical status of the dances was challenged the authenticity of the sources was in question and the implication was that OKeeffe and OBrien in collusion with Reidy had fabricated the entire repertory. The antiquarian and nationalist background material in the opening pages of A Handbook of Irish Dances researched in the British Museum is in keeping with OKeeffes reputation for Gaelic scholarship. Both OKeeffe and OBrien were associated with Patrick Reidy and back in August 1899 they had together visited Tadhg Saghin Silleabhin in Glenbeigh. Reidy and Silleabhin were clearly the oral sources for the latter part of the history text and of the twenty-six notations for four-hand eight-hand and sixteen-hand dances in reel and jig-time eight were credited to Silleabhin and seven to Reidy. Two dances were credited to John OReilly of Killorglin County Kerry and one each to Thomas Danaher of Moonegay County Limerick and R. A. Foley of Knockmonlea County Cork. All these informants came from Munster. Further dances however were from County Donegal in Ulster five credited to Patrick Gallagher of Ballaghtrang and one taken down at Marblehill.127 Reidy and Silleabhin were dancing- teachers but there is no available evidence about the status of the other informants as dance authorities. OReilly made his contribution in Dublin and Gallagher and Danaher made theirs in Glasgow which raises the suspicion that OKeeffe and OBrien made contact with them through the Gaelic League. Thomas Danaher as Thomas O Danachair of Mhoinage is later credited by Fionn Mac Coluim as the source of the Walls of Limerick128 which points to his having been a Gaelic League dance inventor or collector rather than a rural informant. R. A. Foley was indeed a member of the League in Dublin and was identified as such in the Gaelic press in 1904.129 So were the dances from Gallagher and Danaher taken down at the Glasgow Feis in February 1902 and were theirs and Foleys nothing but evolutions or mutations from London Gaelic League dances The remaining contribution a four-hand reel was taken down from competitors from Castlebridge County Wexford at the Enniscorthy Feis in 1902 and the case for this dance coming from the London Gaelic League has already been presented. OKeeffe and OBrien were not experienced in collecting dances in the field nor is it at all likely that they had any prior knowledge of dance notation or any understanding of the concept of dance construction. Recording twenty-six dances from oral or visual sources with any degree of accuracy would have been an incredibly difficult and exacting task which it must be assumed was beyond their ability. Their colleague Daniel Kelleher advocated standardisation and it may well have been OKeeffe and OBriens intention to present their dances in a standardised form. Certainly their published notations possess a unity of style irrespective of regional differences that would be expected in material from such distant and diverse locations as Kerry and Cork Donegal and Wexford. What then were the nature and the extent of the mediation from source to publication It has been suggested that Patrick Reidy produced some old-fashioned dances when the demand arose. If that was so did he remember them accurately did he reconstruct them from 127 J. G. OKeeffe Art OBrien A Handbook of Irish Dances Dublin Gill 1902 pp.127-8. 128 Mac Coluim papers UCD. 129 An Claidheamh Soluis 26.3.1904. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 192 faulty recollection or did he even invent them to order It seems most likely that the dances took their shape and style under the direction of Reidy in his classes and that the published notations represented a pragmatic reconstruction standardised from a number of sources. The approved style of performance with the rigid upper body and the robot-like arm movements are suspicious having no parallel in the traditional dances of rural Ireland as known about now. Similarly the side-stepping sevens and threes so characteristic of ceilidh dancing is a direct descendent of the chass in eighteenth-century French ballroom dancing.130 So how was that introduced into an Irish repertory Eighteenth-century French ballroom dance technique would have been known and accepted by the nobility and gentry in Britain and Ireland at the time so that would explain the presence of sevens threes in Ireland but that style of dancing within elite society was on its way out in the early part of the nineteenth century. It may be that the sevens threes chass was incorporated into the complicated stepping of the elite ballroom quadrille in the early part of the nineteenth century but that stepping was soon lost in the practice of the elite ballroom quadrille. So were sevens and threes ever part of Irish vernacular dance before OKeeffe and OBrien published and how did Reidy know that particular stepping In the absence of OKeeffe and OBriens field notes if they ever existed and any form of documentary evidence from their informants a dark shadow of doubt must fall on the authenticity of the dances as published and as promoted by the Gaelic League. There is later ambiguous evidence from Phil Cahill born around 1896 about the circulation in County Kerry of related material some of which he learned from an older dancing-teacher Jerry Molyneaux131 and that evidence needs to be provenanced and analysed together with some consideration of the movements in Sheehans and OKeeffe and OBriens dances in relation to figures in elite ballroom cotillions country dances and quadrilles An anonymous correspondent Country Born writing in The Leader on 12th July 1902 attacked the London dances in general and the Rinnce Fada or The Kerry Country Dance in particular Is it a true Irish dance or is it a Kerry dance at all It seems to me to be neither the one nor the other but a mixture of quadrille and polka with some promenading and a few crude steps like the mis-named eight hand and four hand reels... Eighteen years ago I was at the Puck Fair in Killorglin and saw there hundreds of dancers from different parts of the country. I saw Irish step-dances in plenty and some quadrilles called by the country people sets but nothing at all with the slightest resemblance to the rince fda. If this is an old Kerry dance surely one would expect to find it at Puck Fair along with the step-dancing. In OKeeffe OBriens Handbook there are four dance notations for Rinnce Fada Long Dance named Kerry Dance Divided Dance Hop Time and Limerick Walls and one for Rinnce Mr Country Dance named Donegal Dance Kerry Dance is not being described as a country dance. All five of these dances appear to be variations on common country dances. Kerry Dance Divided Dance and Hop Time are in a longways formation with men lined up on one side facing their partners lined up on the other. The movements are simple and in each turn of the dance 32 bars the first couple progresses down the set and a new first couple starts the same routine again. Limerick Walls is in a progressive Sicilian Circle formation with one couple facing another and each couple progressing after 32 bars to another couple while Donegal Dance is in a Circassian Circle formation with couples joining hands in a ring and executing simple movements. Apart from the footwork and the highly stylised body posture if in fact the characteristic rigid posture and arm movements were part of the style when the dances were introduced on the London-Irish Gaelic revival scene that exaggerated stylisation might have actually come later these are the kind of country dances that survived in some working rural 130 Personal communication from Ellis Rogers an historic-dance specialist. 131 Cullinane Aspects 1987 p.23. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 193 communities in parts of England Scotland Canada America. The big question in the context of dancing in Ireland is if these OKeeffe-OBrien dances were genuine vernacular rural dances collected in the field in what circumstance and situations when and how often and by whom were they danced132 Puck Fair Killorglin Co. Kerry with the puck mounted on a scaffolding tower 10-12 August 1905. Cork Weekly Examiner Pictorial Supplement 7 October 1905 In 1902 the Oireachtas committee appointed a commission which met in May 1903 to report on Irish dancing and to work out criteria for judging authenticity and quality of performance. There is no available evidence from Gaelic League sources and the reconstruction of events comes from material printed in The Western People in 1904. Several experts resident in Ireland were appointed as commissioners and Patrick Reidy was brought over from London. The commissioners confused in their brief with no shared knowledge base and apparently no potential for making conceptual analysis were unable to take relevant evidence from informants. Very few witnesses came forward not surprisingly as the general invitation went out to Gaelic League branches rather than to rural dancers and dancing-teachers. In subsequently ruling that the solo jig was standard in content and form throughout Ireland thereby underpinning its authenticity the commissioners could not have been further from the truth. The Irish jig was in fact manifested in many forms in rural settings as well as on the variety theatre stage in ballet schools and in many vernacular guises in Britain and America. Consideration of the reel bogged down commissioners and witnesses alike as if they were working from different agendas. Were they talking about the solo reel step-dance or the four-hand reel Without producing evidence of form or context some witnesses claimed the reel as danced in Connaught was the authentic dance of Ireland while the dancing of Munster in other words the OKeeffe-OBrien dances published in London was spurious. In their report the commissioners pontificated on what a reel 132 The use of terms is very confused set figure long dance round dance each have several meanings Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 194 should be and criticised the new London dances. Reidy was both the credited source of some of the published dances and a member of the commission yet there is no discovered evidence of any response from him. It may be that the League as a whole was not interested in the debate and there was no comment in the Leagues newspaper at the time. It was left to one of the commissioners anonymously it should be noted with a minority view to send the Report of Commission on Irish Dancing to a provincial newspaper. The Western People in County Mayo published the confused and confusing report on 2nd January 1904 and the debate continued in that forum over the next nine months.133 The Gaelic press briefly acknowledged the correspondence in The Western People134 but OKeeffe OBrien and Sheehan never explained themselves or defended their sources in print and Reidy appears only to have written a confused irrelevant letter to Inis Fail in December 1905. Feelings ran high as the editorial in An Claidheamh Soluis on 9th June 1906 indicates wild horses would not draw from us an editorial expression of opinion on the dancing question. Not that we are without views we hold views which we might mildly describe as startling and if ever we conceive a desire to wreck the movement in a special number of AN CLAIDHEAMH taking a railway-ticket to some remote wilderness on the eve of publication. Then from afar we shall Bricriu-like watch with glee the wranglings of the men of Erin. But for the present we keep our own counsel. What would now be called figure dancing had been dropped from the Oireachtas programme in 1904 shortly after the committees report and the four-hand eight-hand and sixteen-hand dances were generally discredited and went out of circulation in Ireland. A degree of guilt was felt in London and many people stopped this form of dancing for a few years. A semi-public debate took place on whether in the absence of genuine Irish social dance the Gaelic League should continue to allow Euro-British ballroom dances to be performed at its functions. In general however the London figure dances were accepted and their practice continued and once the argument settled down it was never raised again publicly. At the Feis and Athletic Tournament held at the GAA Grounds in Lea Bridge Road on Whit Monday 1906 some of the crowd organised their own dancing which from the Inis Fail correspondents report appears at least in part to have been rural kitchen-dance in style but whatever it was it wasnt welcomed though apparently it wasnt stopped In certain parts of the ground one noticed dancing and romping not officially organised of course of a character that would not do credit to a Gaelic gathering under any circurnstances. Again towards the close of the evening there was a good deal of dancing going on all round most of the dances being sets and I am not sure that there was not an odd waltz or polka here and there. However be that as it may and without in any way opening a discussion on that thorny subject the dancing question there is a matter here which is likely to lead to trouble if attention is not given to it on future occasions. The G.A.A. has not I believe made any rule with regard to dancing that may be indulged in at their meetings the Gaelic League on the other hand has for some years past excluded anything but Irish dances from all its programmes and from all its meetings...135 In 1906 a new dance The Waves of Tory swept through London Gaelic League branches and in 1908 another new dance The Walls of Limerick was reported in the Gaelic press in Ireland as having been danced at the Skibbereen branch in County Cork.136 The Waves of Tory and some succeeding dances were invented in Ireland using country-dance figures wedded to the steps and style of the London figure dances. Clearly there was a change of heart in Ireland. Oireachtas dance competition rules were revised in 1912 with figure dancing re-admitted to competition in 133 The Western People 30.7.1904 20 27.8.1904 310 24.9.1904 8 2.10.1904. 134 An Claidheamh Soluis 3.9.1904 Inis Fail December 1904. 135 Inis Fail July 1906. 136 Inis Fail March 1906 An Claidheamh Soluis 18.4.1908. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 195 1913137 and at the Thormond Feis in 1912 four-hand and eight-hand reels even replaced solo dancing in the competitions. The next dance manual Rinnce na h-ireann was published by the Gaelic League of the State of New York in 1907 following the realisation that the Four-Hand Reel as danced in New York differed in a few details from that generally in vogue in Ireland. Cumann na Rincce the organisation in New York that embraced all the societies promoting Irish dancing set up an Irish Dancing Conference in March 1906. The delegates to this conference included prize winners at the Oireachtas of 1902 and at many Feiseanna throughout Ireland as well as those most intimately associated with the propagation of the dances in this city. Frequent meetings were held during the spring of 1906 and were resumed in September of the same year. All available authorities on Irish Dancing were consulted but the one to which the Conference is chiefly indebted and to which it takes pleasure in giving due credit is A Handbook of Irish Dance by J. G. OKeeffe and Art OBrien. In this Handbook sixteen figures are given but none are specified as belonging to any particular dance. Certainly these figures have however been identified in Ireland with some of the dances as evidenced by members of the Conference who participated in them there. The Conference has after thorough deliberation assigned to the remaining dances the other figures and additional ones not specified in the work referred to. Thus a distinct individuality has been given to each dance. 138 There is no suggestion that the conference considered the authenticity of the material. In fact it accepted the London dances even after the doubt cast upon them by the commission held in Dublin three years earlier. The New York conference and the subsequent dance manual actually modified and standardised the London repertory and presented the dances more clearly. A whole generation passed before the publication in 1925 of the next dance manual Elizabeth Burchenals Rinnce na Eireann the same name as the 1907 publication but subtitled National Dances of Ireland which came out not in Ireland or London but in New York.139 It gave notation for twenty-five dances collected by J. M. Lang an active and enthusiastic Gaelic Leaguer in Dublin. It gave no indication of the sources of the material in the collection and while some dances appear to have been acquired from rural sources the bulk were most probably invented within the Gaelic League. Lang and Burchenal however drew no distinction and presented the material within the approved style of the Gaelic League. Thus the seed planted by members of London branch of the Gaelic League back in 1898 had grown to full maturity shortly after Independence. Reports in the Gaelic press such as that of a 1906 West London plearaca give the impression that Gaelic League dancers in the early days were filled with enthusiasm and energy This plearaca was the most delightful one we have yet attended. It seemed like a beautiful dream and we almost believed the Hall to be a veritable Palace of Delight because of the magic charm of the West London cailini young women. The dancers were full of zest and vigorously responded to the merry music made by Seamus O Nunain. Quite notable was the manner in which the cailini made everyone dance it was not possible to resist their persuasive eloquence...140 However that was certainly not the whole picture. An evening at the Leagues Bishopsgate school was described in a letter to Inis Fail in March 1907. The young female correspondent wisely chose to hide her identity under the pseudonym Cailin Og At the tinkle of the bell at 9.45 the people left their seats and congregated round the hall whispering in groups and wearing the facial expressions of shrewd farmers at a fair and only an occasional titter disturbed the 137 Carolan Traditional Dancing. 138 Rinnce na h-ireann pp.3-4. 139 Elizabeth Burchenal Rinnce na Eireann National Dances of Ireland New York G. Schirmer 1925. 140 Inis Fail December 1906. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 196 monotony. Woe betide the person who indulged in a hearty laugh if the consternation expressed on the faces round could be taken as a criterion to the censure in store. When the first dance was announced instead of a rush for the floor the Secretary had to give personal intimation to the men before they took their places and during the dance I was reminded of a hundred yards race by the stoic indifference to enjoyment which prevailed. At the conclusion of the dance the men stood around as before their hands in their pockets the attitude which characterises men who are afraid of being eloped with. The enthusiasm of a stranger is liable to be frozen in such a forbidding atmosphere and as for the cailini they were allowed to sit aside and look on without interference or any notice whatever being taken of them all alone in the crowded hall. When will the youthful buoyancy of our people come to the front For lessons I would like to send them to the cross-road dances where genuine enjoyment untrammelled by dogma or formality is indulged in. The continuing problem was noted by D. OS. in The Irishman of February 1911 at the New Year celebration in St. Andrews Hall The usual complaint heard at dances to the overplus of ladies was heard but if all the men present recognised their obligations in coming and all stood out boldly to dance instead of sheepishly hanging about the door and sides as some did the complaint would have had no real ground. The first notice of the bagpipes being played at a London Gaelic League function appeared in the Gaelic press in November 1902 when it was reported ambiguously that D. Duane would perform old tunes on the large pipes at a concert in St. Andrews Hall.141 The war pipes made an effective impact on the London scene in October 1903 with a performance in the Queens Hall by three young enthusiasts from the Dublin Pipers Club Eamonn Ceannt James Ennis Seamus Mac Aonghusa and his brother Gerald father and uncle respectively of the later famous Seamus Ennis. Their impact must have been heightened by their appearance in kilts and caubeens or as a witness later recalled full war paint.142 By 1904 Frank Power An Paorach of the Forest Gate branch was reported spreading his enthusiasm for piping far and wide appearing at concerts seilg and the East London Feis and marching down the Strand and Fleet Street after the St. Patricks Day concerts in 1904 and 1906. There is no evidence available of where he got his initial piping skills but he was a prime mover in the Oireachtas at which he won second prize in 1905 and first prize the following year and later in London he was later taken under the wing of a Scottish champion piper Donald MacKay Domhnall MacAoidha.143 141 An Claidheamh Soluis 1.11.1902. 142 While in London James Ennis won a Ruddall Rose concert flute in a competition and found a set of union pipes made by Coyne of Thomas Street Dublin in a pawn shop. Treoir vo.5 no.1 1973 143 An Claidheamh Soluis 7 14.5.1904 25.6.1904 26.11.1904 11.3.1905 8.7.1905 18.6.1906 15.8.1908 Inis Fail April May August October November December 1904 January March August September 1905 March April September December 1906 John Meshkoff Louis Noble Irish Warpiper taken from Nobles autobiographical notes www.cuffnet.com. Seamus Ennis on meeting An Paorach in Newport County Mayo 11.8.1944 wrote in his diary translated from Irish An Paorach is an interesting person and has very worthwhile opinions about music and things Irish see Rionach ui gin Going to the Well for Water The Seamus Ennis Field Diary 1942-1946 Cork Cork University Press 2009 p.176. Identifying him as Risteard de Paur Rionach ui gin in the same book p.417 notes that he was a piper and a fiddle player having been born in England and having worked in Neenagh County Tipperary and Waterford and he was then currently the principal teacher in the school at Acaill County Mayo. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 197 James Ennis with the Department of The Irishman July 1910 Agriculture in Dublin. An Claidheamh Soluis 15 December 1917 Frank Power An Paorach. Inis Fail July 1906 Harry Hough. Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society of London 1912-1913 Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 198 Louis Noble 1909. Louis Noble probably at Killarney Co. Kerry during the Oireachatas in 1914. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 199 Bob OShea. courtesy Na Piobairi Bill Cusack. courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Harry Hough Collection Uilleann Harry Hough Collection Michael Higgins. courtesy Na Piobairi Unidentified. courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Harry Hough Collection Uilleann Harry Hough Collection Cumann na bPiobairi or the Gaelic League War Pipers Club based on the Dublin model was formed at the end of 1904 or the beginning of 1905 and its course over the next six years was plotted in heated correspondence in The Irishman in 1911 following a schism in the club. The idea of a pipers club was floated at a meeting in Duke Street convened by George McCaffley and taken up under the direction of An Paorach with a membership consisting of Bill Cusack Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 200 Higgins Harry Hough144 Bob OShea OKelly and OMahoney. Donald MacKay Domhnull Mac Aoidh upon joining in 1906 brought with him considerable expertise which he endeavoured to pass on to club members. In April 1909 An Paorach Frank Power having left London in November 1906 and a new intake having joined the club split less than amicably leaving in effect two Gaelic League pipers clubs. An old guard was represented by Hough Cusack and OShea and the main body of pipers was led on occasion by Donald MacKay Domhnull Mac Aoidh or his brother Archie Giolla Easbaigh Mac Aoidh.145 Louis Noble 1886-1970 recalled the names of some of the pipers active during his time in the club as Maurice OConnell who was secretary for ten years and was a keen teacher Liam OCuirnin Rory OCuirnin T. Daly T. Dignan J. Coaghlan C. McGeogh Trimbal Sean Howard and Dan MacCarthy. The Gaelic League pipers fulfilled functions at the whole range of social and sports events within the movement. An Paorachs success in the 1906 Oireachtas was followed up by Louis Noble who won the same championship in 1910 having been at the pipes for only eighteen months and he took the prize again in 1914. Bob OShea came first around the same time J. Coughlan won it in 1911 while Maurice OConnell came second in 1912 and 1913 and first in 1919 so it can be seen that London-Irish war papers were over-represented among Oireachtas prize winners. The London Pipers Band was among the six pipers bands that entered the piping competition at the Oireachtas at Jones Road on 10th July 1911.146 Louis Noble went on by way of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army to become the Instructor of Pipe Bands in the Irish Army in 1924. He was active in every aspect of organising piping in Dublin Belfast where he lived during the War and America where he emigrated to in 1947.147 The Times 30 January 1914 During this creative phase of the Gaelic revival from 1890 to 1914 activities among revivalists in London were important to the progression of the movement as a whole. London revivalists took much of their inspiration and many of their models from their peers in Ireland. However they too inspired the movement in Ireland with energy and enthusiasm as perhaps only exiles can and their major contribution to the movement was an original one in the field of dance. 144 Henry Hough 16 appears in the 1901 Census as a commercial clerk living at 125 Judd Street St Pancras with his father a tailor born in Clerkenwell his sister Winifred 15 his brother Harold 6 other members of the family. Harry later worked as a tailor at that address Harold later led a London-Irish pipers band and Winifred married a London-Irish piper Jim OCarroll in December 1925. 145 Harry Hough letter The Irishman July 1911 Liam Ua Cuirnin letter The Irishman July 1911 Hough John Leahy P. J. Lyons Liam Ua Cusiog letters The Irishman July 1911 Seaghan Ua Coclainn letter The Irishman September 1911 Eogan letter The Irishman November 1911 Inis Fail December 1906 Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 10.7.1948. 146 The Irishman August 1911. 147 The Irishman September 1910 Louis Noble in The Pipers Review nd p.4-5. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 8 The Gaelic Revival in London 1890-1914. 201 The Irishman January 1913 Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 202 CHAPTER 9 THE GAELIC REVIVAL IN IRELAND 1914-19451 The Gaelic League had already lost its pioneering drive by 1913. Adherence to its non- political and non-sectarian constitution marginalised it in a nationalist movement preparing for confrontation with the Government in the impending Home Rule crisis. Padraig Pearse soon to be a leading actor in the Easter Rising wrote in a piece entitled The Coming Revolution for the Gaelic press I have come to the conclusion that the Gaelic League as the Gaelic League is a spent force and I am glad of it. I do not mean that no work remains for the Gaelic League or that the Gaelic League is no longer equal to work I mean that the vital work to be done in the new Ireland will be done not so much by the Gaelic League itself as by men and movements that have sprung from the Gaelic League or have received from the Gaelic League a new baptism and a new life of grace.2 Many members diverted their energy to organised political and revolutionary activity and many were to the fore in the Easter Rising in the subsequent armed struggle for independence and in providing personnel for Government and administration in the Free State. There was no great cultural or economic revolution after the Treaty. The same social classes held economic political and administrative power successive Irish Governments made no attempt to change social order or redistribute wealth and social and public life went on much as before. Ireland created its own cultural pluralism embracing the legacy of pre- Treaty values and social structure wedded to a degree of modernism guided by British and American media images trade and industry. The Gaelic Leagues primary objective of promoting the language was institutionalised in Government policy and Irish was taught in schools. Its secondary aims in art entertainment and pastimes had wide acceptance in principle but not so fully in practice. A veneer of Gaelic revivalism was evident in public life but generally cultural activities labelled as Irish that is Gaelic revival were seen apart from the mainstream of social life. Such activities received serious and respectful coverage in the press yet the number of column inches was small. The Gaelic League emerged from the Civil War intact but with a seriously contracted infrastructure of branches education and social programmes and public events. The pipers clubs in Cork and Dublin had disbanded and the pattern of annual feiseanna was broken. Active support was mainly from members of the lower middle-class and upper working-class in cities and towns with organisers drawn largely from among school teachers and priests. In country districts with few branches organisation of dancing and music tuition was in the hands of scattered individual members of the League. By the mid-1920s there was sufficient recovery in the movement for the revival of some provincial and town feiseanna. The Sligo Feis however was revived as late as 1930 and the Oireachtas in Dublin as late as 1939. 1 This chapter has been largely synthesised from material in Cork Weekly Examiner 1925 1928 1931-40 that newspapers photograph archive Sligo Champion 1930 1934 1938-9 Irish Radio Review 1927-8 Irish Radio News 1928-30 1933 1937-8 John Cullinane Aspects of The History of Irish Dancing Cork Cullinane 1987 Maurice Gorham Forty Years of Irish Broadcasting Dublin Talbot Press 1967 Paddy Clarke Dublin Calling 2RN and the Birth of Irish Radio Dublin Radio Telefis ireann 1986 Elizabeth Burchenal National Dances of Ireland New York G. Schirmer 1925 Ten Popular Figure Dances vol. 1 2 Dublin An Choimisiuin le Rinci Gaelacha nd 1939 Treoir 1968-93. 2 An Claidheamh Soluis 8.11.1913. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 203 The Sligo Champion 19 April 1930 The extensive audience at the Thomond Feis Co. Limerick on Sunday 21 June 1925. Cork Weekly Examiner 27 June 1925 Traditional fiddle players at a dancing competition at Navan Show Co. Meath. The Irish Press 27 July 1932 Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 204 The focus of activity was on dance with a marked increase in the number of dance teachers. The practise of step-dancing was directed towards competition and the main centres of excellence in terms of skill and repertory were Cork and Limerick with Dublin following close behind and interest fanning out to the west and north. Frank Healy writing with a northern perspective in the Cork Weekly Examiner on 9th June 1934 said A mighty change has taken place during the last decade. Belfast has now numerous schools of Irish dancing and it is a matter of no surprise to see the children of Sandy Row the Marrobone and Ballymacarrat gaily practising reels and jigs in pavements and streets as do their prototypes of Blackpool and Blarney Street in Cork. Ballymena Larne Portadown Newry Derry and other towns of the North can now present troupes of Irish dancers at the various feisanna and dancing competitions which have recently become such a feature of life in the North of Ireland. In the Midlands and the West of Ireland Irish dancing has developed on a similar scale while it is rapidly gaining favour in Scotland. A solo hard-shoe jig competition at the outdoor Munster Feis at Mardyke in Co. Cork 28 June 1927. The dancing is Gaelic League style but the fiddle player is a traditional musician. Cork Weekly Examiner Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 205 Line-up for the solo step-dance competition at an outdoor feis in Co. Cork in 1933. The man seated in a trilby hat is the fiddle player next to three adjudicators. Cork Examiner Prize winning step-dancers at the Douglas Feis Co. Cork 5 June 1933. Cork Examiner Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 206 Feis step-dance prize winners 1928. Cork Examiner Miss Daly O. Watters M. Clarke J. OCallaghan winners Cormac OKeeffe adjudicator of the Junior Four-Hand Reel competition a Newry Feis at the Tailteann Games Co. Down. The Irish Press 25 April 1932 All-Ireland Champion 1917-1921. The Irish Press 8 April 1932 As teaching became professionalised there was a call for codification of repertory and control of standards. An Choimisiuin le Rinci Gaelacha the Irish Dance Commission formed under the auspices of the Gaelic League in 1931 published dance instruction manuals examined and approved dance teachers and adjudicators and established criteria for competition. Thus the Commission defined Irish dance and effectively banned dance that did not meet its definition and standards. Part of the standardisation of style was the rigid posture hands to the side required of Irish dancers. Eddie Hickey an Irish dancer in post-WW2 London sought information about dancing before his time Ive got letters from Harry McCaffery. Ive got letters from George Leonard. A lot of the adjudicators have written to me cause Ive collected a great amount of stuff for dancing and they would say around about the Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 207 mid-20s it began to fade out. You know the hand on the hip. The last outpost was Waterford I believe for that..... The character was taken out of Irish dancing. In the mid-1930s some figure dancers and step-dancers having been invited were sent to London and the Continent to represent Ireland in international folk-dance festivals introducing the notion to dancers and dancing-teachers associated with the Irish Dance Commission that their activity previously seen only as being Irish was folk dance. Rory OConnor has insured his feet for 5000. Rory OConnor aged seventeen holder of the Custuime Challenge Belt of Athlone Irelands most-prized dancing trophy. Rory is to represent Ireland at the international Folk Dance Festival at Stockholm in August.3 The Comerford Irish Dancers were winners of over three thousand contests and represented Ireland at the International Folk Dancing Congress for three years at the Royal Albert Hall and in 1936 represented Ireland at the World Congress of Folk Dances held in Germany in conjunction with the Olympic Games where they were the guests of the German Government.4 The Irish Press 12 September 1932 Comerford Irish Dancers with Rory OConnor third from right Ireland early 1930s. The Commission incidentally authenticated the clothes used for dance exhibition and competition particularly the kilt for boys and girls dresses embroidered with celtic decoration as national costume. Ceilidh dancing5 became an alternative to other forms of public social dancing and was practised very often under the patronage of the Church in small towns and under the patronage of local councils in larger towns. A new repertory of ceilidh 3 News Chronicle 1935. 4 Royal Albert Hall programme 17.3.1937. 5 John Cullinane Aspects of the History of Irish Cil Dancing 1897-1997 Cork Cullinane 1998 p.33 attributes the first use of the phrase ceilidh dance to San Cailleagh who published figure dances so described in a Dublin Sunday newspaper in 1934. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 208 dances including the Siege of Ennis6 which combined the style and steps of Gaelic League figure dancing with country-dance figures had been disseminated by oral and visual transmission. These were taken down from live Gaelic League sources mediated into acceptable form and published in Elizabeth Burchenals National Dances of Ireland in 1924. Burchenal was an American interested in international folk-dance she visited Ireland in 1913 and it is not known whether she noted the Irish dances then or if they were communicated to her later. Further dances such as The Sweets of May were collected by an Irish dance teacher Nan Quinn from live tradition in South Armagh in 1930 and circulated within the Gaelic League totally mediated into approved Gaelic League style. The Lead Round or Promenade. photo Lauder Bros. Dublin Elizabeth Burchenal Rinnce na Eireann 1924 Unidentified Gaelic League open-air feis Ireland 1930s. Kardum KAR 987 6 The Siege of Ennis was most probably based on the country dance La Tempt which was composed or at least published by Coulon in the mid-1840s. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 209 In most counties there were a half-dozen or more locations from small halls to town halls where ceilidh dancing was promoted once or a few times a year. The ceilidh bands sometimes named sometime not even mentioned in the press advertisements were at one extreme composed of schooled musicians reading from ONeill while at the other extreme they were composed of rural traditional ear players. In many cases the bands combined musicians from both backgrounds. The Westmeath Independent 16 April 1938 The Sligo Champion 19 April 1930 Co. Mayo. Western People 27 January 1945 2 June 1945 The Gaelic Leagues membership and viewpoint were heavily represented in the staffing and programming of the national radio service and the Gaelic League singer Seamus Clandillon was Director of the Dublin station from 1925 to 1935. Irish dance music was featured several times a week from Dublin Cork and Athlone in recital programmes lasting from ten to thirty minutes each and was also slotted into presentations of Irish light-classical music. Gaelic song pipers bands and direct relays from provincial feiseanna and ceilidhthe were featured and there were didactic programmes on the history of Irish music Gaelic airs and ceilidh dancing for children. The union pipes portrayed as a national icon and the violin were over- represented at the expense of the rural fiddle flute and accordeon thus continuing the Gaelic revival distortion of the nature of current Irish music-making practice. Seamus Clandillon Director of the Dublin 2RN radio station. Irish Radio News 21 April 1928 Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 9 The Gaelic Revival in Ireland 1914-1945. 210 Frequent broadcasters The Metropolitan Garda Ceilidhe Band directed by Supt. C. ODonnell Sweeney. Irish Radio News 25 June 1938 Frequent broadcasters The Ceilidh Trio Tom Breen The Cork Gaelic Quartet Fanny Donovan Cormac Cathal OByrne Dick Smith seen in the Dublin 2RN OCoilean P. Hackett Kathleen Cahalan Feis individual studio. The Irish Radio Review 1928 prize winners who broadcast from Athlone and Cork. Irish Radio News 6 May 1933 The Irish musicians who had most access to radio broadcasting were centred on Dublin where a small number from the city itself from neighbouring counties and immigrants from the west were active at Gaelic League ceilidhthe and at the Dublin Pipers Club which had been re-formed in 1936. While these musicians were not hard-line revivalists their feeling of vulnerability and their outlets for music-making at Gaelic League events directed them towards acceptance of Gaelic revival philosophy and dogma. Typified by Leo Rowsome the union piper they were important figures in the progress of Irish music deserving their honoured place in its history. However their view of the state of Irish music-making unexposed as they were to much if any rural practice has distorted subsequent accounts. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 211 CHAPTER 10 THE GAELIC REVIVAL IN LONDON 1914-19451 The Gaelic League remained the primary vehicle for the Gaelic revival in London during and between the two world wars. Decline in its membership and activities can be discerned as early as 1908 compounded from 1913 as the Home Rule issue began to divert energy into the nationalist movement. There are no official Gaelic League membership figures available for this period. The number of schools was down to eight in 1914 and was reduced even further to four in 1917 though there was an increase in membership immediately after the 1916 Easter Rising. With the founding of the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain ILSD in 1919 and the related proliferation of Sinn Fein branches nationalism featured much higher on the agenda for London-Irish activists than Gaelic revivalism. Art OBrien and Sean McGrath president and general secretary respectively of the ISDL placed their .energies at the disposal of the nationalist cause which in effect meant that their respective leadership responsibilities in the Gaelic League and Gaelic Athletic Association had to take second place in their priorities. During the course of the War of Independence loosely from 1919 until the signing of the Treaty on 6th December 1921 the ISDL and Sinn Fein were the dominant London-Irish organisations. Ceilidhthe run by them and by Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic Athletic Association proliferated and flourished bringing sections of the London-Irish community closer together and raising money for the White Cross Fund for the Relief of Distress in Ireland. Reports of the work of the ISDL carried in The Irish Exile buzz with excitement and clearly the definition between social and political was purposely blurred and ceilidh dancing dancing classes fife--drum bands and all kinds of singing and instrumental music were central to the activities. Many members the Gaelic League and related organisations had been active in the Irish Volunteers the most famous of course being Michael Collins and Roger Casement. More significant to the subject of music and dance were the Carr Brothers Frank Fitzgerald uncle of the future Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald2 Joe Ed and Frank Lee Louis Noble James Nunan and his two sons Sean and Eddie and Johnny Blimey OConnor all of whom were dancers andor musicians. The exploits of the Nunan boys and Blimey OConnor during the uprising in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 would have had popular appeal. Stationed outside the town awaiting orders and armed with shotguns they commandeered a tram and rode on the open top to OConnell Bridge in the centre of Dublin with Blimey playing national airs on a flute while the lads joined lustily in singing.3 Eventually released from Imperial hospitality at the Curragh the three of them were given a warm reception at the Great Prescott Street ceilidh on St. Stephens night 26th December 1921. Similarly the 1 Much of this chapter has been constructed from notices and reports of activities in the press namely the Cork Weekly Examiner James A. Whelans column in the same paper Irish Exile. References are not given to substantiate documented fact such as the date location and nature of events. 2 Garret Fitzgerald All in a Life An Autobiography London Macmillan 1991 France an indefatigable dancer ran a chemical works in Stratford near his home in West Ham. During the Truce that preceded the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 he got into trouble collecting arms from barracks in London with the help of a drunken sergeant he apparently tried his luck in one barracks too many. He cannot have spent too long in custody since in early 1922 after the Treaty but before the Civil War he became involved in providing arms and explosives to Michael Collins... In 1941 he died following a gas explosion at his factory resulting from an air raid. 3 Blimey OConor in An tglach Autumn 1966. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 212 Carr Brothers recently home from internment gave a very fine display of Irish dancing at the Sinn Fein meeting in December 1921.4 Ernie Nunan Blimey OConnor in step-dance costume. An tOglach Autumn 1966 courtesy Harry OBrien 4 Irish Exile January 1922. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 213 In this press report from 1922 the nationalist activities of the Irish Self-Determination League can be seen to be set in a vibrant social and political scene involving music-making and dancing. