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MP3 John Cullimore - The Hammerman

A Rock opera based on the life of England''s Hammerman Poet, an emotionally uplifting musical journey describing the life and loves of this extraordinary character inspired by the English landscape and a passion for learning.

19 MP3 Songs in this album (49:31) !
Related styles: ROCK: Rock opera, FOLK: Folk-Rock

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About The Hammerman

Alfred Williams (1877 – 1930) was a self taught classical scholar who became a nationally celebrated poet and writer .He grew up in the vicinity of Swindon in Southern England. His most famous work, Life in a Railway Factory (1915), is a unique account of life as a factory worker in the GWR works in Swindon . He wrote this at night after completing a gruelling days work in the steam hammer shop and was hence nicknamed ‘The Hammerman Poet’.

Alfred grew up in poverty after his father abandoned his wife and eight https://www.tradebit.com left school altogether aged 11 to become a farm labourer. This suited his intense love of the countryside .At 15 years old , in search of a living wage, he entered Swindon railway works, where he worked in the Stamping Shop for the next twenty-three years.
He Married Mary Peck in 1903,after a prolonged courtship, Mary’s parents did not approve of her marrying a factory worker. Alfred had a deep love of literature and was inspired by the countryside of Southern Central England. He pursued a demanding schedule of full-time work and private study, and taught himself Literature ,Greek , Latin and French while working at the forge. He published his first of book of poems in 1909, Songs in Wiltshire. Despite initially thriving in the factory , and being an admired and respected worker , his health gradually declined and he left the factory in 1914.
His frank treatise on harsh working conditions made him unpopular with the GWR management , who publically admonished him and dismissed him as a disaffected misfit. History has judged otherwise, largely thanks to Alfred’s keen perception and expressive ability combined with the honest common sense attitude expressed in ‘Life in a Railway Factory’. This work remains to this day a key source for socialist historians.

In 1914 , He was initially rejected as an army recruit due to his poor state of health, but was finally accepted for service in 1916, when he was transferred to India in order to prepare for service in Afghanistan.

Although never called upon to fight he embraced the culture of the subcontinent, and taught himself Sanskrit , eventually translating classic Sanskrit poetic works into English.

He returned from the war to South Marston ,with no job , no home and no prospects. Earlier literary successes had not earnt enough fame or fortune to sustain Alfred and Mary . He even had to go about acquiring bricks from a disused lock , in order to build his own house , which he named ‘Ranikhet’ after the hill village where he was stationed in India.
His survival at this time was thanks to market gardening , from the produce grown on land to the rear of his house, and the charity of some of his https://www.tradebit.com was determined to archive the cultural heritage of the Upper Thames region , and set out to record for posterity, the songs and poems enjoyed by villagers in the region,
Alfred Williams produced a total of thirteen books but died in poverty in 1930 in South Marston. He and his wife were childless .
Only three weeks before his death , he had become nationally recognised once again , this time by the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald , who awarded him a Civil List Pension. Sadly , he did not survive to receive any of it .

This musical diversion does not aim to assess the impact and achievements of this unusual Wiltshire character, rather it is a tribute to a man who found inspiration in the rural environment which still surrounds us , who derived satisfaction and pride from a hard day’s work , and whose indomitable spirit and creativity in the face of adversity can be an inspiration to us all . He should not be forgotten , and through the medium of song I hope to keep his memory alive.

John Cullimore

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