Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lad That's Lettered GPO

Another ephemeral find at the fare this weekend. The title of this post is a reference to the fact that I wanted to find a poem by John Gambril Nicholson to go with this. One of the greatest Victorian scandals was that of the Cleveland Street Male Brothel in which it seemed that Post Office telegraph boys like the one above, were moonlighting with some of the most influential men in London at the time. Books have been written about it but it appears that the appeal of the Telegraph Boy wasn't limited to the one street in London, JGN wrote a poem, 'Your City Cousin' in which he includes the verses:

I like the boy who earns his bread;
The boy who holds my horse’s head,
The boy who tidies up the bar,
The boy who hawks the Globe and Star.

Smart-looking boys are in my line;
The lad who gives my boots a shine,
The lad who works the life below,
The lad that’s lettered G.P.O.

Being too lazy to get up from the desk and open some books to get this quote I typed the part I could remember into Google and, of course, found the poem online. However, in the process I was staggered and delighted to discover the most astonishing thing: there is to be, next year, in London, Cleveland Street The Musical. How mad and marvellous is that!? Follow the link to listed to some of the tunes and to put yourself up for a part if you feel so inclined!

1 comment:

Catholic Boy said...

Given the ages of some of the boys involved (and they definitely were boys rather than "boys" - as in young men), the Cleveland Street scandal would be just as much a scandal if it broke today, if not more so.

I somehow doubt the great minds behind the cute, bowdlerised musical version will have considered this.

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