Friday, December 16, 2005

In these Old Lavender Trousers

I know what you're looking at people,
What you've got your eyes on I can tell;
It's these dear old lavender trousers,
Wishing you'd a pair like them as well.
My Grandad left them to me
So I could look a toff,
And I said till I was dead,
I would never take them off.

In these old lavender trousers
I've skipp'd and jump'd and skated,
Laughed and wept, Work'd and slept,
And twice been vaccinated.
I've drunk fourale, I've drunk champagne,
Been up the pole and down a drain,
I won the heart of Mary Jane
In these old lavender trousers!

Late last night I toddled in Lipton's
Everybody yelled "Here's someone big!
Who's that in those lavender trousers?
Hen-e-ry the Eighth or Lipton's Pig?"
I ran round the counter quick,
And when I wasn't seen
Down my legs I stow'd some eggs,
And a roll of margarine

In these old lavender trousers.
But soon I did feel shocking!
I turned green, the margarine
Was running down my stocking.
Lipton called a man in blue,
Then all the eggs were hatching too
All the little chicks went "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"
In these old lavender trousers.

Once when I was staying in Brighton,
Mashing all the girls on the Prom-what-what!
Dazzling them with my lavender trousers,
Suddenly the girls yell'd out "Great Scot!"
Some old chap was running round wrapp'd
Up in wet seaweed,
Shouting "Dogs, they've pinch'd my togs!"
So like a friend in need,

In these old lavender trousers
Said I, "There's room for two, sir!
Though you're fat, and I'm like that,
I'm sure there's room for you, sir!"
And all the girls began to screech,
For he and I had one leg each,
And arm in arm we toddled up the beach
In these old lavender trousers.

Last year we had a week in Blackpool,
Hadn't got a trunk or a bag, and so
Pack'd the things in the back of my trousers -
I was a walking portmanteau.
When we reach'd the station. oh!
My missus what a brain!
Said "Don't pay for the kid, you jay!
Smuggle him into the train."

In these old lavender trousers
I push'd our little Sammy,
Walk'd right thro', and paid for two -
Me and his dear mammy.
But that kid, when the guard came round,
Got me pinch'd and fin'd a pound,
'Cos he pok'd his head thro' a hole that he had found
In these old lavender trousers.

Once I was a tragedy actor -
Thirty bob a week, and a real big star!
When the limelight shone on these trousers
Ladies in the stalls would faint - Ah, ah!
In the drama "Dirty Dick"
I fairly froze their blood,
Till the lords up in the "gawds"
Started throwing lumps of mud.

In these old lavender trousers
To act I wasn't willin'.
They kicked me on and the limelight shone,
And the heroine said "Vill'in!
Have you no heart for a woman's woe?
No tender feeling at all? No, no!"
Then I rubb'd my patch and I said "What oh!"
In these old lavender trousers.

RP Weston & Harry Bedford


Blogger fjl said...

I might need that in the research ( I have my extrordinary reasons!) Can you give me some more details about the source? Dates? Was this one used in the Penny Gaffs?
Thanks xx

5:20 pm  
Blogger Zoozan said...

love it

7:23 pm  
Blogger WDKY said...

This blog is quite unique, Ginny. I love it.

8:35 am  
Blogger WDKY said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:35 am  
Blogger Mine is a Gin said...

fjl - It's a song my grandfather used to sing. I finally tracked it down via the British Library as a song written by R.PWeston & Harry Bedford (sung by Harry Bedford) and published by Francis, Day & Hunter. I do have a slip of paper somewhere which gives the date & catalogue number - if I find it I'll let you know. And I'm intrigued by your "extraordinary reasons"!

Zooz & wdky - thanks x

10:59 am  
Blogger fjl said...

Believe me I'm looking forward to revealing the extrordinary reasons, but there's alot of work to do getting some of the documents, and, also, technical issues with the web-site to sort. Hopefully soon!
I really liked the song. In the Penny gaffs, the kids would dress up as what they called 'sambas', particularly the red-heads. Ginger would doff an enormous wig. They loved to be centre stage, it crystallised their dreams, and ginger would at times sing chorus after chorus about his 'cruel massa' despite having rotten apples thrown at him by the other boys. :0)

11:29 am  
Blogger Mine is a Gin said...

Oh, and the photo is my grandfather in around 1917, ready for a show in which he played the "Dark Town Dandy"

12:56 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

Amazing, you must be quite au fait with the singalong Penny gaff titles!
Oh don't tell me, it's not your dad after all. I'm willing to be sent to the ends of the earth, me!...

8:43 pm  
Blogger Sophie said...

Hello! How wonderful to see this...this has been a song my family has performed over the decades! Would love to know where your grandad came from! Mine grew up in east london...thanks for making us smile and teaching a couple of extra verses!

6:24 pm  
Blogger Mine is a Gin said...