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 214 London Gaelic Leaguers at the Oireachtas in Dublin in 1920. Capuchin Annual 1944 This brief euphoric period of unity came to a sudden halt at the outbreak of the Civil War 28th June 1922 as individuals took sides in the divide between those who went along with the Treaty the Free Staters and those who opposed the Treaty the Republicans. Every organisation within the nationalist movement and all those representing London-Irish interests split dramatically in two often leaving individuals leaderless and with no focussed direction. The Irish Exile January March 1922 Art OBrien. Capuchin Annual 1944 After Independence Gaelic League membership never recovered its pre-Great War strength which is implicit in Art OBriens comment that even in years of depression presumably Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 215 in the early 1930s membership never fell below 300 to 400 until the Second World War.5 Thus in the years between the Civil War and the Second World War the Gaelic League in London struggled on with a relatively small membership and greatly reduced activities. For a short time there was a large membership of children in Poplar where 200 were reported in the local press at tea parties in 1921 and 1922 but there were only a hundred in 1923.6 Under the presidencies of Art OBrien 1914-1935 and Maire Ni Fhlannghaile Flannery 1935-1942 the League maintained limited language and social programmes based on the models set down before the Great War. There were only four schools in 1927 seven in 1935 and six in 1939. Lists of officers were seldom published but the press reported the inaugural meeting of the new season in 1938 listing those present as Maire Ni Fhlannghaile president W. P. Ryan vice-president Maurice OConnell Irish Texts Society Con Brosnan honorary secretary and Brian Brucks honorary treasurer and incidentally the ceilidh that followed featured Harry Hough and Patrick Hayes on the war pipes.7 At the outbreak of war in 1939 Irish school teachers and civil servants who provided the bulk of the Leagues membership were among the first to be evacuated from London while others returned to Ireland and membership including out-of-town members fell to sixty. The War more particularly the bombing put an end to the Leagues formal winter teaching programme and it was left for only a handful of members to meet informally at headquarters.8 Throughout this period the Gaelic League in London had nothing new to offer. The period of innovation and reconstruction was over and no significant matters of policy or principle exercised the minds of its committees and members. The Leagues values were based on revivalist received wisdom and dogma inherited from the radical period before 1913 and its music and dance repertory although embracing the second wave of invented ceilidh dances was restricted and static. Press reporting gives the impression that the League was a worthy cause run by venerable elder statesmen struggling as a minority cult and maintaining support for its reduced activities with some difficulty. As the main organ of Gaelic revivalism the Gaelic League had no natural platform and it had deteriorated as an energising force. Overshadowed in London by more successful Irish music and dance outlets the London branch had no impact in Ireland either. 5 Ibid. p.125. 6 East End News 23.1.1923 17.1.1922 23.1.1923. 7 Cork Weekly Examiner 1.10.1938. 8 Art O Briain Gaedhil Thar Saile Some Notes on the History of the Gaelic League of London in Capuchin Annual Dublin Fr. Mathew Record 1944 pp.123-5 Gosna nGaedheal 1939 p.3. Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 30.9.1939 Gaelic League St. Patricks night concert programme 1935. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 216 St. Patricks Day concert programme 1935 courtesy Kevin Crowley Although Gaelic League policy was intended to welcome all Irish people there was a general feeling expressed by some London-Irish working-class people that the behaviour and attitude of those in positions of authority within the League were elitist. Harry OBrien who as a teenager had attended the Gaelic League classes at Stamford Hill commented many years later that There was a degree of snobbishness among the men of letters... This was one of the reasons the League never made the headway that was possible. While the ordinary Irish man and woman had a great admiration for the ideals of the League this stopped short of actual participation as they had the feeling they were socially unacceptable to these literary lions.9 Dinny OConnell in talking about the Ancient Order of Hibernians at Vauxhall mentioned their slightly belligerent opposition to the Gaelic League.10 Little evidence has come to light about the manner of revival once the Free State had been established. Certainly the Gaelic League re-instated regular ceilidhthe during the winter months in Labour Party premise in Hammersmith in 1924 but the revival of Irish dancing was primarily encouraged by the GAA social clubs. For example there was the annual fancy-dress ceilidh held by the ODonovan Rossa Club in Vauxhall. Weekly Gaelic League 9 Harry OBriens written reminiscences exist only as a rough draft typed by his daughter Sheila Clerkin 1980s. This quotation has been edited only for spelling. 10 Dinny OConnell said the ORegan brothers step-dancers from somewhere around Islington performed at the AOH concerts with Agnes McHale on the piano. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 217 ceilidhthe were open to the public at the Express Dairy Tottenham Court Road in 1938 the Express Diary Charing Cross Road in 1939 and the Stadium Club at 45 Brook Green Road Hammersmith. Active participants at these functions were seldom noted in the press. The following however were reported in 1938 as having been present at a ceilidh at the Express Dairy in Tottenham Court Road Cormac O Cillin master of ceremonies Brian Bruce treasurer Con OHannain Pierce Frawly and Cristoir Mac Carthaigh singers and Margaret Kane and Patsy Goulding aged 8 step-dancers.11 Sheila Clerkin remembers attending weekly Sunday night childrens ceilidhthe in Charing Cross Road around the same time. In 1938 An Cumann Gaedhealach The Gaelic Club was formed by the combination of the Kensington Gaelic League school the Cu-Chullain Hurling Football Club and the Cu-Chullain Camogie Club to provide a weekly ceilidh in Hammersmith throughout the year. In contrast to the parlous state of the Gaelic League this organisation flourished during the War described much later by M. Suilleabin as a period of intense activity with a concert every Sunday afternoon and a ceilidh every Sunday evening.12 Dick Landers newly arrived from Dublin in the mid-1930s recalled going to Irish dances at an Irish club attached to the Roman Catholic church in Croydon where he added there were lots of Irish Guards presumably stationed at Caterham Barracks. Criostoir O Cearnaigh a piccolo player who sometimes sat-in with Frank Lees Tara Ceilidhe Band seems to have been the prime-mover in a seilg and plearaca out to the country remembered over thirty years later I remember Good Friday 1937. A party of us Irish folk took up walking sticks and headed for the open road. We took a bus to Hemel Hempstead de-bussed and headed for the Holiday camp in Flonden... It was in March and right cold it was too and snow began to fall as we arrived at our destination. We had a goodly spate of musicians in the group which consisted of 14 or 15 both boys and girls. We had a meal then entered the recreation room and Criostoir was elected Fear a Ti. Jim Magill took over the piano one of the girls borrowed a fiddle from the resident band and the music started. Reels jigs and hornpipes were the order of the day. Criostoir directed that each Irish boy would take out an English girl and each Irish girl would take out an English boy. All of us knew the figures and we put our English partners through them and right well they entered into the spirit of the dance. Before we left they were well able to do the dances... As I said it was Good Friday and we started out for the local Church to do the Stations of the Cross... After leaving the Church we headed for the local tavern not for a drinkI think most of us were non-drinkersbut for a little diversion. We arrived at the Green Dragon and Criostoir took out the piccolo and started on the reels. The place was full of the usual country yokels and when I say yokels I mean it. They never heard such music in their miserable lives and listened with awe to Criostoirs rendering of good Irish traditional music. The music took over and the yokels forgot their drinking so much that the publican suggested to me that Criostoir would have to stop playing as he was interfering with his trade. When Criostoir had finished with the piece I told him what the publican had requested... Before we left we all joined in singing O ro se do bheatha abhaile... 13 Jack OBrien continued to teach dancing at least into the early 1920s and there were figure- dance classes at Gaelic League headquarters. Mary Collins ne Moriarty was taught figure dancing when she was about nine in 1920 by Miss OReardon who lived somewhere out near Woodford in Essex That woman was the most elegant woman. As a child I thought she was wonderful She always wore dark long black dresses. She taught us the Irish language and she taught us Irish dances and the classes were held in Newby Place Poplar We went for a big display in aid of the hospitals We were dressed in emerald green aprons white dresses and red satin shawlsand we took off the prize. 11 Cork Weekly Examiner 30.4.1938. 12 Gosna nGaedheal 1939 p.3 M. Silleabin An Cumann Gaedhealach in Gaelic League St. Patricks Day Celebration Concert programme 1955 pp.20-23. 13 Le Darach Our Good Friend Criostor in Treoir vol.2 no.4 1970 p.6. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 218 Harry Hough dancers from Rosaman Street Roman Catholic School Finsbury before 1927. courtesy Na Pobair Uilleann Harry Hough Collection Father OFarrell sponsored language and dancing classes at the Roman Catholic school in Rosaman Street Finsbury where Harry Hough taught a childrens team of figure dancers and at Macklin Street Roman Catholic Elementary School in Drury Lane there was similar personal sponsorship by the headmaster of a language class and a dance team14 while at St. Josephs Roman Catholic School in Rotherhithe Tommy Walsh brother-in-law of the piper Pat Goulding taught Irish dancing. The St. Josephs group of Irish dancers caught the attention of a local press reporter at the Gaelic League St. Patricks day concert in 1935 They looked quite picturesque in white blouses the girls wearing blue kilts with handkerchiefs to match tied round their heads in Irish peasant fashion and the boys wearing blue knickerbockers... They were accompanied by a violinist Mr. L. Browner.15 Macklin Street Schools Irish dancers raising funds for a school outing. Cork Weekly Examiner 4 August 1934 14 South London Press 15 22.3.1935 The Gaelic American 15.5.1926 Cork Weekly Examiner 4.8.1934 Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 19.10.1935 28.3.1936 27.11.1937. 15 South London Press 22.3.1935. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 219 Macklin Street Schools Irish dancers. Cork Weekly Examiner 28 March 1936 Macklin Street Schools Irish dancers. Cork Weekly Examiner 19 October 1935 Children from Macklin Street Schools displaying their trophies for Irish dancing and swimming Cork Weekly Examiner 27 November 1937 In spite of the models from Ireland such as the Comerford School of Irish Dancing in Dublin and the formation also in Dublin of the Irish Dance Commission in 1931 there was no academy of Irish dancing in London. A few children were lucky enough however to have Liam Cuffe visit them at home to give them step-dance lessons. Kevin Crowley born in London in 1923 picked up step-dancing from his mother Mary McGowan daughter of Harry McGowan and many years later he recalled that Liam Cuffe had taught him a little at home. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 220 The Gaelic League always managed to create a high profile on St. Patricks Night. Annual concerts in the Queens Hall were revived in 1922 and such was their continuing success that in 1928 the League was able to relay a live broadcast on the British national radio station 2LO.16 The enthusiast audiences were comprised of both London-Irish and more recent Irish immigrants and most of them were not generally active supporters of the League. By 1937 in anticipation of a large crowd the League booked the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.17 The concert programme continued to represent late Victorian and Edwardian bourgeois musical values with an overlay of nationalism and antiquarianism. At the afternoon and evening concerts in 1922 for example the programmes were heavily weighted with performers trained in conservatoire technique singers Frank Mullings Agnes Treacy Edna Thornton and William J. Lemass the violinist Arthur Darley the harpists Patrick Henebery and Owen Lloyd and the organist B. B. Barrett. Recitations were given by Sara Allgood18 and as usual the piano accompaniments were provided by Agnes MacHale. The conservationist and traditionalist factions were represented by Seamus Clandillon singer in Irish Billy Andrews the Dublin union piper Jack OBrien the surviving member of the Edwardian big three step-dancers and the up-and-coming London-born step-dancer Frank Fitzgerald who incidentally had performed with Jack OBrien as early as New Years Eve 1910. Antiquarian images in the form of saffron kilts were contributed by juvenile figure dancers from the Forest Gate Gaelic League school and the Clann na nGaedheal Pipers Band. Clearly this was a roster of mostly professionals from Dublin supported by local amateur talent. Kevin Crowley has suggested that while the League promoted nationalism it fought shy of anything overtly political and he quoted the experience of his mother May McGowan19 She always claimed that when they wrote the words to Danny Boy the Gaelic League didnt want to hear it sung at their concerts because it was a rebel song when you look into the words its a rebel song and she sang it at one of the Queens Hall concerts and she got such an ovation that they couldnt do anything about it. They always played The Derry Air but she put the new words to it. They didnt want that cause it was political. 16 The Times 17.3.1928. 17 The programme included Leo Rowsome union pipes Seamus OMahoney fiddle The Irish Press 18.3.1937. 18 Sara Allgood broadcast on BBC television credited as a singer of Irish songs The Times 17.3.1933. 19 Daughter of the fiddle-player Harry McGowan and sister of the singer step-dancer Nora McGowan. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 221 The Gaelic League concert Queens Hall St. Patricks Day 1922. Archive of the Irish in Britain Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 222Billy Andrews 1873-circa 1950. Topic 12T162 Liam Walsh Waterford. Reg Hall Collection Denis Cox a concert tenor of international reputation came over regularly from Dublin for the annual concert from 1934 to 1939 and the union piper Liam Walsh from Waterford appeared in the early 1920s his place being taken by Leo Rowsome in 1931 and again annually from 1933 until 1939.20 Step-dancing was performed by Molly Walsh from Cork City in 1931 Jimmy Hudson accompanied by Billy McGannon the Wapping piccolo player and Jerry Hartigan on the fiddle in 1939. Cork Weekly Examiner 13 March St. Patricks Day concert 1939. programme courtesy 1937 Seamus Kenneally Jimmy Hudson did the same dances in 1940 20 Liam Walsh 1886-1963 took lessons from Leo Rowsomes father Willie and later won first prize at the Oireachtas. Leo Rowsome 1903-1970 was from Harolds Cross Dublin and having learned from his father was a full-time performer pipes maker and teacher Municipal School of Music Dublin the Dublin Pipers Club. Liam Walsh and Leo Rowsome both broadcast and recorded. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 223 Denis Cox courtesy Irish Traditional Mollie Walsh. Cork Weekly Music Archive Examiner 28 March 1931 Liam Cuffe a champion step-dancer from Cork appeared in 1934 in duet with a local girl Maire Hogan accompanied by Leo Rowsome on the pipes and again but in duet with Eibhln n Dhalaigh in 1935. Liam Cuffe was active in London from at least as early as 1934 until the outbreak of war and fifty years later Mary Collins spoke of him and his wife with more than a degree of warmth He taught Mary Hogan Liam Cuffe. Now Liam Cuffe was in the Army stationed at Woolwich and he married Mary and she was marvellous Mary Hogan He taught her and she took any prizes that were going. They moved to Australia. He was forty-two when he married her and she was twenty-one. But she was a beautiful dancer really a lovely dancer. Now her dancing was natural y know. You could look at her for ages. The last of these annual concerts until after the War took place during the phoney war of 1940. The artists might have been fresh but the programme contained the same old fare trained singers Robert Irwin John McKenna Monica Warner and Astra Desmond Eva Evalda on the violin Una Dillon at the organ recitations by Paul Farrell arranged songs in Irish by Donnead Mac Coneoillead and Agnes McHale still seated at the accompanists piano. There were also a Pipers Band figure dances by Gaelic League children and step- dancing by Jimmy Hudson. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 224 The Gaelic League St. Patricks Day concert in 1935. courtesy Kevin Crowley The historical record is very short on Gaelic League personalities during this period but one activist features in the evidence for nearly forty years. Harry Hough21 who died in 1941 son of a tailor with premises at 125 Judd Street Kings Cross was described by several who knew him as a purist dedicated to the Gaelic revival yet clearly he was a pragmatist. As a founder member of Cumann na bPiobairi in 1904 he led the old guard when the band split in 1911. He continued to field a Gaelic League Pipers Band for over thirty years22 and his band led Terence McSwineys body through London on its return to Cork in October 1920. He served in the London Irish Rifles during the Great War fighting at Loos on the Somme 21 Harry Hough biographical material Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society of London XI 1912-3 p.4 XIV nd 1915 pp.36-7 correspondence in The Irishman in 1911 Harry Houghs music manuscript slides collection Irish Traditional Music Archive Dublin Harry Houghs photograph album Na Piobairi Uilleann Dublin The Gaelic American 15.5.1926 Cork Weekly Examiner 20.6.1931 James A. Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 13.10.1934 7.3.1936 18.4.1936 26.3.1938 1.10.1938 8.4.1939 17.6.1939 20.1.1940 2 23.3.1940 Ceol nd vol.1 no.1 p.5. 22 See A Little Bit of Ireland in England Path Gazette silent newsreel sequence issued 9.6.1927 www.britishpathe.com for the Gaelic League Irish Pipers Band playing before the Cork-Tipperary hurling match Herne Hill London. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 225 and at Ypres.23 He was regarded by members of the Tottenham Irish and the Borough Pipe Bands between the wars as a good piper and this judgement is supported by the diverse and advanced material in his surviving manuscript tune books. Far from representing a purist repertory they contain tunes for the set the vernacular quadrilles that were danced at country-house dances in rural Ireland which went against revivalist fundamentalism. Bethnal Green London 1926. courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Harry Hough collection Caption in Harry Houghs hand writing Irish Club Pipers 1928. Harry Hough centre. courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Harry Hough collection Harry Hough advocated national costume for performers Irish manufactured goods and temperance and as a tailor he supplied figure-dance costumes for the children at Rosaman Street School in the 1920s and uniforms for the Borough and Dagenham Pipe Bands in the 23 George Willis George P. Willis The Pipes Drums of The London Irish Rifles London The London Irish Rifles Regimental Association 2005 p.104. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 226 1930s. His brother Frank was also a war piper and his sister Winnie played the harp and sang. She married Seamus Jim OCarroll who had learned the bagpipes with Paddy Fogarty around 1919. Both he and Harry also played the union pipes but there is no available account of their ability. Jim OCarroll held strong views about social injustice and the distribution of wealth which led to his eventual forthright rejection of Catholicism. He went off the scene with the War and settled in Diss in Norfolk. He had been a friend of Mary Collinss father and Mary remembered him He was living with his father in flats in Aldgate dreadful flats dreadful lived upstairs. He was brilliant. He was a Gaelic speaker. He was a teacher when there were not many teachers around Irish- born. I think they came over from Dublin Anyway he married Harry Houghs sister and she played the harp and Seamus OCarroll played the uilleann pipe and when they married they lived in Judd Street Kings Cross at the top of a block of flats He used to teach in Jubilee Street. Thats a school in Tower Hamlets. Seamus Jim OCarroll courtesy Na Piobairi Eireann Harry Hough Collection Harry Hough taught figure dancing and the war pipes and he is reported as having played at any occasion for the good of the cause frequently appearing at ceilidhthe concerts sports events and Roman Catholic parish outdoor processions. He performed at a concert for the Irish Literary Society around 1915-6 and visited New York in 1931. From 1921 he was the secretary of the Irish Folk Song Society of London and his sister Winnie appeared at one of their concerts.24 Throughout his adult life he was an enthusiastic advocate for the bagpipes familiar with its limited literature and he wrote and lectured on the subject. On 26th January 1929 The Times carried in its Arrangements for To-day notice of his Irish Literary Society lecture at Caxton Hall on the Story of the Bagpipe and its Music. The collection of 24 Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society of Lon don xviii 1921or 2 p.40. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 227 photographic slides he used for illustration25 reveal that he had an international view of their origin and use. However an essay on the clan marches he wrote casts considerable doubt on his objectivity and judgement These soul-inspiring marches carry us back to the days of Irelands highest scholarly and musical attainments when her sons as soldiers of valour marched out to their strains in her fight for idealism and the true Christian equality amongst men. Down the ages from pre-Christian times being something of spirit that cannot die they have survived Irelands many vicisitudes and are with us to-day in the year of grace 1934 to be heard by the many loyal hearts assembling on the feast of our noble Patron Saint Patrick from a band of pipers aspiring to keep alive that spirit of Irelands individuality.26 From such purple twaddle embracing so much Gaelic revival romance Harry Hough in the same piece cuts right across Gaelic revival received wisdom and with apparent knowledge and sympathy evangelises about the rural music tradition the native music is still a living thing in the Irish countryside. Although in the towns where the taste has been debased the cultivation of this music has decreased the sound native instinct survives in most country places. It is not too much to say that there is not a parish in Ireland that cannot boast of a few musicians who faithfully carry on the old tradition. Off the beaten track in districts where the people have gone on living in the manner of their forbears there are still singers fiddlers and pipers to be found who have a fine repertoire of beautiful airs which they render with natural artistry. They are indeed artists in their genre. As a classic Gaelic League activist Harry Hough in association with the step-dancer Liam Cuffe organised the revival of the annual Feis Lunndain in 1935. Dinny OConnell whose step-dancing incidentally came from his father who had learned at home outside Castleisland in County Kerry commented many years later on the Lunndain Feis in the late 1930s. He gave a view of behind-the-scenes machinations that none of the public would have known about at the time Harry Hough looked around for adjudicators. Sean Quealy who was a pre-war step-dancer with my father his era and this chap Sullivan who I didnt know.. He was from Sneem.. I knew Quealy cause Id played for him West Clare. He was a very good step-dancer. Well he used to dance with the Gaelic League. He was in the Gaelic League as a member and I was pretty well-known as going round the ceilidhs you know step-dancing. We didnt call it step-dancing give em a few steps and he asked me to go up. I said OK. In those days different corners we didnt sit together and confer. You gave your marks on deportment and the type of step carriage what have you and we sponsored the music of course. You gave your marks under each heading. Strangely enough when we were judging there was never more than two marks difference between the three of us whether it was in the fifties sixties or nineties. Liam Cuffe he was a kind of MC. He was the organiser. There was a slight altercation. In those days you see there were ladies steps as they called them. Well I knew that. There was a girl from the East End of London Murphy her name was and she had a brother. He was a good dancer so was she. On this particular occasion it was Pat Woods was dancing and its true she used to raise her legs more than the rest of em you see and I thought she got the prize. Cuffe came to me after. He said That was you did that Did what Got her the prize. You gave her one more mark than the rest of em and you got her the prize. So what Well look at the way she was raising her feet. Well I said Liam I look at it this way. I know there are ladiess steps I said because my cousins danced them and theyre more or less shuffling along the floor but you see she was taught by Jack OBrien. I said Shes learnt the mens steps. Well I mean she had been. You dont expect her to dance like a lady if shes been taught by a man specially in this country. If she was in Ireland shed have somebody to teacher her the ladies steps but theres nobody here to do that. Pat Goulding was another important activist in the Gaelic League born of Irish parents in the riverside parish of Deptford in south-east London in 1902. His father was a docker and 25 Held at the Irish Traditional Music Archive Dublin. 26 Harry Hough The Clan Marches in the programme for the Gaelic Leagues St. Patricks Night Concert London p. 20 p.24. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 228 his mother having died when Pat was five years old and his brother was three sent them to be reared by relatives in Quillanaqueeve near Mill Street in the north of County Cork. Pat returned to Deptford in 1925 having served in the Irish Republican Army during the Troubles. He married Elizabeth Lizzie Walsh and they had four children Patsy born in Deptford around 1930 Sheila born in Lewisham in 1934 Tommy and Joanne. Pat worked initially in the docks but by the late 1930s the family was settled in Victoria where Pat went into bar work while Lizzie ran a boarding house. Sheila considered she was brought up as Irish as the familys social life was deeply involved in London-Irish parish and Gaelic-revival activities. Pat spoke Irish fluently and was closely connected with the networks of war pipers union pipers outdoor processions ceilidhthe and feiseann and he was at one time a member of the Borough Pipe Band and the Rotherhithe Pipe Band. He played music at home on the union pipes27 and while he is not remembered as having been a particularly good war piper he won the solo bagpipes competition at the Feis Lundainn in 1938. In interview with Jimmy Power in 1970 for a piece in The Irish Post he spoke of London-Irish union pipers that few people would have known about then After the upheaval in the early 20s in Ireland Pat found himself in London in 1925. The first musician he came in contact with in London was a man called Dave Walsh who left Limerick in 1885. He never returned to Ireland. Dave played with the Borough pipe band. It was at that time that Dave took to playing the Uillean pipes with a Bill Donovan and a Billy Cronin from North Cork. Dave Walsh reckoned that Billy Cronin was the best of them and he made a set of Uilleann pipes himself sometime around 1941. Pat Goulding goes on to tell me that there was another man very interested in Uilleann pipes a man called Bolger who came from Wexford. He had a tailors shop in Peckham South London and he used to display old musical instruments in his shop window. There was also a Clareman who lived in Priory Park Road Peckham at that time and he was the first man Pat Goulding heard playing the Uilleann pipes. He didnt know such an instrument existed. The old mans playing attracted Pat to the pipes. He never could remember the old mans name although he was a regular visitor to his house at Peckham..... There was another old piper in London called Seamus Carroll who came from Tipperary. He was a noted bagpipe player who took up the Uilleann pipes. He lived in a block of flats at the back of Argyle Square near Kings Cross. He was a school teacher. He collected a large amount of bagpipe and Uilleann pipe music with the intention of getting it published but he could get no financial backing. Pats last meeting with Seamus was in 1962 when he was about 70 and he gave Pat a set of Coynes of Dublin Uilleann pipes. They are a flat set off pipes and Carroll thought so much about them that he feared they would end up in a junk shop and as Pat Goulding had many a tune on them he insisted on Pat having them for nothing with a promise to keep them to the end. Pat still has the pipes and he tells me they are in perfect condition. They will be passed on to some young musician.28 Pats wife Lizzie was a self-taught domestic melodeon player and her brother Tommy Walsh trained the Rotherhithe childrens figure-dance team that performed at the Gaelic League St. Patricks night concerts in the late 1930s. The Goulding household was open house for musicians and Leo Rowsome usually stayed there when he came over from Ireland for an engagement. Irish music and ceili dancing were part of everyday life and among Sheilas earliest recollections was of her selling Easter lilies at the age of three at the open-air feis in Eltham. Patsy and Sheila as young children were taught step-dancing at private lessons in their own home by Liam Cuffe then considered the leading step-dancer in London. Patsy and her contemporary Maire Sheahan danced together publicly before the War and Patsy won the under-eight competition at Feis Lunndain in 1938. At the outbreak of war Lizzie took the children to County Cork where they were taught Irish dancing by Miss Moriarty in Mallow and Eileen Nagle in Ballinacagh. Upon returning to London in 27 I deposited some of his own home recordings on the uilleann pipes in the possession of his daughter Sheila McAleer in the National Sound Archive now the British Library Sound Archive London but they have evaded the catalogue system. 28 Jimmy Power The Irish Post 14 November 1970. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 229 1944 Pat Patsy and Sheila created a high profile for themselves in London-Irish dance and music and all three integrated with the new wave of Irish in London. Feis Lunndain results. James A. Whelan Cork James A. Whelan Cork Weekly Examiner Weekly Examiner 2 July 1938 28 January 1939 The 1930s saw acceptance by the British establishment and media of Gaelic revival music and dance as representative of Irish national culture. Liam Walsh the Waterford union piper had broadcast on the British national radio station 2LO in 1927 and 192829 and as early as 1933 when he was in London for the Gaelic League concert Leo Rowsome played the union pipes on BBC television.30 The Comerford Irish Dancers from Dublin represented Ireland at an international folk-dance festival in Hyde Park in 1935 and as a consequence were invited by the English Folk Dance and Song Society to their annual folk-dance festival 29 The Times 8.8.1927-- LONDON.Call 2LO 12.noon The Daventry Quartet and Molly Phillips soprano Liam Walsh Irish Piper. The Times 23.7.1928-- LONDON.Call 2LO and DAVENTRY----Call 5XX 6 pm Liam Walsh Irish Piper Helen Luard violoncello. 30 The Times 17.3.1933-- LONDON NATIONAL. 11-11.30- Television transmission by the Baird process Vision Leo Rowsome Irish piper Wilfred Shine Cathleen Drago and Billy Shine in A Helpin Hand by Wilfred Shine Sara Allgood Irish songs Mario Lorenzi harp solos Sound on 398.9m. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 230 in the Royal Albert Hall in 1935 1936 1938 and 1939.31 A seventy-year-old champion step- dancer Sean OQuigley from Derry and the Belfast Folk Dance Society also appeared at the festival in 1935 the accompanying musician being Sean Dempsey on the union pipes. The English Folk Dance and Song Society at that time was unaware of the London-Irish community and its activities and thus followed the Dublin connection into the early post- War period. Late at night on the eve of St. Patricks Day in 1934 Liam Cuffe Maire Hogan Leo Rowsome and Michael Dunn identified as an Irish violinist appeared on BBC television32 and on St Patricks Day 1937 Cuffe Hogan Rowsome had a ten-minute television spot at three oclock in the afternoon. Irish Pipers Empire Broadcast. Mr. Leo Rowsome the celebrated performer on the Uileann Pipes has two engagements on St. Patricks day with the BBC. He will be relayed to Australia in an Irish Variety programme at 8.10 a.m. A record is being made and will be transmitted to other Empire Zones. Mr. Rowsome also takes part in a television broadcast from Alexandra Palace London at 3 p.m.33 Gaelic League St. Patricks Night concert 1934. Radio Times Television Archive of the Irish in Britain Supplement 12 March 1937 The Comerford Irish Dancers from Dublin with Rory OConnor holding the flag at the St. Patricks Day gala ball at the Royal Albert Hall in 1938. A frame from a British Path newsreel 31 Evening Mail 4 1.1939. Johnny Muldoon also engaged the Comerford Irish Dancers for his St. Patricks night balls in the Royal Albert Hall in 1937 1939. 32 The Times 16.3.1934-- LONDON NATIONAL. 11-11.30- Television transmission by the Baird process Vision A St. Patricks Eve programme Denis ONeil songs Liam Cuffe and Mary Hogan Irish dances Leo Rowsome Irish piper Michael Dunn Irish violinist Sound on 391.1m. 33 The Irish Press 16.3.1937. Also noted in Cork Weekly Examiner 27.3.1937. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 231 The Comerford Irish Dancers at the St. Patricks Day gala ball at the Royal Albert Hall in 1938. A frame from a British Path newsreel Sean Dempsey. Sunday Chronicle 3 December 1950 Rory OConnor Evening Mail 4 January 1939 courtesy Kevin Crowley performed together at the English Folk Dance Song Society concert at the Royal Albert Hall January 1939. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 232 In 1935 Clifton-Hurst Productions of Dublin released a romantic film entitled Irish Hearts or Nora ONeill Night Nurse which featured the Comerford Irish Dancers and the union pipers Leo Rowsome and Sean Dempsey. Produced in Ireland the indoor scenes were filmed at the Cricklewood Studios in London though no evidence of any London appearances at that time have been forthcoming. Then in 1937 the step-dance champion Rory OConnor and Sean Dempsey both members of the Comerford School of Irish Dancing were engaged by Wardour Films to appear in a feature film Kathleen Mavourneen directed by Norman Lee.34 The figure dancers from the Macklin Street Roman Catholic School at Drury Lane having performed and won prizes within the Gaelic revival community were taken up by the London County Council. Aged between ten and fourteen these children were engaged by the council in October 1937 to perform in the Royal Albert Hall before Queen Mary and again in March 1939 to celebrate the councils golden jubilee at County Hall. Also in March 1939 on and around St. Patricks Day the trio of Cuffe Hogan Rowsome were presented three times on BBC television35 and the champion step- dancer Kevin OConnell appeared in the Picture Page BBC television programme.36 In July 1941 an anonymous Irish piper broadcast on the BBC on the Forces programme.37 A very confident girl piper playing half-size Highland pipes. The girls in light frocks suggest a Gaelic League Irish dance team while the three in dark costume suggest the influence of Harry Hough. London 1932. Cork Weekly Examiner 10 December 1932 A number of musicians and singers resident in Ireland Billy Andrews Seamus Clandillon Lily Comerfords Trio Sean Dempsey Leo Molloy Seamus OMahoney Leo Rowsome Mary Scully and Liam Walsh were engaged to make commercial records in London for the British domestic lists which would have reached an Irish public through normal retail channels.38 The high profile of these artists within the Gaelic League made them attractive to the record companies but in one case at least the initiative most probably was taken by the 34 Sean Dempsey was an amateur aviator. According to Kevin Crowley at sometime in the 1930s before the Wardour film was made having taken off from Northolt he crashed and was paralysed. He was taken to Lourdes on a stretcher and came back in a wheel chair and made a full recovery. 35 Radio Times does not note their appearances they were presumably cameo pieces in magazine programmes. 36 Cork Weekly Examiner 18.3.1939. 37 The Times 127.1941 p.8 Sunday Programmes. Programme for the Forces 4. 4.00 pm Tribute in song and music to the People of Ireland by Debroy Somers and his Band Chorus and an Irish piper. 4.45. 38 See Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music and Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Chapter 10 The Gaelic Revival in London 1914-1945. 233 artist himself. Leo Rowsome was the only professional piper among them and having recorded for Edison Bell Winner in London in July 1925 he wrote to the British Broadcasting Company in January 1926 seeking an engagement on the wireless. He attended an audition at the Savoy Hill studios in March 1927 and in spite of a constant stream of letters giving advanced notice of his availability in London and his BBC television engagements in 1933 and 1934 his first BBC radio broadcast took place as late as 1937 on St. Patricks Day in what he referred to later as an Empire broadcast to Australia for which he received four guineas fee and expenses and a further guinea for Mechanical Reproduction to Empire.39 The programmes producer reported in a brief inter-office memo that they were satisfied with his performance and would be willing to offer him other work but apart from the television appearances in 1939 there seem to have been no further wireless appearances until after the War. The authenticity of the recorded performances of Rowsome and the others was generally defined by the values of Gaelic revivalism but at that time Rowsome was no purist. His eye was on a more popular repertory. Day Dreams waltz recorded in 1926 was certainly not Gaelic League material nor was his suggested programme to the BBC at the same time Annie Laurie Miss McLeod The Irish Washerwoman The Marsellaise and Men of Harlech. His selection for the 1937 broadcast still in the same vein was little better fading in on The Last Glimpse of Colin followed by ODonnell Abu St. Patricks Day and The Heather Breeze and fading out on Killarney.40 39 BBC contract 10.3.1937 Leo Rowsome 1926-1952 file BBC Written Archive. 40 Leo Rowsome 1926-1952 file BBC Written Archive. Part 2 Invention of Tradition Music Dance of the Gaelic Revival 1890-1945. Some Conclusions. 234 CH10a. SOME CONCLUSIONS The organs of the Gaelic revival created defined and promoted an approved ideal Irish culture which was petty bourgeois and nationalist in character. This culture as expressed in music and dance practice was opposed to the vernacular cultures of the bulk of the Irish people namely the working populations of both country and town at home and emigrants and those born overseas who to some extent assimilated the behaviour and values of their adopted and native countries respectively. The Gaelic Leagues prime task of raising the nations awareness to the issues of saving the language and promoting Irish sport literature music and dance was already completed when in 1913 political events overtook its social programme. By the time of Independence Gaelic revivalism had ceased to be radical and the movements message became unchallenged received wisdom for those who wished to hear it particularly within the Irish middle-class institutions of government education the Roman Catholic Church and the media. However the message was barely received by a very large proportion of the rural working population in Ireland who continued practising music and dance within their own resources to suit their own needs. Apart from sport where Gaelic games have gained widespread popular support and language where Irish has been included in the education syllabus the Gaelic revivals greatest success has been in perpetuating the double myth of Irish music and dance being exclusively and peculiarly Irish and of their being authentic and ancient. It has promoted national icons such as the harp the war pipes the union pipes the kilt and dancing costumes and it has succeeded in establishing figure and step-dancing albeit almost exclusively for children as popular national pastimes. Subtle influences however have been felt in every aspect of Irish music- making and dancing none less than in the founding in 1951 of Comhaltas Ceoltir ireann which has gone on to become a partially State-sponsored popular movement. In London between the wars working-class London-Irish communities fashioned Irish ethnic but non-doctrinaire urban working-class culture peculiar to London from its own resources to satisfy its own social political and religious needs. Significantly the legacy and memory of Edwardian Gaelic League activity were dominant among these resources in terms of social organisation repertory and models of Irishness. This whole topic will be explored and discussed further on. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 235 PART 3 CREATION OF URBAN TRADITIONS MUSIC DANCE OF THE LONDON-IRISH WORKING CLASS 1890-1945 CHAPTER 11 DOMESTIC COMMUNITY MUSIC- MAKING DANCING The most dominant social process within the London-Irish population at the turn of the nineteenth century was absorption into mainstream popular culture. Entertainment outlets for the poor London-Irish were just the same as those for any other poor Londoner. Professional stage artists could be enjoyed at variety theatres in all the London boroughs and there was no other form of commercial musical entertainment except street buskers. There were certainly no commercial dance halls or ballrooms for the working class the Territorial Army though had the facilities for formal dances for its other ranks and so too did some workingmens social clubs. Military bands played light music in the park and on the street. Some men in the upper working class attended and sang at smoking concerts arranged by friendly societies or trade union branches while a few played in amateur brass bands and drum-and-fife bands. Rarely did anyone from the working class have piano or violin lessons and fewer still if any at all received dance tuition. Comic and sentimental songs of the variety theatre were common currency at the lower end of London society. This section of the community was highly selective in the material it embraced from commercial sources. Song sheets could provide lyrics but tunes were picked up by ear. A relatively small repertory of songs from the stage considering the vast number published together with their own unpublished compositions and parodies were mediated by a distinctive vernacular local style of performance. The dance repertory was a totally vernacular one consisting of the knees-up the one-step and the waltz and in some places what might be described as the kitchen lancers. There were public outlets for singing and dancing in some pubs on Saturday nights on occasional excursions to the coast or the races and on Hampstead Heath on Easter Monday. In private space there were parties in private homes and hired rooms to celebrate weddings Christmas and similar occasions. Had the London-Irish lived in ghettos they might have created specifically Irish commercial outlets. In the event there were no Irish music halls variety theatres or dancing rooms and as far as is known there were no public houses where Irish music was played apart possibly by passing buskers. Irish variety acts and Irish material on gramophone records1 might or might not have had some special appealed for the London-Irish but as far as the producers of that entertainment were concerned they were largely directed at the general public. The process of cultural integration by the London-Irish was to continue among those who for whatever reason lost their Irish identity and those who had a dual identity as London-Irish and Londoners. 