The Tommy Armstrong Society

Th' Borth Of Th' Lad

Street children c.1909

AW'LL de me best te please ye, and the best can de ne mair, Aa'm
gan te sing aboot mesel', when Aa wa born and wair;
Aa was born at Shotley,Aa've heard me mother say, 'Twas in the month of
August, upon the eighteenth day.
Spoken. "Aa can mind that mornin' Aa wa born, as if it was the
neet. The pits was aal laid idle the next day-because it was
Sunda'; but ye waddn 't ofthowt it was Sunda' in wor hoose!
There was that much tea and ginger beer drunk, Aa wasforst te
stop the tap. Dolly Potts got tight and flung a saucer at Betty
Green, but it missed her and catched me between the eyes and
mooth, and Aa've had a greet lump there ever since. But we soon
made her an ootside passenger and we enjoyed wersels wi'

Chorus; He's the best of any, for his fyece it is se bonny, We'll
caal him Tommy, he's the picture of his dad, So they popped
on the kettle, as soon as things were settled, And the tea was
fettled, ower the Borth of the Lad.

Aa mind it was warm weather when they receiv' d this lad
Me father danced upon the floor te show that he was glad;
Me mother she lay smilin', and called me by me name, She
says, "God bless thee little heart, Aa's pleased thou's landed
Spoken. "Ye know they expected me three month before that (Aa's
a twelve month bairn- but ye can see that by me size!) That was
the forst time Aa saw Betty Lee the midwife. She took me up and
laid me across her knee, and said "Aa think Aa'll wesh him ". Aa
thowt she said "Aa 'II thresh him "- Aa took her up wrang. If she 'd
laid a finger on me Aa was gannin' straight back te where Aa
come from. Aa got a good wash, and a new suit on and we started
te sing.


The neighbours came te breakfast, this new born bairn te see
Mistress White got mortal drunk wi' drinkin' Stewart's Tea I Miss
Watson was religious, and so was Mistress Kay, I As soon as done
with breakfast, they both knelt doon te pray.
Spoken. Breakfast was hardly ower when they 're doon on their
knees and began tepray at the top of their voices. As soon as they
started te pray, Aa started te sing, 'Johnny comes mar chin'
home'. It was a great favourite of mine at the time. Nan Watson
shooted te aad Betty Lee, the midwife, " Stop that child from
cryin', or I must cease praying ", and Betty shoots, "get away wi'
ye, the bairn's not cryin', he's singin; the bairn knaas as well as
me, tho 's prayin' a cheat, so thou better get on the efeet and sing
instead of prayin "... CHORUS.
"My word" said Mistress Robson, as she laid me on her airm,
"In aal me time Aa never met with such a weighty bairn" The
doctor just had landed, so Aa seized him by the coat, But little
were they thinkin' that the bairn was a poet.
Spoken. As soon as ever the doctor come within the door, Aa
grabbed him by the neck, andAa didn 'tforget te shake him! But
ye knaa Aa was a very big lad when Aa was very little. Aa axed
him how he wad like te stop in prison three month after his time
was up? Bu we soon got aal reet and me father whistled. Betty
and the doctor danced till clsin' time. Aa was sair wi' laughin'
so we finished up wi' singin '.