Workers at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal. Copyright Quarry Bank Mill, National Trust.

From summer 2019, we have been working with musicians Gillian Frame, Findlay Napier and Jennifer Reid on a performance of new songs by Victorian millworkers, ‘The Factory Muses’. These songs, using lyrics located during our research which they have set to old and new tunes, were first performed by Gillian and Findlay in Verdant Works in Dundee in September 2019, and then combined with Jennifer’s songs from Lancashire and Yorkshire in Glasgow in November 2019.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, spring 2020 performances at New Lanark and Stanley Mills were cancelled. Gillian, Findlay and Jennifer have recorded a selection of songs from ‘The Factory Muses’ concert for us in their homes, while we wait for the opportunity to restart our live performances.

Many of these lyrics have not been heard since they were written in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. We are proud to present them in the form of ‘The Factory Muses’ playlist on Youtube, and an additional four audio tracks by Jennifer, both below..

Song and recitation playlist: ‘The Factory Muses’