1 Billy Whitlock xylophone bells made many records described as Irish Jig before the Great War. They are best described as music hall parody andor comic pastiche. Recordings by the Hamilton accordeon players Peter Dan Wyper most probably would have had some appeal within the London-Irish community but almost no evidence has emerged to support the proposition. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 236 The paucity of written evidence about London-Irish social life obscures the probable survival and adaptation of some Irish rural practice in London at that time. Oral testimony both eye- witness and hearsay indicates that there was some music-making and dancing from Irish rural roots in domestic settings among kin friends and neighbours from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1930s. Some informants have spoken of house parties for family friends and passing strangers. Harry OBrien for example remembered Paddy Cronin a union piper and maker of pipes born around 1888 who was in demand for weddings and house parties during the 1910s 1920s. He was from near Millstreet in County Cork and worked as a road-works charge-hand or foreman for Stoke Newington Borough Council. He left his home in Ireland early in life so he most probably learned the pipes in London. Harry OBrien knew the OConnor family well over a long period and he recalled events from before the Great War into the early 1920s Paddy OConnor was a great fiddler and they lived down White Cross Street near Petticoat Lane. It was only a little small house so on a Saturday night when they used to have a hooley there there was dancing out in the street. The neighbours used to complain and there was an old Irish sergeant used to come round and of course when they saw the police coming round they used to disappear into the house. And there was Paddy just sitting on the doorstep. Ah theres only the lads. Were just having a bit of music. Dancing What dancing he says. And as he went round the corner so theyd be out again. Harry OBrien however commented that in the early days of these hooleys as he called them they served another purpose Paddy was high in the council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the house was a meeting place for members to gather and transact business. Whilst merriment continued below stairs no notice was taken if Paddy was missing as there was no scarcity of musicians and Paddys son Johnny could be counted on to do his part to keep things going. Johnny took after him he played the piano concertina and flute. He was an accomplished Irish dancer besides possessing a pleasant light baritone voice. His rendering of Sean O Duibhir Aghleanna and in contrast Molly Brannigan showed his range of repertoire.2 Mary Collins and Father Michael Moriarty spoke of their father and his first cousin Tom OShea playing together in the Moriarty familys home in Poplar during the 1920s 1930s and the Fogarty family in Tottenham had informal parties at weekends during the same period. The Gaelic League piper Pat Goulding born in Deptford but with close associations in rural County Cork always kept open house in Victoria for out-of-town musicians including the professional union piper Leo Rowsome who was a regular guest whenever he had a booking in London during the 1930s and 1940s. The written reminiscence of a London-Irish soldier back from the front during the Great War to his home in Kerry Street described by his editor as a notoriously dirty refuge for the Irish Catholic poor smacks of Cockney culture but the mention of fiddles strongly suggests London-Irish. We were the heroes of Kerry Street and the day before our leave ended the street put on a real Cockney Party. There was beer food singing and dancing. Those who had pianos carried them out into the street and along with fiddles and of course mouth organs one bloke even played the jews harp.3 Harry OBrien has written of the house parties hosted occasionally by Pat Hogan from Cork and his wife Kathleen ne Delaney from Tipperary in the period from just before the Great War until the early 1920s. These are good examples of adapted rural practice containing elements typical of the country-house dance. Harry OBrien referred to them as Fun at Hogans which was the title of one of the Flanagan Brothers sketches his sister brought back 2 Harry OBrien manuscript in the possession of his daughter Sheila Clerkin. 3 Joanna Bourke ed. The Misfit Soldier Edward Caseys War Story 1914-1918 Cork University Press 1999 p.2 p.30. There is no Kerry Street currently in London so it might be an invented name. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 237 on a record from America. Pat Hogan was the caretaker of a block of offices at 24 or 26 Borough High Street4 and he had access to a large landing at the top of the building by his living quarters. In this respect his living conditions were exceptionally good in relation to his social status and income and this probably determined why his premises were used. Kathleen Hogans five married sisters and their families lived nearby providing regular cause to celebrate rites of passage within the extended family. These weekend all-night parties Saturday night till Sunday morning were characterised by plenty of food and tea half-barrels of Guinness and strong ale for the men and sherry and port for the women card playing leg- pulling story-telling and a houseful of sleeping children perhaps as many as thirty There was no shortage of singing and dance music and the dancing included the Cashel Set four-hand reels Rogha na File and old-time waltzes. Harry OBrien recalled They were only all working men y know and they used to put down five bob a man and they used to buy the beer. And if there was any money left over I dont know who was the treasurer probably Pat Hogan the money then used to be put one side for any fella thats in trouble and mostly the trouble was something happened perhaps to his family at home wanted his fare back or something like that or perhaps there was a chance of a job theyd give him some money. They were a click clique like that see. They helped one another. There was no sort of organisation as such. Harry OBrien his grand-daughter Irish dance teacher Maire Clerkin after the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Mass at St. Georges Cathedral Southwark October 1994. photo The Irish Post 5 November 1994 In Peckham most probably from shortly before the Great War until the 1930s the OConnell family had parties in their house. Dave OConnell came from Kerry outside Castleisland and he went home each year. He had learned to dance from his maternal uncle Leahy back home and Daves son Dinny knew him or at least knew about him He was a hunchback. I think somebody dropped him when he was a baby and of course neglected it after that put him to bed kind of business. But anyway he had a hump. Thats all he could do. He became a dancing-master and fiddler. He could do that play and dance together. I tried it myself but I couldnt do it. A lifetime later Dinny OConnell and his sister Molly Horrigan recalled how occasionally on a Saturday evening the living room was cleared leaving just enough room on the lino-covered floor for a set. Our father taught us the set dance first. It was the Plain Set and if there were enough people who knew it they would make up a Kerry Set which they observed was in different time altogether and more hard work. They did some step-dancing and some of 4 Or perhaps it was 3 Southwark Street at The Borough Harry OBriens description is not very clear. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 238 the four-hand ceili dances in the relaxed manner of rural dancers rather than in the rigid style of the Gaelic League. The hardest dance to do in Mollys opinion was The Humours of Bandon. And Dinny the fiddle player in the family added And it was the hardest to play for too Though some Irish families had little to do with their English neighbours the OConnells got on well with theirs and as Molly said When we had our all-night parties the people used to say to us Ah dont close your windows. We love listening to the music Ours went on till five or six in the morning and we used to go to the seven oclock Mass and then come home and have a good feed. Several musicians singers and step-dancers from rural backgrounds have been cited in other contexts by informants. Dinny OConnell reminisced in the press in 1984 about the days at Bolgers Hall in Peckham just before the Great War when the dance musicians were Jack Brennan on the melodeon Con Glavin on the flute and Jo Moloney on the piano.5 Their instruments suggest that Brennan and Glavin were rural players and that Moloney was London-Irish like the other female pianists current at the time. Molly Horrigan confirmed that there were no button accordeon players until after the Second World War6 but she mentioned Con Gorman a labourer with the gas company who was born around 1890 outside Tralee in County Kerry. He played the melodeon but only in a house never in public. Another musician Paddy Doran spent most of his adult life in Chicago having been born in London around 1891 of Galway parents and between 1924 and 1927 he recorded a number of commercial recordings of the highest quality of rural flute music. Whether he learned and played in London before he went to the States however is not known. Frank Brue a tin whistle player from Ruan County Clare about whom nothing is known made two wax cylinder recordings in London on the 2nd October 1915 one of which survives in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. The man responsible was A. M. Freeman an Englishman and a member of both the English Folk Song Society and the Irish Folk Song Society and the surviving tunes are Mirn n Chuilcannin The Humours of Bandon Billy Byrne of Ballymanus.7 Pierce Power from Kilfinian County Limerick who was active from around the Great War until at least the 1930s particularly impressed Harry OBrien. Settled in Dalston with a family of his own he worked for the London County Council as a tramway paviour. Back in the Tipperary of her youth his mother had been known as Mary-Ann the Dancer. Presumably Pierce had had some experience of kitchen music-making as he was reputed to have been a sean-nos singer and a master of the flute piccolo concertina and melodeon. He had favourite tunes one of which was The Butchers March and another was Napoleons March over the Alps and he is said to have taken ten minutes to play the latter piece which he did with great feeling. Almost certainly an ear player and according to Harry OBrien he taught his daughter Diana to play the fiddle by ear. Hed play the note on the flute and shed get it on the violin. He often played with Paddy OConnor also was reputed to have had a large repertory of traditional music and they were in demand for weddings christenings first communions and house parties and public ceilidhs.8 5 The Irish Post 24.11.1984. In interview in 1996 he thought the name was more probably Gallivan. 6 Jimmy Waters from Wexford came to London in 1937. He was playing the accordeon at home at 15 but there is no available information about playing in London until the 1960s. 7 Alexander Martin Freeman collected in Ballyvourney Co. Cork in 1913 and published material in the Journal of the Folk Song Society nos.23-25 1920-1921. 8 A Mr. Power was reported in An Cliadheamh Soluis on 3.8.1901 playing the violin for dancing at the Forest Gate branch of the Gaelic League. Power is a common Irish name but there might be a connection. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 239 Some singers had both rural repertory and rural style. Jim Murphy for example though born in London around 1922 had songs and singing style learned during his school holidays at his grandfathers home near Fermoy in county Cork. Tom Hayes a native of Cappawhite in County Tipperary born in the 1870s was an LCC tram-track worker in Hackney whose annual return home for the harvest kept alive his rural roots. Harry OBrien frequently saw him perform at the Tara Hall ceilidh in Hackney from shortly before until sometime after the Great War He had a strong baritone voice that could be heard a good distance away but he was never raucous. He had all the old songs and ballads. Tipperarys Hills for Me Tipperary My Home When You Call at an Irishmans Door a song of the Famine and recruiting songs like Blind Sheehan of the Glen of Aherlow The Gallant Tipperary Boys etc. Tom was a stepdancer in the old country style. By todays standards the style would be considered awkward. In dancing the hornpipe as his left foot touched the floor his right hand would slap against his thigh in unison. The same as his right foot touched the floor his left hand would slap his thigh. In contrast his son Garret who was tall and slim could to use an old expression dance on a plate.9 The fiddle player Harry McGowan also sang at the Tara Hall in Hackney and Harry OBrien recalled He could sing some good songs as well you know. One was Conversazioni. What a conversazioni was I dont know but whatever it was we had it.10 Harry McGowans grandson Kevin Crowley remembered his singing at later social gatherings He used to sing this song The Thirty-Two Counties and at these dos these dances as he would mention the county of course all the people from that county used to cheer and this song used to take quite a long time to allow for the cheering. The OBrien family although settled in London went home to Tipperary twice a year once in the spring to plant grandfathers potatoes and again in October to dig the plot over. Pat OBrien born 1881 was a checker in the goods yard at Broad Street station and it was his eligibility for concession rail fares from London to Tipperary at a farthing a mile that allowed the family to make the regular trips to Tipperary. Pat and his wife Julia sang at home in Hackney and the songs that came to mind when their son Harry was roughing out his memoirs many years later were The Gallant Tipperary Boys The Bansha Peelers Eamon A Cnuic Ned of the Hill The Jackets Green Madrin Rua The Bold Fenian Men Donnell Abu Who Fears to Speak of 98 and The Boys of Wexford. These make up a nationalist repertory rather than an agrarian one and reflect the spirit of the troubled times leading up to the War of Independence. The Great War and the Troubles gave rise to satirical material further recalled by Harry OBrien. DORA the Defence of the Realm Act and Mountjoy Hotel a euphemism for Mountjoy Gaol in Dublin were sung respectively robustly by Mrs. Pegg and with wry humour by Mick Gavin at Tara Hall as Harry OBrien recalled. Mary Collins returned home to Poplar with her family from the safety of County Cork in 1918 just at the tail end of the Great War. She was seven at the time and her brother Maurice was six On the boat coming over they were bringing over to prison here Maude Gomm-McBride and Lady Markievicz and somebody else. I cant remember the mans name. And Maurice and I were sitting up on the deck there. It was pouring with rain and we were sitting there singing Wrap the Green Flag Round Me Boys which was the song at the time in Ireland that was the rousing song y know. And my father came across and said Shusht. 9 OBrien manuscript. 10 The song was probably a lampoon against the snobbery perceived to exist within the Gaelic League. The Times 16.3.1911 noted that the Gaelic League and the Gaelic Athletic Association were due to hold a conversazione at the Mansion House in Dublin on St. Patricks Day. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 240 Rebel songs were the general currency at that time and Mary Collins confirmed that everybody knew them and that they were sung with great gusto at the parties they had in the East End. More specifically her father obviously of an earlier generation learned Irish songs in school in London and her future husband Dan Collins learned The Boys of Wexford at school in Wapping. Mary herself learned Kelly the Boy from Killane from Mary McSweeney of Canton Street Poplar a member of the Irish Self-Determination League.11 Con Dench an English Catholic with Irish grandparents recalled that when he was a youngster around 1935- 1938 the Durham Arms in Kennington was an Irish pub and the Cock Tavern in Kennington Road had an Irish landlord and waiter service like a Dublin pub and Irish and Irish rebel songs were regularly sung in both places.12 The Gaelic League was removed from this London-Irish working-class music and dance activity its middle-class membership seeming to be largely unaware of Irish-born rural singers musicians and step-dancers who had some semi-public profile in the working community. Although that community made little impact on the Gaelic League the League made concerted efforts between 1900 and 1910 to take its message to the London-Irish working class. Through the offices of several parish priests themselves ardent Gaelic revivalists the League was able to use existing organisation structures in the parishes to introduce its teaching programme. Using church halls and Catholic schoolrooms with encouragement from the pulpit classes in language singing step-dancing and figure dancing were established in Bermondsey Rotherhithe Stepney and Limehouse. The students were largely children and young adolescents tuition fees being nominal but few actually joined the League. The annual East London Feis and the Rotherhithe Feis13 were directed particularly at the young to encourage them to value and use what they had learned in the classes. These education programmes attracted the children of the respectable working population the kind of people who sent their children to Sunday school. Classes and concerts were seen by many participants as being part of the parish social programme activities intended to keep them entertained and occupied rather than to instruct them in nationalist doctrine. Thus education and constructive leisure were initially higher motivating principles for the consumers of the Gaelic Leagues programme than nationalism. This can be illustrated by the example of Polish Lithuanian and Ukrainian immigrant children at St. Annes in Stepney after the Great War who took part in Gaelic singing classes and concerts not as Irish nationalists but as good Catholics. Events in Ireland between 1913 and 1922 aroused nationalist ardour within the London-Irish working population though many men active in all kinds of London-Irish activities opted to return to Ireland during the Great War to avoid conscription. It was reported in the Daily Herald on 29th October 1920 that branches of Sinn Fein and the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain were proliferating with at least twenty-seven branches in London attracting a solidly working-class membership. The Gaelic Leagues withdrawal from the parishes had left the field open for Sinn Fein and the Irish Self-Determination League of Great 11 Mary McSweeney according to Harry OBrien was a schoolteacher who couldnt work in a state school in Ireland because she wouldnt swear the oath of allegiance to the Free State. The ISDL gave her a 50 grant to study for a job in an Irish-Ireland school in Ireland. 12 Con Dench cited the Elephant Castle at the Elephant as an IRA pub in the late 1930s. 13 South London Press 15.3.1935. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 241 Britain who filled the gap and expanded further.14 These organisations were not in the mainstream of the Gaelic movement although Gaelic revivalism was accepted by them as part The Poplar branch of the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain in 1922. Eight men but only six names Peter Hubbard Dan Lyons John Hegarty Gerry Murphy Mr. Darcy Mr. Hurley six women but only four names Mary McSweeney Ms. Malvey Ms. OSullivan Mrs. Riordon. courtesy Mary Collins of total nationalist theory. The shift from middle-class Gaelic revivalist to working-class nationalist organisation of social events was fundamental to the London-Irish working class evolving its own construction of Irishness in terms of its music and dance practice. Sinn Fein and the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain inherited the form of their social gatherings directly from the Gaelic League and the Gaelic Athletic Association that is organised programmes of solo singing ceilidh dancing exhibition step-dancing recitations instrumental music and speeches. What was so different about their events however was the freedom from Gaelic-revival fundamentalism and the constraints of middle-class manners. Working-class performers were thus free to offer any Irish material without censorship in an atmosphere they found friendly and conducive. Details of two such regular events have been recorded retrospectively in written form and in interview by two participants Harry OBrien born 1907 and Dinny OConnell born 1909. The first was the Sunday-night ceilidhs held at Tara Hall the premises of Miss R. Youenss dancing academy at 18 St. Thomass Square off Mare Street Hackney for a few years either side of the Great War. These were arranged initially by the United Irish League of Great Britain and from 1919 by branch no.18 of the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain. Here the evening started with step-dance and ceilidh dance classes by Jack OBrien and between the formal dances many were called on to do a turn. Rousing recitations tall stories and any manner of tomfoolery were enjoyed as much as patriotic and comic songs. 14 Deduced from monthly reporting of Gaelic League Sinn Fein and Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain activities in Irish Exile March 1921 to June 1922. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 242 Patricia and Bridget Woods were among many who step-danced. The chairman Mac McDermot gave a special welcome to newcomers usually young women in service and young men working as labourers grocery shop-assistants and barmen and anyone out of a job or in need of lodgings could be fixed up with little difficulty. A number of musicians played at various times in various combinations. Four fiddle players were remembered by Harry OBrien Jerry Hartigan15 Kathleen and Billy Hurley and Harry McGowan while Pierce Power played the piccolo flute concertina and melodeon and Lou Bynes played the piccolo and there were several pianists Mary McLaughlan being one of them. Harry OBrien was full of admiration for them They played without recompense. They were all working men and women. They often played at other ceilidhs in London sometimes as far as Fulham getting home at one or two oclock in the morning. This was all at some sacrifice to themselves. For example in the case of Pierce Power on such occasions he got little sleep for he had to be up again at six a.m. to start work as a pavior for the LCC Tramway Department... So if he was helping out on the other side of London playing the piccolo for a Ceili Mor he only got a couple of hours rest before commencing his daily work.16 The second such arrangement was a series of similar ceilidhs organised by the Peckham branch of the United Irish League possibly as early as 1914 which were suspended during the latter part of the Great War. The Brothers Pearce branch of the Irish Self-Determination League arose from the ashes of the United Irish League shortly after the War and revived the ceilidh with very similar officers and supporters though the shift in its political aims caused some to stay away. The ceilidh took place on Sunday nights in a storeroom behind Bolgers tailors shop at 5 Queens Road Peckham.17 William Bolger from Gorey in County Wexford a fiddle player and union pipes enthusiast was one of the leading organisers providing the premises and some of the music and absorbing some of the financial burden. He had been an active Gaelic Leaguer at least since 1901 when it was reported in the Gaelic press that he as the President of the United Irish League had established a Gaelic League branch at St. Patricks Schools in Plumstead and he had persuaded the London School Board to include the Irish language in the curriculum of the local evening continuation schools.18 He later pursued his political activities as a member of Camberwell council. Harry OBrien and Dinny OConnell had very similar memories of the hall itself Harry OBrien Every weekend one of us had to go and mend the floorboards or something. It was an old storeroom. I suppose it came from the time when it was an old country place down there. It must have gone back about a hundred years. Dinny OConnell More or less you could call it a shed. God knows what it was before Bolger took it. Two floors to it and upstairs thered be the Labour Party perhaps having a meeting the same night wed be having a ceilidh. He had two storeys to it you see and it was a bad floor. Every now and again somebody would go through it. Hed be covering it over with his hammer and nails and a piece of wood. He used to breed Irish water spaniels and he had those out the back. He had some good stuff international champions. When Bolgers Hall re-opened in 1919 dancing was dependent on the irregular appearance of either Jo Moloney on the piano or William Bolger himself on the fiddle. Dinny OConnell spoke critically of Bolgers musicianship 15 Jimmy Power The Irish Post 1.8.1970 cites Jerry Hartigan from Dublin as a piccolo player with Frank Lees band. 16 OBrien manuscript. 17 The Post Office Directory London Suburbs gives William OBolgers address as no.5 in 1915 but no.13 in 1912. 18 An Cliadheamh Soluis 5.10.1901 2.11.1901. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 243 He wasnt much of a fiddle player. He used to put too many grace notes in and that would stop the dancing.. Dave Tarrant was chairman or secretary at the time.. He became interested in local politics and finished up as Mayor of Camberwell. He was a brother of Din who was a great famous Kerry fiddler.. They asked Brother John OGorman who had an orchestra at the school whether hed teach us a few jigs and reels so the people could dance to it. The boys Paddy Gethin Pat Hallinan Tommy McNamara Dinny OConnell Bernard ODonoghue and Dave Tarrants sons Paddy and Richie were all pupils of St. Franciss School in Peckham aged between about eleven and thirteen.19 They must have been well selected and highly motivated as it took little time in 1920 for Brother John and his Fiddle Boys to get started So Brother John of course he was only too pleased. He got us there and I can remember the first tunes. The Rakes of Mallow My Love Is But a Lassie Yet which is a Scotch tune and Miss McLeods. They were the first three reels we learnt and the jigs were The Irish Washerwoman Father OFlynn The Tenpenny Bit and another one. I forget the name of the other one but we had four jigs to get on with. Then we could play those for The Walls of Limerick. His first book was Kerrs first collection and Kerrs second collection and then he got us Roches.20 Then somebody blew the whistle on him and he had to pack it in and we were left on our own then cause he wasnt supposed to be doing it. Being a political club at the same time some well- meaning person blew the whistle and that was it. He just told Brother Stanislaus who was the boss of the house. They were all intensely Irish really but the rules of the Order were such that they couldnt belong to any political movement. So anyway Brother John had to pull out but we had the books and we had the know-how by then. The Fiddle Boys were asked out to sports clubs and political clubs around south London with occasional incursions into north London. Brother John carted his lads to Walworth Deptford Camberwell and Greenwich as far afield as that and it was all by tram in those days.. When Brother John was hiked off the scene we had nobody to bring us around. You see we used to go on our own. We were still known as Brother Johns Fiddle Boys. They had a ceilidh at the Colyer Hall in Peckham this particular night and the music was to be William Meads Famous Irish-Ireland Fiddle Band.. Bill McCarthy thought it would look good on the handbills.... Well we thought Whats happening here Thats not us. So we didnt go. Will Mead was on his own It was a hasty rush round the parish to pick up some of the Fiddle Boys. By 1922 the Fiddle Boys were moving in a bigger league as Dinny OConnell continues the story There was a swimming bath in Old Kent Road that they covered over in the winter for dancing and the night after the Treaty was signed we had it booked already for a ceilidh. Us youngsters were playing there Frank Lee Tom OShea old McGowan he was there and I think a fella came up with a cornet that night but we didnt hear anything from him. Michael Collins came along towards the end. They came in the back door. That was Collins style. You see he didnt want to be causing disruption at the front door people all congregate around there to meet the hero so he went in the back entrance. The first thing we knew he was up on the stage. We had so many concerts down at the Old Kent Road baths and different bands used to come along. I think that was the night the Borough Band came along. They played their marches and things then sat along with the rest of the community. Those who were at that gala event could little have imagined the Treaty they were celebrating would be the immediate prelude to a civil war. Soon the nationalist movement would be split and most organisations would have divisions within their ranks. A great deal of London-Irish community social activity was actually suspended during the Civil War. The Irish Self- Determination League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians at Vauxhall were disbanded soon 19 Dinny OConnell Richie Tarrant Molly Horrigan called him Dick Tarrrant were eleven year olds in the same class and their fathers came from neighbouring parishes in County Kerry. Tommy McNamara was two years older. 20 Kerrs Collection of Merry Melodies for the Violin a series in 12 parts James S. Kerr Glasgow 1875 onward. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 244 after the Treaty was signed while the later establishment of the Free State eliminated the need for further concerted political action and Sinn Fein and the Gaelic League limped on greatly reduced in size and influence.21 The Gaelic League made no recovery among the working population generally retaining a fairly strong foothold only in Rotherhithe between the wars. There was in fact some ill-feeling directed against the Gaelic League. Dinny OConnell for example considered they were non-communicative and he said specifically You couldnt get anything out of them. He saw them as the other lot and in that he was supported by the views of Harry OBrien. The London-Irish working population had entered the 1920s with a strong sense of Irish identity the legacy of the communitys high commitment to the struggle for independence. The post-war revival of the outdoor procession season points not only to localised social cohesion but also to solidarity between sub-sections of the community. Institutionalised expressions of Irishness had become viable alternatives to integration into mainstream working class society. Irishness no longer stood for backwardness but paradoxically the republican and Gaelic movements stood for an insular backward-looking Ireland and the Church voiced its opposition to modernism. The London working-class mainstream however was in process of embracing modernism partly as commercial entertainment the dance halls the wireless the cinema the gramophone the popular press and magazines became available to them. Caught somewhere in the midst of the traditionalism of rural survivals the community solidarity of the outdoor processions scene the revivalism of the Gaelic League the nationalism of Sinn Fein and the commercialism of the Irish dance halls there was a new generation of young single London-Irish with feet in the camps of both national heritage and modernism. In creating their own home-grown values and practices from limited economic resources they pulled together elements from their background and their current circumstances. This new manifestation of popular culture was to span the 1920s and 1930s with a lull during the Second World War and a short post-war revival. 21 Dinny OConnell said the Ancient Order of Hibernians held a concert in Kingsway Hall every St. Patricks night in opposition to the Gaelic League. The implication was that it was in the 1920s or 1930s. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 245 Front left Frank Lee in cap one the young girls is Nora McGowan Franks future wife singer step-dancer extreme right Harry McGowans daughter Mary McGowan singer. Back row Mary McGowans future husband Dan Crowley fiddle Harry McGowan in cap fiddle further along unidentified fiddle unidentified piccolo. A club outing on the Thames 1908-1910. courtesy Harry McGowans grandson Kevin Crowley A detail of the picture above. The posture of the fiddle player points to his rural background hes no violinist. Dinny OConnell said that the piccolo player is not Pearse Power. The idea of an evenings social dancing was quite new to the urban mainstream working class when the Hammersmith Palais opened in 1919 but it was taken up quickly as commercial ballrooms opened in most town centres in Britain. The basic dance repertory consisted of American and British dancing-academy inventions the foxtrot the two-step later modified Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 246 into the quickstep and the slow waltz. During the early Edwardian period the Gaelic League had created a repertory of Irish social dances primarily for an elite middle-class public with no inkling that within twenty years social dancing would be widely available to a paying working-class public. Ceilidh dances had been disseminated in London-Irish communities before the Great War by the Gaelic League to working-class children and in the early 1920s these children by then young single adults brought these two entertainment and recreation models together the new craze for public social dancing and their experience of ceilidh dancing. Ceilidhs were organised at parish level usually by one or two parishioners who with the approval of the parish priest undertook to run a series of evenings in the church hall. There were no committees and no financial accounts. Each evening covered itself financially with a few pence admission at the door and a few shillings to the musicians. Many dancers had known how to dance the ceilidh repertory all their lives simply as part of growing up in their community and usually there was someone capable of conducting the programme and directing the dancers through the figures. Jimmy OConnor was one of them and he taught the dances without reference to an instruction book during the 1930s at St. Annes in Stepney. Miss OReardon taught at Limehouse Town Hall but she had been and may still have been a member of the Gaelic League. There had never been Gaelic League classes in Wapping and the lack of evidence suggests there having been no ceilidh dancing there as a consequence. There was some social crossover between parishes with shared musicians and many of the dancers attending ceilidhs in several areas. Inevitably new bonds of kinship and friendship were made and old ones strengthened. Kitty McNamara commented that all her friends met their future spouses at St. Annes and Kevin Crowley echoed that when he said There were clubs clubs clubs everywhere in those days. Every church had a club. It was marvellous really keeping the people together and the marriages that came out of them. Many young London-Irish adults danced modern ballroom dances and such dances were held at St. Annes where teenagers engaged in modern dancing on one evening and ceilidh on another. The two were kept separate and were seen to be quite different social activities. Ceilidh dances came to dominate social dancing at Roman Catholic parish events but the dominance of the revivalist repertory did not exclude rural repertory and style which presumably was introduced by new immigrants. Molly Tiernan and Jimmy OConnor have both described the style of East End ceilidh dancing in the 1920s and 1930s respectively as relaxed as opposed to the rigid posture of Gaelic League ceilidh dancing. Mary Collins likened what she called the stompers at parish dances in Limehouse to the rural dancers she later saw in Ireland in the 1980s while Kevin Murphy confirmed that the dancing before the War was different from approved Gaelic League style. His family at Silvertown called it the Charles Street Shuffle in which the sevens and threes were executed with the feet close to the ground. Kevin Crowley expressed some of the resentment felt by the working-class London- Irish about the attitude of the Gaelic League to the more vernacular styles of dancing when he said They were a bit up-county. Theres ways of doing Irish dancing in a hall. You know they start swinging a bit too much. Peasant dancing They wanted everything to be correct steps and so formal. There is evidence of the sets having been danced at parish dances in John Brannagans comment that Gaelic League ceilidhs were the hardest dances to play for as there were no sets which he described as unkosher. Other organisations he added allowed sets in their programme which as a musician he considered a bonus since they could select jigs which were easier to play than reels. Certainly after World War II and probably before it a generalised Irish dance-hall style developed with elements mediated from rural kitchen Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 247 dancing the Gaelic League and the commercial ballroom in which body postures rhythmic swing and general animation and social manners from the country-house dance were dominant. Supporters of the ceilidh at Bolgers once the Irish Self-Determination League had been disbanded must have formed a new organisation. They might even have moved to a different location as Kitty McNamara referred to the ceilidhs having been held above a tailors shop rather than behind it. Certainly the musicians had left by the time the eighteen-year-old Kitty Murphy as she was then took on the job playing the piano on her own. As she recalled in interview at the age of ninety I was the band She had been born in Bethnal Green in 1905 to Cork parents her father being a worker in a bonded warehouse in the City. Kitty had gained a place as a day girl at a convent boarding school for the daughters of sea captains in Poplar and it was there that she had been taught conventional piano technique by the nuns. Her father would not allow any of the children to go anywhere except to Irish dances four nights a week so their social life was narrowly London-Irish and of those times Kitty could say forthrightly We never spoke to an English person. Kitty Murphys manner of solo piano playing at Bolgers was the fairly common accommodation of the time the melody line read from ONeill and a faked left-hand part. That was easy she said. I was clever In fact when she was still only learning the nuns would play a piece to her and she would play it back to them partly by ear and the nuns apparently never cottoned on to the fact she was not always reading the music. Tom McNamara and some others eventually joined her at Bolgers and she and Tom married in 1930. Curiously at ninety when recalling those early days she said she had never heard of the Fiddle Boys nor of Toms part in it though she knew Paddy Gethin Dinny OConnell and the Tarrants well enough. Tom McNamara was born in Lewisham but his father came from outside the village of Cappaghmore in County Limerick and it was there Kitty said when he went to his fathers place for holidays that Tom had learned the fiddle from two brothers. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 248 Kitty and Toms son John remembered his father crediting Old Man Thornton as his tutor and mentioning the Abram brothers in the same general context. His father had also spoken of a great flute player remembered simply as Paddy who taught him tunes phrase by phrase from the flute on to the fiddle. Tom held his instrument down on his chest to play it while Kittys brother Tom Murphy22 whose model for playing the fiddle is not known held his into his neck. Both playing positions point to fiddle technique rather than that of the violin. The group of musicians at Bolgers evolved into the McNamara Band made up of Tom McNamara and Tom Murphy on fiddles Kitty McNamara on the piano Tom OShea on the piccolo Andy Maguire on the flute and Ted Barratt or Eddie Taylor on the drums fulfilling engagements regularly during the 1930s at the Franciscans in Peckham the Sacred Heart in Camberwell St. Anns at Vauxhall and a ceilidh in Walthamstow.23 It may well have been at a later date that Kittys brother Dominique Murphy played the flute with them. Meanwhile survivors of the Fiddle Boys began to strike out for themselves. At the smaller ceilidhs they would be with Frank Lee or perhaps occasionally with the Gaelic League pianist Agnes McHale. Frank Lee had quite a reputation as a piano player as Dinny OConnell remembered Frank Lee he had his own particular style of playing. It was unique. We had his style. We played with him at Peckham Vauxhall 84 Blackfriars Road thats the Roger Casement Sinn Fein Club and any place where there was music going another one at Camberwell. Wed have them occasionally at these places you see and wed all meet there and thats how we got in touch with Frank Lee in the first place. But some of the lads had musical experience way beyond the London-Irish music of Frank Lee. Dinny OConnell for example was in close contact with his fathers family in Sliabh Luchra County Kerry. In trying to describe how he played he suggested It was more or less on the style of Padraig Keefe and Dinny Tarrant because I went over in 1923 on holiday. He might have added that he went every year for the rest of his life There was a big dance there to collect funds for blokes whod been through the Trouble needed a bit of financial assistance. So I was introduced to Padraig Keefe. Well it was unusual for kids to be going on holiday never mind about being able to play the fiddle as well and he told me where I was going wrong. I was playing the Scottish style from Brother John y see. He was mostly on the Scottish tempo and he put me right. The two Tarrrants went over the same year. They went to their uncle of course Din and he put them right so we got together then and we played similarly. So we had that style. I suppose the best of the lads in the band at that time then cottoned on to our style or the style we were playing so we all played practically the same. Around 1927 Dinny OConnell who was involved with the GAA and the Borough Pipe Band turned part of his attention to the ODonovan Rossa Sinn Fein Club meetings at St. Anns Settlement Hall at Vauxhall Bridge Road. It is not clear where he had been playing regularly before that but as he said There was a little bit of a kerfuffle there and I didnt like the way they were treating the music and the dancing. They wouldnt have any waltzes or anything like that those days. Well we had some lovely tunes to play for waltzes and they wouldnt stand for it so we just drifted away from there. Paddy Tarrant and Richie had already gone over to Frank Lees Ceilidh Band the Tara Ceilidh Band24 but that was commercial and I 22 Tom Murphy was the father of post-war musicians Kevin Murphy piano-accordion and Gerry Murphy who played the piano with the Glenside Ceili Band. 23 Fr. John McNamara born 1933 says that as a baby his parents kept him in a carry-cot sic cradle behind the piano at their dances and he only woke up when the pipes played. Terry Bowler says the same thing happened to him Both thus had strong imprints of music as babies. 