The Murder of Tom Pudding

by Gezz Overington

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Oh what cares I for it’s only skill that dies
And man can change so quickly to another way of life
Just think of gold and profits and the money that you save
Forget about our heritage that’s sentenced to the grave

Year on year beneath the Yorkshire soil
Our coal is being won by the miners’ sweat and toil
Then carried to the Humber thoughout many’s the working day
Along the path that you know well the inland waterway

Tom Pudding that is the name for a giant snake of steel
That makes its way slowly to Goole with skilled hands at the wheel
The pans all chained behind the tug maintain our steady line
By the skills the Yorkshire skipper gained throughout his working time

But soon it seems these things can be no more
For coal they say has lost the race to provide a nation’s power
The canal will help no more Tom Puddings ply their coaly trade
And the skills of the English working man go with them on their way

So all you men who in your glass and steel cages sit
Just think of the English working man on boats and in the pit
Their skills are worth far more than your new and your better way
May the thoughts of killing these greatest skills haunt you for all your days
'Tom Pudding' was the name given to the tub boats on the Aire and Calder Navigation, introduced in 1863 and used until 1985, which were a very efficient means of transporting coal from the open cast collieries of the South Yorkshire coalfield to the port of Goole. A description of these boats can be found here.

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