Hi Sophie and thanks for leaving a comment! My blog has been dormant for a while now, so a lovely surprise to find someone has stumbled across it.
My grandfather came from Northampton.
How nice to hear from someone else who knows the song
Ginny x

10:39 am  
Blogger rubydragon said...

fantastic. I have been searching for this song for a long time.My Dad used to sing it as his party piece. Mum says he learned it form a cockney pal when on national service. She says there were about 40 verses but Dad could not remember them all. Also his words were slightly different. Probably distorted over time.

12:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely,A chap I knew in the R.A.F. in Aden in the sixties used to sing this song after a few beers in the NAAFI.never heard it anywhere else.

8:46 pm  
Anonymous Carlo said...

Good Job! :)

6:42 am  
Blogger Nev said...

Fantastic, my grandfather from Northampton used to sing this song too, as did the rest of the family. Actually it's a family favorite that we we sing every Christmas.

2:23 am  
Anonymous Old Don said...

My dad, born in Northampton, had a slightly different version in which
The young hound pokes not his head but his fist out of the hole. The implication then is that the £1 fine was not for fare evasion but apparent indecent exposure! also in the earlier verse the word cock must be shouted. This was a music hall song sfter all!

3:23 pm  
Anonymous lfm said...

This was a favourite party piece of Edgar LLoyd Morgan who was headmaster of St Josephs Boys Sec Mod school in Wolverhampton. Edgar retired circa 1963. Many pupils prior to that date would be familiar with this song although the words might have been slightly different.The piece became almost the school anthem and is often refered to when ex pupils or staff meet.

11:31 am  
Blogger Lesley said...

Oh my Lord!!!

My Mum used to sing that to us when we were kids, although the words were slightly different, now I sing it to my grandchildren. No one else I know has ever heard of it. Wow! It is a real song after all!!!

I wonder if she learnt it from her grandfather who had a music hall?

7:45 am  
Blogger Menihek said...

Ginny and I must be related; the Dark Town Dandy was my father and I owned the original photograph, which a fellow sibling nicked from my photo album. Shonna Cockerill, as he was known, sang in a Command Performance for charity at the London Palladium in 1911. An embossed certificate to this effect is now in the Northampton Municipal Library. Maybe this was on of his songs; I don't know, but most likely.

3:56 pm  
Blogger Menihek said...

Sorry! A correction. ' of his songs...' not 'on of his...' Editor needed here.

4:01 pm  
Anonymous Alan said...

I learned some verses of Lavender Trousers over 70 years ago when I was a kid in Romford, Essex. I sang them to my dad who had not heard it.Does anyone know of a site with an anthology of music hall choruses?

5:13 pm  
Anonymous ndy said...

I looked to find this song many times over the years and found nothing !
Over the moon to see it here now in print.
My Dad ,Vic Lambert (Cricklewood) used to sing this at all the family doo's.
So glad to see this Gem of English wit celebrated.
Vic was a cockney and did national service. (Its a long shot but who knows ?)
Thanks for returning a family Treasure !!
The Lamberts xx

2:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm finding this a bit late, but its made my day. We usedto sing this as kids when the family got together. My grandfather and father both played piano so the sing a long was always part of our get together.I'm a grandmother myself now and taught it to my kids and my grandchildren now sing it too.

12:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely with you it agree. In it something is also to me it seems it is good idea. I agree with you.

8:26 pm  
Anonymous og Life Jacket said...

Funny,you must be quite au fait with the singalong Penny gaff titles!
Oh don't tell me, it's not your dad after all. I'm willing to be sent to the ends of the earth, me!...
Dog Life Jacket

3:04 am  
Blogger rose said...

My Mum used to sing that to us when we were kids, although the words were slightly different, now I sing it to my grandchildren. No one else I know has ever heard of it. Wow! It is a real song after all Thank..

3:24 am  
Anonymous Dick Barton Special Agent said...

I was sat at the computer and for some reason this song, that was my father's party piece, came into my head.I thought I would give it a try for the lyrics as I only know a few of them.Lo and behold there they were and all these comments from people who new the song. Thanks a lot (My Dad was a Brummie)

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle used to sing this song at family gatherings, accompanying himself on the piano or banjo. It was everybody's favourite. It's great to have found it on this site. His version was that Sammy 'poked his nose ' through a hole he'd found...". I was looking for the words online as my sister asked me if I remembered a song with the words "Big fat men, two pound ten/ Little kids a penny" and I thought they might be in the Lavender Trousers song. Any help with this one?

10:47 am  
Anonymous DICKO said...

Thank you for posting this. I heard this song from fellow guttersnipes 1940ish and now at last can reprise all the words! Priceless.

11:28 pm  
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8:57 pm  
Blogger Don Adams said...

You can hear this song being sung on my website at
I recorded this on tape from a Roy Hudd programme quite a few years ago.

Old Don

8:14 am  
Blogger Michael C said...

My mate (God rest him) was an ex-marine and used to sing this amongst other songs when we worked the announcing at Birmingham New Street station. Got through the monotony of the constant announcements we had to make and always brought a smile to my face

7:49 pm  

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