24 Dinny OConnell in this quotation links the Tarrants move to play with Frank Lees Tara Ceilidh Band with events in his own life in 1927. The Tarrants might well have been playing regularly with Frank Lee then but Dinny OConnell in Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 249 didnt want anything to do with that. We were never paid anywhere. So I left and I went to Vauxhall to Jim Collins and the ODonovan Rossa Sinn Fein Club Eamon Barry and Jack Barry and all that crowd. At that time there was Sean Kenny old McGowan used to play there he was Frank Lees father-in-law and a fella by the name of Paddy Jackson came along. Then Id take up the fiddle if they wanted anybody and Mrs. Collins too Jim Collins wife. He was the president of the GAA in England at the time. I think he was chairman of the ODonovan Rossa Sinn Fein Club. So anyway Id played there and sung a few songs really good place to go on a Saturday night and my dad he was typical of the old-style of Irish person. When the sons went anywhere he made sure they were properly conducted.. They had playing Sean Kenny and a fella named Jennings. I think it was Pat. I think he was from the north somewhere north of Dublin anyway and there was this fella Paddy Jackson who used to play the piano. He used to thump hell out of it. He was very heavy-handed on it but Sean Kenny was nice. He was a composer as well. Composed a few songs and what have you. And Mrs. Collins played for a time. She was Welsh actually. She was a teacher. Id play if it was necessary if they were short of anybody same as anywhere else I went. The parish church in Peckham had been largely boycotted by the local Irish population during the 1920s because of the attitude of the non-Irish parish priest but sometime in the 1930s a new Irish priest arrived and organised the construction of a parish hall with voluntary labour. It was opened around 1937 with the first function being the first of a series of Friday night ceilidhs. Dinny OConnell had been part of the voluntary labour force and he joined the musicians in what was clearly a version of the McNamara Band Andy Maguire from Deptford played the piccolo and he was good too piccolo and saxophone. Merle from The Borough played the piano I forget her name now ODonnell I think it was. There was Tommy Mac on the fiddle and his wife on the piano Kitty and I was on the fiddle of course with Tom.. Ted Barrett from the Borough Pipe Band on drums.. and a fella named Ned Stapleton used to play the piccolo as well and he was one of the fellas who was deported.25 We didnt see him any more. He was last seen spouting for Communism on this street in Dublin. Another group of musicians emerged in the late 1920s as friendly rivals to the McNamara Band led by Pat and Molly Bowler parents of the post-war dance teacher Terry Bowler. Pat Bowler was London-born of Kerry parents living in Fulham. He was self-taught on the 120- bass piano-accordion and ran the Kerry Club Band although there had never been a Kerry Club in London Molly Bowler or Molly Kennedy as she was when they met was a pianist and a trained singer who had won a scholarship to go to Vienna though her father had been unable to afford to send her. Dinny OConnell recalled that around 1927 or 1928 she had got him and some of his friends to play with her at a club run by a man called Ward but the pay for her was too small and she turned her attention to a ceilidh in Peckham.26 Terry Bowler said that his parents argued too much to play together so they led separate bands and he remembered that his mother played in Clapham and for Father Cremin in Lewisham. She also ran a register of Irish musicians and worked for Frank Lee. The fees were an important part of the family finances and made the difference between renting and buying a house. Put Terry Bowlers comment that they depended upon the money against Dinny OConnells avowed disapproval of payment and Dan Collins never taking the money. Bill Rollinson played the explaining why he broke his close musical association with them could have linked events a year or several years apart. It is very unlikely that the phrase ceilidh band was used until around 1932. 25 Kevin Murphy said he had heard Ned Stapleton had attempted to blow up Silvertown viaduct and was deported during the War. Reports in the Cork Weekly Examiner 11.3.1939 point to bridges being IRA authorised targets during their bombing campaign in England. The incident reported with London relevance was the aqueduct carrying the Grand Union Canal over the North Circular Road. Cork Weekly Examiner 5.8.1939 reported that Edward Stapleton 23 fitter of Barnsley Street Bethnal Green appeared at Bow Street charged with knowingly having in his possession or under his control at Brunswick Square London on July 27 explosive substances for an unlawful object. Together with John ORegan 20 and Herbert Moore 28 he was remanded in custody until 4 August. Kitty McNamara said he served a prison sentence. 26 Was that Bolgers Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 250 piano in Pat Bowlers band and Terry Bowler who would have known him at feises well into the 1960s reckoned Bill couldnt be beaten at Irish music on the piano. Ceilidh dancing began to occupy grander more public space in the East End in the 1930s while retaining the non-commercial homely quality of the parish social. Alderman Jeremiah Long Cork-born Labour councillor used his authority to heighten the profile of the London- Irish in East End public life. He ensured that Limehouse Town Hall was always reserved for a ceilidh on St. Patricks Night and he made a strong political point about the status of the London-Irish community when he instructed that the municipal reception and ball to mark his inauguration as Mayor of Stepney in 1937 should take the form of a ceilidh and that the public library should stock books in Gaelic. There were two organised ceilidh bands active in the East End from the early or mid-1930s until the outbreak of war The OCarolan Ceilidh Band and The Rialto Ceilidh Band. Brief profiles of these bands illustrate the London-Irish communitys new confidence in occupying public space and the use of music-making as a step in making social advancement. The OCarolan Ceilidh Band was in existence from 1931 to 1938 with Maurice Moriarty Dennis Tully and Jimmy Tighe violins Bill McGannon piccolo Bobby Anglim later Coakley piano Dan Collins drums and John Coakley master of ceremonies. There had long been music in the Moriarty household in Poplar. Mary Collins ne Moriarty spoke of her father a boilermaker born in 1877 and his close neighbour and first cousin Tom OShea a stevedore born about 1903 and how they would get together in the Moriarty house Dad could play the whistle like nobodys business. Y know present day he would be great. He could always play the whistle always and he could really play it. You name it he could play it. Tom OShea would come and say You not heard this one and hed sit and play it and then Dad would play it after. It was all done by ear. He did have a gramophone. I remember that gramophone. I was about five around 1916 and it was one of those ones you wind up with a big horn but no one was allowed to do that. And I remember him having a record The Flowers of Edinburgh.27 He hated The Irish Washerwoman. He detested that tune. He liked The Blackbird. He played The Blackbird on the whistle. Mary Collinss brother Maurice Moriarty Dennis Tulley and Jimmy Tighe were schoolmates. Born in London in 1913 they all left school at fourteen and Mary Collins remembered They learnt the violin at school and the man that taught them the violin was Patrick Sarsfield ODwyer. He had a little goatee. He was a very nice man. He was the music teacher and they used to pay sixpence a week for their lessons and sixpence for the violin till it was paid for and the violin cost two pounds ten shillings. His lesson was classical see and then hed say Right now well have the other and theyd have about half an hour of the Irish music then. Well then by constant practising of it and by being in among the people that were playing Irish music they could play well. Maurice did play well cause he was dead keen on it. McGannons were Wapping people. Old Bill McGannon thats Bills father was the leading flute player in the orchestra and then became conductor at the old theatre in Poplar High Street where Gracie Fields made her debut the Queens. It was about 1918 1924 round about that time. His son was a flute player as well. He played the flute in the ceilidh band.. He used to play the uilleann pipes as well. Father and son both played He was a lazy musician Bill. I think once he got married he sort of dropped a lot of those sort of things. You see hed be erratic. Hed sometimes put his flute down in the band and wait. He was a dreamer. He was a right dreamer Bill. The band packed up after he got married. The band probably took shape informally in the Moriartys front room where they had a piano though nobody in the family could play it. 27 Most probably Peter Wyper accordeon 78 rpm London Rena 1187 1907 though there were other commercial recording available. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 251 We used to have a ceilidh at the drop of a hat. We had a garden so we could go out there in the summertime dancing. We had our parties on tea. There never was any drink in the house. It was all done on tea and my mother would do some bacon and that sort of thing. The neighbours would have all their windows open listening to the music. Dan was on drums and Bill McGannon Maurice and Bobby Anglim. Then the next morning about six oclock theyd be out playing football down the street and then it would be over to Mass and theyd say Moriartys have had a party again cause wed all be at seven oclock Mass. By 1931 when the band started to accept engagements the boys were eighteen. Bobby Anglim born of Irish parents was in her early twenties and being a schooled pianist she naturally became the effective leader. She was widely admired for her contralto singing voice and among her songs was nationalist material such as The Felons of Our Land and My Dark Rosaleen not surprising perhaps as she was or had been a member of Cumann na mBann.28 Mary Collins particularly liked her way of vamping the piano preferring it to the way other pianists played the melody. She was a relative and neighbour of the Nunan family in Marylebone from whom she probably gained her ceilidh music experience. Mary Collins confirmed that the musicians knew all about the seventeenth and eighteenth century harper Carolan29 and Bobby Anglim probably adopted the name of the band from James Nunans OCarolan Orchestra that had been first active during the Edwardian period. Mary Collins had a harsh view which was echoed by others of Bobbys husband John Coakley the bands master of ceremonies who came from south of the river around Dockhead. She was only married a couple of years and she died. It was sad her death was. She had a sad couple of years of married life. He was a bugger to her he was. The boys there would have been fights with him for Bobbys sake. I dont know what she had for him really. The drummer was Dan Collins from Wapping. Mary Collins whom Dan married in 1939 described Wapping in those days as being like Northern Ireland is today with a great deal of friction between Catholics and Protestants. Dan she said was very pro-Irish. He was never in the Wapping drum-and-fife band and he picked up drumming on his own. Dan never took any money. Never never took the money. And also hed hire a car to take the musicians as well and to bring the musicians home at his own expense. He liked doing it. Well I suppose half a crown was a lot of money but he would always have friends who would do it and hed treat them. Course hed had the drums to take and hed had them on the roof and then the others could get inside. Mary Collins considered the OCarolan band to be second only to Frank Lees Tara Ceilidh Band. Theyd have ceilidhs every night. It wasnt one night it would be every night theyd be out. They played at New Cross Baths St. Monicas at Hoxton The English Martyrs at Tower Hill the Roger Casement Sinn Fein Club in Blackfriars Road and many other halls as well and they had the annual grand St. Patricks night ceilidh at Hoxton Town Hall. John Brannagan a friend of the Moriartys has related how he joined the band. Mary Collins and her sisters Kate and Fran however were adamant that he was never in it and they were certain he played in another circle. It may be that he joined around the time of the break-up when perhaps Dan Collins and the Moriartys had withdrawn. John Brannagan spoke of Bobby Anglim being in the band yet he cited Jimmy Tighe as the leader A pal of mine you know you get these nutters on Irish music he was a very good violinist. Jimmy Tighe Irish by extraction of course and his great favourite was Campoli. He was crackers on him. So anyway they 28 OConnell in The Irish Post 24.11.1984. For a reference to Mrs. Coakleys Band playing at a Gaelic League St. Brigids festival in the Armitage Hall Great Portland Street see Cork Weekly Examiner 8.2.1936. 29 Not to be taken literally. She meant they knew of his existence and perhaps some of his material. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 252 decided to get up a ceilidh band and Jim took this to heart and wrote out all the music and had everything in apple-pie order. I could never master the quickness of it y see then of course Jimmy asked me to come in with him. Well I sort of wended my way through that and finally y know a lot of it became mechanical. I was all right. I got away with it. It was called the OCarolan Ceilidh Band and we used to play every Saturday night and other nights in the week all over London. And I always remember my record. I played at St. Annes Underwood Road from as it were eight to twelve on the eve of St. Patricks night and then he had a Gaelic League ceilidh that we had to go to from twelve to six the next morning at St. Pancras Town Hall. I had about ten hours of it. It was murder. I worked for the LCC in those days and I went to work and I couldnt keep awake. I kept going off to sleep. They thought I was drunk.. It was only people like ourselves that played for the Gaelic League. Others wouldnt play cause there was no money in it. I would play for about three hours or something from eight till eleven or longer and get about seven and six or something. There were two of the best piccolo players I ever heard. One was Bill McGannon and he composed some reels as well and the other was Tom Shea. And Tom died with lung cancer. But boy the beautiful liquid tones like Galway y know. Marvellous You know the piccolo is a lovely instrument when played properly. They like Jimmy Galway started in a drum-and-fife band.30 They started that way and they became so good at the reels and jigs and hornpipes y see. They started off playing them properly and carried on that way and it was just like a bird. It was marvellous. And especially with Tom Shea but they were ordinary people who just started off like so many lads did in those days in a fife-and-drum band and gradually got better and better. Biographical material on the Rialto Ceilidh Band comes from Jimmy OConnor who gave the regular personnel as Arthur Haynes and Bonner Haynes violins Tom OShea piccolo Rebel Haynes piano Ned OConnor drums and himself as master of ceremonies. Their home base was at St. Annes in Underwood Street Stepney where they played one night a week with three other nights at the parish halls at The Borough Dockhead and Limehouse during the 1930s. The musicians were paid half-a-crown each a night and the master of ceremonies received nothing at all. Financial gain was thus scarcely their motive.31 They played for their own satisfaction and out of a sense of community spirit. This was essentially a family band. Ned and Jimmy OConnor were brothers the sons of the fiddle player Paddy OConnor and the younger brothers of Johnny or Blimey OConnor as he was known after the Troubles who played the flute concertina and piano.32 Ned had previously played the fife in the Tower Hill parish band. Arthur Haynes was an Englishman and was their brother-in-law while Bonner and Rebel Haynes were his sons. Tom OShea was related to the Moriartys of the OCarolan Ceilidh Band. He was much older than the others so presumably came in largely on his local reputation as a good dance musician. After the War he led the ceilidh band in the Galway Club in Camden Town. The Haynes brothers were able to read music but the band actually played by ear. Their repertory was suitable only for ceilidh dancing and there is no other available evidence of the source of their material and their playing style. Enthusiasm and a sense of pride in achievement shine through the oral testimony about both the OCarolan and the Rialto bands. Social behaviour then was more restrained than it was after the War but nevertheless the OCarolan Ceilidh Band and its supporters were enjoying a 1930s version of the crack. Maurice Moriarty Dan and Mary Collins and John Brannagan were to continue their activities in music and dance into the post-war period. 30 James Galway internationally famous classical flautist. 31 Four dances at a half-a-crown a time earned them a pound a week when the national average weekly wage was about two pounds ten shillings. 32 Dinny OConnell said It was after the Trouble he was called Blimey. During the Easter Rising his unit was quartered in a barn outside Dublin. He woke up late and in his confusion shouted out Oh blimey the bloody place is alight Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 11 Domestic Community Music-Making Dancing. 253 With the exception of Bill McGannon the son of a professional musician even though they lived in a tiny two-up two-down terrace cottage in Wapping and John Brannagan the son of a former Army bandmaster they were all children of manual workers. Even Bobby Anglims father Jerry Anglim noted in the 1930 Post Office Directory as Jeremiah Anglim J. P. Sons decorators 111 Lisson Grove Marylebone had been a council worker. This next generation through further education at night school and association with Church and Irish organisations and the confidence that the bands public image afforded them moved into skilled trades or white-collar jobs and some achieved wider success in the community. John Brannagan after the War rose through secular administration in the Roman Catholic Church and Labour Party politics to become vice-chair of the Greater London Council and chair of the Inner London Education Authority in middle age. There was another part of the ceilidh scene around Highgate when Pat McNamee a young drummer from Cavan arrived in the area. He spoke seventy years later particularly of Lau rhyming with how Kennedy as a good fiddle player on the lines of Michael Coleman -- slurs and all that. In 1937 Teresa Burke a seventeen-year-old from Ballinamore Co. Leitrim took a job with a family in Blackheath as a living-in parlour maid On a Sunday at about seven oclock I would be chasing across the Heath to go to church for seven fifteen and then chase back again to be home to bring their tray to the bedroom for eight oclock. You left on Sunday afternoon at three oclock. There was an evening Benediction at six thirty and you went from there to your Ceilidh but you always had to leave by nine thirty to be back. I remember once before I rang the bell I could hear the clock there was a grandfather clock and I could hear it strike but by the time they came to answer the door he said Youre late. It was only about three minutes past ten. You couldnt have a boy friend because nobody would leave at nine thirty The Ceilidh was held in the church hall at St. Saviours in Lewisham. That was a purpose built hall. They always had a band which was very good and we danced all the dances The Walls of Limerick The Haymakers Jig The old time waltzes. Youd have step dancing and people singing. The band was semi-professional. It wasnt just amateurs they were good at what they were doing.33 During the War Monseignor OGrady ran dances at Warren Street. Towards the end of the War and just after it most of the men were Irish-born many being from the west of Ireland and many of them being native-Irish speakers. While the War was still on they used to sing God Bless the Pope to end the evening but on one particular St. Patricks Night the crowd wanted The Soldiers Song. The parish priest Father Amiston an English convert forbade it saying it was treasonable and threatened to discontinue the ceilis if they played it. They sang it anyway with the band and the curate joining in. The parish priest was furious and stopped the ceilidhs but he allowed the curate to start them up again later and took no further interest. Dinny OConnell was a fiddle player who played wherever his fancy took him We hit the happy medium during the War. There was about twelve or thirteen of us used to knock around together. As long as we had five or six on the stage the rest were either dancing or in the pub. We were at our leisure but thats because we were humorous and we werent paid. There was no question of being paid you see. 33 Quoted in Pam Scheitzer ed. Across the Irish Sea London Age Exchange 1989 p.38. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 254 CHAPTER 12 THE COMMERCIAL DANCE HALLS The commercial dance hall was one of a number of post-Great War innovations in mainstream urban working-class leisure. Dance-hall promoters were entrepreneurs in the entertainment business offering a social activity directed by professional musicians and professional management. Their paying public fairly low down the social scale received an evenings diversion with possibilities of social contacts set in smart surroundings for relatively low cost. Irish immigrants as members of the general public were free to pay their money and take their chance and indeed some did. A small percentage of young rural immigrants had had limited experience of modern ballrooms in Irish towns but the majority coming from rural backgrounds fought shy of such alien places. The Irish commercial dance hall appeared in London in the early 1930s as an acceptable alternative. Immigrant Irish like members of any ethnic minority generally felt secure when they were with people from their own background and the promoters of these Irish dance halls were committed for sound commercial reasons to create a home-from-home atmosphere for their patrons. Irish Catholics were aware of the proscriptive view of the Church that modern dancing was sinful and presented possibilities for promiscuous behaviour. Part of the appeal of Irish dance halls for newly arrived immigrants was undoubtedly the freedom from community and clerical control as they had known it at home. Yet there were enough links with life back home to be found there for them to feel physically and morally safe. It was recent arrivals young countrymen and women working in the hotel and catering trades and living in hostels and bed-sitters and student nurses working in the outer suburbs who were the greatest supporters of these halls. On one night a week they could socialise with relatives neighbours and friends of friends as an antidote to the anomie of inner-city life and institutional work routines. This section of the immigrant population was free from the economic constraints of low-status rural life with just enough spending money to pay for modest leisure. Opportunities for marriage in rural Ireland were limited by the economic status of those of marriageable age but for waged urban workers in London there were no such restrictions. The dance hall therefore provided an acceptable location for finding a partner and a safe in the sense of chaperoned situation in which to engage in courting. Some London-Irish went to the Irish dance halls but there was a view commonly held in London-Irish communities that dance halls were morally corrupt partly because of their commercialism and partly because of the impurity of the dance repertory and they were thought to be physically dangerous. These ideas were re-enforced by the opposition of some parish priests who were jaundiced by the profits going to promoters rather than into parish funds. The majority of Londoners of Irish descent who retained a strong Irish identity were regular Churchgoers inevitably influenced by the pastoral letters of Irish bishops in Ireland published in the county newspapers haranguing jazz ballroom dancing and modernism and a prevailing residue of Gaelic revival idealism reinforced the message of the Church. The majority of those who wished to dance Irish dances already had the means within their own communities but for some East End and south of the Thames London-Irish going up West where some of the dance halls were situated was an alternative to Gaelic League and Church social evenings and was a mild fairly conformist vehicle for adolescent rebellion. The physical dangers in the dance halls however were real fights were not uncommon and the bouncers are remembered as having been vicious. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 255 The first Irish commercial dance hall in London was run by the piano player Frank Lee in partnership with Pat Brickley from Ballydesmond in County Kerry.1 The son of a tram-driver from Kerry and a Waterford mother Frank Francis K. Lee was born probably in the late 1890s and lived in a large house in St. Lukes Terrace Bayswater where his mother took in boarders. He had three brothers and two sisters and of them Joe and Ed at least had a formal education at St. Michaels Grammar School in Bayswater but they all had a particularly telling additional education in the Gaelic-revival atmosphere of the Sarsfield Club the Ladbrook Grove branch of the United Irish League. It was here they learned their dancing from Patrick Keane and in the case of Ed born 1889 and Joe born 1891 particularly learned the many songs they were to perform later in America. As a member of Agnes McHales Gaelic League choir Joe and perhaps some of the others performed at the Gaelic League St. Patricks night concert at the Queens Hall in 1901. Joe and Ed were active in the Volunteers in Kensington during the Troubles and found it expedient to leave for America in 1916 and 1921 respectively. In Philadelphia they very quickly became leading participants in the Irish music scene being responsible among other things for the worlds first radio programme of Irish music in 1924. The records they made in duet were issued only in America but a few recordings by Ed Lees Four Provinces Orchestra were issued in Britain in the 1920s. Frank too was a member of the IRA and he made a hasty trip to America early in 1919.3 Back in London in October 1920 he was one of the rebels who defied the authorities by wearing a military uniform to accompany the body of Terence McSweeney from Southwark Roman Catholic Cathedral to Euston station. He was arrested for the possession of arms and was held on a Royal Navy cruiser in Dublin Bay. His deportation however was deemed illegal as he had been born in England and subsequently he Art OBrien and some others sued the Government and received handsome compensation.4 Frank Lees father played the concertina presumably in some sort of rural style but there is no available evidence linking his playing with that of Franks and what Franks inspiration was and who his models were are not known. His elder brother was also a piano player but comparison of their recordings reveals no particular similarity. It is fairly certain that Frank was an ear-player and a very accurate one at that. John Brannagan who came across him in the late 1930s said of him He was a very good first-class pianist. Hed have a cigarette drooping from the corner of his mouth there. Hed be playing no music no anything.. Boy Could he rattle those keys J.McG who might have been an in-law McGowan wrote a flowery obituary in 1974 with incidental reference to members of the Tara Ceilidh Band in the mid andor late 1930s that points to Frank having played the melody in the band whereas he simply vamps on all his recordings As a boy and a young man I well remember Frank. Often have I stood on the stairs going up to the club amazed at his dexterity and the accuracy he brought to our beloved music. He was a small man of sparse 1 J. McG. Frank Lee Portrait obituary in Treoir vol.6 no.3 1974 p.27. The Four Provinces Orchestra a three- four- or five-piece band was led by Ed Lee at the piano. Two re-mastered examples from their many 78 rpm recordings appear on Irish Dance Music London Topic TSCD602 1995 Past Masters of Irish Dance Music London Topic TSCD604 2000. Recordings of Ed Lee as accompanist-- Michael Coleman 1891-1945 Dublin Gael-LinnViva Voce CEFCD161 1992 John Vesey Sligo Fiddler USA no publisher no date William Mullaly Dublin Viva Voce 005 reissued as The Westmeath Hunt William Mullaly Dublin Vive Voce Irish Traditional Music Archive CD101 2011. Jimmy Power The Irish Post 1.8.1970. 4 When Frank told me this story he recited from memory the warrant for his arrest. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 256 frame and hesitant manner. No orator his announcements were brief and to the point. But his character changed when he turned back to his beloved piano then was he the true master the conductor the maestro. Over the swelling notes of the Tarrant brothers and Joe Dowd with their magic on the violin transcending the chords of Jimmy Madigan the magician on the accordion leading the purest of Joe Hands Hanns notes on the piccolo and dominating the drums of Bill Smith came the liquid notes of the piano. Not for Frank the sullen arpeggios the monstrous chords he then became a Pair of Hands with long muscular fingers. His character seemed to diminish and to manifest itself in two dominant hands with a will and a cadence all their own. Not for him the second row but out in front he sounded his left hand wielding the Fifths and Sevenths sliding down to the Minors and back up to the Majors and his right hand his incomparable right hand actively leading the melody. From the elegant reel to the staccato running jig and on to buoyant hornpipe Frank was Master of all.5 The earliest evidence of Franks playing was on St. Patricks Day in 1918 when presumably after some previous experience he organised twenty musicians for a Ceilidh Mr in the Argyle Hall at Notting Hill.6 He might still have been an apprentice lens-maker at the time but apart from his early political activities he soon focussed his activities on earning a living playing the piano. By the mid-1920s he was well established in London-Irish circles as a leading perhaps the leading ceilidh dance musician. Cork Pipers Ceilidh London 19 April 1932. Front row Frank Lee leaning forward then two unidentified fiddle players fifth from right Harry Hough in pipers costume second from right William Mead fiddle. Cork Weekly Examiner 21 May 1932 Sometime in the early 1930s and perhaps earlier than that Frank was playing two or three nights a week at an Irish sports club the Stadium Club in Hammersmith Broadway.7 Just what happened next is not known. There might have been some factors within the Stadium Club itself or he might simply have seen a chance to strike out on his own. He was aware of the commercial Irish dance halls in America through his brother Eds activities in Philadelphia during the previous decade or so. A precipitating factor must have been that an opportune moment occurred when Burtons chain of tailors shops opened all over London and made J. McG. Frank Lee. 6 Power The Irish Post 1.8.1970 reported the name of the band anachronistically as the Tara Ceili Band but the name does not appear in any of the oral or printed evidence until a broadcast by the Tara Ceilidhe Band scheduled in Irish Radio News 9.7.1932. This notice incidentally is the first known printed reference to a ceilidh band. 7 This was probably above Burtons. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 257 premises available for dancing. Thus in 1933 or 1934 Frank Lee moved the action to a dance hall of his own the Tara Club above Burtons tailors shop at 8-10 King Street Hammersmith.8 Franks nephew Kevin Crowley though then only about ten years old was in close contact with his uncle at the time and he says that Frank himself formed the Tara Football and Hurling Club from the sportsmen mostly from Kerry who frequented his club.9 The Tara Irish Dance Club Hammersmith mid-1930s. courtesy Kevin Crowley The wedding of Frank Lee and Nora McGowan at Paddington June 1936. courtesy Kevin Crowley Clearly the Tara Club was a financial success as Frank lived well and was able to spend a month on honeymoon in America following his wedding to Nora McGowan in June 1936.10 At times he gambled and according to his nephew Kevin Crowley he went through three fortunes. His brother-in-law Dan Crowley Kevins father a former IRA man in Cork and 8 The premises of Montague Burton Ltd. are not listed in Post Office Directory London 1933 but they are listed in 1934. 9 There were other social activities associated with the club. Cork Weekly Examiner 18.1.1936 notes an evening in memory of Harry McGowan in the Tara Hurling Football Club and the Tara Irish Drama Society featuring Miss Nora McGowan songs Larry Hogan late Munster Champion. Frank Murray reckoned that the Tara Football club predated the Tara Football Hurling Club.Football Hurling Club. Frank Lee told Jimmy Power The Irish Post 1.8.1970 he became friendly with the Sligo fiddle player Michael Coleman in America and had the great privilege of playing with him. The implication was it was in 1919 but it most likely was in 1936. Franks brother Ed accompanied Coleman on his 1927 recordings for Victor. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 258 Clare and secretary of the sports club managed the dance hall for him when he was away. Franks sister Kitty McDermott and her husband also ran a dance hall above Burtons in Kilburn High Road and it may be that they were simply managing for Frank. The Dublin dancer Rory OConnor lent Franks nephew Kevin Crowley his dance costume for the occasion. courtesy Kevin Crowley The opening of the Tara dance hall marked the beginning of a new phase in Irish dancing and with the introduction of an entrepreneurial motive the promotion of Irish dancing became commercial enterprise. Frank Lees initial monopoly in the dance-hall field was soon challenged by two other dance-hall promoters Johnny Muldoon and the Casey brothers who at first partly modelled themselves on his endeavour then co-operated with him competed with him and finally pushed him to the sidelines. Frank Lees programme during the 1930s was strictly ceilidh although he did record a Highland Schottische and a waltz Muldoon and the Caseys however offered a mixed programme of ballroom and ceilidh dancing. Evidence of Johnny Muldoons entry on the scene is fairly sparse. He opened The Harp Irish Social Club at 95 Wandsworth Road Vauxhall in 1934 shortly after his arrival in London from around Bunnanaddan in rural County Sligo.11 His was a rapid transition from relatively poor circumstances in Ireland to relative prosperity in London and by the time he opened the Garryowen in Hammersmith in 1937 it is said he had a Jewish backer. In April 1936 Paddy and Steve Casey were reported in the press as having opened St. Patricks Club in a dance studio at 79 Queens Road Bayswater though a later retrospective newspaper account says Paddy Casey opened the club in partnership with fellow Kerryman Bill Fuller and later bought him out. The Caseys seven brothers from a 180-acre farm near Sneem in County Kerry were phenomenally strong and athletic sportsmen not it should be noted in Gaelic Athletic Association sports but in rowing tug-o-war wrestling and boxing. At home in Ireland they had wiped the board at every regatta and in 1935 were set on an exemplary sports career. The family team won the tug-o-war at the Lonnduin Feis and the Fours at Henley Regatta qualifying them to represent the United Kingdom at rowing in the 1936 Olympics. Paddy also qualified for the Olympics in boxing. Steve and Paddy joined the British amateur wrestling 11 St. Patricks Day Fancy Dress Ball Royal Albert Hall 17.3.1937 souvenir programme. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 259 team which swept across Europe winning every match in their category but at this stage they took on some bouts for cash and were as a consequence disqualified from competing in the Olympics. Their manager at the time Gerald Egan recalled Steve and his brothers found it hard to get anyone in the ring with them after a while. Nobody in England would take them on and pretty soon most of the European wrestlers felt the same way. The brothers were simply unstoppable. Paddy Casey. Cork Weekly Steve Casey Examiner 20 June 1936 Paddy Casey held the Irish heavyweight wrestling title for three years from 1936 and retired from the fighting game in 1938 having broken his back in the ring. Steve and Jim toured the States where Steve by this time known as Crusher won the world professional wrestling title in nine consecutive years 1938 to 1947.12 Frank Lee and the Caseys could hardly have been further apart in background and motivation. Lee was slightly built but was tough in the sense of being an active republican and having been a member of the IRA imprisoned for some time in Dublins Mountjoy gaol. His roots were urban and firmly within the Gaelic revival. The Caseys motivation was single-mindedly commercial their approach to dance promotion being informed by the values of show business. Kevin Crowley who knew them through Frank Lee remembered them as big tough guys very nice but you had to be careful. The capital outlay for a dance-hall promoter was relatively small. Montague Burton Ltd. as a matter of company policy built their tailor-shop premises with reinforced upper floors suitable for short-lease letting as dance halls or billiard halls. The second and third floors at their Cricklewood premises for example were being leased in 1948 on an annual lease at what was probably the pre-war figure of 220 per annum for a floor area totalling 3500 square feet.13 There were a few initial costs for stage decorations band uniforms and a simple public address system for the master of ceremonies and the singer and wages for the staff and the musicians were relatively small. Advertising was by word of mouth and by handbills distributed outside Roman Catholic churches after Mass on Sundays. 12 Cork Weekly Examiner 13.6.1936 1.5.1937 20.8.1938 Cullen in The Irish Post 8.8.1981 John Wilcock in Southern Star 12.10.1985 John Daly in Irish Independent Munster Edition 17.5.2000 The Kerryman 21.2.2002. The Caseys father Mike Casey a renowned bare-knuckle boxer was at one time in America a sparring partner for the world boxing champion John L. Sullivan and their mother Bridget Sullivan known as Bridget Mountain is reputed to have been a champion oarswoman. 13 Property Department Burton Group Leeds property valuations in 1948. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 260 All the dance halls operated as commercial clubs with admission to members and guests only. No licence was required from the London County Council or local councils for private or public dancing and there were no legal restrictions on Sunday dancing in clubs.14 No alcoholic drink was sold nor was alcohol tolerated on the premises although it was often consumed outside. The cost of admission was low comparable to that of the cinema with several hundred tickets sold each night and additional profit was made on the tea bar. The Garryowen had several hundred patrons on Wednesday nights and up to six hundred on Saturdays and Sundays usually with more women than men.15 Johnny Muldoon and Paddy Caseys dance halls were commercial businesses operating under the guise of being clubs and it wasnt in the interest of either Muldoon or Casey to appear in any way as a commercial promoter. The naming of front men was required and Pat Bickley and Jimmy Ryan for Muldoon and Joseph Downey and Jim Whelan for Casey fitted the bill though they most probably had practical functions and responsibilities as well. The 1939 Post Office Directory being a trade directory needed the name of somebody in charge for the purposes of communication and deliveries the names of two musicians were given Joe Dowd for Muldoon and Joe Hann for Casey.16 In 1944 however Muldoon and Casey were up-front and were registered as secretaries of their own clubs. In 1937 Frank Lee Paddy Casey and Johnny Muldoon collaborated in staging a St. Patricks Day fancy-dress ball and cabaret at the Royal Albert Hall.17 This was an all-night gala affair and demonstrated to lower middle-class and upper working-class Irish men and women that they could carve out a public stake for themselves in London. Run in commercial competition to the Gaelic League whose annual concert that year took place at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden it was a sell-out with an audience of 3900.18 This meant that between 6000 and 7000 Irish and London-Irish people attended one or the other event at the same time. The following advance notice appeared in the Cork Weekly Examiner on 13 March 1937 Strong lights and sweet music at the Royal Albert Hall. Tara St. Patricks and the Harp Clubs are running St. Patricks Festival Fancy Dress Ball with midnight Cabaret featuring the Comerford Troupe and Master Rory OConnor and Sean Dempsey Patrick Kenny tenor Nora McGowan and the Dagenham Irish Pipers will be features. Orchestra of 30 for the Irish dancing. Howard Bakers radio band for the ballroom. The Hall will be flood-lighted in green white and gold. Tickets are 76. 19 The Orchestra of 30 for the Irish dancing drew upon musicians available to Lee Casey and Muldoon augmented with Leo Rowsome Leo Molloy and Jack Barrett brought in from Dublin. 14 London County Council Minutes of the Entertainments Licensing Committee samples from 1931 to 1937. 15 Joe ODowd quoted in Edward OHenry Joe ODowd Sligo Fiddler in Treoir 17 4 1985 p.2. 16 Post Office Directory London 1939-1944.Post Office Directory London Frank Lees nephew Kevin Crowley said the event was talked about for three or four years beforehand. Frank did all the organising the others put in the money. 18 Cork Weekly Examiner 27.3.1937. The official programme on the day listed Jack Hyltons Orchestra. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 261 The Orchestra of 30 with 22 members on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall 17 March 1937. Monty Gompers piano Ted Munten trumpet unidentified Bill McGannon piccolo Harry Philicient saxophone Paddy Taylor flute Eric Croft saxophone unidentified bass Eddie Tobin banjo George Wells fiddle Johnny Muldoon Tim Buckingham drums Leo Rowsome union pipes Paddy Tarrant fiddle unidentified ---- Mr. King harp Larry Hogan fiddle Martin Wynne fiddle Sean Brick fiddle Freddy Peters fiddle Leo Molloy piano-accordion Jack Barrett piano- accordion Traditional Music No. 2 late 1975 A section of the photograph above in better definition. Harry Philicient saxophone Paddy Taylor flute Eric Croft saxophone unidentified bass Eddie Tobin banjo George Wells fiddle Johnny Muldoon Tim Buckingham drums Leo Rowsome union pipes Paddy Tarrant fiddle unidentified ---- Mr. King harp Larry Hogan fiddle Martin Wynne fiddle Sean Brick fiddle Freddy Peters fiddle. Traditional Music No. 2 late 1975 Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 262 The Comerford Troupe Rory OConnor Eileen McGann Senior Champion of Ireland Sheila Maher Senior Champion of Dublin Pierce Winstanley Champion of Co. Dublin. St. Patricks Day Fancy Dress Festival Ball programme 1937 courtesy John Neary Later in 1937 Frank Lee vacated his established location in Hammersmith to open a new dance hall in Cricklewood most probably above Burtons. This coincided roughly with Johnny Muldoon giving up the Harp Club in Vauxhall and opening the Garryowen Irish Social Club at 11a Queen Street above the Post Office in Hammersmith in Lees old territory.20 Kevin Crowley was privy to the affect Johnny Muldoons activities had at that time He set up as rivals to Frank in Hammersmith. He did very well too. He drove Frank out of business by very underhand methods. Hed send guys in there start blowing the lights out and pulling pipes off the walls. So he shut it down. He became very rich. Frank was in the wilderness for a long time then he opened another Tara Club Balham High Road.21 He was only fronting it. It was Johnny Muldoons club. Frank went down hill. Johnny Muldoon already had a band in the Garryowen Club in Hammersmith when Frank Lee closed the Tara Club in 1937. Joe Dowd a neighbour of Muldoons at home from Bunnannaddan22 and one of the cream of young south Sligo fiddle players at the time worked for him and he was joined by a similar remarkable fiddle player from the same locality Martin Wynne. Most of Frank Lees musicians including Paddy Taylor stayed behind in Hammersmith and went over to Muldoon.23 Other regular members at various times were George Wells violin and saxophone from Blackpool who according to Paddy Taylor 20 Alan Ward Paddy Taylor An Individual Musician in Traditional Music No.2 1975 p.7. 