Basket and Chairs
This song was sung as a way of attracting customers to buy the wares on offer. Travelling communities were often traders and came to buy and sell at fairs around London. Economic changes in the 20th Century, as well as technological leaps in industrial manufacturing, made some of the traditional trades obsolete.
You can download Teachers' Notes, music notation and audio recording(s) using the tabs at the top of this panel.
This song was sung to Cecil Sharp on 16 May 1908 by Agnes Collins, a Gypsy van seller, in Adelaide Road, Hampstead. The melody for the last verse was never notated and is therefore left to you to improvise, either using the theme or not. The varied phrase lengths offer a multitude of interpretations.
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library: http://www.vwml.org/record/CJS2/10/1690
This song was part of Singing Histories, a national project led by Sing London to create booklets and resources containing traditional folk songs and history from eight areas across England.
The Singing Histories - London illustrated song book (which includes this song) can be downloaded from the document tab at the top of this panel. Audio recording(s) of this song are also available from the audio tab.