The Boys that mind the shop thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Boys that mind the shop

Sheet Music
ca. 19th century (printed and published)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

'The Boys That Mind The Shop' was written by the author of music hall songs, Edgar Bateman. It poked gentle fun at one of the Rifle Volunteer battalions, part-time regiments formed in 1859 to supplement the regular forces to defend Britain against invasion or to enforce domestic order. Tradesmen and professional people alike joined the units, which is why this illustration by H.G. Banks depicts the butcher and draper as a major and captain.
Vesta Tilley was a huge draw on the music hall stage strutting about immaculately dressed as a serviceman, policeman, or man about town, at a time when women weren't seen wearing trousers.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleThe Boys that mind the shop (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Lithograph
Brief description
Music sheet cover for 'The Boys that mind the shop', composed by Bennett Scott and Edgar Bateman, sung by Miss Vesta Tilley, published by Francis, Day & Hunter, ca. 19th century.
Physical description
Cover of the sheet music for 'They Boys that mind the shop'. In the centre, there is an image of Vesta Tilley who is depicted on this music sheet cover in a close-fitting military uniform. This is one of the costumes that made her such a successful male impersonator. Credits of the song are printed above and below the image.
Dimensions
  • Height: 35cm (approx)
  • Width: 25cm (approx)
Marks and inscriptions
/THE BOYS THAT MIND THE SHOP/ /MY MEN, THE FOE/ WELL CHARGE/HIS FLANK/WIGH UP/AT FIVE/AND FOUR/ /COME SIGHT/YOUR GUNS/ONE/THOUSAND YARDS/AT ONE & SIX/PER YARD/ /MEN SHOULDER/ARMS DRESS/UP - MARK/TIME NOW/HURRY UP/PAST TIME!/ 4TH CHORUS/ /FOR HE'LL TAKE A BIT OF BEATING - WILL THE LONDON VOLUNTEER/ /HE DON'T DESERVE A SNEER/ /SO WHO'LL BEGRUDGE A CHEER?/ /AND IT'S BULLS-EYE FROM THE MARKER WHERE HE LETS THE BULLETS DROP, /THEY'RE THE SMARTEST LADS IN LONDON, ARE THE bOYS THAT MIND THE DROP."/ /WRITTEN BY/ /EDGAR BATEMAN/ COMPOSED BY BENNETT SCOTT/ /SUNG BY/ MISS VESTA TILLEY/ /LONDON:FRANCIS, DAY & HUNTER, 142 CHARING CROSS ROAD/ (Text on front of cover.)
Credit line
Gabrielle Enthoven Collection
Subject depicted
Associations
Literary referenceThe boy that mind the shop by Edgar Bateman
Summary
'The Boys That Mind The Shop' was written by the author of music hall songs, Edgar Bateman. It poked gentle fun at one of the Rifle Volunteer battalions, part-time regiments formed in 1859 to supplement the regular forces to defend Britain against invasion or to enforce domestic order. Tradesmen and professional people alike joined the units, which is why this illustration by H.G. Banks depicts the butcher and draper as a major and captain.
Vesta Tilley was a huge draw on the music hall stage strutting about immaculately dressed as a serviceman, policeman, or man about town, at a time when women weren't seen wearing trousers.
Other number
109 - PeoplePlay UK number
Collection
Accession number
S.595-2012

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Record createdJune 21, 2012
Record URL
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