21 Paddy Taylor Ibid who had left Frank Lees band by this time said Lee opened the next Tara Club above Burtons in Brixton in 1937. The evidence of Kevin Crowley closely associated with Lee at that time doesnt support Paddys chronology but Lee was running a Tara Club over Burtons in Brixton later on.chronology but It is often noted that Muldoon came from Ballymote but Roger Sherlock more precisely located him below Bunnannaddan graveyard. 23 Ward Paddy Taylor p.7. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 263 became very well-versed in Irish style his sister Eva Wells on the piano Harry Philicient saxophone and flute Freddie Peters violin Eric Croft saxophone and Mr. King on the harp and musicians from the Coldstream Guards and the Halle Orchestra were employed when required.24 The Garryowen Ceilidh Band went over to Ireland to broadcast live in 1938 with its flute player Paddy Taylor featured in duet with the Dublin union piper Leo Rowsome.25 Muldoons success in Hammersmith led to his opening a second hall the Pride of Erin Club at 31 Tottenham Court Road in the West End and he later moved the Garryowen to larger premises at 43 Brook Green Road in Hammersmith.26 It was customary for large queues to form on the street outside the Garryowen in time for the first scheduled dance at eight in the evening and for the hall to be full by ten past eight.27 In 1938 and 1939 Muldoon staged St. Patricks night gala balls at the Empress Hall Earls Court independent of Lee and the Caseys.28 Muldoon booked forty-eight acts for his St. Patricks night gala at the Empress Hall in 1938. They included the Dagenham Girl Pipers the Dagenham Irish Pipe Band and the Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players brought over especially from County Galway just for the night. In 1939 he brought over Leo Rowsome the renowned union piper from Dublin.29 At that time a band of Muldoons musicians recorded in a Bond Street Studio with Joe Dowd Martin Wynne and Paddy Taylor from the Garryowen and Leo Rowsome and Leo Molloy Muldoons featured artists from Dublin and the records were issued by Muldoon himself most probably to be sold at his dance halls. The Garryowen Ceilidgh sic Band Harry Philicient saxophone piccolo Paddy Tarrant Mr. King unidentified Joe Dowd George Wells unidentified Johnny Muldoon in The Harp at Hammersmith circa 1937. Traditional Music No. 2 late 1975 Note two saxophones on stands. 24 Ward Paddy Taylor p.8. 25 Ward Paddy Taylor p.7. 26 Post Office Directory London 1939 Ward Paddy Taylor p.7. 27 Ward Paddy Taylor p.7. 28 Ibid. 29 Ward Paddy Taylor p.7. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 264 The Garryowen Ceilidh Band Eddie Tobin banjo Martin Wynne fiddle Harry Philicient piccolo unidentified Johnny Muldoon George Wells fiddle unidentified Eva Wells piano Joe Dowd fiddle Paddy Tarrant fiddle Paddy Taylor flute at the Garryowen Club Hammersmith 1937. The Sligo Champion 23 August 1989 The Garryowen Ceilidh Band Harry Philicient piccolo Eddie Tobin banjo George Wells fiddle Jack Barrett piano- accordion Paddy Tarrant fiddle Tim Buckingham drums Martin Wynne fiddle Freddie Peters fiddle Eva Wells piano Joe Dowd fiddle Paddy Taylor flute Johnny Muldoon at the Garryowen Club Hammersmith 1937. courtesy Geraldine Landers It is reputed that Johnny Muldoon paid for a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain in 1940. All over the country the Spitfire Club raised money by private subscription and 5000 paid for a Spitfire which was then personalised with the name of the town or village or organisation painted on it. It might well have been that Muldoon made collections in his dancehalls. It is also reputed that he joined the Royal Air Force. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 265The Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players standing Stephen Moloney Gerry Moloney Kevin Moloney Tommy Whyte Tommy Whelan seated Anna Rafferty piano Father Tom Larkin Aggie Whyte. A photograph taken in advance of their appearance in London on St. Patricks Day 1938. courtesy Anna Rafferty Paddy Taylor flute had a tune with them while they were over. Traditional Music No. 2 late 1975 Muldoons St. Patricks night galas in the Empress Hall were clearly in competition with similar events in the Royal Albert Hall and with the Gaelic Leagues annual concert. The Caseys continued with the Royal Albert Hall in 1938 and 1939 Frank Lee might have been involved in 1938 but most probably was not in 1939. It is fairly certain that the Caseys owned the Harp Club at Vauxhall as well as the St. Patricks Club in Bayswater in 1939 when the two clubs promoted the gala night at the Royal Albert Hall that year. The Comerford Irish Dancers with Rory OConnor appeared in both 1938 and 1939 and the Borough Pipe Band appeared in 1939.30 Programme Royal Albert Hall 17.3.1939. Gaelic League concert programme 17.3.1939. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 266 The Comerford Irish Dancers at the Royal Albert Hall St. Patricks Night 1938. The piper is Leo Rowsome. A frame from a British Path newsreel The Siege of Ennis at the Royal Albert Hall St. Patricks Night 1938. The set-up on stage looks very similar to that in the 1937 photograph but it is quite different. A frame from a British Path newsreel Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 267 Programme for the St. Patricks Day fancy dress festival ball at the Royal Albert Hall 17 March 1939. courtesy Kevin Crowley The following paragraph appeared in the 1939 official programme Joe Hann had been around in Irish dance-hall circles for several years but Prof. C. OGrady was a high-status musician lecturer broadcaster in Irish-American circles in New York so how did the Caseys get hold of him THE IRISH NATIONAL CEILIDHE BAND has been augmented to 40 performers for this function. The only Irish combination in the World playing Symphonic orchestration of Irish Traditional Music. The Committee takes pride in presenting this Band for your approval and entertainment. Conductor PROF. C. OGRADY Tralee Piccolo Solo JOE HANN Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 268 Programme Royal Albert Hall St. Patricks Night 1939. courtesy Kevin Crowley Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 269 The Organising Committee Royal Albert Hall 1939. Official programme courtesy Kevin Crowley Other minor figures entered the field of dance-hall promotion just before the war. Mick ODee ran the Stadium Club over Burtons at 166-168 Cricklewood Broadway. Tony Martin a rural flute player from Mayo played briefly for Maurice Lean from Kerry in a dance hall in Harlesden and he said that Maurice Lean went into partnership with Mick ODee in a club called the Rose of Tralee. The Limerick bagpiper Tommy Nolan who had been or was still a barman ran another dance hall in the Caledonian Road near Kings Cross.31 These were mostly recent immigrants looking for opportunities but Dinny OConnell commented on others from the London-Irish community who moved into the commercial field catering for the Connemara men who were settling in Camden Town Before the war there was a club in Camden Town Chalk Farm Jack Healy and that lot. He was from Cork but the majority of the people going in there were from the west. That was a commercial club dancing. Jack Healy was the secretary of the Brothers Pearce ISDL then he moved over to the north-west of London and he got interested in this commercial club and the Shamrocks and the St. Pats used to frequent there mostly. Apart from those who played the rest of the crowd going in there were mostly from the west. Business rivalry however was not tolerated by the established promoters who used rough heavy-handed bullying tactics to dissuade smaller operators from their new enterprises. One informants comment that Muldoon was the Irish mafia king in London during the War should not be taken literally but it expresses an impression that he created for some. Joe Fogarty remembered that In the dance-hall world one lot would go round to another and try and bust it up you know so if people say dont go in that hall theres a lot of trouble there you know that kind of thing. Ive heard about it.. Theyd send people in to cause rows and to make people say theres trouble in the place. Most people dont want to go to somewhere for entertainment and theres fighting..... There was a bloke they talked about. He was kneeling in Mass one day and the bloke came in walked up and thumped him in the seat and he went out cold. 31 Alan Ward Music from Sliabh Luachra in Traditional Music 5 late 1976 3 p.15 Julia Clifford quoted in Ward Sliabh Luachra p.13. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 270 The pool of musicians who played in these halls came from diverse social and musical backgrounds. Initially they were London-Irish and established immigrants with music experience in the Gaelic League the Gaelic Athletic Association andor the parish bands. Their reels jigs and hornpipes often read from ONeills 1001 Tunes were played melodically and were underlined by the chords and percussion of piano and drums but they were played straight with little or no ornamentation. A different type of musician often not Irish at all was recruited from the modern dance-band world. These were session musicians filling in between other work. Their task was primarily to play the modern ballroom dance tunes and to provide volume. Their preferred music was commercial dance and song material constructed on chromatic scales and harmonic progressions and they were used to the conventions of dance-orchestra intonation rhythm and orchestration. This was a world apart from the modality and intonation of rural Irish music and the practical skills of rural musicians who created rhythmic pulse and swing within a continuous diatonic or modal melody line. Clearly those from the rural oral tradition brought quite different values from the reading musicians not only in their motivation for playing but in their manner of performance. Very few had previously experienced the urban band style involving piano and drums and written music and they found the rhythm the absence of decoration the tonal quality the intonation and the tune and dance repertories strange to say the least. While the Irish-born and London-Irish musicians led the Irish dance music and the session musicians led the modern dance music all of them were expected by the management to play the entire repertory. The reading musicians read and the ear players faked working out technical compromises on the bandstand. Eventually some of the non-Irish saxophonists and trumpeters became fluent readers from ONeill.32 Most of the modern dance music was adapted from Irish popular material such as Irish-American pieces like My Wild Irish Rose and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and songs published by Waltons in Dublin. The band styles that evolved were hybrids peculiar to Irish dance halls in Britain though they were not unlike some of the Irish bands that evolved in the American cities of New York Philadelphia and Boston. The common instrumentation of these dance-hall bands included all or some of the following fiddleviolin piccolo piano-accordion and piano from the Gaelic League piccolo from the drum-and-fife bands violin saxophone flute trumpet piano-accordion piano banjo and drums from professional orchestras and dance bands and fiddle and flute from rural Ireland. 32 Ward Paddy Taylor p.8. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 271 Based on information from Paddy Malynn Sligo Champion 25.8.1989 Alan Ward Paddy Taylor An Individual Musician in Traditional Music No.2 1975 p.7. No personnels for Frank Lees recordings have been established for certain. A sighting of an early version of the band from an anonymous informant gives Richie and Paddy Tarrant on the fiddles Joe Hann on the piccolo Jimmy Madigan who had a shop where you could buy all Irish goods on the piano-accordion an unidentified drummer and Christy OKearney Chriostor O Cearnaigh who occasionally sat in on the piccolo.33 The source of this information also mentioned Paddy Taylor on the flute. Joe Hann born in England but brought up in Dublin was trained there at the Hibernian School of Music and was supplementing his income from his more normal employment in the leading West End orchestras.34 Frank Lee himself mentioned his father-in-law Harry McGowan on the fiddle and two piccolo players Pierce Power and Jerry Hardigan as being in his band and Julia Clifford remembered Bill Smith as Frank Lees drummer.35 Kevin Crowley spoke of his father who was Frank Lees brother-in-law My father was a violinist. He was a tremendous violinist. He used to take it round all the ceilidhs too. He used to play for Frank on odd occasions Dan Crowley. Mary Collins mentioned her brother Maurice Moriarty who did dance jobs for Frank Lee most probably in the late 1930s 33 Le Darach Our Good Friend Criostor in Treoir vol.2 no.4 July-August 1970 p.6. 34 Souvenir programme Royal Albert Hall 17.3.1939. 35 Power in The Irish Post 1.8.1970 J. McG Frank Lee in Treoir 6 3 1974 p.27. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 272 My brother played for Lee and instead of paying him any money he wrote out a jig or a reel for him. That was his payment. Ridiculous Paddy Taylor a flute player from rural County Limerick was a regular with Frank Lees band from 1934 until 1937 When I started in the Tara Band except for Frank Lee himself who ran the band there was only Larry Hogan and myself we were the only two Irish chaps in it. We had books of music but as it happened I knew most of the tunes in the book anyway and if I didnt know I soon picked them up. Playing two or three nights a week you soon pick them up. When you get on a bandstand and you get fellas from all over the show north south east and west and theyve never met each other before you must have some common ground on which to stand. You learned a lot you can become a lot more adaptable. If you put yourself out of your way to pick up you can learn to play in different keys. I never bothered with music very much. You cant apply music to traditional music. You can always tell the traditional player because he will furnish the music entirely different to the way the fellas just reading it note for note. The traditional player will furnish it differently. Although basically the tune will be the same he will put grace notes in here and there..36 My music wouldnt have fitted in with their recording. They read it straight out of the book. I didnt necessarily approve of what they were doing albeit they were all good musicians in their own right but I didnt play the same style of music as them. And maybe a fellad say to me Why did you do that if you put a grace note in or a run or a triplet whereas they only played the bare bones of the tune which to me was like scratching a place that didnt itch. I wouldnt have fitted in with their recording at all. My music would have stood out like a sore thumb.37 During Paddy Taylors stay the band included presumably on various occasions the fiddle players Paddy Tarrant and Larry Hogan Jack Barrett on the piano-accordion Eric Croft a Knellor Hall multi-instrumentalist formerly with Roy Foxs Dance Band Dave Tobias Charlie Hickie whose instruments have not been noted and a singer Bill OToole. The dancing was directed by one of two MCs Dinny Connell and Jackie Ryan.38 Kevin Crowley who spent time during his early teens at his uncles Tara Club considered Larry Hogan to have been more of a violinist than a fiddle player but like some of the rural dancing-teachers he could step-dance and play the fiddle at the same time. A further slant on Larry Hogan is contained in a press report of the annual general meeting of the Tara Hurling and Football Club in 1936 Under the auspices of the Tara Irish Dramatic Society a concert and one-act comedy O Lawsy Me was given in aid of the Mission of Our Lady of Dolours Church Cirencester Street. London W. Miss Norah McGowan contributed songs. Exhibitions of step-dancing were given by the Misses Maureen and Peggy OCarroll and Mr Larry Hogan late Munster Champion gave a selection of Irish traditional music on the violin.39 36 Ward Paddy Taylor p.6. 37 Ward Paddy Taylor p.6. 38 Ward Paddy Taylor pp.6-7. It is not known if Dinny Connell is the same man as Dinny OConnell the fiddle player. Richie Tarrant drops out from the collected evidence in the mid-1930s presumably as he devoted most of his spare time to playing soccer. He was captain of Sutton United and an amateur player for Mill Wall and Dulwich Hamlet and he was capped several times for the Ireland amateur team. It is odd that he played English sport and not GAA gamescapped several times for the Ireland amateur team. It is odd that he played English sport and not GAA games Cork Weekly Examiner 18.1.1936. An anonymous piece on Paddy Taylor in Treoir vol.38 nos.3 4 2006 says he learned many airs in the Munster style from Larry Hogan of Cork. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 273 Frank Lee and the live broadcast programme from Dublin on 2RN on Sunday 10th July 1932. Irish Radio News 9 July 1932. Frank Lee took his Tara Ceilidh Band to the Tailteann Games in Dublin in 1932 coming second in the ceilidh band contest and broadcasting live from the 2RN national radio station on 10th July. On the strength of that success the band recorded two records for Zonophone upon their return and recorded four more sessions for Regal Zonophone and one for Decca many of the records reputedly being best sellers in their field. The records made at the 1932 session show the band playing in a fairly straight undecorated way but with great life and character. With the addition in 1933 of the piano-accordion player who vamped in a very non-Irish manner the drive was maintained but there was the feeling they were pushing the beat. The band fell into complete disarray on the two vocal waltzes the tempo being dragged out closer to that of a modern waltz than of an Irish one and the scored arrangement was interpreted without conviction. Nora MacGowan to be charitable must have had a fit of nerves as she revealed no sense of phrase pitch or rhythm in her performances. Throughout the recordings made in 1933 1935 and 1936 it was the piano and drums with great work on the bass drum rather than the melody instruments that were the source of the rhythm. Fussy and pointless arrangements and a complete absence of dance quality in the 1939 Dublin session revealed the band in drastic musical decline but the final Decca session in 1949 was much more musicianly. However the band played too close to the beat and stressed the on- beat instead of the off-beat which is what would be expected of reading musicians. Kevin Crowley was privy to the bands performance over a long period with many shifts in personnel and his comments on his uncles music have a more positive slant His music and I say this is a very strong opinion it was better than most ceilidh music. There was another band at the time in Ireland Austin Stack. They were excellent too but Frank really did add to it. If you listen to his records and then listen to Jimmy Shand now Jimmy Shand is very good but hes too formal and a lot of the ceilidh bands in the 1930s they were the same way very formal but Frank used to add a bit of something to it. Question Was it his playing Oh yes Question Could he play for Irish dancing on his Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 274 own Oh yes He accompanied all the great dancers. That film that Rory OConnor was in and Sean Dempsey he was in that. He was the pianist in it.40 Frank Lee kept a lower public profile after his rivals showed their muscles though he advertised frequently during the latter part of the War in the Connolly Associations newspaper Irish Freedom.41 By 1943 he had moved the Tara Club once more to a new location above Burtons at 390-394 Brixton Road Brixton.42 Irish Freedom June November 1943 Irish Freedom March 1944 Evidence given by the Irish dancing public is fairly scarce. John Munally from Ballycastle County Mayo was over towards the end of the War repairing bomb damage and recalling his youth had this to say We were young and we tried to enjoy ourselves. You always had the crack at the weekend and you met the boys for a drink in all the different pubs. Wed be going to the dances the Garry Owen the Pride of Erin Quex Road and all these dances. There was a lot of Yanks there. Then the women all the Irish ones then were after the Yanks. The Yanks used to be at all the dances then and Canadians and Australians. Oh they used to go for the uniform the women I tell you. When you hadnt got a uniform well if you had a steady woman it was alright but the Yanks had the go. They had more money anyway than we had and they had everything. I met my wife in the Irish dance hall in Hammersmith. We were dancing away there and I seen her dancing and I asked her out for the Seige sic of Ennis and that was it When I got her out there I asked her out for the next dance and I asked her had she any boyfriends And I think she said she had. But I forget it now She preferred me to the uniforms I think that was 1944.43 Norman Lee director Kathleen Mavourneen 1937 Wardour Films London. 41 The first advertisement in Irish Freedom for Lees Tara Club appeared in June 1943. 42 Irish Freedom June 1943. Pam Scheitzer ed. Across the Irish Sea London Age Exchange 1989 pp.137-8. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 275 The dance repertory in the Tara Club consisted of ceilidh dances and as Paddy Taylor recalled old-fashioned couple dances.44 Just what these might have been is not known for certain but they must have included the waltz and a press advertisement for the Tara Club in Brixton in 1944 specifically mentioned The Stack of Barley a Setor an Eight-hand Reel.45 Ceilidh dances satisfied hard-line Gaelic revivalists but the inclusion of couple dances and sets from the country-house dance repertory was a break from revivalist fundamentalism. The sets incidentally presented some difficulty as each set of four couples had to agree on the figures and the sequence bearing in mind the vast local variation in sets then current in rural Ireland. Lucy Farr then a young nurse fresh from County Galway recalled that there were no sets or Lancers danced at Muldoons Pride of Erin immediately before the War. In 1935 Frank Lees band recorded a selection of flings for the Highland Schottische which almost certainly indicates it was being danced at the time although the record company might have commissioned it for a different market. By the late 1930s modern ballroom dances that is the quickstep the foxtrot and the slow waltz dominated Irish dance-hall programmes which were designed to please everybody at least for some of the time in order to attract the crowds. Dancers were often selective however and some only left the nearest pub for fifteen minutes in each hour when the Irish dances were being played. The printed programme for the grand St. Patricks Day all-night ball in the Royal Albert Hall in 1937 gives not only the dance repertory but the frequency of each dance and the balance of the programme most probably reflected that of the St. Patricks and Harp Clubs that promoted the event. 1. Old Time Waltz 2. Barn Dance 3. Quick Step 4. Irish Set 5. Fox Trot 6. Walls of Limerick 7. Old Time Waltz 9. Eight Hand Reel 10. Fox Trot 11. Seige of Ennis 12. Fox Trot 13. Irish Set 14. Quick Step 15. Walls of Limerick 16. Old Time Waltz.. 17. Irish Set 18. Waltz 19. Barn Dance.. 20. Old Time Waltz 21. The Seige of Ennis 22. Barn Dance .. 23. Irish Set 24. Barn Dance 25. Old Time Waltz Out of the twenty-four items noted there were six waltzes four barndances only five ceilidh dances and surprisingly four sets. The foxtrot and the quickstep accounted for five items but modern dance music was given an hour of its own by the highly prestigious Jack Hylton and his Orchestra.46 Dance-hall promoters ever on the look out for some extra attraction put on gala nights on bank holidays and booked entertainers for floor spots. Many were unlikely celebrities such as the All-Ireland champion hurling team and Jack Doyle the singing boxing champion from Cobh in County Cork.47 In 1941 Muldoon entered the world of boxing promotion with contracts to stage a heavyweight contest between Jack Doyle and Tommy Farr at Earls Court. Doyle reneged and Muldoon sued him for the advance of 750.48 Step-dancers pipe bands almost any Irish performer novel or famous were likely to be booked in the dance halls. Delia Murphy from near Claremorris County Mayo having made a series of records for 44 Ward Paddy Taylor pp.6-7.Ward Paddy Taylor pp.6 Irish Freedom March 1944. 46 Programme Royal Albert Hall 17.3.1937.Programme R Muldoon engaged Jack Doyle presumably as a singer for a tour of Ireland with supporting Irish dancers one being Terry Bowlers future wife Nancy Browne. 48 Michael Taub Jack Doyle Fighting for Love London Stanley Hall 1990 p.259. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 12 The Commercial Dance Halls. 276 Regal Zonophone between 1938 and 1941 was a star attraction. Her Irish songs published by Waltons in Dublin were thus available for further exposure by the dance-hall bands.49 It is not known whether the Sarsfirld Club was a commercial dance Delia Murphy hall or an Irish politicalsocial club Frank Lees family were associated with a Sarsfield Club in Ladbrook Grove in his childhood. Handbill 1941 49 Little specific evidence has come to light about Delia Murphys public appearances in London between 1938 and 1941 when she was living in Ireland. She recorded for EMI in London around August 1938 February 1939 she was in the Butcher film Islandman shot partly in London in 1938 and she came to London regularly to broadcast on Radio Luxembourg in the Irish Hospitals Trust Sweep Programme. See Aidan OHara Ill Live Till I Die The Delia Murphy Story Manorhamilton Drumlin Publications 1997 chapter 6. See The Ballad of Delia Murphy on You tube for sequences from Islandman and other biographical material. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 277 CHAPTER 13 THE PARISH BANDS Within the Roman Catholic parishes confraternities organised men and women into respectable structured leisure. Attracting perhaps only a minority of the congregation and thus an even smaller proportion of the London-Irish confraternities were a vehicle for social organisation for some working people and offered models of behaviour to their members. Religious observation adherence to temperance loyalty to the confraternity attendance at meetings and general support of events organised in the parish re-enforced social cohesion while self-help and some belief in the value of education and respectability characterised members aspirations. The foundation of Cardinal Mannings League of the Cross in 1872 boosted the temperance movement in the parishes and the formation of brass-and-reed bands and drum-and-fife bands in association with that movement has already been discussed in chapter 3. The primary function of these bands was to further the cause of temperance by their public appearances but the social bonus for their members was a sense of personal and communal achievement and an outlet for creativity both characteristic of structured leisure. Evidence of the early years of those parish bands that functioned in the twentieth century is scarce yet presumably there was some continuity with those documented from the 1860s. Brass-and-reed bands within the London-Irish temperance movement seem to have faded away and drum-and fife-bands not uncommon in non-Catholic working-class organisations became the norm in Roman Catholic parishes. Canon William Murnane right-hand man of Cardinal Manning in the temperance movement administrator at St. Georges Cathedral and later Rector of Camberwell and his brother Canon Edward Murnane parish priest of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Dockhead and later Rector of Bermondsey were associated with League of the Cross temperance bands at the Borough and Dockhead. A drum-and-fife band played on the occasion of Father Edward Murnanes departure from Dockhead in 1891 and Canon William Murnane is reputed to have bought the instruments for the Borough parish band.1 Dave Walsh still an active bandsman in the 1950s though he had been born in 1870 remembered the latter taking the Borough band evangelising round Southwark pubs in the early 1890s2 in a manner not unlike Salvation Army practice. Bands in the Stepney parishes of St. Anne The English Martyrs St. Patrick and SS. Mary and Michael appear to date from the late Victorian and early Edwardian period reflecting a new burst of energy in the parishes as the prime function of parish bands shifted from temperance meetings to participation in religious processions. St. Annes band was reported in 1897 at a meeting of the Robert Emmet branch of the Irish National League in Whitechapel yet it was apparently not available for the parishs outdoor procession in 1899 being first reported at that event in 1904.3 Band formation in some parishes was much later for example the procession at Dockhead in 1910 had no local bands at all and parish bands in Limehouse and Barking date from the 1930s.4 There was another Roman Catholic adoption of the drum-and- fife band by the Catholic Boys Brigade5 and demand from political organisations for public display during the Troubles is likely to have prompted the formation of some short-lived bands from within the community although not parish-based. 1 Southwark Recorder Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser 28.11.1891 Borough Piper 4.11.1955. 2 Dave Walsh quoted in South London Press 20.1.1956. 3 United Ireland unprovenanced 1897 The Tablet 20.5.1899 Inis Fail December 1904. 4 Church of the Most Holy Trinity Dockhead S. E. A Solemn Out-Door Religious Procession 28.8.1910 official programme Southwark Local Studies Library. 5 See photograph in Daily Graphic 27.1.1913. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 278 LONDON-IRISH PARISH BANDS 1880-1940. Barking Drum-and-Fife Band. The Borough Pipe Band formerly The League of the Cross Pipe Band The Most Precious Blood Southwark. Bunhill Row Flute-and-Drum Band St. Josephs EC1. Canning Town Brass Band. Commercial Road Pipe Band SS. Mary Michael Stepney. Custom House Drum-and-Fife Band. Deptford Drum-and-Fife Band St. Josephs Deptford. Deptford Pipe Band Our Lady of Assumption Deptford. Dockhead Drum-and-Fife Band The Most Holy Trinity Bermondsey. The League of the Cross Drum-and-Fife Band The Most Precious Blood Southwark. Limehouse Drum-and-Fife Band Our Lady Emaculate Stepney. Peckham Brass Band. Rosaman Street Pipe Band Finsbury Rotherhithe Drum-and-Fife Band. St. Annes Drum-and-Fife Band Great Prescott Street Tower Hill Drum-and-Fife Band The English Martyrs Stepney. St. Margarets and All Saints Brass Band Canning Town. SS. Mary and Michaels Drum-and-Fife Band Commercial Road Stepney. Tooley Street Brass Band Southwark. Wapping Drum-and-Fife Band St. Patricks Stepney. The London-Irish drum--fife bands at Canning Town Silvertown Poplar reported in the press in 1922 were associated with the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain. Father Philip Fletchers Guild of Our Lady of Ransome for the Conversion of England and Wales founded in the 1890s adopted the street procession as a form of evangelising designed to show the flag to non-Catholics and to draw lapsed and back-sliding Catholics back into the fold. By the turn of the century what became known popularly as outdoor processions took place annually in several parishes in London and the outer suburbs during the months of May June July and August. Models existed in the established annual silent walk in April from Newgate to Tyburn in memory of the English Martyrs and processions on Church grounds in honour of Corpus Christi in May and Our Lady in July.6 The Ransomers demonstrations were primarily acts of religious observation involving the congregation and various sections of the parish representatives of other parishes local and visiting clergy and sometimes civic dignitaries. The sacrament and other religious symbols were paraded through the streets accompanied by children from Catholic schools first communicants mens and womens confraternities nuns and clergy singing hymns to the music of the parish and visiting bands. Chris Burt a seasoned participant born in St. Annes parish in 1921 recalled that the priest would come at the end with the blessed sacrament and in front of him will be the parish band. The other bands will be in the procession and its always another band that leads the procession round. The parish band always came last. The formal event culminated in Mass being said either in the church or in the open-air. It was the practice for the perambulation to pass through the main thoroughfares and the residential side streets of the parish many of the latter at the turn of the century being rough to 6 See photograph in Cork Weekly Examiner 13.5.1922 The Tablet 4.6.1910. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 279 say the least. A report of the procession of SS. Mary and Michaels in The Tablet of 3rd June 1899 listing the streets of the route commented that some of these streets and others abutting on them have gained an unenviable notoriety for criminal violence and bloodshed. Eleven years later there seems to have been some improvement in conditions as the same streets were noted in The Tablet of 11th June 1910 for the dense throngs that filled the long route. Members of the League of the Cross took on the role of protecting the processions7 and although unruliness by the general public was negligible the Protestant Alliance orchestrated attempts to break up what they considered to be treasonable demonstrations. Violent incidents with Protestant counter-demonstrators in Peckham in 1899 1900 and 1901 were dealt with effectively by the police who made arrests among the protesters and upheld the lawful Catholic activity.8 In Southwark in 1901 there was similar trouble recorded in The Tablet on 1 June Except at two points along the route Bonar-road and Furley-street the spectators watched the procession pass by in respectful silence but in the two thoroughfares named the mounted police had to check attempts to break through the ranks. Some small bands of roughs made determined rushes from these side streets as the procession marched through Hill-street but the mounted police getting between them and the processionists prevented any disturbance and also diverted the progress of an opposition band of musicians. The threat persisted however and the Alliance was successful in disrupting the Southwark procession in 1905.9 Mary Collins passed on a story from before the Great War that she heard from her father about a particularly biased Protestant organisation It happened in Canning Town. Kensites theyre called and apparently the procession was going along and they set fire to the childrens dresses. The police rounded them up and pushed them in the fire station which is next door to the church in the main road. Apparently some of them were unconscious and a fella come to and then looked round and he said None of my mates here He was an Irish boxer and they were calling for help to get out because he started leathering into them. He was one of the kids fathers arrested him by mistake He was knocked out in the group. Perhaps he was having a go at these people for doing what they did. Dinny OConnell had a story about the part the Ancient Order of Hibernians played in an outdoor procession around 1912 One occasion they were at Peckham. They went along with their banner at the head of the procession and the Kensitites came up the other end. I was there but I dont remember it. I was a bit too young I was only about three at the time. My mother was telling me the first thing they saw was the banner taken down. The men got stuck into the Kensitites. After that they had a couple of mounted policemen at the head of the procession. There was an inspector there was a Catholic Inspector Lee. So he had his two men his two mounted men in the procession. Mind you the streets used to be crowded. If the men hadnt got them fellas the crowd would. So they were really lucky that the men got them first.. Twenty years later in the East End the violent opposition was known as the Puseyites and Father Michael Moriarty recalled the Knights of St. Columba with their regalia theyd be on the side pushing the people back and looking out for any trouble. Catholic solidarity brought some London-Irish into contact with their peers in distant parishes such as Westminster Westbourne Park Holloway Kensal Isleworth in Middlesex and Dagenham in Essex. Some London-Irish bands played for those processions while brass bands from North Hyde East Ham Boleyn Castle Brass Band and Orpington in Kent St. 7 The Tablet 20.5.1899 3.6.1899 30.6.1900 26.5.1906. 8 The Tablet 3.6.1899 South London Observer Camberwell Peckham Times 26 30.5.1900 The Tablet 1.6.1901. 9 The Librarian Catholic Library Westminster. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 280 Josephs Orphanage Brass Band appeared at various riverside parish processions.10 However between the wars and probably as early as 1905 there was an established season of London- Irish outdoor processions comprising those taking place at Wapping Commercial Road Dockhead Peckham Tower Hill Poplar Canning Town The Borough Rosamon Street and Bunhill Road with Limehouse being added in 1934. The season ended with the procession at Saffron Hill in Clerkenwell where most of the London-Irish bands made guest appearances at the Italian festival.11 Representatives from each parish attended other processions most parish bands played at them all and many individual participants and spectators attended several during the season. In May 1935 Path Gazette filmed a short newsreel sequence of an outdoor procession which included shots of an unidentified pipers band a brief sound-bite of a drum--fife band and a large unidentified brass--reed band of boys youths.12 A London-Irish drum--fife band in the Outdoor Procession of St. Peters Italian Roman Catholic Church Clerkenwell probably in Farringdon Road early 1900s. G. R. Sims Living London 1902 The religious ceremony and pageantry reflected the dignity and authority of the Church but the success of the events was dependent on the efforts of respectable working-class parishioners. These were men and women leaders and activists in their own communities who organised the bands designed and made regalia uniforms and dresses painted banners and constructed and refurbished litters for statues and canopies for the clergy. Typically when the outdoor procession was started in Limehouse in 1934 Mary Moriarty later Collins a young school teacher born and bred in the area rehearsed the children helped make their dresses embroidered the banners and painted the bass drum for the Barking band. On the borders of poverty with limited financial resources and no sponsorship of any kind the members of these communities used resources of energy and ingenuity to create ephemeral vernacular art. 10 The Tablet 14.5.1921 20.5.1899 1.6.1901 Dennis OConnell in The Irish Post 24.11.1984. 11 See photograph c.1901 of St. Peters Italian procession with a London-Irish drum-and-fife band in Edwardian London I London Village Press 1990 p.184. 12 The Month of Mary Childrens Procession through London Streets www.britishpathe.com. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 281 The outdoor procession of St. Silas the Martyr Roman Catholic Church Kentish Town 1913 with a brass band. Illustrated Souvenir of S. Silas the Martyr Kentish Town 1914 Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 282 The outdoor procession of St. Silas the Martyr Roman Catholic Church Kentish Town 1913 with a drummer in the top picture. Illustrated Souvenir of S. Silas the Martyr Kentish Town 1914 There is no available written or oral evidence of the secular aspects of these Saints days until the 1920s. The social activity that accompanied them from the Armistice until the late 1950s almost certainly had roots in the Edwardian period and lapsed to some extent during the Great War. It may be that street decoration and parties in 1919 celebrating the end of the War elaborating upon the form of celebrations devised for the relief of Mafeking and royal occasions offered some model. Whatever the pre-Great War activities might have been there emerged in the early 1920s a powerful expression of urban working-class street-culture which had great meaning and purpose for its participants. Informants now while acknowledging the poverty and social injustice experienced within their communities at the time look back at the season of Catholic outdoor processions as the high spot of their early life. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 283 Unidentified drum- flute band at an outdoor Roman Catholic procession late 1920s courtesy Mary Collins A London-Irish pipers band Tottenham with Harry Hough second from right in the second row at the Roman Catholic Outdoor Procession in Poplar in 1932. Harry Hough Collection courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 284 Clann na nGaeldhean at the Roman Catholic Outdoor Procession in Poplar in 1926. Dinny OConnell identified the piper leading the column on the left as Welton and the piper in front of the bass drum as Paddy Goulding. Harry Hough Collection courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Outdoor processions were occasions for making contact with extended-family members strung across several parishes. Families dispersed as a consequence of emigration and the subsequent search for a living were re-united sometimes by design and sometimes by coincidence. House visiting and house parties associated with outdoor processions fortified bonds of kinship. Chris Burt described a common circumstance when he said I knew cousins of my mothers cousins through visiting each parish a matter Mary Collins took a little further when she said It was taken for granted that all the families that had moved out the relatives the friends would all come in on that day. It was a festival. A fiesta. New bonds of kinship were inevitably made by marriage across parish boundaries. Similarly these events re-enforced solidarity within communities which were already close and embraced some of the less respectable and non-churchgoing members of the Irish community. Special attention was paid to the bandsmen especially the visitors. A barrel of beer was usually set aside for each band and Father Michael Moriarty remembered back in his young days in the 1920s in Jeremiah Street Manys the time did my dear old mother cook a hock of bacon.. Opposite where we lived in Poplar theres a pub called the Wades Arms. The fella running was an Irish fella Dan Hickey. The family I knew them well went to school with the boys. The lads playing the procession before the procession theyve come round to our place and wed go to the pub borrow all their stools from the spit-and-sawdust you know big benches sling them along the passageway. My mother fed em with ham and salads and things. Fill em up. