Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment c. 1985.

"If It Wasn’t for the ’Ouses in Between" (1894) is one of the best-known songs of Gus Elen (1862-1940), whose critical reception in the 1890s emphasized how truthfully he represented the Cockney on the music-hall stage. He worked hard at polishing his routine, however, and carefully timed his gestures. His grim demeanour added to the fun of songs like this, in which he lists the delights of his humble abode and its surrounding scenery in an increasingly crowded London. — 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.

Created October 2009

Last modified 24 March 2017