Author Topic: Black Beetle Pies  (Read 5575 times)

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Offline Stephenw

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Black Beetle Pies
« on: Friday, October 19 2012 10:34PM GMT-1 »
I really love this song and at the moment it's my favourite piece on the new album. I've been trying to do a bit of internet research into this broadside. All I've found out is that the original version is called 'The Brixton Lady and Her Nice Beetle Pies'. The only reference on the 'net is from a book called. 'A Book of Scattered Leaves'  by James G. Hepburn. The book is subtitled, 'Poetry of Poverty in Broadside Ballads of Nineteenth Century England'. There are four references to the broadside in the book but Google Books preview doesn't show me the vital page that includes the broadside text.

Can anyone help me to find it?

I'm also curious as to what Raglan House, Brixton was used for. Is it a Poorhouse? The internet doesn't want to help.
When you're a kid, they tell you it's all "grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it." But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.

Offline maureen

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #1 on: Friday, October 19 2012 11:19PM GMT-1 »
I've been researching too - but into the facts behind the song. I've got a subscription to the British Newspaper Archive, and there are quite a few references to the court case. If anyone wants copies, p.m me your email addresses and I'll send them.

Raglan House was the address of Elizabeth Wilton (alias Hyde) who ran a lodging house -probably a disreputable one where you could hire rooms by the hour I would think. She upset her neighbours by having German and Negro bands round playing loud music late at night. (I knew no good would come of that sort of thing!)When they complained, she gave their coachman a pie containing beetles, which he ate some of before realising. She also gave one of the Negroes a pie containing her knickers - which he put on and danced on her lawn!

She got away with the charges of administering a noxious substance by saying it was all a practical joke
"nobody died wishing they'd done more housework"

Offline Stephenw

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #2 on: Saturday, October 20 2012 12:51AM GMT-1 »
Thanks Maureen, I shall PM you my email address. I used to have access to these newspaper databases when I was a librarian.

When you're a kid, they tell you it's all "grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it." But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.

Offline LegalLorna

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #3 on: Saturday, October 20 2012 02:08PM GMT-1 »
That is a great case!  I now like it even more.

Offline pete flood

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #4 on: Monday, October 22 2012 04:08PM GMT-1 »
Here's a link to the broadside itself:

http://bodley24.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=Harding+B+13%28145%29&id=05741.gif&seq=1&size=1

Maureen, I'd love to see the references to the court case.

I'm beginning to think I should have been more sympathetic to Elizabeth Wilton in my treatment of it - she sounds unjustly maligned in that she wasn't giving beetle pies to the poor, just to the neighbours - (which is of course completely understandable).

Offline maureen

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #5 on: Monday, October 22 2012 04:33PM GMT-1 »
Hi Pete - message me your email address and I'll send them.

She also gave a pie to the police, which might or might not be even more understandable, depending on your point if view!
"nobody died wishing they'd done more housework"

Offline Stephenw

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #6 on: Monday, October 22 2012 05:49PM GMT-1 »
Thanks Pete, it's very much appreciated. The court reports are very funny in places, well worth a read.

I've bookmarked the Broadside Digital Collection homepage, lots of interesting things to look at. What aren't these things better publicised?
When you're a kid, they tell you it's all "grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it." But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.

Offline Gower Flower

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday, January 30 2013 07:55AM GMT-1 »
I have only just spotted this thread. How fascinating! Maureen, if I send you my e-mail address, I would be pleased to receive info from the newspaper archive. Cheers!  :aemo_spibod_wave:
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Offline maureen

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday, January 30 2013 08:20AM GMT-1 »
OK Shirll - but I'm just about to depart for Glasgow (hence being up at this ungodly hour!) Will send them when I get back on Saturday.
"nobody died wishing they'd done more housework"

Offline Betty slippers

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #9 on: Thursday, January 31 2013 01:54PM GMT-1 »
Is everyone aware of the Broadside event at Cecil Sharp House on the 23rd Feb? http://www.efdss.org/events/eventsdetails/eventsId/684/displaydate/2013-02-23
If it hadn'a been for Flash Company...

Offline Gower Flower

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #10 on: Friday, February 1 2013 01:38AM GMT-1 »
Thanks Maureen, I'd forgotten about your Very Important Glasgow trip.  ;D  As for Cecil Sharp House - one of these days I will attend an event there. It is on my list of things to do/places to go. *sigh*  ::)
All along and down a lea!

Upcoming gigs:
 
Cropredy, August 7 - 9
Simpson Cutting & Kerr, 23.09. Cardiff
10cc, 8th October, Swansea Grand Theatre
Show of Hands, Cardiff, November 20th
Bellowhead, Cardiff, 26 November

Offline DawnG

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Re: Black Beetle Pies
« Reply #11 on: Friday, February 1 2013 03:37PM GMT-1 »
I was aware of the Broadside Day but I'm not sure I'd make it to London by 9.30!