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 285 All the pipe bands all with their kilts all sitting along the passage chewing. Afterwards theyd go and wet their whistles at the pub then theyd stand outside the pub round in a circle. All the kidsd be around. They were playing. It used to be great fun. It was religious enjoyment. That was great. The outdoor procession of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church Lower Holloway 1935 with Tottenham Irish Pipers Band. A frame from a British Path newsreel At Rotherhithe two dockers remembered as Len and George made a point each year of calling for forty pints each in the pub at sixpence a pint for one of the visiting bands and their supporters. This gesture of appreciation was not so uncommon as one piper Ailean Nicholson recalled After the procession the dockersd come forward especially Johnny Coe and all those who was well up in the unions and that. And we had to go to their pub and of course by that time the pub wasnt even open just bout four oclock but they used to open the door and let us all in and shut the door again. Slogans such as God Bless Our Pope and Hail Queen of Heaven were slung across the width of narrow side-streets from the guttering and here and there an Irish tricolour was hung from a first-floor window. These were set against festoons of streamers made from orange wrappings down the whole length of the street. Many Catholic families set up shrines or altars as they called them in front of their houses. Some took out the sash windows of their ground-floor front room and built shrines half in the house and half on the pavement. The model upon which these shrines were based is not known but they can be seen as further examples of ephemeral vernacular art. Chris Burt remembered that Youd be at it all day till about eleven at night when its dark street lights are on and course all the houses are done up with the I say all the houses if its a Catholic family theyd have a altar outside. Maybe next to her theyre not Catholics but theyd be there you know. And they used to have collecting box outside and people put money in that would go to the church and theyd go on to eleven at night. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 286 Rook Street Poplar London circa 1920. Tower Hamlets Local History Library Archive Father Michael Moriarty recalled his perception of events as an altar boy in Poplar In the evening after the procession youd be footsore and weary. Id go round with the priest every street. There were two streets in Poplar one was Sophia Street and one was Rook Street they were next to each other so that one year they went up Sophia Street the next year they went up Rook Street. But both streets had their altars. They used to have their window frames out. Beautiful altars. Flowers and everything. In the evening they used to go round and bless this lot. Do the route all over again. After the procession and Mass the parish priest visited every shrine in the parish blessing each one separately. By this time the hospitality and the beer were contributing to the holiday atmosphere and the parish band accompanying the priest on his official rounds played selections from its normal Irish repertory of jigs marches and song airs as one informant put it Not hymns St. Patricks Day and marching music. Crowds in the street sang along with nationalist and rebel lyrics and danced not the steps and figures of the Irish rural repertory or the ceilidh dances of the Gaelic revival but the London street knees-up. Territorial rivalry between the inhabitants of neighbouring side streets which during the course of the year erupted in fighting was usually suspended for the day of the outdoor procession. Father Moriarty in fact trod lightly when he commented on the situation in Rook Street and Sophia Street in Limehouse alternating his annual visits was the priests way of reducing tension between the resident s of the two streets. Having marched from their home localities in the morning having played an important role in the religious ceremony and having joined in the pub and street festivities the visiting bands marched home late at night playing all the way swinging down the Old Kent Road across London Bridge or along Commercial Road proud elated and the worse for drink. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 287 Roman Catholic shine in Tobago Street Limehouse circa 1930. Tower Hamlets Local History Library Archive Southwark Bermondsey Recorder 12 July 1929 During the summer of 1940 as the daylight bombing hit the East End and south east London one parish at least carried on business as usual and James A. Whelan reported in the Cork Weekly Examiner on 15th June Although almost all the annual London processions of the Blessed Sacrament have been cancelled on account of the war and police precautions Fr. William Leonard M.C. Charleville-born parish priest of Our Lady and St. Catherine of Siena Bow and Monseignor Timothy Ring the famous Kerry-born P.P. parish priest of Commercial road in Londons East End have held theirs as usual this year. There was a very good attendance of parishioners and their children of the Children of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament Guild. Declared Monseignor Ring The people of this parish dedicated to St. Mary and St. Michael have more confidence in their protection than in all the schemes of the A. R. P. Air Raid Precaution. The blend of Cockney-Irish religious observance and street party-making was transported each September to the hop-fields of Kent. The hop harvest had attracted male Irish migrant labour direct from Ireland during the previous century but by the turn of the century London-Irish Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 288 hoppers who made up about a third of the labour force employed in the hop-fields were largely women and children. They travelled by train to the encampments in central Kent for a three or four-week season. Molly Tiernan remembered her family and neighbours walking from the East End to London Bridge station with bedding tied on hand carts and women hiding small children under their skirts to avoid paying their train fare. Archbishop Amigo London-Irish hop-pickers. Rev. Michael Clifton Amigo Friend of the Poor 1987 Archbishop Peter Amigo renowned for his personal knowledge of his working-class parishioners from his earlier days in Commercial Road and several missions run by holy brothers went to the hop-fields on one Sunday during the season touring the various farms and saying Mass in the open-air for the Catholic hop-pickers.13 Parish bands went regularly each year for a days outing on the same Sunday that the bishop went. The Borough band went down to Kent packed on the back of a vegetable lorry from the market and in 1936 bands from Bermondsey Wapping and Deptford were reported in the Cork Weekly Examiner of 12th September. The bands played hymns for the service and then formed a circle as they did outside the pubs at home and played songs and dance music for the general knees-up that followed. In 1923 the brothers Mick and Paddy Fogarty Stevie Gardiner Allen Nicholson and Tommy Button pipers and drummers from around Tottenham and the East End walked forty-five miles to the hop-fields at Yalding. Walking such distance reflected their poor circumstances but it had not been so very long before that and within living memory then that migrant workers walked from London to the hop-fields as a matter of course. As far as the Fogarty brothers and their friends were concerned the good time ahead of them and the busking opportunities on the journey were well worth the effort and endurance required. Dinny OConnell recalled his trips to the hop fields with the Borough Pipe Band of which he was a member from 1927 to 1932 We used to go down I think it was the third Sunday in September and wed go the same day as the bishop Amigo. Hed go round the various farms and wed go round the various farms cause thered probably be somebody from The Borough at each of the farms. Wed stay at it all day long until the evening some one of the farms would arrange for the food to be given us. We played outside a pub not to busk or anything like that cause we wouldnt have that at all but somebody once surreptitiously went round with a hat. We got about eleven quid presented to Bill Donovan and Bill Donovan said Well youre not taking that. So anyway they said Cor blimey mate we cant give it back So he said Give it to one of your churches and we gave it to the Franciscans. 13 James Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 23.11.1940 6.3.1948. Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 289 The significance of the outdoor procession season to the riverside parishioners was powerful and the mood is captured in the verses composed and sung in an East End accent by George Ransome to the tune of The Turfman from Ardee. Born in Wapping in 1925 into a family that saw themselves as Irish he was a docker as his father had been before him. Now if you were born in Stepney in the East End years ago If you lived in Wapping or Watney Street or you came from Butchers Row Its ten to one you had relations who were born in Stepney Green And four of the finest parish bands that the East Ends ever seen. How I wish the old processions would take place here once again With St. Patricks band from Wapping marching down old Gravel Lane St. Marys and St. Michaels playing along Commercial Road And Our Ladys band from Limehouse forming up to be ready to go. How we loved the pipers wearing kilts that came from Tower Hill To the processions held in Stepney. How we wish we had them still. For the drums and the fifes and the sound of the pipes were music to our ears And we chatted to old neighbours who we hadnt seen for years. They whitewashed the kerbs the night before on the route the processions went And to dress their children at their best poor people spent their rent For this was a special occasion and nothing was too dear. It was the big day of each parish and came only once a year. You met Auntie Kate and cousin Ted and shook hands with your uncle Mike And all our relations got together for a knees-up on the night. It was always the happiest day of the year for dear old Mum and Dad So proud of their sons and daughters and the band that the parish had. The Tower Hill pipers marched along to The Wearing of the Green And then our band from Wapping playing Down by the Old Mill Stream With Limehouse following close behind playing jigs and reels And Commercial Road were striking up with a tune close on their heels. At night they blessed the altars by the local parish priest With flags and bunting flying from the windows and the streets. The local pubs were crowded and everyone would sing In the days of Father Rigley Canon Reardon and Canon Ring. It was sad to see the orphans band from Nazereth House Southend. They brought tears to local womens eyes and even hardened men And Tim OBrien he trained the sons of the men who went to war To play The Wearing of the Green and The Hat My Father Wore. With statues of Our Lady and Our Lord held shoulder high And the East End pavements lined by crowds who watched them walking by School children holding banners with the infants holding the strings And when the bands began to play the parishioners sang the hymns. Sweet little girls dressed in white silk with flowers in their hair Little angels with their hands signed to God in pray The boys all wore grey flannels and their shirts and shoes were white And the guards and maids of honour always were a lovely sight. Bands marched here from The Borough and from dear old Canning Town. With the drums and fife from Custom House it was Knees-up Mother Brown. St. Josephs came from Rotherhithe and a band came from Dockhead Part 2 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working-Class 1890-1945. Chapter 13 The Parish Bands. 290 And whenever a band stopped playing then another played instead. The last procession of them all was always Saffron Hill And coming home the four bands massed I can remember still Wapping Commercial Road and Limehouse together three drum and fifes And the bands played on with the flutes stopped playing with a five-pace roll for the pipes. They marched back home from Clerkenwell the music sweet and loud But the good old bands from Stepney they always did us proud. They marched together to Aldgate East then went their different ways. How we miss the old processions now way back in the good old days. If I had my life to live over I would love those days again. Without those old processions now the East Ends not the same. It always brings back memories when church bells start to ring Of the days of Father Rigley Canon Reardon and Canon Ring. The plumes of ostrich feathers on top of the leaders head With a mace in his hand he led the band and enough now has been said To remind the East End people who lived in Stepney years ago The audio-tape ran out during the last line. Part 3 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 14 The Drum--Fife Band Tradition. 291 CHAPTER 14. THE DRUM-AND-FIFE BAND TRADITION The combination of the fife and drum goes way back in military history as a means to inspire and control marching and to deliver orders in the heat of battle. The modern fife--drum band began to take shape in the army in the late eighteenth century and by the mid-nineteenth century its existence was wide-spread both in the army and in many British working-class social youth and church organisations. At their most sophisticated each band would have a number of band fifes in F and a smaller number of B flat tenor flutes several side drums one or two tenor drums a bass drum and a pair of cymbals. The written arrangements would be orchestrated and the musicians would read from band parts and wearing formal uniforms they would be led on parade by a band master or master of ceremonies. Less formal and less affluent bands might not have the tenor flutes nor would they read music having learned by rote or by ear and their uniform might consist simply of a pill-box hat. Lower down the organisational scale at a rougher more haphazard level musicians might get together for any number of local social events and certainly in the economically tough times of the 1920s and 1930s for left-wing protest marches. Unidentified fife--drum band at a protest march against the means test cuts in east London 1930s. Tower Hamlets Local History Library Archives Part 3 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 14 The Drum--Fife Band Tradition. 292 One or two fifes two side drums and a bass drum at a hunger march rally in Hyde Park 1932. Henry E. White The Pageant of the Century 1934 Unidentified fife--drum band East End of London just after the Great War. The Banner suggests an English left-wing organisation rather than a London-Irish Roman Catholic one but the band could have been hired. Unidentified press cutting Two recordings of an anonymous were made by Columbia in London and issued in 1915 on Regal G6903. Labelled simply as Fife and Drum Band they play two selections Garryowen The Campbells Are Coming and The British Grenadiers and Johnny Cope and it is interesting that they play well-known traditional tunes rather than composed pieces in the manner of brass band marches. One musician whose name comes up as a composer before the Great War was William H. Turpin a carter at St. Pancras railway station reputed to have been a prolific composer of fife--drum pieces. The second-hand story goes that during his dinner break when he needed money for a drink he would rough-out all the parts for a new composition made-up on the spot and sell it to the music publishers Boosey Co. for a few shillings. Part 3 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 14 The Drum--Fife Band Tradition. 293 Fife- drum bands or drum--fife bands as they were often called within the London-Irish community were initially connected to the temperance movement the League of the Cross Roman Catholic confraternities and political activists such as the Land League and the nationalist and republican parties and much of that activity is dealt with in Chapter 13 Parish Bands. The profile of the Borough Pipe Band presented in Chapter 15 Bagpipes gives a detailed account of a parish pipe band and ideally a similar profile of a parish drum-and-fife band would have provided an interesting comparison exploring the social organisation social distribution and repertories of the two related but different genres of music-making. However the limitations of the research carried out for the doctoral thesis was purposely restricted1 so the collected evidence is sparse and fragmentary and allows for only a brief mention of the most important band in the East End the Wapping Drum-and-Fife Band. The bands at Wapping Canning Town and Tower Hill were all taught by Tim OBrien of the Commercial Road band a figure who looms large in these affairs and another seminal figure was Bill McGannon. Informants in other parts of London and in Wapping itself consider the London- Irish in Wapping in the heart of the dock area to have been insular with a strong sense of solidarity. The band organised by dockers and based on St. Patricks Roman Catholic Church was held in great esteem by the local community and was generally regarded as having high standards of performance in terms of music and presentation on the street. Bandsmen were recruited as boys and it was said that before the Second World War there were two hundred fife players in Wapping who had been through the band or were still with it. Mary Collins recalled They were good musicians and they had to have their practice twice a week without fail otherwise they were out the band cause everybody was clambering to get in. The band took part in outdoor processions visits to the hop-fields and secular events within the Roman Catholic community and they headed a procession that marched from Wapping to Tilbury in Essex and back during the General Strike in 1926 to call the Tilbury dockers out. 1 I was aware that Patrick Cooney was collecting verbal and documentary evidence on the East End drum-fife band tradition. I had restricted time and energy and it seemed right and proper not to poach on his territory. 2 Bill McCannon appears elsewhere in this book having played in the OCarolan Ceilidh Band and Johnny Muldoons large Irish band at the Royal Albert Hall St. Patricks Day 1937. Mary Collins gave me his band fife back in the early 1990s it will eventually go to ITMA. Recommended is Laura Ugur The Life of William McGannon 1878-1956 The Story and Context of a London-Irish Musician in the East End dissertation for a BA in Irish Music and Dance 0867365 Irish World Academy of Music and Dance University of Limerick 2012 unpublished. Part 3 Creation of Urban Tradition Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 14 The Drum--Fife Band Tradition. 294 This was the informal level of the fife--drum tradition some sort of pub social event with at least one band fife and a bass drum and the men in fancy and decorated hats outside the Scots Arms Wapping High Street circa 1919. East London Advertiser 11 October 1974 Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 295 CHAPTER 15 THE BAGPIPE TRADITION The London-Irish bagpipe tradition owes its existence to the meeting and continued association of several diverse strands of popular culture street busking the Army the temperance movement Roman Catholic confraternities and the Gaelic revival which have informed each other in terms of function repertory social attitude and national identity. Pipers of any ability experience and ethnic background ever mindful of the peculiarities of their chosen instrument tend to recognise each other as kindred spirits. Scottish piping highly developed in terms of technique and repertory with a high profile in British public life and prolific in terms of the number of performers and enthusiasts inevitably served as a prime model for the London-Irish. The Gaelic League introduced the Irish war pipes to its membership and promoted them at its functions which raised some level of consciousness of piping among the London-Irish. However it was working men at the lower end of the social scale who created the necessary motivation the shared values the organisational systems and the skills and repertory that constitute the London-Irish bagpipe tradition. While piping was on the margins of Irish social life in London throughout the twentieth century its presence was consistent. For those working-class men and women involved in its practice piping was Irish music-making expressing their personal and communal sense of being Irish serving social purposes within the London-Irish community and promoting the cause of Irish nationalism. For some it was additionally a way of earning a living or supplementing an income. The pipe bands of The Borough Commercial Road Dockhead Deptford Peckham and Rosaman Street were parish bands organised within the social life of Roman Catholic congregations and designed to meet the demands of organised leisure and to appear primarily during the annual season of outdoor processions. The bandsmen saw themselves as amateurs taking part in community social life. Tottenham Irish Pipe Band Gerry Brodericks family band the Pride of Erin or the Emerald Pipe Band led by Tommy Nolan and the band run by Fynn a Welsh-Irishman said to have been a communist were unattached and were organised specifically to take paid work. The Dagenham Irish Pipe Band and the National Union of Railwaymen Pipe Band1 also known as the Great Western Railway Pipe Band at Paddington were informal social clubs in their own right and cash received for band engagements usually went towards band funds rather than into the pockets of the bandsmen. These distinctions were not clear-cut however. Personnel moved between bands and consequently their amateur or tradesmans status fluctuated. Some parish bands played occasional political engagements for which they were paid and pipers from the Tottenham band regarded by some parish musicians as mercenary played numerous outdoor processions and nationalist demonstrations without pay or any expectation of reward. The Gaelic League Pipers Band remained somewhat aloof from the mainstream yet its leader Harry Hough was willing to turn out for any London-Irish band and his brother Harold Hough also a Gaelic Leaguer led the Peckham parish band. Rotherhithe Pipe Band started by Pat Goulding belonged to the Gaelic League. There was considerable inter-action between these civilian pipers and drummers and the Army throughout the period. Highland regiments produced a turn-over of highly trained skilled pipers many of whom found their way to London upon finishing their military career and particularly after the Great War there were discharged soldiers in the area Irish English and Scottish with military-band experience. Thus several former military pipers and drummers 1 Their pipe major was Con Clancy. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 296 were available to the London-Irish community as tutors and bandsmen. Conversely some most notably Ailean Nicholson moved from London-Irish piping to careers in Scottish regiments and it was pipers from The Borough parish band who gave the Irish Guards their first piping instruction before the Great War.2 Important though the Scottish connection might have been its relationship with the London Irish Rifles was of more significance to the London-Irish community. This was a Territorial Army unit stationed permanently at the Duke of York barracks in Kings Road Chelsea which drew its Saturday night soldiers from the local population and which early in the century adopted the pipes in place of a military band. IRISH REGIMENTS BAGPIPES TO REPLACE FLUTES AND PICCOLOS An Army Council instruction states that approval is given for the issue of one set of Irish bagpipes for each piper borne on the establishment of regular Irish battalions including the Irish Guards. The pattern of the approved bagpipes is known as the Irish war pipe. On receipt of the bagpipes the flutes and piccolos at present authorised will be withdrawn. The Western Morning News and Mercury 30 September 1921. Henry Starcks invention and promotion of the Brien Boru pipes coincided with the formation of the London Irish Rifles Pipe Band.3 Starck was a maker of bagpipes and military-band woodwind instruments with premises at 31 Drummond Crescent by Euston Station4 and his Brien Boru pipes with a fully chromatic keyed chanter ranging from E to C and tenor baritone and bass drones were designed specifically for military-band work.5 In 1908 his son Albert Starck was given a three-year contract a civilian with sergeants rank as pipe-major of the London Irish Rifles and he supplied the band with Brien Boru pipes from his own workshop and this band served in France during the Great War.6 Gratton Flood presumably from a hearsay report described the outfit simply as excellent.7 Albert Starck was not regarded as an outstanding piper and his playing of selections from the bands repertory can be heard on four 78 rpm sides he recorded for Columbia in 1913. The Brien Boru pipes were not a lasting success and by the end of the Great War even the pipe band the 1st Battalion The London Irish Rifles had converted to the use of the two-drone Irish war pipes8 and it seems more than likely that the pipe band of the 2nd Battalion never actually adopted the Brien Boru 2 George Willis George P. Willis The Pipes Drums of The London Irish Rifles London The London Irish Rifles Regimental Association 2005 p.22 citing D. G. Wells Badge Backings Special Embellishments of the British Army UDR Benevolent Fund nd p.119 dates the formation of the Irish Guards Pipe Band to 1916 and notes that the first twelve pipers were trained by pipers of The London Irish Rifles. 3 Jeannie Campbell Henry Starck Pipe Maker 1889-1962 internet says that a prototype for the Brien Boru bagpipes was the Dungannon bagpipes developed and manufactured briefly by Henry Starck and William ODuane of Dungannon Co. Tyrone. 4 Campbell Henry Starck says it was Handel who brought Starck a flute maker to London from Germany. She then lists succeeding generations of the family noted in London trade directories R.H. Starck Silversmith in 1816 John Starck Musical Instrument Maker 1844 Charles StarckWatchmaker 1857 Edward Starck Musical Instrument Maker 1865 Axel Starck Merchant 1866 Starck Brothers Flute Flageolet and Clarionet Makers 1874Walter Starck Flutemaker 1889 John Starck Music Seller 1900 and J.Starck and Son Musical Instrument Makers 1900. Henry Starck 1845-1924 first appeared in the 1889 directory as a Musical Instrument Maker at 31 Drummond Crescent and 8 Werrington Street N. W. Henry Starck worked presumably briefly for Pipe Major William Ross Queen Victorias piper and upon Rosss death in 1891 Starck continued the bagpipe-making business followed by his son Albert Henry 1874-1955 and grandson Henry Albert 1909-1989. 5 The drones were pitched in A E. Highland bagpipes pitched in A actually sound in Bb to achieve some compatibility with military bands. Presumably the Brien Boru pipes drones sounded Bb F. 6 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.14 notes that Haldanes Territorial Reserve Forces Act 1907 established the Territorial Army and the regiment thus became the 18th County of London Battalion The London Regiment London Irish Rifles and that Lt. Col. Hercules Pakenham arranged the introduction of the Irish war pipes to the 18th Battalion and the appointment of Albert Starck as pipe-major. 7 Wm. H. Gratton Flood The Story of the Bagpipe London Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd. 1911 p.214. 8 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.16. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 297 pipes.9 Within the regular army the Brien Boru pipes were retained only by the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment who had adopted them in 1910 and the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers took them up as a new venture as late as 1926. Dick Marshal who had been a piper with The London Irish Rifles during the war formed the Canning Town Brien Boru Pipe Band after the war and he piped in the New Year of 1923 on the Brien Boru pipes on a national radio broadcast from 2LO.10 Leaving aside any consideration of their lack of appeal musically the Brien Boru pipes were boycotted in Ireland by nationalist pipers because they were not of Irish manufacture.11 An Irish Warpipe as supplied to Irish Regiments and H. M. India Office The Brian Boru Bagpipe the Perfect Bagpipe as supplied to the Royal Irish Regiments. Hawkes Son Drums and Fifes Bagpipes and Bugles London 1924 Johnny Maloney pipe-major at The Borough was a frequent social visitor to the Duke of York barracks on Saturday nights and after the outbreak of the Great War he gathered together some London-Irish pipers and organised a second band for the London Irish Rifles 9 See St. Patricks Day Distribution of Shamrocks to London Irish Rifles Path Gazette silent newsreel sequence the Duke of York barracks Chelsea London 17.3.1914 www.britishpathe.com for the London Irish Rifles Pipers Band all with two-drone war pipes. 10 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.19. 11 Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.231 Ian Hook The Irish Pipes Origins and Dress in Elizabeth Talbot Rice Alan Guy eds. Army Museum 85 London National Army Museum 1986 p.16 Flood Bagpipe p.214 Cannon Bibliography p.274 cites H. Starck The Complete Tutor for the Brien Boru War Pipes London Starck nd 1908 Hook Irish Pipes p.17 corrects both Orpen-Palmer Irish Pipes p.230 Flood Bagpipe p.215 An Cliadheamh Soluis 25.6.1910 216 30.7.1910 An Domnallach in An Cliadheamh Soluis 10.12.1910. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 298 including Paddy Fogarty and Stevie Gardiner from the Commercial Road Pipe Band.12 This battalion was posted overseas and saw action on the Western Front and in the Middle East. The Pipes Drums of the 1st Battalion of the London Irish Rifles. France 1915. George Willis George P. Willis The Pipes Drums of The London Irish Rifles 2005 Between the wars depleted numbers in the London Irish Rifles pipe band were augumented for military parades13 by pipers from the Tottenham Irish Pipe Band the officers making up the substitutes losses in regular wages. There is no information available about the composition of the London Irish Rifles Pipe band that played at the England v. Ireland rugby international at Twickenham in February 192914 but eight of the sixteen pipers who attended the summer camp at Donaghadee County Down in 1931 were stand-ins15 and the same is reputed to have happened when the pipe band played for the opening of Stormont in November 1932.16 12 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.19 notes that at the beginning of the Great War the Pipes Drums of the 1st Battalion recruited flute players from the Barking Catholic Boys Brigade as pipers quotes former Corporal Leslie Marston The pipers and drummers the Haverstock Hill Company of the Catholic Boys Brigade became in 1914 the 2nd. Bns Pipe Band. They were joined by Pipe Major Moloney seconded from the 1st. Bn. p.31 notes Johnny Franklin who joined the band in 1928 was appointed pipe-major by 1937. 13 Many military parades were commemoration ceremonies for the fallen in the Great War. 14 The Western Morning News Mercury 11.2.1929. 15 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.28. 16 See London-Irish and proud of it too Whole Battalion the Heroes of Loos take part in London Irish Tattoo Path Gazette silent newsreel sequence London issued 15.9.1927 www.britishpathe.com for the band on parade and a solo step- dancer piper. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 299 London Irish Rifles Pipe Band at the Territorial Army camp near Swanage in Dorset 1934. courtesy Chantry Bagpipe Museum The Pipes Drums of the London Irish Rifles London 1938. George Willis George P. Willis The Pipes Drums of The London Irish Rifles 2005 With the outbreak of the Second World War several parish and semi-professional pipers enlisted in the London Irish Rifles. Members of the band made numerous trips to Dunkirk as anti-aircraft gunners on the commandeered pleasure boat Royal Sovereign in May 1940 and many saw further service as piperstretcher-bearers in Iraq Tunisia Sicily Italy and Egypt. In 1944 the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion pipe bands separately had audiences with the Pope in Rome.17 17 Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.52 . Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 300 London Irish Rifles Pipe Band near Tunbridge Wells Kent 31 December 1940. London Irish Rifles Pipe Band location not known WW2 Parish bands undertook Roman Catholic engagements such as outdoor processions and trips to the hop-fields free of charge on the principle Dont take from the Church give to the Church In reality there was no money on offer from the Church and established custom was inclined towards parish bands raising money for church causes. Similarly services were given free in the nationalist cause at the height of the Troubles. In 1920 daily vigil was kept outside the remand prisons by a piper or two to raise the spirits of nationalist prisoners and pipers played outside the prison gates for the executions of Irish patriots and for the subsequent annual commemorations of those executions.18 Five thousand Sinn Feiners and their sympathizers from all parts of London assembled outside Wormwood Scrubs prison last night to cheer the hunger-strikers. After making a circuit of the prison the demonstrators 18 Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 15.5.1954. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 301 who carried numerous flags massed at the rear where they sang God Save Ireland and other songs to the accompaniment of the bands. Cheers from the prison could be heard in response.19 Press reports on 29th October 1920 of the mile-long procession accompanying the body of Terence McSwiney Lord Mayor of Cork from St. Georges Cathedral to Euston Station after his death on hunger strike are confusing. Several imply there was only one pipe band the Gaelic League Pipers Band being named and saffron kilts being mentioned. The Daily News account by the Gaelic Leaguer Robert Lynd mentions the pipers heading the procession while the Daily Herald mentions pipers in the body of the column.20 Bearing in mind the possible inaccuracy of the reporting this points to there having been two groups of pipers. That would corroborate popular memory which credits The Borough band and Paddy and Tom Fogarty as having been present. A retrospective account in the Sunday Press on 22nd May 1966 credits piper John Finn as having been present. Terence McSwineys funeral procession from Brixton to Southwark Cathedral October 1920. Above The Gaelic League Pipers Band with Harry Hough next to the policeman in the front rank. Harry Hough Collection courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Below Terence McSwiney Lord Mayor of Cork City. The Irish Post 14 July 2001 19 The Times 26.4.1920. 20 The Times 28.10.1920 The Daily Chronicle 29.10.1920. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 302 Harry OBrien wrote a memoir on the mass Irish Self-Determination League demonstrations Pipe-Major Paddy Fogarty always led with his pipe band the large north London contingent. They would met with the east London contingent who were headed by the St. Patricks Drum-and-Fife Band at Gardiners Corner and the Rotherhithe Pipe Band would come over Tower Bridge to join the huge procession making its way to Trafalgar Square via Fleet Street and The Strand where they were greeted by the Borough Pipers Band who led the south London contingent. The Borough Pipers were always first to arrive in the square and kept everybody in a good frame of mind while waiting the rest of the bands to arrive. These processions were greatly enjoyed by the younger generation. John Daly and I would wait at Gardiners Corner for the bands and crowd to arrive. We would then join the march through the City and Fleet Street and passing the offices of the Morning Post a Tory paper with a strong anti-Irish bias. The crowds would let out a cry of defiance that could be heard in Trafalgar Square. The cry was taken up by each section of the demonstration as they passed the offices of the Morning Post. The cry could be heard for at least twenty minutes so it sounded like one continuous roar. The waiting crowds in the square would know that the bands were arriving with their banners and tricolours waving and the Hackney branch no. 18 banner was proudly borne by Mac Dermot and the tricolour borne by Paddy O Hanrahan. After the speeches the bands marched off playing The Soldiers Song Let Erin Remember Kelly the Boy from Killan and The Boys of Wexford. There was never any disorder. The stewards in the main were members of the Irish Volunteers and were obeyed without question so the processions although lively showed a discipline that could not be faulted. The evening ended with a ceilidh being held in Hackney Tara Hall Rotherhithe Canning Town Poplar Town Hall and Fulham Town Hall.21 In October 1921 a Sinn Fein delegation arrived to take part in the peace talks at Downing Street and inevitably they were met by crowds at the station and Irish bagpipes.22 Unidentified London-Irish pipers band at the Royal Albert Hall February 1920. Harry Hough Collection courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann All other engagements warranted a fee. There were those where a full band was needed to provide a show such as the Gaelic League St. Patricks Day parades down Whitehall and Gaelic Athletic Association sports events at Kensal Eltham and Mitcham or to add novelty 21 Harry OBriens written reminiscences exist only as a rough draft typed manuscript Basildon 1980s. Quotations given here have been edited only for spelling and punctuation and not for syntax. 22 Western Morning News Mercury 10.10.1921. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 303 and character to a street carnival raising funds for the local hospital. During the Troubles there were engagements for the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain and Sinn Fein where a bands presence was required as much to boost morale as to bring order to the procession. Some of these jobs were gruelling marches from the inner suburbs to political rallies in Trafalgar Square or Hyde Park. By the mid-1920s there was a shift from Irish political causes to those of the working class at large and jobs came in from the Labour Party trade unions the organised unemployed and hunger marchers. Some were what Allen Nicholson called funny little jobs which required one or two pipers or a small band. His son Ailean made the point that many organisers of political rallies were reluctant to pay out for a band when they could engage a single piper. Labour march organisers always paid the musicians on the principle that the pipers were doing a job of work and they were little or no better off than the demonstrators. At that time an all-day piping job might bring ten shillings or as much as thirty shillings. Allen Nicholson was generally satisfied with a pound but he recalled particularly hard times in the 1920s When you went with the unemployed marches if you got thrupence wed be satisfied. Its something to take home. Thrupence you was all right to a certain extent. Your wife could go and get a penny quarter a pound of sausages hapenny packet of tea haperth of sugar. There was a place in Bethnal Green a shop there. Uncle Teds they used to call it. See em lined up with their jugs cups farthings worth of jam Towards the end of the 1930s there were bookings in the developing field of Irish commercial entertainment in dance halls at wrestling matches and at the spectacular St. Patricks Night galas at the Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court and some pipers even performed in variety theatres. There were also posh jobs at Scottish dinners balls and entertainments where Irish pipers donned the tartan and played a few token Scottish tunes. Scottish engagements were known to pay well and the pipers were well looked after with food and drink whereas Irish jobs paid badly and the pipers were left to their own devices. Those dependent solely or partly on piping for their livelihood did not rely on formal engagements. They took their music to a working-class public in the street in pubs and elsewhere. Street busking was a time-honoured practice in London and all kinds of music was played by ex-servicemen after the Great War. Busking and piping have had a special relationship and evidence of nineteenth-century busking pipers has been cited in chapter 1. Allen Nicholson remembered serving soldiers in Scottish regiments when pay was low in the Army who would put in for a days leave to go busking and his son Ailean said they even had the pipe-major out the Scots Guards busking with em. Between the wars many London-Irish pipers though probably excluding parish bandsmen turned their hand to a Saturday-night busking tour of familiar and strange pubs. Members of the Tottenham Pipe Band did very well busking outside Wembley Stadium for the crowds attending the Football Association cup-final in 1923 and one of their number Mick Fogarty usually in the company of an older piper earned most of his living on the street. Allen Nicholson recalled We had a bloke who used to go busking with a side drum Old Stackie and the drum he had... it was patched up with all this and that but he learnt his drumming full from music in a school. D you know... he was out with me I had a bass drum Peter Kennedy Mick Fogarty he was playing and Old Stackie we fixed him up. He had this old drum no kilts or nothing on and he somehow made that drum talk. Michael OMalley a young man just over from County Mayo by way of the harvesting in Scotland and Yorkshire went busking in the late 1930s and he recalled I could only play a few tunes and I was playing at the Royal Standard a pub on the corner of Harrow Road. I stuck my head in the door d you see. A big tough bloke came out. I didnt know who it was at the time. Ah he says A piper Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 304 Oh come in young fellah come in. And he got my hat and he went all round and he got about a shilling or one and sixpence you see. Who it twas was One-Round Hogan. He beat Doyle in the Irish Guards. Hed come from Tipperary Town. He says You and I are going to town. We went and we finished up we played every pub up Harrow Road... He went in and got the money and we made about a pound each something like that and it twas a few drinks I wasnt drinking at the time he was and we had a few nights out together. Hogan a tough bloke. He was the terror of Edgware Road. Another example was Joe Murphy London-born in 1918 and a teenage pupil of Paddy Fogarty who unable to practice much at home went out alone on the street in the late 1930s I went out busking just to get my practice on the bag and that and blowing and there were four or five pubs in Cable Street where they come out and danced the old girls you know. I Id play and stay on there for ten minutes quarter of an hour and then move on to the next one. There was no possibility that this extent of piping could have existed without a supporting system of suppliers and repairers. At the respectable end for those few who could afford to buy new materials there was Henry Starck with his manufacturing and retail premises in the years after the Great War at Park Street in Camden Town. His family had reputedly came from Germany in the eighteenth century with Handel and he had learned his trade in the workshop of William Ross who had set up as a pipe-maker in the same area while still serving in the Scots Guards.23 Later his son Albert and his brother-in-law or son-in-law Billy Wiggs entered the business at 100 Parkway Camden Town with a registered office in Harrow Weald. Business flourished during the Second World War with continuing orders from the War Office. Around 1951 and 1952 they still had several skilled lathe-workers but National Service drained the apprentices away and the firm folded.24 Starcks invention of the Brien Boru pipes was aimed at the Army and although a few British and Irish regiments used them they were not a commercial success. His prototype Duncannon pipes with a range of two and half octaves of which only three sets are known to have been made came to nothing. Scots pipers in London generally with more money than the Irish preferred to deal with makers in Scotland but London-Irish pipers went to Starck because of his fair dealing and fair prices. There is also an unsubstantiated report that a Jewish maker turned out Irish pipes in the East End. The Glasgow firm of R. G. Lawrie Ltd. Highland outfitters and instrument makers opened at 113 Oxford Street in 1921. By 1923 they had moved to less prestigious premises at 96 Charlotte Street with a Scottish piper Duncan Munroe in attendance. Two years later they withdrew to Glasgow leaving the business to Munroe who in turn around 1937 passed the tailoring and bagpipe business to Angus MacAuley a former pipe-major with the Lovat Scouts.25 Munroe and MacAulay were both skilled pipers who provided models of excellence to some London-Irish pipers as well as servicing and repairing pipes. Good reeds could be obtained from a music shop in Broad Street or direct from makers in Scotland. New pipes could be bought by mail order from Scotland at the lowest price of twenty-five pounds but that was far beyond the reach of London-Irish pipers in general. At the poorer end which was where the majority of London-Irish stood in the1920 and 1930s acquiring instruments and uniforms was a strain on limited financial resources. The central core of tradesmen musicians like some members of the Tottenham band knew their way around. Moses Army Stores at 23 Henry Starck is listed in Post Office Directory 1887 as a musical instrument maker at 31 Drummond Cresent London NW he is also listed in Post Office Directory 1890 at 8 Werrington Street London NW. In Post Office Directory 1912 he is listed as bagpipe flute manufacturer to the British Indian Egyptian armies and to the late William Ross. 24 See Making Bagpipes Pathe Gazette newsreel sequence Harry Starcks bagpipe factory Camden Town London 1952 www.britishpathe.com which refers to it being 75 years old. 25 Post Office Directory London 1920-1938. