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Russell Wortley encountered Beatrice Hill at Bromsberrow Heath, a village in Gloucestershire but with an address outside the County because of the location of the nearest Postal Sorting Office. Beatrice Hill’s father, who came originally from Gloucester, kept the Bell public house in Bromsberrow Heath and was the Morris “King”; her sister Emily Bishop was a fine singer and can be heard singing and talking about the Morris Dancing on Country Songs and Carols (Folktrax FTX-129). Russell Wortley’s recordings of Beatrice Hill and Emily Bishop are available for listening, by appointment, at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. See www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/cat.
Peter Kennedy also recorded three of Beatrice Hill’s tunes when he was working for the BBC. He issued them on Folktracks 45-115, A Nutting We will Go.
Mrs Hill played for Peter Kennedy in F. The tunes recorded by Russell Wortley are in E. The difference could be due to different tape speeds. Thanks to Rob Gowing, Mrs Hill’s grandson, we have examined her melodeon, and found that it is in F.
In the linked abc file this is tune number X:7
Down the Middle Not only did Beatrice Hill play the tune on the melodeon, she and her sister Emily Bishop also sang it, using the following words in the B music.
“Don’t you hurt her, try to please her,
‘cos she is my pretty little dear.”
“Down the middle, down the middle” .
The alternative first bar is as they sang it. Mrs Hill tried to remember the rest of the music saying: “That isn’t complete.”