Performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment c. 1985.

“Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green” became one of the best-known songs of respectable music-hall entertainer Harry Clifton (1832-72). Like many of Clifton’s songs it teaches a moral lesson (here, about the pitfalls of pride and vanity). A version circulated in the USA as “Pretty Polly Perkins of Abington Green.” The Newcastle-upon-Tyne comedian George Ridley parodied the song as “Cushie Butterfield” [performed]. — Derek B. Scott


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Scott, Derek B. Sounds of the Metropolis: The 19th-Century Popular Music Revolution in London, New York, Paris, and Vienna. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Last modified 10 October 2009