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 305 Aldgate sold used Army equipment from Great War demobilisation stock. There according to Allen Nicholson you could get a good drum for a dollar a bass drum for about five pounds and five bob any kilt and occasionally there would be new tunics if someone had given a back-hander to the quartermaster while they could get a second-hand bag from Starck for seven and six. Usually uniforms were cobbled together from second-hand clothing dyed and patched and there was a man who painted drums in Bethnal Green. Joe Murphy bought his first pipes in 1936 through an advertisement in Exchange and Mart. Costing thirty shillings they were more than he could really afford and the consensus of his associates was that they were worthless. Some men joined the London Scottish Territorial Army pipe band to get a set of pipes and a uniform to use for private jobs and Mick Nolan26 reputedly joined the London Irish Rifles in 1939 to get his hands on a set of pipes but by a stroke of ill-timing found himself in the Army at the outbreak of war. Active pipers sometimes left their instruments in a pawn shop during the week redeeming them for jobs on Saturdays and unclaimed instruments could be picked up cheaply as Allen Nicholson recalled We used to go down Custom House to see if there was any pipes for sale because as you go over the iron bridge turn right down the side of the railway down there on the left theres a pawn shop I dont know if its still there and I went there one day and I see these pipes up for sale four pounds. Years afterwards we found out who they belonged to years and years after. Cause the joints were all ivory but made different makes. But the seafaring fellahs used to come home pawn their pipes and never have the money to get em out so they had to go back to sea without them. Then theyd go up for sale. Youd get a set of pipes up there for about thirty bob something like that. John McKenzie Piper to Clan of True Highlanders McIntyre North Jr. E. G. N. North Donald MacKay Piper to HRH The Prince of Wales London date not known. 27 Reg Hall Collection 26 Mick Nolan has been reported as coming from Tipperary and Limerick 27 This must date from before the Prince of Wales became Edward VII in January 1901. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 306 Piping skills were introduced to the London-Irish at the turn of the century by three Scottish pipers Robert MacKenzie and Donald and Archie MacKay who taught by conventional methods of rote. Some London-Irish pipers continued to play Scottish material and to aspire to the complicated technique of first-class Scottish piping. The Irish styles of piping that evolved in the Army in the Gaelic revival and among the London-Irish were simpler less ornamented than those of Scottish piping tradition and were wedded to a repertory of march and dance tunes of relatively simple construction requiring little use of grace notes and seldom with composed variations. Open fingering was thus more commonly used than classic fingering. The Irish repertory and the required technical skills could be taught and picked up relatively quickly and informally. Some pipers learned by rote within the organisation of established bands and some learned by ear in what Ailean Nicholson refers to as busking style. Piping in Irish regiments in the British Army had scant recognition from the War Office. There was no approved repertory and no school of Irish piping in the Army. Unlike their Highland counterparts Irish officers most of whom were not supporters of the Gaelic movement generally had no knowledge of or regard for the pipes. It was left therefore to the motivation and ingenuity of private soldiers and non-commissioned officers to create an acceptable musical format from their own resources. Ailean Nicholson confirms that pipers in the Irish regiments played by memory and used no notation at all. Larry ODowd from County Sligo who was subsequently active in London after the Second World War says he had very little official tuition when he became a piper in the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1937. On company route marches as a solo piper he was required to play one nationalist and one Orange march as they left the barracks and then he was free to play whatever material he chose. The early London-Irish pipes repertory is not documented. One contender as the main initial source of material must be the repertory of the drum-and-fife bands consisting of marches and song airs in two-four and six-eight time. Some similar material was available from printed sources and there were the dance repertories of the Gaelic League and a handful of Irish-born musicians from rural backgrounds. Pipers in the Gaelic League adapted suitable material from Gaelic airs in the printed collections but how far any of those tunes were disseminated within wider London-Irish circles is not known. Certainly Harry Hough the main upholder of Gaelic League piping between the wars was regarded by some London-Irish pipers as playing weird tunes. His manuscript books which are undated and might represent an accumulation of material over a long period show that he had access to a large number of jigs reels hornpipes marches in six-eight and two-four time waltzes and polkas for the set some incidentally dedicated to the Fogartys and some credited to the local union piper Dave Walsh.28 Many were technically advanced pieces and this manuscript collection represents the repertory of piper of a good standard. In the case of The Borough Pipe Band Bill Donovan bagpiper union piper and fiddle player adapted material from oral and printed sources for their repertory. Goodbye to Cork and Let Erin Remember were two tunes specifically noted as having been played during the McSwiney procession in 1920.29 It was not until 1911 that the first collection of tunes Walsh and Glens Irish Tunes etc. suitable for the Irish war pipes was published but Ailean Nicholson whose father was active from the early 1920s has confirmed that London-Irish pipers did not use tune books during this period. Those books that came out later although in staff notation were unorthodox in terms of pipes notation. While the Gaelic League took a nationalist doctrinaire view of repertory London- Irish pipers in general were less hide-bound. The most startling shift from the basic repertory 28 Harry Hough music ms. books I-VII. Irish Traditional Music Archive. 29 Daily Chronicle 29.10.1920 Robert Lynd in Daily News 29.10.1920. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 307 of marches and dance tunes was in embracing hymn tunes for the outdoor processions which the congregations sang in conventional pitch while the pipes were played in the idiosyncratic scale associated with the pipes chanter. Other adaptations were made to suit the occasion an example being during the General Strike when the Tailors and Garment Workers Union paid Mick Fogarty handsomely to play The Red Flag. London-Irish pipers as a rule held similar religious political and social views to their non- piping neighbours supporting Catholic nationalist and left-wing causes. However while they identified with Irish nationalism they saw no paradox in sustaining a close relationship with the British Army. By the end of the 1930s there was a general belief among them in the archaic ancestry of the Irish war pipes and an unquestioning acceptance of the associated costume and the repertory. For those within and close to the piping fraternity piping was a way of life with its own attractions values and aesthetics. Allen Nicholson caught some of that when he said When you get a good piper you could sit for hours and listen to him. Contrary to the mythology that the pipes are disliked by the general public piping was popular with sections of the public and was cherished as a symbol of London-Irish identity. Yet Irish iconography was secondary to economic expediency which is well illustrated by a story of the National Union of Railwaymen Pipe Band an Irish band led by Allen Nicholson in which the bandsmen appeared rigged out in Scottish MacKenzie tartan shortly after a consignment of that material had gone astray at Paddington Station Similarly for reasons of pragmatism most London-Irish pipers played the Highland pipes rather than the Irish war pipes. This generalised account sets the context in which piping took place. The price of such conceptualising however is the possibility of giving a false impression that London-Irish pipers were faceless figures operating within a social consensus. Certainly many aspects of social attitude and experience were common property but the individuality and peculiarities of key figures networks of relatives and friends and organisations within the wider community require exploration to complete the picture. The subject could be endless but discussion will be limited to three systems of organisation of practice and the stories of The Borough Pipe Band the Fogarty Family and the Dagenham Irish Pipe Band must stand for all London-Irish pipers. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 308 Profile of the Borough Pipe Band The Borough Pipe Band was the premier organisation of its kind being both the first Irish pipe band to be organised in London and the longest running. It was a parish band associated with the Church of The Most Precious Blood at The Borough and was run initially by the League of the Cross. Around the turn of the nineteenth century the population of The Borough included a significant proportion of London-Irish and Irish-born Catholics most of the men being employed as manual workers in The Borough fruit and vegetable wholesale market. They formed a close inward-looking community based on common ethnic roots religion class and employment and strong kinship and community ties were to characterise The Borough parish band throughout its existence. Local popular belief based on one or two generations of hearsay associates the origins of The Borough band with marching to Mass. Before the parish church was built in OMeara Street in 1892 Mass was said in the mission in Bandy Leg Walk30 but on one Sunday a month the whole congregation walked to St. Georges Cathedral for Mass. It is currently believed that a drum-and-fife band was formed specifically to accompany Borough Catholics to the cathedral and that the band raised money to build the parish church and St. Michaels school.31 Probably referring to a much later date possibly between the two wars a bandsman quoted in the parish magazine the Borough Piper of 4th November 1955 recalled It was the custom to march to Communion on the first Sunday of the month. The bands primary function however under the auspices of the League of the Cross was within the temperance movement. A member of the band Dave Walsh who was born in County Limerick in 1870 recalled in the South London Press on 20th January 1956 that it was Canon William Murnane who decided the band should change from band fifes to Highland bagpipes around 1890 and that the band accompanied the Canon on his temperance evangelising round the pubs giving the pubs a headache piping their customers out of their houses to the meetings of the League. A press report in The Tablet on 28th July 1906 while not specifically precluding the possibility that this had taken place in the 1890s points to a much later date The clergy of the Borough mission have inaugurated a series of outdoor meetings with the object of visiting the slums and alleys of the district to preach the principles of total abstinence. The first of these gatherings took place on Sunday afternoon last when a visit was paid to the locality known as Bankside. However a notice in Reynoldss Newspaper on 25th September 1892 gives the earliest printed evidence of a pipers band that could not be anything other than that from The Borough particularly in view of its association with the vegetable market and temperance A mass meeting of costermongers street sellers and the public will be held in Victoria Park today Sunday at 3.30 to protest against recent action of the Holborn Board of Works and many local vestries in constantly breaking up the little livings of the costermongers thereby depriving a very useful hard-working class of people of the means of existence. The piece lists temperance and trade union branches set to parade with bands and banners from Clerkenwell Green and goes on to say The band of the Irish bagpipes will attend. The following May there was a procession of thousands from The Embankment to a mass trade 30 J. W. Warbis Southwark Streets and Alleys up to 1860 undated ms p.17 says Bandy Leg Walk was renamed Guildford Street around 1796. 31 Dave Walsh quoted in South London Press 20.1.1956. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 309 union meeting in Hyde Park organised by the London Building Trades Federation and it was reported that One of the most interesting features of the demonstration was a band of Irish pipers numbering about 12 who played stirring marches on the Irish bagpipes. They belonged to St. Georges League of the Cross Total Abstinence Society.32 Then in August 1894 there is another press reference almost certainly to the pipers from The Borough. It concerns a large demonstration in Hyde Park in support of the abolition of the House of Lords where A considerable contingent was present of the Irish National League who singularly enough were accompanied by a party of pipers.33 The next known evidence of The Borough band is a report in the Southwark Bermondsey Recorder South London Gazette on 29th November 1902 of a meeting of the United Irish League of Great Britain in Bermondsey Town Hall which noted the efforts of the band of pipers could not fail to impress the public. In The Tablet on 28th July 1906 it was reported that the only band of Irish pipers which the League of the Cross has organised took part in the parish procession at Kensal and was noted for its smart uniform and excellent playing. Certainly by this time the Southwark outdoor procession had been established34 and The Borough band had taken on a further role in providing the music for the season of outdoor processions. In 1955 John Curran a local school teacher supplied information for the parish magazine from his father Billy Curran who had been with the band from 1910 to about 1936 dating the formation of the pipe band in general terms as fifty years ago that is around 1905.35 The weight of evidence points to Dave Walshs memory having pitched the early days of the pipe band a decade too early. Piping in The Borough most probably therefore dates from the turn of the nineteenth century rather than from the early 1890s as is popularly believed. The piece based on Billy Currans recollection stated that Canon Murnane had bought the band instruments and secured the services of Mr. J. Sullivan of Marylebone who became the first bandmaster. This seems to refer to the original drum-and-fife band as popular belief attributes the bands initial tuition on the bagpipes to Pipe-Major MacKenzie of the Scots Guards with no suggestion of any form of sponsorship. On the contrary the belief is that the bandsmen collected among themselves to pay MacKenzies travelling expenses by cab from the Tower where he was stationed. Robert MacKenzie was pipe-major of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards until March 189036 and he was probably with the London Scottish Territorial Army after his discharge. Band practice around that time took place in Brenns Court School. Dinny OConnell who was with the band from 1927 until about 1932 spoke of the high standard of musicianship expected of the bandsmen The thing about the Borough Band was you had to learn from music. You werent shown what to do you had to learn what to do from music. Johnny Moloney who when I joined it was too old to walk out still had his wind. Everybody had to be taught by him and before we went out the drones were tuned by Bill Donovan so it was always like one piper. When I was in it there was sixteen pipers not all out together you see because the different jobs they couldnt be there and they had a few people who couldnt quite get into the band. 32 Sheffield Independent 29.5.1893. 33 York Herald 27.8.1894 also The Freemans Journal 27 August 1894. 34 It is known that there was an outdoor procession in Southwark in 1905 as there are reports of it having been broken up. The Librarian Catholic Library Westminster. 35 Borough Piper 4.11.1955. This article was used as the basis of James A. Whelans article in Cork Weekly Examiner 10.11.1955. 36 Scots Guards Pipers Tune Book unprovenanced damaged copy pp.xiv-xv. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 310 You had to pass old Johnnys examination before you played out with the band. So that was why they were so good. They played as one man. Exact details of the bands organisation for this period are not known. The band and the League of the Cross parted company at some point possibly when the band was revived after the Second World War and it is not known at which point it became known as The Borough Pipe Band. Initially the band wore standard drum-and-fife band uniforms of band caps and lounge suits. The band was booked for an all-night gala Irish ball at the Royal Albert Hall on St. Patricks Day 1937 and they turned out in caubeens green tunics and saffron kilts tailored by Harry Hough. The image was no longer that of a parish temperance band but clearly that of an Irish band. Several middle-aged members including Bill Donovan refused to wear the kilt and there was a rift in the ranks. There were three known pipe-majors during this period Johnny Maloney before the Great War Bill Donovan between the wars and Johnny ONeill in the late 1930s. Nothing is known about whether financial accounts were kept or if business meetings were held. Most likely the bands organisation was informal without officers business meetings or accounts with a few high-status bandsmen taking decisions and the parish priest as nominal band president taking an interest but no active part. The band used church-school premises and collected for the Church but it was seen to belong to its members and the parish and not to the Church. The Borough Pipe Band League of the Cross at The Borough Southwark date not known. courtesy Bernard 37 37 I regret I cant recall Bernards surname. He gave me the photograph about twenty years ago. He was closely related to one of the key members of the band and had some of their music. He was a farmer in Scotland. I offer him my apologies. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 311 The Borough Pipe Band League of the Cross on their return home to The Borough Southwark from winning the pipe band competition at the Gaelic Leagues Feis Lunndain in Catford in 1935. Front row Bill Donovan Jr. bagpipes Mike Sullivan drum John Maloney bagpipes secretary Bill Donovan Sr. bagpipes Dannie Boyle drum Ted Carr bagpipes middle row Mick Hayes bagpipes Bill Carter bagpipes John ONeill drum Charlie Murphy bagpipes Dinny Boyle bass drum Billy Curran bagpipes Charlie Turner bagpipes Ted Barrett drum George Huckle mace bearer Harry Thornton back row Mick Mullins Dan Quinlan Bill Powell banner carrier Blower Thornton banner carrier unidentified Tom Connors. Identifications by George Willis. The prime function in the 1920s and 1930s was performance in the season of outdoor processions undertaken with religious dedication more Catholic than Irish. Underlying that was a sense of achievement in having created and sustained something of their own which totally absorbed them and excited the local community and they believed theirs was the best Irish pipe band in London. They delighted in the secular celebrating the knees-ups in the back streets when the altars were blessed the circle formed outside the pubs to entertain the crowds and the march home the worse for drink swinging across London Bridge at midnight and playing at full blast down Borough High Street on their home ground. There was a tinge of defiance aimed at the police particularly in The City where they were over-concerned with traffic control and by-laws and the band behaved with bravado as if to say We own the day and we own the ground. Behind that lay working-class resentment to authority and particular Irish protest at police raids with absolutely no foundation on families including Johnny ONeills in Star Street during the Irish Republican Army bombings in the late 1930s. The annual social calendar was completed as Billy Curran recollected by trips to the hop-fields in Kent a midnight parade down the High Street on New Years Eve and taking the local school children to the old Borough Road Railway Station for the great annual treat at Crystal Palace in which the London Catholic schools took part. The band also turned out for Catholic political and Irish national causes. They led demonstrations against the Education Bills of Reginald McKenna and Augustine Birrell seen by Catholics as discriminating against them during the Liberal Government of 1906 to 1910 and they demonstrated on the streets during the Troubles. One of the old-timers Mike Sullivan told his nephew Jim Powell that the Borough Band led the procession which accompanied the body of Terence McSwiney from Brixton prison to St. Georges Cathedral on 27th October 1920 and four members and two former members accompanied the body to Euston the following day. The band also took part in Irish Self-Determination League of Great Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 312 Britain demonstrations in Trafalgar Square and met the Irish delegates who came over to sign the Treaty.38 The Borough Pipe Band George Huckle pipe-major. Late 1930s. While the band seems to have remained remarkably free from Gaelic League influence there was some association between the two organisations going back before the Great War. The band is said by some at The Borough to have gone to Dublin to compete in the pipers band contest at the Oireachtas in the arena at Jones Road on 30th June 1912. This competition was a particular feature of that years festival and over a dozen bands took part.39 It would have taken considerable organisation to raise the funds to get a group of working men across to Dublin and back yet nothing appeared in the local papers in Southwark and The Borough band is not mentioned in the Irish press. It seems likely that the band or some of the bandsmen attended the Gaelic League-Gaelic Athletic Association sports and carnivals in London at that time although no supporting evidence has surfaced. Harry Hough of the Gaelic League was in contact with members of the band at least by the late 1920s and he made their band uniforms. He was instrumental in reviving the Lunduinn Feis in 1935 and Dave Walsh played the pipes probably the Highland pipes rather than the union pipes when the feis was held at Whitefort Lane Catford and later at Mitcham Stadium.40 The Borough band won the pipe band competition in 1936 1937 and 193841 and piper Pat Goulding came first and piper Sean McDonell came third in the solo competition in 1938 as reported in the Cork Weekly Examiner of 9th July 1937 and 2nd July 1938. Dinny OConnell attended all three feises and he recalled The Borough Band was really unique and when it came to the Feis I think it was 1936 the first Feis at Catford they had the band competition. There was one from Dagenham the Gaelic League and The Borough. 38 Harry OBrien untitled memoirs p.58 Borough Piper 4.11.1955. 39 An Cliadheamh Soluis 6.7.1912 M. Flanagan in ONeill Irish Minstrels p.468 Borough Piper 4.11.1955. 40 South London Press 20.1.1956. 41 Souvenir programme Royal Albert Hall 17.3.1939. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 313 Tottenham and Rosaman Street didnt enter. They might not have been functioning at that time because they were up and down like a yo yo full band one time and two the next time. So anyway the Borough Band walked away with the prize. They had McCauley he was the pipe-major of the Lovat Scouts as the adjudicator you see. The following year the Gaelic League could only muster five pipers so it was stipulated only five pipers. It didnt matter to the Borough because it was still playing like one. Course they walked away with it. Well the following year the stipulation was that the bands would have to wear a uniform the kilts. Well that was all right for the people who could afford it. The lads in the Borough Band couldnt afford a suit of kilts. They were all working lads and some were not working at all. So a fella named Tim Howard and he was from Cork and he was married to a girl who was closely associated with the lads in The Borough. So Tim organised raffles collections and God knows what and finally got them all rigged out in the uniform. Course they went out with eight pipers then you see the full band and they wiped the floor with everybody. That was the third year in succession and they kept it. The sources of the bands repertory are only partly known. Pipe-Major MacKenzie probably introduced Scottish material from his own repertory but informed local belief has it that the band played exclusively Irish material. At that time there were no printed collections of appropriate tunes set for the pipes and part of the bands repertory almost certainly was drawn from that of the drum-and-fife bands. Bill Donovan successor to Johnny Maloney as pipe- major was also a fiddle player with some possibly only slight association with the Gaelic League42 and he is known to have transposed scores of tunes from oral and printed sources into marches suitable for pipe-band performance.43 A known example is Blind Judy dedicated to a blind match-seller in The Borough market which he re-worked from a song of his mothers. There is also said to exist some tunes in manuscript form taken down from the singing of native-Irish speakers who came over with the Famine and survived into old age.44 Dave Walsh both a bagpiper and a union piper was also a source of tunes. He is said to have taken down the tune Going to Mass from an old Irish Piper45 and several tunes in Harry Houghs manuscript books held in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin are credited to D. M. Walsh namely no.27 Hornpipe a version of Roxburgh Castle no.57 Walshs March 1934 no.68 Fogartys Fancy dedicated to Paddy Fogarty 1928 and no.81 Coming Home from Bearna 1937. Chris Burt a member of the band after the Second World War but with pre-war memories of the band has explained that Scottish tunes are heavily ornamented with grace notes while Irish tunes mostly from old songs are played plainer so as to be understood. To support this idea he added that all the local children knew all the tunes the band played. 42 Inis Fail April 1905 reported as Brian ODonovan the Skibbereen piper playing in the company of fiddle and flute players at a Gaelic Athletic Association social in St. Georges Hall Southwark. 43 Borough Piper 4.11.1955. 44 The same Bernard who is mentioned in footnote 37. 45 Borough Piper 27.2.1959. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 314Dave Walsh datenotknown.Harry Hough Collection courtesy Na Piobairi Uilleann Dinny OConnell who played both the fiddle and the war pipes knew that Bill Donovan and Dave Walsh both played the union pipes They played at Queens Hall once. Bill was so shy he couldnt face the audience. He turned his back on em. He didnt have a set of pipes of his own. It was Sean Quealy had a set of pipes but he couldnt play them so he let Bill have them for as long as he wanted. Profile of the Fogarty Family Three generations of the Fogarty Family have been involved in London-Irish piping from its beginning until the present day. The extent of the familys involvement in piping can be seen in the family tree shown below though the focus of this profile is on the two key figures Paddy Fogarty and his son Mick. The Fogartys made their music very largely in public space for public audiences. Their music however had personal significance for them as performers bringing both aesthetic and financial rewards besides cementing bonds of kinship and creating networks of friendship. Thomas Fogarty moved to Bermondsey probably in the 1880s after twenty-one years service in the Connaught Rangers and postings to India St. Helena and South Africa. He took his family to Galbally in County Limerick for a decade or so and brought them once again to Bermondsey in 1894 or 1895 where he ran a sweet shop at 92 Long Lane in 1906 1907 and possibly 1908. His son Paddy 1881-1967 married Deborah ONeill who was born in Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 315 Bermondsey of Irish parents the daughter of a weights and measures man. Paddy and his brother Tom together with their wives and children lived above their fathers shop. Paddy was a road labourer and sometime before the Great War probably around 1909 he took a job with London County Council tramways as a paviour and moved to Tottenham where his younger children were born. His brother Tom moved at the same time and the two families shared a six-room terrace house. The family belonged to the poor London-Irish. Paddy Fogarty always had a regular job but many of his associates including his growing family suffered from unemployment or small incomes. In spite of being permanently hard-up Paddy was unable to see anybody in need without helping them and he acquired the nickname Father Feed Em All. The Fogartys kept open house and any Irishman needing a meal and a bed especially if he had just come over was squeezed in somewhere. One of the regular callers at the house remembered that Pa was a very generous man but... Ma was the backbone of it and it was Deborah Fogarty who arranged regular hand-outs of groceries to neighbours who had fallen on hard times. Some acts of kindness and generosity became life-long commitments and John Dove son of the piper Jack Dove for example lived with the Fogartys as one of the family. Sheila Fogarty Murphys memory of growing up in the late 1920s and 1930s is of the house being full at the weekends and a general hubbub of party-making. A particular melodeon player or perhaps it was a concertina player came to weddings and house parties and Sheilas mother Deborah Fogarty sang a lot of Irish ballads. Joe Fogarty remembered his father step-dancing in the old country style and singing Irish songs The Darling Girl from Clare being one of his favourites. He discouraged his children from singing music-hall and popular songs in favour of Irish songs. Jim Murphy Sheilas husband and son of Paddys work-mate had songs from his grandfather who lived near Fermoy in County Cork and as his brother Joe recalled He had a tremendous amount of Irish songs... Youd think he was a little old man and he was only a young man. He learnt them in six weeks holidays listening to the old people who hes living with singing the songs when he was a lad during his summer holidays. Paddy Fogartys Irish connections were immediate. Many of his relatives and close associates were Irish-born and he had spent some of his childhood in County Limerick. His mother considered by her children to have been anti-English encouraged her children and grandchildren to assert their Irishness in the face of bullying and victimisation in the street and at school. There was some conflict with their non-Irish neighbours in Tottenham but that could have been because of the noise they made with the pipes and party-making rather than because they were Irish. As practising Catholics they attended Mass and took part in parish life. Piping if nothing else drew Paddy into early association with the Gaelic revival and in The London Irish News on 21st May 1910 he was reported adjudicating the piping competition together with J. Hayes and D. OHara at the Gaelic Athletic Association Whitsun Bank Holiday sports at Kensal Rise. Some of his children probably at a much later date attended Gaelic League classes and dances. During the Troubles the family was actively Sinn Fein. There is a belief in the family that Paddy and Tom played outside Pentonville prison each day during Sir Roger Casements remand in 1916 and on the morning of his execution. This unlikely in the case of Paddy who was in the Army at the time but their claim to have taken part in the annual commemorative processions is credible. Similarly they maintained a seventy-six-day vigil outside Brixton prison playing patriotic airs during McSwineys hunger strike and they formed part of a six-piece pipe band with four from The Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 316 Borough that accompanied McSwineys body from St. Georges Cathedral to Euston Station in October 1920. In October 1921 a band of several pipers including Paddy met Michael Collins at Euston Station when he came to negotiate the Treaty.46 It is also part of Fogarty family lore that Reggie Dunn and Joe OSullivan were selected by lots in Paddys house to assassinate the Unionist MP Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in 1922 although the official story says otherwise.47 Paddy went to Pentonville prison with many other nationalists on the morning of Dunnes and OSullivans executions 10th August 1922 to find they had been transferred during the night for execution at Wandsworth. Paddy Fogartys wariness of the police dates from those troubled times from his piping on the streets in various circumstances and various brushes after drinking in the Flower Pot in Tottenham yet paradoxically he was known to have brought policemen on the beat into his house during the winter for a bowl of soup and a warm by the fire. The whole family saw themselves as Irish and the Troubles cast them as nationalists. Paddy unlike his mother was not anti-English though he had very little to do with English people socially. The family however also saw themselves as mainstream London working class and as such they were strongly left-wing voting Labour and supporting left-wing causes. The brothers Paddy and Tom Fogarty while still living in Bermondsey learned to play the pipes as young men in the League of the Cross temperance parish band at The Borough in the early Edwardian period when Paddy was seventeen. Several years before the Great War they left that band to form an unattached and certainly non-temperance band of their own in Tottenham. Known details of this band are sketchy all the other members were Irish-born including their brother-in-law Matt OBrien. The band transferred as a unit to become the parish band at SS. Mary and Michaels in Commercial Road. Paddy volunteered for the Queens Own Regiment in 1915 and following transfer he served in the pipe band of the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles in France Salonika and Palestine48 under his former pipe-major from The Borough Johnny Maloney and with his maternal second cousin Stevie Gardiner. Paddy Fogarty 1915. George Willis George P. Willis The Pipes Drums of The London Irish Rifles 2005 46 The Sunday Post 9.10.1921 reported that a large crowd Irish pipers and representatives of the Irish Self-Determination League the Gaelic League the Roger Casement Sinn Fein Club the Irish League of Women and the Gaelic Athletic Association all led by Art OBrien met the delegation from Dublin at Euston the previous evening but Michael Collins wasnt among them The report surmised that he might have been due to arrive later or he was already secretly in London. 47 For the official story see Michael Hopkinson Green against Green The Irish Civil War Dublin Gill Macmillan 1988 p.112-3. See also Dr. Michael Maguire Act of War in The Irish Post 8.8.1998. 48 Corbally London Irish Rifles p.31 p.33. Willis Willis Pipes Drums p.104 gives France Macedonia Egypt. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 317 Paddy was discharged in 1919 and he re-formed the Commercial Road Pipe Band including at that time his brother Tom his cousin Stevie Gardiner his son Mick and Seamus Jim OCarroll. After some dissention in the early twenties they disbanded and re-formed as a second version of the Tottenham Irish Pipe Band. Tottenham Irish Pipe Band was organised by Paddy Fogarty with no committee no official meetings and no account books. For most of its existence there were no headquarters and no practice room except Paddys home at 99 Craven Park Road though at first the band had had free use of a room at the Tottenham tramway yard. Allen Nicholson commenting on his fellow bandsmen said They was all rough and ready chaps. There was nobody high class amongst em. This is corroborated by Paddys son Joe Fogarty who remembered that his father had some pretty tough blokes in the band. My father he said was a tough man. Hes cracked many a mans chin. He was also a heavy drinker and in fact most of the bandsmen were drinkers. The band particularly when it was first formed was dominated numerically by members of the Fogarty family with Paddy and Tom Fogarty and Stevie Gardiner of the elder generation and of the younger generation Paddys sons Paddy junior and Mick and a relative on the ONeill side of the family Peter Kennedy junior. Jim OCarroll and Dinny Walsh both pipers were local lads. The drummers less vivid in the memories of informants were Tommy Button and Tommy Fruin the latter bringing with him regimental-band experience as bugle- major in the Surrey Regiment. Allen Nicholson through membership of the band became a close associate of Paddy Fogartys and went on to be a key figure in London-Irish piping. Born in 1897 in Bethnal Green his family was neither Irish nor Catholic and he converted later when he married a London-Irish woman. His music experience as a lad of twelve had been as a bass drummer in the Boys Brigade. After the Great War he organised a drum-and- fife band in the East End with some good flute players discharged from the Army until Peter Kennedy senior introduced him to Paddy Fogarty. He was required to adjust his method of playing the bass drum to suit the pipe band and typical of the trial-and-error inventive spirit of this group of musicians he told Paddy You just tell me what youre playing two-four or six-eight. Thats all I want to know. The personnel of the band varied during its twenty-year lifetime. There was always a nucleus of regular players some were old-timers and some were Paddy Fogartys current pupils. Stand-in musicians were employed from time to time and dummies without a reed in the chanter were sometimes used to swell the size of the band or to help someone who needed the money. Those bandsmen who have been remembered by informants are Jack Dove father of Paddys foster son Johnny Vaughan Paddys brother-in-law Jim OHara a Mayo man who ran a contracting business in Croydon on the Surrey border Tommy Nolan who worked as a barman Joe Murphy a London-Irish lad whose father worked with Paddy Joe Askew a drummer Mickie Green from Cork Pat Goulding a Gaelic Leaguer from south of the Thames Pipe-Major Clancy a Scotsman and Harry Hough of the Gaelic League. The entire band led by Harry Hough also fulfilled Gaelic Athletic Association engagements in the late 1930s as the Gaelic League Pipers Band. In the early post-Great War years the band appeared in public in civilian clothes with no trimmings of any kind. The need to put on a show for their paid engagements directed them towards the adoption of a band uniform. The uniforms of the London Irish Rifles the Irish Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 318 Guards and Scottish pipers in London were the model rather than the national costume of the Gaelic League. Around 1924 or 1925 members of the band rigged themselves out in saffron kilts and green tunics caubeens and socks from second-hand Army equipment and second- hand clothing altered patched and dyed by the men and their wives. Wear and tear and a turnover of members necessitated constant renewal of these band uniforms. One kilt was obtained at the Tower by getting an Irish Guards piper drunk and stealing it from him as he was wearing it. Allen Nicholson remembered that Getting the clothes that was the main thing. Do you know what Ive done when were getting up for St. Patricks Day Ive gone Petticoat not Petticoat Lane Brick Lane. You see we got these old socks and stockings there and that and might be penny a pair of stockings something like that. I pick up what I think and used to get em home hapenny dolly dye and dye em green wait till they dry so wed all have green stockings...... Well when they first put kilts on some had long pants underneath. It was a lark it was to watch it. Back to front some of them had. Since the Tottenham Irish Pipe Band49 was not a parish band church engagements were not common though some of the bandsmen played in other bands for the outdoor processions. As the Irish band most available during the 1920s and early 1930s to accept paid engagements the Tottenham band undertook most of the Irish nationalist and political parades and rallies. In competition with all kinds of English and Scottish bands it played for a fair proportion of Labour Party and Union demonstrations hospital charity carnivals and similar events. Some of the political marches involved the whole band but sometimes the fee ran only to a smaller unit or a solo piper. Mick Fogarty marched alone more than once at the head of a demonstration from Tottenham Town Hall to Hyde Park ten miles or more for thirty shillings and several times he marched them back for a further ten shillings. On one engagement possibly to meet an in-coming hunger march he headed a procession from Mile End to Feltham in Middlesex. The money was good but the jobs called for stamina and endurance particularly in keeping the bag of the pipes filled with wind. There were trips to the hop-fields and stand-in jobs in the pipe bands of the London Irish Rifles in both London and Northern Ireland and for the Gaelic League. In 1938 and 1939 Joe Murphy and Paddy Fogarty piped for the demonstrations of the Social Credit Party of Great Britain in the East End. 49 In interview Dinny OConnell consistently referred to the Tottenham Pipe band as the Brien Boru Pipe Band. