Cheer Up Lads.
Title:Cheer up Lads
Publication:Ashton And Stalybridge Reporter
Date:March 7th 1863
Keywords:charity, emigration, gender, poverty, war
The note above this song describes a common occurrence during the Cotton Famine – the benefit concert, which raised funds for the relief effort (see, for example, the poem entitled ‘Concert and Literary Entertainment in Aid of the Relief Fund’ from the Preston Guardian). In this case, the concert took place in Queensland, Australia, showing the reach of news and concern about the conditions suffered by Lancashire workers during the Cotton Famine. The song appeals to distressed Lancashire workers to emigrate to Queensland, painting a happy image of the latter as a land of plenty for all. In reality, emigration to Australia – even when assisted by charitable organisations established for the purpose – was not hugely popular, not least because of the length of the journey, though there was a slight increase during the Cotton Famine (see Norman Longmate, The Hungry Mills (London: Temple Smith, 1979), chapter 16.) Unfortunately, we are not given details of the musical accompaniment to these lyrics. - RM.
Although the rhyme scheme of this piece is a very regular ABABCDCD, with a similar scheme for the chorus, the line length vary considerably, which suggests that this may have been sung to quite a complex melody which allowed for variation. The form of address is first person plural in the voice of the (white, presumably) people of Queensland welcoming distressed Lancastrians to their shores.- SR