John Walker's Electronic House

by on Sep.06, 2004, under The Rest

And here he is.

Billy Waters

He was bought because of his appearance as horribly racist tat, and thus as an attempt at improving the tone of Bath’s Cancer Research greatly. But he offers a surprise. Written on the side of the base is the name, “Billy Waters”. Which when put into Google reveals a history, quite unexpected.

“One character who performed on the stage was Billy Waters, who also busked outside the Adelphi Theatre, in the Strand, in London. He appeared before an audience as himself in Life in London at the Adelphi and at the Caledonian Theatre in Edinburgh. Billy’s lines were to be spoken with a strong African accent, and he also sang these words of a song:

That all men are beggars, ’tis very plain you see:
Only some they are of lowly, and some of high degree.”

This site links to more information that I reproduce below without permission. I’m sure it’s all their copyright. I’m also sure that they believe that sharing knowledge is more important than its selfish ownership.

National Archives
Stolen from here

It seems Billy was quite popular in his town and time. But died in poverty, having pawned away both his fiddle and his wooden pin.

That he is depicted in such a fashion is indicative of so much that is so wrong. But that he is remembered should be a good thing. Here’s to Billy Waters, a man of high degree.

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