Chairs To Mend

Words & Music:

Traditional English


Chairs to mend, old chairs to mend?

*Mackerel, fresh mackerel!

Any old rags?  Any old rags?


* subsequent parts enter here



I have this bit of score from an old page of a songbook (title page of the book is long lost.  Please let me know if you have the author so I can cite it correctly.)

Chairs To Mend Score


Obviously, the words and score are not to scale.  "Chairs to mend..." goes with the first two measures.  "Mackerel..." goes with the middle two measures and "Any old rags..." goes with the final two measures. 


This round clearly comes from:

"Three Oxford Cries" made into a round by W. Hayes; published in 1786:


Chairs to mend, old chairs to mend,

Rush of cane bottom'd old chairs to mend,

Old chairs to mend.

New mackerel, new mackerel.

New mackerel, new mackerel.

Old rags, any old rags,

Take money for your old rags,

Any hare skins or rabbit skins.


These would have been the cries made by a chair-mender, fishmonger, ragpicker & skinner in turn as they plied their trades daily on the streets of Oxford in the 1700s & 1800s.  The closest modern equivalent is what happens when you hear the bells of the ice cream truck in summer.



Back to the Songbook Index.

This page's content is copyrighted ©1977-2009 by Kristin C. Hall. Please drop me a line (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") if you wish to use it or link to it or correct it! Please send comments, suggestions, fixes and general mischievious mayhem to the web diva via the above email address. (sorry, spambots have forced me to remove my automatic mail link.) Many thanks...and enjoy!

Note to lawyers and any other litigious-minded folk:
I am not trying to screw anyone out of royalties, etc. I have posted these only as a helpful resources for teachers, camp counselors and people who like to "sing along with Mitch", if you will. If you do not want your work posted to these pages, please just email me (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") and I shall remove it.