Catalogue description Wednesbury Folk Singers

This record is held by Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service

Details of MS 4000/5/1/4
Reference: MS 4000/5/1/4
Title: Wednesbury Folk Singers
Held by: Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Administrative / biographical background:

The town of Wednesbury, Staffordshire lies 8 miles north of Birmingham and is one of the great iron towns of the Black Country, the manufacturing district of South Staffordshire. The recordings of the Wednesbury Folk Singers comprise interviews with people from the area talking about their background, childhood, working lives and singing traditional songs. The people interviewed were as follows:


Mrs Emily Mary Turner (b.1888) of Wednesbury


Harold Fletcher (b.1895) of Wednesbury


William Loach (born 2 March 1882) of Bradley, Burton


Arthur James of Wednesbury


Tom Hadley (b.1910) of Wednesbury


Ken Williams of Wednesbury


Bill Hawker of West Bromwich


Edward James Smith [b.1872] of Kingswinford


John Baker (b.1909) of Bilston


Percy Gregory of Wednesfield


The interviews were all conducted by Charles Parker who was particularly interested in the local dialect and customs and traditional songs sung at work and play. Some of the interviews were also conducted by John Fletcher one of the founders of the Black Country Society and son of Harold Fletcher who was interviewed himself at MS 4000/5/1/4/4-6. The recordings cover a wide variety of topics including the Irish in Wednesbury (MS 4000 5/1/4/1,4,10,14); traditional singing (MS 4000/5/1/4/1,7,11); wakes (MS 4000 5/1/4/1,5,11); politics (MS 4000/5/1/4/2,6); mining (MS 4000/5/1/4/17-19,21,23); children's games (MS 4000/5/1/4/3,6); iron industry


(MS 4000/5/1/4/7,9-10) and local customs (MS 4000/5/1/4/13-14,20). The last two tapes in the sequence address the issues of squatting and the travelling community (MS 4000/5/1/4/22-23)


arrangement: The tapes are arranged as follows:


MS 4000/5/1/4/1-4 Interviews of Mrs Emily Mary Turner Jul. 1963


about childhood, entertainment, politics,


employment, local customs and singing Jul. 1963


MS 4000/5/1/4/4-6 Interviews of Harold Fletcher re background,


children's games, travellers, Irish people


MS 4000/5/1/4/7-10 Interviews of William Loach singing traditional Jul. 1963


songs and talking about his background and children's




MS 4000/5/1/4/11-16 Interviews [in a public house] of Arthur James, Jul. 1963


Tom Hadley, Ken Williams and Bill Hawker about


their working lives, children's games, local


customs, anecdotes


MS 4000/5/1/4/17-21 Interviews of Edward James Smith about childhood Jul. 1963


and working in the mines


MS 4000/5/1/4/22 Interview of John Baker talking about his life as Sep. 1963


a squatter


MS 4000/5/1/4/23 Interview of Percy Gregory talking about children's Sep. 1963


games, songs and travellers

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