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GUEST,jag New Book: Folk Song in England (2094* d) RE: New Book: Folk Song in England 09 Aug 18


Both my grandfathers worked in the Lancashire cotton mills. From one I have the Laycock volume I quoted from earlier, from the other several books given as Sunday school attendance prizes in the 1890's

Back to the Laycock volume in which his (sympathetic) biographer says

"At six years of age Laycock was fortunate in being sent for a short time to a day school. This implies some self-denial on the part of his parents, for it was not uncommon for children to begin work at the early age of six. Then, as usual, there came the Sunday School. Only those who are familiar with the days of which we are writing will know the immense influence of the Sunday Schools in Lancashire had upon the lives of the working people, not only in regard to religious training, but also in reference to their education ... ... At the Sunday school which Laycock attended writing was taught as well as reading ...

Laycock was born in 1826. His father was a handloom weaver, his grandfather a hill farmer. Neither of those are the lowest in society but Laycock started work in a woollen mill at the of nine.

I think that 'the collectors' give a more 'bimodal' view of society than my reading (and limited personal geneologic research) suggest. We have the middle class collectors showing interested in what the peasantry were doing and in the next wave were socialists highlighting the creative skills of the farm labourers and urban wage slaves.

I don't think it was like that, there were a lot of people in between many of whome were literate. Most villages would have had a blacksmith, some of whom left detailed day-books, all towns had tradespeople. Some of their children did well in life financially or in terms of time in which to be creative, others went down in the world. Where does being a pleasure garden or music hall performer put someone in society?

I suspect it was every thus.


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