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London Lights

London Music Hall scene

 

London Lights

 

The London skyline was first illuminated on 28th January 1807 as Pall Mall became the first street in the world to be lit by gas light. By 1823 there were 40,000 street lamps lighting 213 streets in London. In London Lights their melancholic glow illuminates an age-old story, as an unmarried, castout mother looks into the glare – exclaiming at their beauty despite her hardship and embittered circumstances. London Lights was sung by Lizzie Higgins, a Scottish Traveller from Aberdeen and is probably a music hall piece that somehow found its way up to North East Scotland. It is a version of a song known often as the Blue Eyed Lover, which was popular amongst Gypsy communities (two verses from the Shropshire Gypsy singer May Bradley have been included in this text). Lizzie Higgins can be heard on the Musical Traditions CD In Memory Of. MTCD 337-8

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.

 

More videos

  • London Lights: sung by Sam Lee

    Download: mp3(4.78MB) ogg(8.08MB)

Digital Archive records related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.

Maps on the Full English site related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.