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 319 Mick Fogarty is clearly recognisable playing the war pipes accompanied by a side drum and a bass drum at a hunger march Rally in Hyde Park in 1932. Henry E. White The Pageant of the Century 1934 Perhaps more than any other Irish pipers in London the Tottenham pipers embraced busking as a normal activity going out purposely to supplement their income or seizing any opportunity to go round with the hat after an engagement. Busking was often linked with playing for fun when after a booking they had a few drinks and formed a circle outside a pub entertaining the crowd. Busking was Mick Fogartys main source of income between the wars. He could go out alone but he preferred a partner one to play and the other to collect and particularly when he was a teenager he needed somebody older to look after him. His first main partner was Dinny Walsh the same age as his elder brother Paddy and the two of them busked round pubs on Saturday nights. Allen Nicholson recalled those times He was busking for quite a few years the Thirties. And hed tell you how he used to come up to the pub called the Flower Pot there in St. Annes Road Tottenham and he used come in there of a night about nine oclock. He used to come in with a pound picked up and all the old timers they were all in there having a drink and he was a rich man used to make way for him. You could buy forty pints with one pound. In the 1930s Mick Fogarty and Jack Dove alias Pipe Major Duff dressed in tartan and playing Scottish material busked during the daytime to the office workers in The City with Tug Wilson doing the collecting or knobbing as they called it. This high profile outside their own community facilitated access to some highly-paid private and Society jobs particularly on Burns Night and Hogmannay. One such lucrative engagement which ran for six consecutive years was seeing-in the New Year at the Astoria Ballroom in Charing Cross Road accompanied by Joe Losss Dance Orchestra. Another lucky break was Micks brief encounter with the film industry when in 1935 he recorded Highland Laddie for the soundtrack of The Ghost Goes West and two years later he and another piper Simpson walked on playing the pipes in Storm in a Teacup.50 Paddy Fogarty first learned piping at the age of seventeen from Pipe-Major MacKenzie at The Borough and it is safe to assume MacKenzie applied a teaching method practised in the Scots 50 Rene Clair director The Ghost Goes West Denham London Films 1935 Mick Fogarty is not listed in the credits Ian Dalrymple Victor Saville directors Storm in a Teacup London London Films 1937. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 320 Guards. Joe Murphy who thirty-odd years later was Paddys pupil explained the method as he understood it The early pipers and Pa was still using it they use the sound of the mouth a humdiree hidurum durumduree hidurum and they taught one another like that mouth to ear..... They have to make the sound of the tune and your brain will tell you which finger on the practice chanter. This does not preclude the possibility of practical demonstration and other forms of rote teaching but it places the emphasis on aural transmission. Joe Murphys demonstration of mouth music is clearly related to canntaireachd the Scottish pibroch system of notation in which both the note and grace-note figurations of that music are represented by vocable syllables.51 Joe Murphy is certain that Paddy Fogartys lilting simply communicated the melody. Grace notes or the grips had to be learned separately. Sheila Murphy ne Fogarty is certain that her father kept it in his head but her elder brother Joe was equally certain their father was musically literate. Allen Nicholson described the process of the Tottenham pipers learning in a group lilting the melody and fingering the side of their empty beer glasses as if they were practice chanters They learnt more tunes in the Flower Pot cause Mickie was going about with Scots people... First piper they had up there used to teach Mick used to go up there with him. Well anyway. Friday nights theyd be all on their pint glasses humming the tune to get the finger work on this one tune. It was comical but they had a good band in the end. Most newcomers to the band were instructed by Paddy Fogarty. His daughter Sheila recalled When my father taught loads and loads we always had Thursday night practice night there was always about six men there. Different people coming and going all the time. He never charged em for teaching em. He had untold patience for teaching people whereas I dont think my brother Mick I dont think he could teach many people. I dont think he had the patience or the flair for it really. Dinny OConnell himself a piper had this to say about the casual membership of the band Eugene McCarthy Harry Hough and his brother-in-law Seamus Carroll and one or two others formed the Gaelic League Pipers. Well they were taught by fingers taught by anybody so they were not so together. At one time Paddy Fogarty that was in the Tottenham Pipers and Im not so sure it wasnt the same thing went on there because youd see fellas walking out with them one week they would be there one week and then be out with the band the following week. Allen Nicholsons view that Tottenham Irish Pipe Band was a good band musically correct implies a degree of cohesion achieved by training and practice. Mick Fogarty remembered however that once the band was established there was no need to rehearse as they all could play all right. Paddy Fogarty taught most of his sons and daughters while they were still children. His oldest son Paddy began before the Great War while Mick who was born in 1907 had to wait until his father returned from the War in 1919. Young Paddy was a good piper but Mick was outstanding out-stripping the men when he was only fourteen and in the opinion of Ailean Nicholson an experienced and knowledgeable professional Army piper he was the best piper the London-Irish community ever produced. Joe injured his hand just as he started to learn which thwarted his ambition to play but he knew about piping and learned to play the pipes repertory on the Jews harp. Tom could play but he went out with the band only once when he was eighteen and Maggie while she could manage the chanter 51 Francis Collinson Traditional and National Music of Scotland London Routledge Kegan Paul 1966 p.172. For further discussion see pp.190-2. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 321 was unable to co-ordinate the full set of bagpipes. Sheila started at about ten years old and was taught by both her father and her brother Mick. A meeting organised by the Irish Determination League of Great Britain demanding the release of Irish prisoners in Trafalgar Square February 1922. The band on the left is the Tottenham Irish Pipe Band with Allen Nicholson bass drum and Pa Fogarty to the left of him in the picture. In the top right quarter of the picture Harry Hough leads the Gaelic League Pipers Band. Cork Weekly Examiner 25 February 1922 Mick Fogarty a boy with a home-made drum in central London at the time of adult recruiting parades August 1914. Henry E. White The Pageant of the Century 1934 Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 322 Paddy Fogarty started Mick on the chanter at twelve years of age and moved him on to the full set of bagpipes at thirteen. The Old Man he said taught me what he knew. He wasnt a bad piper. Quite fair. Mick also learned from Eddie Grace who had been in the London Irish Rifles during the Great War and from a Scotsman whose name he had forgotten. Mick read printed notation fluently and is reputed to have spent most of his spare time working through pipe tune-books. His first public appearance a boy among men was with the Commercial Road Pipe Band at a hospital Easter carnival in the East End in 1921. A little later when he was fourteen his father sent him for a few lessons to Donald Munroe a professional piper who taught in Lawries shop in Oxford Street. Munroe was amazed at what Mick could do and taught him some fundamentals of pibroch and introduced him to slowly- paced competition tunes. Mick recalled that from that moment I got it what pipes was about. Mick stopped attending when after a short time the family budget was unable to sustain the weekly half-crown for lessons. Monroe offered to teach Mick for nothing but working-class pride did not allow for that kind of transaction. Mick continued to learn what he could how and where he could I struggled on. I went to an old piper Barney Gunn from Wick. He put me on the road properly pointed out mistakes. Turned out all right in the end. Single-mindedness almost obsession characterised Mick Fogartys dedication to piping. It had little to do with competitiveness it was the fascination with piping in all its facets and any opportunity to be involved in any way was worth almost any effort. A good example occurred around 1921 or 1922 when he was fourteen or fifteen. Stevie Gardiner and Peter Kennedy were assisting a newly-formed parish pipe band at Dockhead and Mick walked twice a week for about two years from Tottenham to Bermondsey with a tram ride halfway home as he put it to help em out. This was more than making up the number Mick was teaching men when he was still a boy himself. Most movements have their heroes and London-Irish pipers have the tale of Mick Fogartys success in a Scottish piping competition at Fetter Lane in Holborn. There are many hearsay versions but Micks own account terse and characteristically off-hand contains all the ingredients of this David and Goliath story I didnt want to go in. A woman put my name down. I been out all night. Got home two oclock in the morning. Walked in saw all the Scots Guardsmen not many civilians. I was nervous. Took the pipes out of the case. You wont get anywhere with them It went the other way. Well see about that Started tuning slashing off grace notes pibroch. They looked didnt say no more. He was placed second although many London-Irish pipers who were not even there placed him first. They acknowledge that the judges could hardly have given him first place at a Scottish competition for the finest professional Army pipers playing a two-drone set of Irish war pipes and wearing an Irish saffron kilt. Micks final comment on the matter in interview was They didnt think much of Irish pipers in them days. Sheila Fogarty also showed remarkable ability. She thinks now that her father wanted her to be better than her brother Michael. She was about twelve around 1937 when she was sent to Angus MacAuley in Charlotte Street for advanced tuition. Having heard her and knowing who her family were MacAuley said he was unable to accept her as he thought he would not be able to take her any further. An offer as a teenager of a promising career in the Girl Pipers with the possibility of becoming pipe-major at eighteen was declined by her parents because of her age and because the job would have involved her travelling abroad. Her position as a girl and a woman in a mans world was ambiguous particularly in view of her ability and her fathers pride in her. She was probably the only female piper of any consequence at that time Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 323 in the London-Irish community and there was no natural place for her. She never worked with the Tottenham band and her public appearances were limited to those times after band engagements when her father as she put it made her join in informal music-making partly to show her off. The Tottenham Irish Pipe Band including Harry Hough Mick Fogarty Pa Fogarty in the leading rank at the GAA Annual Sports Woolwich Common Whit-Monday 1932. Cork Weekly Examiner 7 May 1932 Tottenham Irish Pipe Band circa 1930. Harry Hough first in right-hand rank Pa Fogarty in centre with moustache looking to his right As far as repertory was concerned Paddy Fogarty was said to have had hundreds of tunes. Mick Fogarty was reputed to have known all the tunes that is all the standard Irish and all Scottish published repertory and he kept up with the latest compositions. The Tottenham Irish Pipe Band included some Scottish material in their normal repertory. Tottenham Irish Pipe Band ceased to function at the beginning of the Second World War. Band jobs dried up and the younger musicians were conscripted. Sheila Murphy believes her father tried to re-enlist in the London Irish Rifles presumably as a piper but he was well over age. He continued playing spot jobs such as a Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph with a scratch Air Raid Precaution band. Mick Fogarty was directed into war-work on ARP heavy rescue and he found little time for playing the pipes. He remembered one engagement during the Blitz for the Casey brothers when on St. Patricks Night 1941 together with his fathers Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 324 pupil Tommy Nolan he played at three Irish dance halls St. Patricks in Bayswater one out in Essex and another in Harlesden. Soon after that he was called-up in the Royal Artillery and a letter from Allen Nicholson to the right place resulted in his being transferred to the London Irish Rifles to teach cadet pipers. Ailean Nicholson explained forty-odd years later They didnt send good pipers abroad couldnt afford to lose them. Didnt want to lose their knowledge. The familys piping career revived after the war with the formation in 1948 of a parish band the Tower Hill Pipe Band under the leadership of Paddy Fogarty. M male. F female. Pipers are underlined. Drummers are in italics. Joe Fogarty played the pipes repertory on the Jews harp. John Dove was the son of a piper Jack Dove. Not all the non-musicians are noted. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 325 Profile of the Dagenham Irish Pipe Band The Dagenham Irish Pipe Band was in existence from 1932 to 1939 in the suburban town of Dagenham in Essex on the eastern outskirts of London. The town was developed in the 1920s to house and service the workforce of Fords car factory. Its largely working-class population included Irishmen transferred from Fords in Cork. The Dagenham Girl Pipers composed originally of eleven-year-old working-class girls from a Congregational Sunday school having been formed in 193052 served as a model to Joe Deedon who started a mens band in 1932 drawing mostly on Fords employees and Dagenham council workers. Unlike most mainstream workingmens bands this was an informal organisation with no written constitution and consequently no formal officers no minutes and no financial accounts. The band consisted almost entirely of manual workers mostly skilled or semi-skilled. Most were married council-estate dwellers and the majority were teetotallers or moderate drinkers. Some were rural Irish some were urban Irish some were London-Irish and a small minority were English and Scottish. It was decided that as the majority were Irish by birth or extraction and Catholic the band should be Irish rather than Scottish. Running costs for the band were low. Each member bore the cost of equipping himself. Most engagements in the early days were undertaken free sometimes involving bandsmen in expense but later professional bookings involved a share-out of the fee five shillings to new members and fifteen shillings to established bandsmen. Average wages at Fords were better than those of London-Irish parish bandsmen which accounted for the Dagenham pipers being the best-equipped Irish band in the London area. Harry Hough of the Gaelic League tailored uniforms from material manufactured in the Free State at thirteen pounds each. The uniform based on a British Army model was a hybrid of national icons green tunics cloaks socks and bonnets saffron kilts and motifs on silver buttons badges broaches and buckles being Irish while sporrans and bonnets pulled down to the right and the Highland pipes were Scottish. Further Irish touches were added later when bonnets were pulled to the left and tapes were wound criss-cross round the socks in what was believed to be ancient Irish style. Allen Nicholson an established Irish pipe-band musician from Bethnal Green undertook the initial tuition of the bandsmen. Precision in unison playing was lacking at first as a consequence of several of the pipers from Ireland being ear-players and the influence of Allen Nicholsons unconventional busking technique. Drumming was of a higher standard as there were two former Army drummers in the band. On his arrival from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1934 to work at Fords Bill Bradley who was an experienced piper became pipe-major. Pipers were then tutored as a group with chalk and blackboard practising at home from hand- written exercises and from a printed tune-book. Parade drill was undertaken by any one of several former soldiers amongst the band. Pipe-Major MacDonald acted as an advisor and after the band had become well established Daniel Barry a local bookmaker appointed himself as band president to the resentment of some of the members. The repertory was small consisting of about twenty Irish marches in two-four and six-eight time learned by heart from notation. In addition there were hymn tunes for parish processions. Some bookings required new material such as selections of reels and jigs for an engagement 52 Robert Tredinnik sleeve notes Tartan and Lace The Pipes and Drums of the Dagenham Girl Pipers extended-play record London Parlophone GEP8634 nd 1950. The Dagenham Girl Pipers London Dagenham Girl Pipers nd pp.3-5 notes that although the band was formed in October 1930 and was trained by Pipe Major G. Douglas Taylor of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers they appeared publicly only after practicing in secret for eighteen months. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 326 in the Royal Albert Hall and the 1916 rebel song Wrap the Green Flag round Me reworked in slow march-time for the Terence McSwiney Memorial Procession from Brixton prison to Southwark cathedral. The Dagenham Irish Pipe Band second left Harry Hough and young boy sixth left AileanGeorge Nicholson Dagenham Essex mid-1930s. courtesy John Neary The Dagenham Irish Pipe Band 1937. handbill The band served community needs in Dagenham performing at fetes carnivals wrestling matches and the annual outdoor procession of St. Peters but many of their engagements were within London-Irish communities in London. They were absorbed into the outdoor procession circuit of the riverside parishes on one occasion being led from the East End over London Bridge by The Borough Pipe Band both bands playing partly as a defiant gesture to the police to be given an unofficial freedom of The Borough.53 Their cabaret performance at the St. Patricks Night ball in the Royal Albert Hall in 1937 was a great success and consequent 53 They played in the procession in honour of Our Lady of Ransome at Dockhead in July 1937 Cork Weekly Examiner 12 .6.1937. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 327 coverage in the Cork Weekly Examiner brought further exposure.54 They were booked for a similar gala show at the Empress Hall the following year and they appeared at Caseys dance hall in Bayswater at the Tara dance hall in Hammersmith at East Ham palais and for several week-long engagements in suburban variety theatres at for example Lewisham and Willesden. In the course of seven years the Dagenham Irish Pipe Band in responding to current demands for constructive leisure had created its own format and repertory and it had explored new social functions and outlets. Mirroring the manner in which the London-Irish and Irish immigrants were occupying public space in the London area during the mid and late 1930s the band shifted its emphasis from amateur performance based in the community to involvement in commercial show business. The band reached a peak of performance and popularity after four years and sustained that position for a further three years. The War reduced the availability of its members and eliminated the sources of engagements and the band never saw the 1940s. There was already dissension in the ranks in 1938 or 1939 over the behaviour of some of the married band members who had allegedly encouraged the advances of some female fans. Front rank Pipe-Major Bill Bradley Dan OBrien John Neary John Neary at home in Dagenham Paddy McDonnell. courtesy John Neary The Irish Post 1981. The Irish Post 8 August 1981 19 October 1974 John Neary Eddie Shanahan and Paddy McDonnell resigned and subsequently formed the Irish Piping Trio which made semi-professional appearances at Irish clubs and dance halls in the first few months before the War. This was a departure in function as they played not so much as a cabaret act but rather as a novelty accompaniment for general dancing and they built up a repertory of tunes for the old-time waltz. Having been directed into the National Fire Service in 1940 John Neary and Eddie Shanahan organised the Dagenham Pipe Band within its ranks using an exclusively Irish repertory including rebel songs and after the War Eddie Shanahan joined the Tower Hill Pipe Band. Of the other bandsmen the schoolboy Ailean Nicholson had entered the boys service in 1938 and went on to a successful piping career in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Collins brothers joined the London Irish Rifles serving in the combined role of piper and stretcher bearer while the rest are thought never to have played again. 54 Whelan in Cork Weekly Examiner 13 27.3.1937 3 24.4.1937 1 15.5.1937 10.7.1937 18.6.1938. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 328 John Neary Eddie Shanahan Paddy McDonnell but which is which 1939. trade card courtesy John Neary The connection with the London-Irish is clear but as a workingmens organisation the bands origins values and social functions compare closely with those of the contemporary carnival bands in the North of England which points to it satisfying needs within mainstream working-class culture as much as those particular to the London-Irish Roman Catholic community.55 THE DAGENHAM IRISH PIPE BAND 1932-1939 BAND MEMBERS PLACE OF ORIGIN EMPLOYMENT FUNCTION IN THE BAND MUSICAL MILITARY OR ETHNICITY EXPERIENCE Daniel Barry London-Irish bookmaker band president - Michael Behan Cork - Highland pipes treasurer - Bill Bradley Newcastle-Irish Fords carpenter Highland pipes pipe-major City of Newcastle Municipal Pipe Band Joe Deedon - carpenter Highland pipes London Irish Rifles Pipe Band C. Collins Cork - tenor drum .Highland pipes London Irish Rifles Pipe Band J. Collins Cork - tenor drum - W. Condon Cork Fords foundry Highland pipes mace bearer - Paddy Herilihy Cork Fords side drum Irish army pipers band in Cork Pat Heslan Cork Fords foundry Highland pipes side tenor drum Brien Boru Pipers Band Cork City Paddy Hourihan Drimoleague West Cork Fords foundry Highland pipes - Johnny Knott London English - side drum regimental band. John McCarthy Cork Fords foundry. tenor drum - Pipe-Major MacDonald Scottish - adviser - Paddy McDonnell Carrigaline 55 See Ronnie Wharton Arthur Clarke The Tommy Talker Bands of the West Riding The History and Development of a Working-Class Entertainment Bradford the authors 1979 Brian Holland Heres to the Next Time Carnival Jazz Bands of the Nineteen-Twenties and Thirties Manchester Neil Richardson 1988. Part 3 Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945. Chapter 15 The Bagpipe Tradition. 329 Co. Cork - Highland pipes pipe sergeant - Simon Moylan Knockbrack Mallow Co. Cork Fords Highland pipes - Chris Murphy London-Irish Highland pipes London Irish Rifles Pipe Band John Neary near Swinford building worker Co. Mayo formerly at Fords Highland pipes treasurer rural flute player Moriarty Cork Bethnal Green council worker - an East End band C. Negus London - mace bearer - Allen Nicholson Bethnal Green London Scottish forebears labourer Highland pipes secretary also in Tottenham Pipe Band Ailean George Bethnal Green London Nicholson Scottish Irish forebears school boy Highland pipes Dan OBrien West Cork Fords carpenter Irish war pipes Brien Boru Pipers Band Cork City Dan OConnell Drimoleague West Cork Fords Highland pipes - Jimmy OHara Mayo or Cork - Highland pipes - Eddie Shanahan - - Highland pipes London Irish Rifles Pipe Band Jim Smith Kildare - - bass drum - Sgt. Swaby London English - side drum Guards regimental band George Willis London-Irish Poplar - pipes - Part 3. Creation of Urban Traditions Music Dance of the London-Irish Working Class 1890-1945 Chapter 15a. Some Conclusions 330 SOME CONCLUSIONS The London-Irish working-class cultural institutions based in the parishes namely outdoor processions parish bands and ceilidh dancing were essentially the product of an urban working class. Clearly some lead came from the clergy and other respectable and influential members of that community but a great deal of the pioneering and sustaining energy came from grass roots. These cultural institutions were fashioned from existing resources to meet needs within the community and they flourished so long as those resources and needs existed. It will be seen however in chapter 21 The Decline of Urban Tradition that in the period shortly after the Second World War social conditions and aspirations were greatly changed and thus these institutions were unsustainable. Many new immigrants in the 1930s and during the War became urban workers in service trades light manufacturing and nursing. The commercial Irish dance halls created a paradox for them in sorting out their identity. In congregating together they sustained some sense of being Irish while the attraction to bright lights and modern dancing directed them towards integration with the mainstream of working-class city-dwellers. Particularly during the War the dance halls flourished and as will be seen in Chapters 27 28 The Commercial Dance Halls they entered a new phase in the 1950s responding to different needs within the new immigrant community. The philosophy of the Gaelic revival informed both aspects of urban tradition the parish bands and the dance halls to some extent although by no means fully. While fundamentalist input was slight and relatively ineffectual the Gaelic League legacy was pervasive reinforced from the pulpit and in the Irish press. The Gaelic Athletic Association had a large following and the Gaelic League could still attract capacity crowds of London-Irish and new immigrants to its annual St. Patricks Day concert and to the Lundainn Feis. Between the wars Irish people in London whether London-Irish migrants or immigrants who chose to express their Irishness through music and dance had only a medium heavily influenced by the Gaelic revival. Lucy Farrs account of dancing in the parish hall of St. Saviours in the south-eastern suburb of Lewisham during the mid-1930s illustrates the degree to which new immigrants had to modify their attitudes and behaviour. Brought up on a small farm in the West of Ireland immersed in the tradition of domestic music-making and country-house dancing and working in London as a nurse she was taken by her work-mates to an Irish dance. She found everything different from home the mix of people the presence of the priest payment for admission the length of the evening the number of people dancing at the same time the size of the dance space the repertory of tunes the instrumentation of the band the style of music the repertory of dances and the style of dancing. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 331 PART 4. CHAPTER 16 DISCOGRAPHY 1899-1945. This discography covers recordings of musicians and singers who were resident or active in London at the time of recording and others who though resident elsewhere were visiting London. It follows a classic form the artist credits as they appear on the record are given in upper case and tune titles are listed as they appear on the record or in the catalogue. Slight variations are not noted. Recording sessions are listed here as near as possible in chronological order. Personnels instruments locations and dates come from a variety of sources and sometimes as given here correct inaccurate information given on the record label. Thanks are due to Arthur Badrock Keith Chandler Bill Dean-Myatt Don Petter Brian Rust and Philippe Varlet for various contributions. This large list of recordings gives the false impression that Irish records were common place. They most certainly were not. Many sold in very small numbers and many remained in catalogue for only short periods. All the recordings in their original form are now rare many are not known to still exist and of those that do exist many are well worn. EMI re-issues on microgroove were processed from EMI factory metal work or EMI archive pressings. Microgroove and digital re-issues on Deja Vu Folkways Globestyle Morning Star Proper Topic Viva Voce were processed from used discs in private hands. John McCormack a trained tenor and a prolific recording artist made many records of Irish parlour ballads and nationalist songs in London 1904-1909. Full details appear in Brian Fawcett Johnston Count John McCormack Discography Bournemouth Talking Machine Review 1968. Kathleen Roddy Denis Cox Richard Hayward also made vocal records which are of only borderline interest in this context and are therefore not included. Peter and Dan Wyper and James Brown were Scottish accordeon players and recorded in London. Some of their material was Irish and might have interested some London-Irish possibly as accompaniment to step-dancing but as no specific evidence has been forthcoming they too are not included. NO ARTIST CREDIT Thomas Garaghan union pipes. London 7 October 1899. Queens Coronation cylinder Berliner E7703 Steamboat Hornpipe cylinder Berliner E7704 London 13 October 1899. Irish Washerwoman cylinder Berliner E7710 March Past cylinder Berliner E7711 Low-Backed Car cylinder Berliner E7712 THOMAS GARAGHAN union pipes. London 1904 or earlier. Steamboat Hornpipe Zonophone 12899 Miss McClouds Reel Zonophone 12900 The Irish Washerwoman Jig Zonophone 1290 Thomas Garaghan was known to both the Gaelic League in London and the theatre world. It is not known how contact was made between him and the record companies. A. J. SCOTT melodeon probably Lilian Bryant piano. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 332 London c. August 1906. 652 77412 Irish Reels cylinder Sterling 652 Path 1417 653 77411 Irish Jigs cylinder Sterling 653 Path 1416 654 77410 Irish Hornpipes cylinder Sterling 654 Path 1416 A. J. Scott is a mystery. Keith Chandler has found a reference to him in Limerick but there is no known reference to his presence in London apart from this recording session and those that follow. His instrument is credited as an accordeon on the evidence of his later recordings it is a single-row melodeon. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. mid-late 1906. Irish Jig cylinder White 119 Heather Breeze cylinder White 133 See note for August 1906. A. J. SCOTT melodeon. London c. March 1907. Irish Reels Heather Breeze Bonnie Kate cylinder Columbia Symphonic 201661 The White Cockade cylinder Columbia Symphonic 201662 Irish Jigs The Irish Washerwoman The Frost Is Over cylinder Columbia Symphonic 201663 Liverpool and Plantation Hornpipes cylinder Columbia Symphonic 201664 Rosineau Schottische cylinder Columbia Symphonic 201665 See note for August 1906. Paddy Killoran the SligoNew York fiddle player later recorded Rosineau Schottische as Henrys Favourite Barndance. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. late 1907. 78036 Irish Jigs The Irish Washerwoman Rory OMore Path 8100 Actuelle 11258 78037 Irish Jigs Drummers Boys The Campbells Are Coming Path 8100 Actuelle 11258 7803842322 The Sailors and Plantation Hornpipes Path 78038 78039 Path 8096 Path 1645 7803942323 The Dublin and College Green Hornpipes Path 78038 78039 Path 4232242323 Path 1645 Actuelle 10832 78040 7057 Mountain Dew Rolling Down the Hills Path 8101 Path Diamond 0373 Actuelle 10834 78041 7056 Heather Reels and Bonnie Kate Reel Irish Reels Path 8101 Path Diamond 0373 Actuelle 10834 See note for August 1906. Path was a French film and record company with a London office and distribution in the UK. What Scott calls the Sailors Hornpipe is commonly called The Manchester or Ricketts. Tom Morrison the GalwayNew York flute player later recorded The Plantation Hornpipe as The London Clog. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 333 Reg Hall Collection A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. April 1909. LXO 697 22067 London and Dublin Hornpipes Jumbo 354 Odeon 2206722071 as Medley of Irish Hornpipes Ariel 1513 LXO 698 22068 Rory OMore and Tipperary Boys - Jigs Jumbo 392 Odeon 2206822073 Odeon 21015 Okeh 21015 Ariel 1514 Kalophone 544 LXO 699 22069 Miss McCloud The Mayo Lassies - Reel Jumbo 339 Odeon 2206922070 Ariel 1512 as Sailors Hornpipe Odeon 21016 OKeh 21016 LXO 700 22070 Rosebud Polka Jumbo 339 Odeon 2206922070 Odeon 21017 Okeh 21017 Ariel 1512 LXO 701 22071 The Liverpool and Blanchard Hornpipes Jumbo 354 Odeon 2206722071 Ariel 1513 22072 The Heather Breeze Bonny Kate - Reels Odeon 2206822073 Ariel 1514 Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 334 See note for August 1906. This session was recorded by Fonotipia and originally issued on the Jumbo label in the UK. Masters were leased to J. G. Graves who ran a department store in Sheffield and Ariel a mail-order record label. The Odeon and Okeh discs were issued in the USA. The Mayo Lassies is Drowsy Maggie. Sailors Hornpipe is mislabelled. Reg Hall Collection A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. January February 1910. 78854 Medley of Irish Airs Path 8310 Actuelle 10832 78855 The Nightingale Poppies Irish Hornpipes Path 8310 See note for August 1906. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. July August 1910. LXO 1113 22116 Rosineau Barn Dance Jumbo A356 Odeon 2211622117 Ariel 1516 Kalophone 544 LXO 1114 44337 22117 Summer Breezes Waltz Jumbo A356 Odeon 630 Odeon 2211622117 Odeon 0182 Ariel 1516 LXO 1115 44341 22118 Medley of Popular Irish Airs Jumbo 555 Odeon 630 Odeon 2211822119 Odeon 0182 Ariel 1515 Scala F487 LXO 1116 22119 Medley of Irish Hornpipes Jumbo 555 Odeon 2211822119 as Deil Amang the Tailors - Reel Odeon 21016 44345 Medley of Reels Odeon 4434544346 Odeon 604 Odeon 0181 44346 Medley of Jigs Odeon 4434544346 Odeon 604 Odeon 0181 Ariel 1515 Scala F 487 See note for August 1906. This is a Fonotipia recording session. Paddy Killoran the SligoNew York fiddle player later recorded Rosineau Schottische as Henrys Favourite Barndance. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 335 Reg Hall Collection A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London either c. December 1910 or July 1911. 41181 The London and Dublin Hornpipe Beka 545 as Moonlighters Hornpipe Scala 275 Lyceum 42 41182 Bonnie Kate Scotch Reel Beka 545 Scala F 486 41189 Tipperary Boys Irish Jig Beka 544 as 11189 Tipperary Jig Scala 275 Lyceum 42 41190 Rosineau Barn Dance Beka 544 See note for August 1906. Paddy Killoran the SligoNew York fiddle player later recorded Rosineau Schottische as Henrys Favourite Barndance. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. May 1911. LXO 1410 22187 Keel Row Highland Schottische Jumbo 714 Jumbo A22175A22187 Odeon 2217522187 LXO 1411 22175 Orange and Blue Highland Fling Jumbo 714 Jumbo A22175A22187 Odeon 2217522187 LXO 1414 Strathspey Odeon 21017 Okeh 21017 22176 Harvest Home Londonderry Hornpipes Jumbo 846 Odeon 2217622188 22177 Lord Lyndoch Strathespey Jig Jumbo 847 Odeon 2217722189 22178 Tenpenny Bit Campbells Are Coming Scotch Jigs Jumbo 715 Odeon 2217822190 22183 Highland Whiskey Strathespey Odeon 2218322186 22184 Money Musk Highland Fling Jig Jumbo 774 Jumbo A2218422185 Odeon 2218422185 22185 Circassian Circle Scotch Country Dance Jumbo 774 Jumbo A2218422185 Odeon 2218422185 22186 Flowers of Edinboro Country Dance Odeon 2218322186 22188 The White Cockade etc. Scotch Country Dance Jumbo 846 Odeon 2217622188 22189 Lady Carmichael Jumbo 847 Odeon 21015 22190 Inverary Strathespey Reel Jumbo 715 Odeon 2217822190 22198 Canty Auld Man Scotch Jig Odeon 2219822201 22199 Lady Ann Hope Strathespey Jumbo 722 Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 336 Odeon 2219922200 22200 Stirling Castle Strathespey Jumbo 722 Odeon 2219922200 22201 Kinigad Slashers Scotch Jig Odeon 2219822201 See note for August 1906. In this a Fonotipia session A. J. Scott plays a Scottish repertory in competition to Peter Wyper on Regal. Lady Carmichael is a schottische and breaks into an Irish reel Miss Johnson. Reg Hall Collection WILLIAM N. ANDREWS Billy Andrews union pipes. London circa 7 August 1911. Erin-Go-Bragh Selection of Irish Melodies no.2 Beka 41270-1 Erin-Go-Bragh Selection of Irish Melodies no.3 Beka 41270-1 London circa September 1911. The Coulin Miss McLeods Reel Bell Disc 343 Billy Byrne Trip to the Cottage Bell Disc 343 The Snowy Breasted Pearl Bell Disc 344 The Last Rose of Summer etc. Bell Disc 344 The Blackbird etc. Bell Disc 345 The Wearing of the Green etc. Bell Disc 345 Believe Me If All Those Endearing Charms Bell Disc 346 Yellow John My Sweetheart Jane Bell Disc 346 WILLIAM ANDREWS Billy Andrews union pipes. London 1910s. 8450 Cuckoos Nest Hornpipe Will You Come Home with Me Jig Path 79386 75219RA Dear Irish Boy Air Wexford Hornpipe Path 79386 Billy Andrews born in Dublin in 1873 was a member of the Dublin Pipers Club. He won first prize at the Oireachtas in 1911 which presumably led to these recording sessions. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. September 1911. 79336 The Keel Row Path 8468 Actuelle 10424 79337 Orange Blue - Highland Fling Path 8468 Actuelle 10424 as Highland Fling Actuelle 11322 79338 The White Cockade Path 8556 Actuelle 10421 79339 Canty Auld Man Path 8556 Actuelle 10422 79340 Lord Lyndoch Strathspey Path 8501 Path 1656 Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 337 Actuelle 10421 79341 Paddy OCarroll - Irish Jig Path 8501 See note for August 1906. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London probably 1912. Lx-1540-2 44337 Summer Breezes Waltz Odeon 4433741 Odeon 630 Odeon 0182 Lx-1530 44341 Medley of Popular Irish Airs Odeon 4434137 Odeon 630 Odeon 0182 44345 Medley of Reels Odeon 4434546 Odeon 604 Odeon 0181 44346 Medley of Jigs Odeon 4434645 Odeon 604 Odeon 0181 My little Nora Odeon 936 See note for August 1906. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London 6 October 1912. E 4207 Woodland Dreams - Waltz Dacapo 449 Arrow A 177 E 4208 Queen of the Forest - Barn Dance Dacapo 449 E 4209 Scotch Reels and Strathspeys Dacapo 450 E 4210 Irish Jigs Reels Dacapo 450 E 4211 Highland Fling Dacapo 426 E 4212 Hornpipe Medley Dacapo 426 See note for August 1906. A. J. SCOTT melodeon unidentified piano. London c. October 1912. 79976 Woodland Dreams Waltz Path 8545 Actuelle 10424 79978 Queen of the Forest Barndance Path 8545 Actuelle 10422 See note for August 1906. PIPE MAJOR DAVID LAING formerly of the Scots Guards Brien Boru pipes. London 1912. LXO1300 The Flowers of The Forest Jumbo 614 Ariel 1505 LXO1301 Mary Morison Mary of Argyle Jumbo 614 Ariel 1505 A Scottish piper playing Scottish tunes on the Brien Boru pipes invented by Henry Starck in London. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 338 Reg Hall Collection PIPE MAJOR J. STARCK London Irish Rifles Pipe Major Albert Starck Brien Boru pipes. London c. February-March 1913. 28439 Killarney Let Ireland Remember Regal G6238 28440 Rakes of Mallow Wearin o The Green Regal G6238 Columbia A1692 28441 March Faugaballagb Regal G6239 Columbia A1692 28442 The Dublin Jig St. Patricks Day Regal G6239 Albert Starck was the son of Henry Starck inventor and manufacturer of the Brien Boru pipes. Their premises were near Euston Station. Columbia A1692 is an American issue. Reg Hall Collection WILLIAM ANDREWS Billy Andrews union pipes. London c.1915. The Wearing of the Green cylinder Edison 14105 Rocky Road to Dublin cylinder Edison 14106 The Coulin cylinder Edison 14116 The Dear Irish Boy cylinder Edison 14125 The Blacksmiths Reel cylinder Edison 14161 Will You Come Home with Me cylinder Edison 14164 See the note for 11 August 1911. Billy Andrews still a member of the Dublin Pipers Club presumably had some sort of the reputation within the record industry from his earlier recordings. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 339 WILLIAM N. ANDREWS Billy Andrews war pipes union pipes . HMV studio Hayes Middlesex 19 May 1923. Bb.2718-1 Lanigans Ball Jig Wexford Hompipe HMV B1636 Bb.2719-2 Hornpipe The Rakes of Kildare Blacksmith HMV B1636 See the note for 11 August 1911. It is not known why a large British record company should have recorded Irish material that could be seen as nationalist for issue in its domestic catalogue so soon after the establishment of the Irish Free State on 6 December 1922. Billy Andews had appeared at the Gaelic Leagues St. Patricks Day concert in London in 1922. LIAM WALSH AND J. OMAHONEY Liam Walsh union pipes James OMahoney fiddle unidentified piano. London December 1923. 8083-1 The Flogging Reel Winner 3913 8084-1 Jig Medley Humours of Bantry Haste to the Wedding Winner 3913 8085-1 Reel Medley Swallows Tail Bonnie Kate Milliners Daughter Winner 3914 8086-1 Hornpipe Medley Cork Hornpipe Harvest Home Winner 3914 8087-1 Hornpipe Medley ONeils Favourite Greencastle Hornpipe Winner 3915 8088-1 Reel Medley The Heather Breeze Miss McLeod Winner 3915 Liam Walsh from Waterford and James Seamus OMahoney from Mitchelstown Co. Cork. belonged to the Gaelic League in Ireland and Liam Walsh appeared at the Gaelic Leagues St. Patricks Day concerts in London in the early 1920s. The piano player might have been London-Irish rather than a studio musician. The lack of available evidence of any public performance in London at this time suggests that Walsh and OMahoney came over just for the recording. James OMahoney. Cork Examiner Reg Hall Collection 26 July 1930 Jack McCarthy an early member of the Cork Pipers Club James OMahoney winner of the Oireachtas gold medal in 1917 and Tailteann fiddle championship in 1932 Clonmel fiddle player Michael OBrien Cormac OKeeffe All-Ireland step-dance champion 1917-1921 Cork Weekly Examiner 11 April 1963 Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 340 LIAM WALSH union pipes. HMV studio Hayes Middlesex 30 September 1924. Bb5147-1 Hornpipe Medley Dunphys Hornpipe The Woods of Kilkenny HMV B1903 Bb5148-1 Irish Reel Medley The Green Mountain Rakish Paddy HMV B1903 Bb5151-l The Garden of Daisies Set Dance HMV B2073 Topic 12T262 Bb5150-2 The Blackbird HMV B1947 HMV studio Hayes Middlesex 2 October 1924. Bb5168-2 The Banks of the Suir Air Reel HMV B2073 Topic 12T262 Globestyle CDORBD084 Bb5172-2 Salamanca Irish Reel HMV B1947 Bb5173-1 Spillane the Fiddler HMV B2027 Bb5149-1 Jacksons Morning Brush Delaneys Drummers Rambling Pitchfork HMV B2027 See the note for December 1923. Having recorded Billy Andrews HMV turned its attention to Liam Walsh who had some popularity among the Gaelic League members in London. He most probably came over just for the recordings. Reg Hall Collection JOSEPH LEE Joe Lee voice Ed Lee piano. Gennett studio New York 11 May 1925. 9524 The Tanyard Side Gennett 5747 OByrne de Witt 39014 Joe and Ed Lee the brothers of Frank Lee emigrated from London to Philadelphia during the Troubles. They are included here as the nature and the content of their performance would not have changed from the time they left home. It is strange that only one recording was made. Perhaps it was an audition or perhaps other recordings were rejected. Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 341 Reg Hall Collection LEO ROWSOME union pipes. Winner studio Peckham London July 1925. Coulin Air Winner 4259 Copper Plate Reel Winner 4259 9441 Snowy Breasted Pearl Traditional Air Winner 4260 Topic 12T322 Globestyle CDORBD084 9442 Rocky Road to Dublin Slip Jig Winner 4260 Topic L2T322 Blackbird Set Dance Winner 4261 Jig Medley Winner 4261 9445 God Save Ireland The Soldiers Song Winner 4262 9446 Job of Journey Work Set Dance Winner 4262 Leo Rowsome Dublin circa 1925. Reg Hall Collection Part 4. Chapter 16 Discography 1899-1945. 342 It is not known how Leo Rowsome came to make these records. Born in 1903 and based in Dublin he was only 21 or 22 with no personal profile among the London-Irish as he wasnt to appear at a formal Gaelic League function in London until 1931. So soon after Independence what was Winners motivation LIAM WALSH union pipes. HMV studio Hayes Middlesex 8 September 1925. Bb6661-2 Billy Taylors Fancy Hornpipe HMV B2308 Victor 75059 RCA Victor SE29 Folkways FP18 Morning Star 45001 Topic 12T262 Bb6662-2 The Mountain Lark Dan McCarthys Fancy Reels HMV B2157 Topic 12T262 Bb6663-2 The Cliffs of Moher Saddle the Pony Double Jig HMV B2157 Topic 12T262 Hayes Middlesex 10 September 1925. Bb6675-1 The Job of Journeywork HMV B2548 Bb6676-1 Green Groves of Erin The Broom Reel HMV B2549 Bb6677-1 The Portlaw Reel HMV B2308 RCA Victor SE28 Topic 12T262 Globestyle CDORB084 Bb6678-1 Frieze Breeches Irish Jig HMV B2548 See the note for December 1923. A follow-up to the 1924 sessions. SE2929 with no artist credit was probably sold to theatres or cinemas for atmo