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Martin Graebe How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? (88* d) RE: How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? 23 May 02

A quote lifted from one of my own papers:

One day in the 1850s the young Sabine Baring-Gould was riding on his pony around Dartmoor and, as the evening fell, rode down into South Zeal and found himself a room for the night at the Oxenham Arms. It was a day when the miners had been paid and had gathered to spend their wages. Writing in 1892 he describes the evening he spent in the bar:

"At the table and in the high-backed settle sat the men, smoking, talking, drinking. Conspicuous among them was one man with a high forehead, partly bald, who with upturned eyes sang ballads. I learned that he was given free entertainment at the inn, on condition that he sang as long as the tavern was open, for the amusement of the guests. He seemed to be inexhaustible in his store of songs and ballads; with the utmost readiness, whenever called on, he sang, and skilfully varied the character of his pieces - to grave succeeded gay, to a ballad a lyric. At the time I listened, amused, till I was tired, and then went to bed, leaving him singing."

SBG also tells a number of other anecdotes about his simgers performing in pubs - even the young James Olver escaping over the roof from his bedroom to sit outside under the pub window to learn songs. But that's song, rather than music - perhaps the English have a stronger tradition of singing in pubs than we have of playing music? I am sure there is some hard evidence out there somewhere


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