© Copyright George Papavgeris, Feb 2005
My name is Charlie Troth, and I'm the last one of my kind
In Bromsgrove and Halesowen no more nailers you will find
No tears I will be shedding for the life I leave behind
From boy to man a story of starvation.
For fifteen hours a day and seven days a week we slaved
From forge's heat and broken backs not even one was saved
And it was recognition more than water that we craved, for
We made the nails that helped to build a nation.
There was a time when you could hear the clamor and the calls
The music that is made by the hammer as it falls
Five thousand teasers pumping in five thousand stalls
And you could feel the heat that they were giving.
And you could smell hot iron a mile or more away
The taste of metal in your mouth for ages it would stay
But children you would not see at their lessons or at play
For they all had to help to make a living.
Three thousand nails a day, if you were young and you were strong
Two weeks to finish 60 pounds of iron isn't long
And at the end you'd sell it to the master for a song
And you'd accept the bates or there'd be trouble.
And with the truck the fogger would steal it back from you
With high price for vittals that would taste just like glue
Too many days there would be only cabbage for the stew
And Sundays, for best, there would be double.
When there was work we could just keep together body and soul
but worse than that, machines came then and all our jobs they stole
And nailers are not ones to join a union on the whole, and so
The only trade they knew was lost forever.
Today you see their cottages as you walk through the town
But there's no nailers living there, the walls are white, not brown
And if you listen there's an eerie silence all around
And now it's time for me the line to sever.
Now glory gone!
My forge is now decayed - My coal is spent, from smoke my eyes are free
Now glory gone!
It was a clemming trade - And when I die just bury it with me
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