Conway, George


Collection date: Sept 1914

Area: London

George Conway at Sailors’ Home Leman Street: age 70, 19 sea shanties over several visits commencing 4 Sept 1914: George Conway was an important singer for Sharp, as he was able to publish 2 of his shanties immediately in his ‘English Folk-Chanteys’ book in late 1914, namely ‘Clear the Track’ and ‘Sing Sally O’ (FT3055,56). He later published ‘Whip Jamboree’ (FT3053 Roud 488) and ‘Fire Fire’ (FT3057) in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1916). Sharp had just collected ‘Whip Jamboree’ from John Short at Watchet in May 1914 and it was his version that he used in his Folk-Chantey book.

In the 1911 census George William Conway was listed at the Sailors’ Home as ’67, single, born Peckham’. He was not an inmate but a member of staff – an ‘odd cleaner’. In 1901 he was at the same Sailors’ home as ‘Head Porter’ (RG13/307 f131 p1). It is likely that he was born on 24/9/1843 and baptised on 25/1/1844 at Christchurch, Camberwell, son of Robert Harris Conway, a government clerk and his wife Amelia. It is also likely that he died 26/7/1919 age 75 at the Whitechapel Infirmary.

Note: The Sailors Home was originally founded in 1828 by Captain RJ Elliot RN. It was relocated in 1835 to Well St (now Ensign St) just off Leman St in the Whitechapel area of East London.

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