Eawr Factory Skoo E. Moss.

Ther never wur such times as these, naw, nee’r sin th’ world wur made,
Ther’s nowt but gents un ladies neaw, ut’s work’d i’ th’ cotton trade,
For harder toimes wur never felt, that’s weel known to be true,
Un th’ hardest wark we han just neaw, is gooin to th’ Factory Skoo.
We’re ladies neaw un gentlemen,
Un paid for gooin Skoo.
Six heawrs a day we han th’ be there, furt make us
o moor wise,
One heawr ther is for reedin, un one heawr for exercise,
For sodiers soon we shall o be, bekose we’n nowt else th’ do,
To guard eawr whoms un country, eawr Queen, un th’ Factory Skoo.
Some lads ith’ little spellin reads, un some does rule o’ three,
Un some uts gone to th eend o’ th’ book, are a good deol fur nor me;
Ther’s others if they getten th’ news, ul read for one or two,
Un tawk of war, distress, or trade, at eawr Factory Skoo.
Un th’ women too are larnin sew, un larnin rite and reed,
They’r makin shirts un neetcaps, un other things we need,
When th’ panic’s o’ er they’ll mak good wives, un ne’er ha’ cause to rue,
They’ll bless an praise thoose panic days, they went to th’ Factory Skoo.
It’s a trate these times th’ see owd un yung, attendin to ther books,
No heavy troubles weighs um deawn, to judge um by ther looks,
Un very kind it is to o’ ut helps us th’ winter throo,
We’n return it back a theawsand toimes o th’
breaking up ut Skoo.
Eawr pashunce and eawr fortitude, is known throo eawt the world,
Un th’ banner with the word “Distress” is everywhere unfurl’d,
Let Yankees raise ther flag o’ peace, un bid God speed the plough,
We'll shew um then i' England whot we larnt at th' Factory Skoo.

Title:Eawr Factory Skoo

Author:E. Moss

Publication:Manchester University Press

Published in:Manchester


Keywords:america, charity, class, dialect, song, unemployment


As indicated by the clear chorus to be sung after each verse this is presented as a song, and for this reason the metre is quite strict in order to scan accurately. The metre is iambic heptameter (sometimes known as septenary), and though the lines are very long they are structurally similar to the ballad meter. The difference is that sometimes the ‘sense’ of the poem runs right across the lines.

The poem refers to the charitable efforts to educate unemployed workers in order to occupy their time and improve their lot during the Cotton Famine. These practices were extensive across the region and there was a concomitant rise in literacy rates during the period. However, relief was often dependant on attendance and the slight sense of coercion contained in the second stanza when the speaker suggests they may soon be soldiers hints at an underlying resentment, thought the broader tone is celebratory. This is one of eleven Cotton Famine poems which feature in Brian Hollingworth’s Songs of the People: Lancashire dialect poetry of the industrial revolution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), the most significant anthology of such works during the twentieth century.

- SR.