Can YOU help with this old Skegness Song?
I was quite excited to perchance upon an old copy of a Victorian humorous song about Skegness, written by Thomas H Dows.
Dows composed the lyrics and music in 1883, an era which saw British seaside resorts like Skegness booming with popularity, especially amongst working class people. So one wonders if songs like “Holiday Trip to Skegness” were written to increase publicity.
As far as I can detect, Thomas Dows was born in 1856, and may have resided in Boston, Lincolnshire, being the Town Clerk, when he wrote the song, but I cannot confirm this as yet.
The five-page manuscript includes the cover, a song sheet and three pages of music. The music is quite simple to play, being in the key of A Major, and in 6/8 time. Though I can, technically, read music, I’m not exactly Russ Conway and have only managed, thus far, to pick out an approximate tune in a manor which would, I’m sure, have caused Mr Dows to writhe in agony.
So – you’ve guessed it – I’m looking for a (semi) master pianist, or choir, in the Skegness area to play and sing the piece, so I can record it on video or audio to add to this page. I’m sure you’ll agree that in doing this, Mr Thomas Dows and his “Holiday Trip to Skegness” song will come alive again and live on…
Please email if you can help in any way with this.
As you will gather from the picture, the manuscript was published in London, with permission of the Earl of Scarbrough – but look at the spelling of ‘Scarborough’, with the extra ‘o’!
The lyrics to the song are reproduced below:
Holiday Trip to Skegness
Dedicated by KIND PERMISSION, TO THE EARL of SCARBOROUGH
‘Twas on a day’s holiday my wife said to I, ” Let’s have a good outing, old boy,
“At Matlock—or anywhere under the sky
” For once ourselves to enjoy;
Our Brothers and Sisters with their children nine, ” Right gladly will join in a spree;’
And our old Dads and Mums, so wise I opine, Suggested Skegness-by-the-Sea.
With every one we did agree, of friends met many there, Of real good fun we did partake each one a lion’s share, And so for once to drown dull care like me so merry be, Take my advice, your holiday spend at Skegness-by-the-Sea.
Said I “There’s our bairns let’s take them an’ all, ” We shall then number nineteen, “That is including both large and small;
“We must count the !wins I weep, And for once in our lives banish all pain
“Or my name isn’t what it is,
Skegness be it too, by the very next train, “What say you ? Bless that dear phiz.”
Soon refreshments were pack’d safe away, In hampers of various shapes ;
And an old concertina sweet lullabys to play, Should the bairns be troubled with gapes. Then our family gingham byway of a tent And of buckets and spades score,
Whilst in tarts and toffy a half-crown was spent, Said my wife “‘Twill save many a roar.”
We marched through the streets in Indian file Creating quite a sensation,
And shall never forget how the people did smile At our party m route to the Station.
The tickets secured and all seated serene, Swiftly the engine did glide
By copse, cornfield, and meadow so green Panting to reach the sea-side.
Arrived at Skegness, 0 my! what a sight,
Shall remember it as long as I live,
My wife and the bairns were o’ercome with delight At the crowd like bees in a hive.
Their astonishment o’er, we nineteen then stroll’d, On the sands so spacious and clean;
Enchanted were all with the sea as it roll’d, And the sun in his golden sheen.
The pier, the gardens and grand Esplanade,
We paraded—then some had salt dips,
Whilst the dear little bairns with bucket and spade, Cut canals for their miniature ships.
Then in riding and boating we each did our best, Allowing short time to revel,
And each of us sighed when the sun in the west Seem’d to lingeringly bid us farewell.