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Added to website: 16 January 2012
Eddie Lawler's requiem to Harry Ramsden's

One of Yorkshire's best known landmarks, Harry Ramsden’s in Guiseley, just over the hills from Saltaire, is now empty and up for sale. Saltaire poet, playwright and musician, Eddie Lawler has written a requiem for the famous Yorkshire fish and chip restaurant, which was recorded on the 3 January, 2012 and performed on BBC TV's Look North.

Harry Ramsden began serving fish and chips over 80 years ago and for years the restaurant prospered. It was the place to go for fish and chips. After falling into decline, the owners, Boparan Ventures, has closed it, with a loss of 20 jobs - a sad outcome for such a famous landmark. The iconic building has been stripped and some of the memorabilia taken to other Harry Ramsden’s chip shops around the country.

Eddie Lawler, commented, "It’s part of our tradition and history and Harry was a local hero. It’s just very very sad. Poor old Harry will be turning in his grave.”

Below are the lyrics of the song. (Courtesy of Eddie Lawer, with thanks.)

Or listen! The MP3 can be downloaded here.


We all agree what lives today tomorrow will be gone
But 'ere's a piece of 'istory that cannot go unsung
A lad of local legend whose achievement's been destroyed
Will not be left to go unmourned into the global void

'Twere in Bradford after t' First World War that 'Arry made a smell
Just on t' end o' Bower Street straight up from Jacob's Well
Midst mills and terraced 'ouses all the folk enjoyed the whiff
That aroma were a chip 'oil, 'Arry fryin' fish and chips

And 'Arry and 'is missus fried seven days a week bar none
And soon up Westgate t' Cosy Caff became the second one
Tiled black and white wi' 'untin' prints they were on a solid winner
Wi' 'ungry shoppers stoppin' off for a Bradford fried fish dinner

Chorus It were 'Arry written with an H and then pronounced without
And 'Arry were a wick 'un and an 'ero 'ereabouts

But disaster struck when t' missus, as was Beatrice by name
Were stricken wi' consumption, 'twas that Bradford smog to blame
So 'Arry sought fresh air for 'er, away from t' dark satanic
They'd have to ply the trade and fry elsewhere upon the planet

And thus they flitted to White Cross and bought a wooden 'ut
And in a trice that appetisin' whiff come waftin' up
And grew a queue as perfect proof the Ramsdens 'ad bought wisely
In whiffin' range of a flippin' great pram-factory in Guiseley

Alas our 'Arry's lass Beatrice didn't last there very long
Which made 'Arry more determined and he fried on and on
Fresh fish from a brand new edifice, the 'ut 'ad 'ad its day
Cos now it were a rest'raunt, not just a takeaway

Chorus 'is name were 'Arry wi' an H, wrote large but not expressed
Them as puts the H on 'Arry, 'ave 'ad ther chips, no less

It wasn't just the factory folk 'at flocked to 'Arry's door
They came on t' tram and t' charabang, on two wheels and on four
And t' ramblers as went ambling up and down from Otley Chevin
Would finish wi' fish at 'Arry's, it were bloomin' close to 'eaven

Two 'undred folk could wine and dine 'neath crystal chandeliers
And it soon become a landmark which 'as lasted all these years
You could tell the time by 'Arry's clock an' tell it with a smile
"Harry Ramsden" (H at 10 o'clock), twelve symbols on the dial

It were back in 1963 our 'Arry passed away
But would 'e 'ave a rotten shock if 'e come back today
The owners 'ave disposed of it, said it were losin' brass
'Arry, if 'e 'ad the chance, 'd ask "Whose fault is that?"

Chorus It were 'Arry with an H, as large and clear as rugger posts
But 'Arry's H is silent, as silent as in GHOST

Of course this sad development's just a chapter of the tale
Where county and 'ole country is just one big jumble-sale
Wi' no respect for 'istory, tradition, local culture
And everything is pickin's for the money-grabbin' vulture

The locals shed a salty tear, but see through the mullarkey
It's all to do with puttin' up another supermarket
But there's plenty fryin' fish round 'ere wi' gumption, skill and brains
So though we're bruised, we'll not be battered, not be trapped in chains

Whereas the chain with Harry's name (the H must be pronounced)
Is in Stratford 'stead 'o Bradford, and in sev'ral seaside towns
In Saudi , 'ong Kong, Singapore, you name it, anywhere
Except o' course West Yorkshire, well they wouldn't bloody dare

Chorus So there's Harry as a logo, just another plastic brand
And 'Arry ' oo's an icon, local 'ero, businessman

© Eddie Lawler 2012



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