"Ay Rag Booen" (By Bryan Yorke - 12th Feb 2012)
"Rag Booen", Any Owd Rags",
"Ay Rag Booen" was what was shayted,
O'er many times a day,
Daern main Street ur back street,
It amplified away....
Thad hear his cart a trundling,
O'er setts his poony clipped,
From Top Oth' Town to further daern,
He'd do his daily trips.
Thank ya lass fur bundle ur rags,
And neh tha wants a "donkey stoowen",
Tu brighten up tha step and cill,
Well here thi are, in cream or grey,
A Donkey Stoowern to polish away.
Thank ya lad for bundle ur rags,
And thank thi muther too.
And neh I'll bring a smile to thee,
But first, goo home, and get a jar,
Then a "gowdfish to thee can be".
A remember, Mr. Mahoney,
And Mr. Capels too,
But the ones I remember best was George,
And his son Teddy too.
Thi wer the Rag and Boone Kings,
Who'ad shayt from behind reigns,
"Ay Rag Booen", "Any Owd Rags"......
Once of a day you would regularly see the Mahoney’s, or the Caple’s, and probably most known of all, Teddy Berry, going around town calling out whilst sat on their pony and carts.
I often wonder why did all the rag and bone men come from the Top O’th Town? Area.
I can remember some of the rag n bone chaps giving away “Donkey Stones” to the ladies as a swap for their old rags. Those same ladies would go out every day and rub the stone on the edge of their steps or their window cills, and in some cases would completely scour the full flags to make the stonework decorated. You don’t see that sort of thing today. Although sadly in a lot of instances today, I suppose lovely stones has been replaced with “tarmac”. If you want to read more about “Donkey Stones” then CLICK HERE and you will be directed to a site devoted to the subject.
Also the rag a bone chaps would sometimes give away “Goldfish” or "firewood", as a alternative to Donkey stones. And if you pestered your mum hard enough, you could have landed yourself with a goldfish.
Georgie Berry, besides having his rags and scrap metal yard up on Rock Hall, he also used to also have a shop up Church Street, next to what was the Bird In Hand pub. I remember my dad buying me a push bike off George, and paid him ten shillings for that bike. It took some getting used to, because it was a bit too big for me really, but I conquered it in the end. I suppose ten shillings them days (mid 1950s) would probably be about £10 in todays money.
(Email: from Chris Reid i went to school and lived in Haslingden from 1963/4 to about 1976, i used to help drive and work the last rag and bone cart in Haslingden which belonged to Teddy Berry. his son and daughter are both still living in Haslingden i believe. his daughter Shirley (Nuttal) still lives on Sunny bank street his son Duncan i am not sure of his current address. Their grandad George used to have a shop on Church St next to the Bird In Hand pub. where the shop burnt down and George died in the fire. They also had stables that linked from the rear of the shop to what is the landleague. i am afraid all i have is memories. As there was no mention of the last rag and bone man i thought i throw my bit.) Sadly since Chris wrote this Shirley has passed away.
Email : from John McGuire - Victoria, Australia) Hi Bryan,
I have been reading the Blog for the past few years and the articles have been very interesting and nostalgic. I attended college in Bolton with John Entwistle of the Swinging Hangmen and later at Haslingden Grammar with John R
Edwards (which article did he contribute to the blog?). I also went to St Mary’s RC with John Bedford, thanks for the school photos John. My great Aunt and Uncle Mary and George Horlock rate a mention in the article about Carrs village.
The purpose of this email is to relate a story told to me by that legendary rag and bone man, Georgie Berry.
Georgie was my great Uncle and I used to visit him in his Church St house. By that time of course Teddy had taken over the business. I last visited him just before emigrating to Australia in 1964 (Could someone provide more details of the fire in which Chris Reid asserts Georgie died)..He recalled his glory days tatting in Haslingden and his arch rival Ezra Mahoney. Ezra Marney ,as he was known in the local patois, had a yard in a paddock between the top church and Spring lane. He stabled his donkey there.
Their rivalry for the local trade was intense and Georgie was exhilarated to read in the Free Press one day that Ezra Marney had fallen over a wall at his yard and sustained a broken neck from which he eventually died. Needless to say he was bitterly disappointed when he later found out that Marney’s donkey was also named Ezra and it was the donkey and not the man that had died.
Keep up the good work,
2 Mulkarra Drive,
Chelsea, Victoria 3196
Anthony Halstead (4th March 2015): George and Teddy Berry were the best. As kids, up "Shoot" we'd follow them, and their horse (Spangles), they'd always give us any old toys they got in.
Ian Edmundson (5th March 2015): Reading about Georgie Berry and Mahoney reminded me. There was a building we called Mahoney’s on Clod Lane between the plantation and Bentgate, next to the football field. There were lots of dogs inside and lots of junk!