On Thursday evening, Ludlow Lib Dems hosted Flanders and Swann tribute evening at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. The two-man show, with occasional contributions from the audience, was well received.

David Gaukroger took the role of Donald Swann at the piano and tenor Kim Begley played Michael Flanders, minus the wheelchair.

They performed Flanders and Swann standards from a Drop of  Hat and a Drop of Another Hat, songs of weather, slow trains, omnibuses, gnus, bedsteads, the inability of the left and right to intertwine, and a tale of a dirty old man with a bottle of madeira.

There were some new songs in Flanders and Swann style, including an elegy on Ludlow housing, the lyrics of which I reproduce here with permission.

Kim Begley and David Gaukroger

Oh Ludlow was a lovely town with houses large and small
A quiet rural idyll with room enough for all
Local shops on ev’ry corner. The butcher knew you name
But as time passed it didn’t last, there’s now another game

Bill from Chelsea told wife Elsie his firm had done quite well
He’d got a handsome payout and some bonus shares to sell
Elsie’d always fancied a pad in Ludlow town
A second home is just the thing. Bill put the money down

Next year’s bonus did surprise. It was the best one yet
And, thinking of his pension, Bill started Buy to Let
Bill had friends and colleagues who thought the same as he
They came up with a bright idea: Ludlow Air B&B

Oh Ludlow’s still a lovely town with houses clean and bright
But many will be empty when you pass on a winter’s night
First came Cornwall, then the Highlands, the Peaks, the Dales, the Lakes
Will Ludlow go the self-same way? Pray not for all our sakes.

4 thought on “Housing in Ludlow: A Ludlow Elegy”
    1. A difficult one – love the song and it’s thought provoking sentiments. If there was also enough housing for local young people and families, and at a reasonable price, I don’t think having expensive Air B&Bs would be too much of a problem. But as in many towns, the price of housing means that the people who work in the service industries can’t afford the rent/deposit/mortgage on houses in their area, yet the people who own and use Air B&Bs expect there to be bars, shops, restaurants etc. open as and when they want them.

      1. Totally agree, Gillian. However, local government is powerless to levy charges. The Welsh government has exercised the power. From April 2023, local councils in Wales will be able to raise the maximum council tax premium on second homes to 300% (up from the 100% limit set in 2017). Councils in England, notable Cornwall County Council, have been begging the Tory government for the same power and it has been refused. Surprised? Cornwall has several Tory seats threatened by Lib Dems.

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