This ballad begins: 'Good evening to ye, Glasgow boys, I'm glad to see ye well, / I'm consaytier myself tonight than any tongue can tell, / For I'm in a situation - oh, begor! a fancy job, / N'hye, an' whisper, I've a weekly wage of fifteen bob.'
The narrator of this ballad is an Irish foreman who has come to Glasgow to oversee the production of asphalt for road building. During the industrialisation of Scotland new and improved roads had to be built quickly, and Irish immigrants, who worked in many areas of Scottish industry, became particularly stereotyped as road and rail builders. 'Hot Ashfelt!' picks up on this stereotype, with the narrator describing the prejudice he has encountered from the Scottish police. The song ends in victory for the narrator, who entombs the policeman in hot asphalt, but it probably did little to dispell anti-Irish stereotypes.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable period of publication:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(70a)
View larger image