The Battle of Sykehouse Lock                          Gezz Overington

In eighteen-thirty or half-past-six there was a terrible fight,
The Battle of Sykehouse Lock was fought at half-past ten at night;
The lock-keepers had mutinied and all gone out on strike,
And the tugmen couldn’t get home for their tea cos none of ’em had a bike.

The tugmen they were valiant chaps, they fought up and down the bank;
They found a tramp asleep nearby and they made him walk the plank;
They dropped him in the murky depths that flow down to the Ouse,
Then they had a break at half-past-twelve for sarnies and some booze.

The battle raged three hours or more, the lock with blood ran red,
The head keeper he’d had enough and gone home to his bed,
The air was thick with curses; many a blow was struck,
And after all the dead were named, three chickens and a duck.

The battle was done by half-past-two and the tugmen they had won;
They sat down on the jebus to see what could be done;
They all set on for heading home and pushed off from the bank,
But the tug was holed below the water-line and they all drowned as they sank.

The lock keepers they gave three cheers as the tug was going down,
Then called out the colliery band and all marched round the town;
They sang and danced till morning light to boost up their moral;
They ate ferret pie and Darley’s Ale straight out of the canal.

But the tugmen they were safe and sound in the cabin all that night,
The hatch was safely battened down which made it watertight;
They slid along the muddy bed with nineteen pans below,
And surfaced in the old Barge Dock to the cry of “There she blows!”

Let’s not forget the valiant, let’s not forget the brave,
Let’s not forget those heroes bold who now lie in their graves,
For they were men of iron and they suffered scorn and pain;
Of four brave lads that went to fight onny five came back again.



Here is another of Gezz’s humorous songs about the Tom Pudding crews. I remember Gezz asking me for a tune that would suit the song. The obvious one was The Cruise of the Calabar a similar song being sung in the folk clubs at that time, which Gezz used. However, we already had one song in the pipeline to that tune, The Sheffield Ship Canal, a localised parody of The Calabar so we needed a new tune. The perfect answer was yet another song in the same vein, The Battle of Sowerby Bridge by Alasdair Cameron, so we adapted that tune and added a few sound effects.