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

“Cushie Butterfield” is a parody of Harry Clifton’s “Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green” [performed]. It is attributed to the Tyneside music-hall comedian George Ridley, who died the year after the original song was published. Cushie is the exact opposite of Polly. Rather than a “butterfly,” she is “a big lass” who “likes her beer.” Instead of her admirer being a Cockney milkman, she is doted on by a Geordie keel worker. “Cushie Butterfield” may be seen as a typical down-to-earth Northern English response to Southern proprieties. — 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