Poem about the Irish in Liverpool.
I’ve lived in some places, that I have called home
One sticks in my memory, wherever I roam
The road that’s called Scotland, named after the land
But owes more to the Irish, that wandering band.
They came over in droves, some travelled like cattle
To escape the Great Famine, find somewhere to settle
Tome travelled much further, to New Countries heading west
Others shipped out to Australia, a wild place at best.
Some quite happy to live, by the Mersey’s salt air
These hard, gentle people, with an accent quite rare,
They drank and they fought but soon settled down
On the road that’s called Scotland that leads into town.
They married some Welsh and they mixed with the Scots,
English, Welsh, Irish an unlikely hotch potch!
They lived side by side, in each terraced house
Developed their character The one they call ‘scouse’
They worked hard and played harder, stuck up for their rights
Yes, the old ‘Scotland Road’ has seen plenty of fights
But they’d settle next morning, shake hands with a grin
Make their way to the docks, to get ‘picked out’ in the pen
With a pub on each corner a ‘Threlly’s or Bents’
Or a ‘Walker’s or Tetley’s where some spent their rents.
With a trip to the ‘Gaitey’ or maybe the ‘Gem’
While John Scott from McDougalls made a trip to the ‘Crem’.
Money was scarce, with purse strings drawn tight
They always found some on a Saturday night.
Walk into town for ‘red biddy’s or whites’
Get a tram back to their locals fore the end of the night,
Ten o clock was the dead-line the ‘last orders’ would ring
But it’s not just yet boss, cos it’s my turn to sing.
“Do your singin’ outside, get out”, came the boss’s hoarse shout
“Yeah, all right then boss, er… can we’ve jars out…?
The girls went ahead, while the men brought the crates
To the house where the party was somebody’s mates
The piano would tinkle the carpets rolled back
Wine women and song what a wonderful crack.
Singing and dancing, they be there till dawn
Say their ﬁnal farewells as they stiﬂed a yawn,
Yes.’ They worked hard and played hard, they lived for the day
Go on to church later and kneel down and pray,
That they would help a sick neighbour or a man down on his luck
And look after his children ‘it’s just a bit more to cook’,
Dressed in blue work clothes some girls, with a half-belt up the back
If it‘s not back by Friday they’d get such a crack.
‘The kids all exited traipsin’ down Eldon Way
Proceed ‘round the streets, crown Queen of the May’
While the lads learned to swim in the ‘scaldies’ canal
Jim Clarke used to teach them, Jim was everyone’s pal
He could sing under-water with his head in a pan
He taught all the lads for he was that kind of man,
They all went to ‘Burroughs Baths’ jumped in the ‘penny plunge’
Used to swim underwater to strengthen their lungs
While mothers and daughters went to the ‘wash house’ next door
old ‘Jack’ helped them out they had washing galore.
‘The ‘Bull Entry’ that fronted a dark narrow thoroughfare
That led to ‘Paddy’s Market’ selling all kinds of ware
Second-hand at clothing stalls, with suits hats and coats
A stall selling lozenges so good for your throats.
Battered old furniture tables and chairs resplendent old fineries
Moth-eaten furs …. seamen walking ‘round’ in long single files
They’d buy hats, coats and jackets, shirts, ties and socks
And put them on, a hilarious sight, going back to the docks,
At the back of the market behind the signs and the slogans
a fine dark old Irish Pub known locally as Hogans
walk down ‘Bewy Bush’ where old Arden House stands
the old major conducting the ‘Sally Army’ bands
He’s competing quite well with the church hall cross the street
Where Father Tobin of St. Bridgets was a great character to meet,
Still standing tall despite blitzes and bomb
Need a shoulder to cry on? See old Father Tom
St. Anthony’s stood back from the road all gloomy and black
While the ‘holy house’ next door was packed full ‘a stay back’
Right opposite stood the ‘Parrot’ where old Tom served ‘plonk’
There on the next block stood the old ‘Honky Tonk’.
Just further along you’ll find a pub ‘Peter Lambs’
Right opposite the old Rotunda – a shop selling prams,
In the middle of the road, where the two Hamlets ‘stand
Windows glare at each other, across the waste land.
Heading back into town, you’ll pass the ‘Throstles Nest’
Some say the ‘Foot Hospital or the Widders’ is best.
The ‘Red Brick’ once stood at the comer of ‘Burley’
John Reynolds in the ‘Homby’ used to call time ‘too early’,
If you headed into town without making a stop
You could drink up in Byron Street in ‘The Olde Pie Shoppe’
Then slip right next door, if you felt a bit rough
Sample some draught Guinness and meet old ‘Tom Snuff’
Take a walk down ‘Burly’ shop at ‘Rooneys or Miles’
Mary Oates or Frank the butcher would soon have you in smiles
With all of these people, the pubs clubs and shops
It’s quite easy to see why this neighbourhood was tops.”
Taken from the Scottie Press Community Newsletter and given to the Journal by Annette Higgins, Ballydavid.
Editor’s Note: There aresome of the words and lines missing so if anyone knows the poem/song please send me an email so that I can edit it!
Scotland Road was created in the 1770s as a turnpike road to Preston, Lancashire, via Walton and Burscough. It became part of a stagecoach route to Scotland, hence its name. It was partly widened in 1803, and streets of working-class housing were laid out on either side as Liverpool expanded. Scotland Road was at the centre of working-class life for the people of the surrounding Everton and Vauxhall areas near the north Liverpool docks and the city centre.
The population in the Victorian era was swelled by the arrival of thousands of Irish immigrants, many of whom had fled Ireland’s Great Famine. The area became known for having a large number of Irish-Catholic residents
Of the 200 pubs along Scotland Road, previously surrounded by rows upon rows of tenements, ice cream parlours, tailors, grocers and cinemas and a stone’s throw from the childhood home of one of the city’s most famous daughters, Cilla Black, the Throstles Nest is now a lone outpost from a bygone era. (2014)
Published here 09 Mar 2023