Daily Chronicle, March 22, 1904

1 [The Burnley authorities have decided that children must not be allowed to dance the cake-walk, as it is demoralising.]

Train up the child, so runs the rede.
 The rising generation
Will have to mould in time of need
 The fortunes of the nation.
And, though of Britain’s matchless power
 Full often have I bragged, I’m
Convinced we could not last an hour
 If babes were reared on rag-time.

When Drake the Spanish hopes upset,
 Our men were tough as hickory:
But then they danced the minuette
 When worshipping Terpsichore:
When Shakespeare plied his magic pen
 And Cranmer to the stake walked,
The genuinely tip-top men
 Were those who never cake-walked.

In modern days it’s just the same:
 The men in lofty stations,
Whose eminence we all acclaim,
 Avoid undue gyrations.
They hear without internal thrills
 The “Georgia Camp Meeting”;
No wish to dance their bosom fills,
 Or, if it does, it’s fleeting.

So let the noble work proceed,
 Pursue your labours sternly;
And follow the illustrious lead
 Of autocratic Burnley.
And thus, when infants have grown old
 Who crawling now on floors are,
Their natures will be good as gold,
 As, reader, mine and yours are.

P. G. W. 




“Demoralising Cake-Walks. Cake-walk competitions at music-halls are having the most deteriorating influence on the children and girls of West Hartlepool, according to representations just made to the local magistrates. They mayor says the bench will do what it can to discountenance the cake-walk.” (Hull Daily Mail, February 5, 1904)

John Dawson