Artichoke and Cauliflowers


Danny Spooner, Gorgeous, Game Girls, 2013


Coming from the East End of London and having been an apprentice waterman and lighterman, I'm reminded in this song of my own background. I first heard it sung by my Aunt Jess who used to belt out many songs like this one. She was a darlin' an' right 'ansom' like this young 'barra gel'.

You fair maids of London that lead a single life,
It's better far being a barra gel than a rich merchant's wife.
So early in the morning you'll hear her for to cry,
"Artichokes and cauliflowers, pretty maid won't you buy."

There sits a gel at Billingsgate, I'll not tell you her name,
For she's proper tall and handsome and worthy of her fame.
As she waits for her jolly waterman to come rowing by she'll cry,
"Artichokes and cauliflowers, pretty maid won't you buy."

Now the waterman's is a trade me boys that will never fail,
In rain, hail or sunshine our boats they do sail,
And the barra gel to her waterman so quickly she will fly,
Crying "Artichokes and cauliflowers, pretty maid won't you buy."


New: 16 May, 2013 | Now: 16 May, 2013 | garrygillard [at] gmail.com