A Leg-end Of Wapping
Fireman's Dog
The Wapping Fire-Brigade is smart, that's everywhere allowed,
They've also got a whopping dog, of which they're justly proud;
Mind, when I say a whopping dog, I speak about his size,
He really was a barking dog and born 'neath Barking's skies.

SPOKEN: The Fireman's dog of Wapping boasted a peculiar pedigree. He was born at Barking in Essex and consequently was a barking Barking dog. After being brought up in the Isle Of Dogs he became the property of of the Fireman at Wapping and grew to such a size that he was the whopping Wapping dog, in short, he was the Barking dog of Wapping or the Wapping dog of Barking. Whichever you like.

Chorus: And even now I can hear him,
'Bow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow,'
As rushing through Wapping, his yelping ne'er stopping;
He'd bark, 'Bow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow - wow, wow!'

In Wapping High Street dwelt a maid, the maiden I adored,
As milliner she earned per year, ten pounds, also her board;
And in the house she dwelt in, there a fearful fire arose,
The Fire-Brigade first found it out all through the dog's bow-wows.

SPOKEN: That dog was always the first at a fire; when he found one out he got extra paunches, he'd sometimes give a false alarm, then he got extra punches. When he got to the fire he used to save the property... he'd save the cold meat out of the pantry first, then he'd take it down a court and eat it, so that it should not be stolen and come back barking and wagging his tail.


The Wapping Fire-Brigade was there and wildly rushed about,
The while that noble wapping dog my lady love, brought out;
He saved her from the raging flames and I vowed fearful vows,
To find in paunches all his life that noblest of bow-wows.

SPOKEN: The excitement of the populace was intense as that dog saved her from the fire and dragged her out in... her dishabille. She never looked more lovely but for the deadly pallor on her face, as she exclaimed, 'Save, oh, save my Sunday Chignon.


That woman's falsehoods changed my heart and made it like a log,
For she's flopped her young affections on the owner of that dog;
They're married and I'm single still, I buy no paunches now,
But see her in my fancy when I hear a dog bow-wow.

SPOKEN: He's now the joint property of my milliner and the fireman. Why did he save her if not for me, I feel I should like to give that whopping, Wapping dog a whopping. I'm haunted by the Barking cur's barking; I take bark to strengthen my nerves and sing, 'My bark is on the sea.' still...


It is the comic singer who gave Music Hall its distinctive voice and Arthur Lloyd specialised in funny songs. He used very clever 'play on words' in his lyrics and this song is a good example. He is singing about a large (whopping) dog, born in Barking who belongs to a fireman in Wapping, thus, the '...Barking dog of Wapping or the whopping dog of Barking...'. The song is complicated more when in true Music Hall fashion the singer is heartbroken when the girl he loves is rescued by the dog, only for her to fall in love with the fireman who owns the dog.

Written and composed by W. Burnot & Arthur Lloyd - 1870
Performed by Arthur Lloyd (1840-1904)
From Music Hall Lyrics Collection
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