13 January 2013

Jack Judge in Stalybridge

 This statue in Stalybridge intrigues me.
accompanied by a WWI soldier
Inspired to compose the famous marching song
"It's a Long Way to Tipperary"
He was the first to sing it publicly in 1912
at the Grand Theatre in Stalybridge,
the town of its conception.
Unveiled 16th December 2005
by Councillor Frank Robinson'

'It's a long way to Tipperary' was certainly a 'marching song' in that World War I soldiers used it while marching, although I'm aware of no evidence that it was conceived as such, so the existence of the soldier apparently 'helping' Judge to compose the song is very fanciful.
The truth seems to be that the army simply adopted a completely non-military song to sing as they marched. Judge is said to have claimed that he made a five-shilling (25 pence) bet at the New Market Inn*, Corporation Street, Stalybridge, that he couldn't write an original song in 24 hours. On his way home he was inspired by a drunk he passed, and the result was that he wrote a song about an Irishman homesick in London. It appears that one or more of Judge's relatives came from Tipperary.
* The pub no longer exists.

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