fast forward to today and a Ripon couple have realised the song’s lyrics, when they discovered a piece of the past whilst spring cleaning.
Brian and Ailsa Coe unearthed a huge tramps nightgown from the 1930’s whilst cleaning out their cupboards and took it along to the Ripon Workhouse Museum to find out more.
Museum curator Anthony Chadwick sheds light on this objects fascinating past: “This is an original tramp’s night gown from the 1930s, on arrival at the Workhouse tramps clothes would be taken from them and fumigated in a cabinet with a sulphur candle to kill any bugs. They would then be given a coarse cotton night gown like this to wear, this garment is standard issue with a one size fits all policy!”
The Ripon Workhouse Museum, which provided food and shelter to the destitute, is housed in the Gatehouse building, the area that was originally used to receive vagrants. Tramps were allowed to stay for two days and were also given a bath on arrival, with the unlucky ones arriving last as the same bathwater was used to wash up 14 tramps.