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This Week's Writing Events: September 25 - October 1

With September ending on Friday, I'm put in mind of a children's song from England:

The big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh
The ally-ally-oh, the ally-ally-oh
Oh, the big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh
On the last day of September.

The captain said it will never, never do
Never, never do, never, never do
The captain said it will never, never do
On the last day of September.

The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
The bottom of the sea, the bottom of the sea
The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
On the last day of September.

We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea
The deep blue sea, the deep blue sea
We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea
On the last day of September.


It's widely believed that the song is about the Manchester Ship Canal, but the specific lyrics and the reference to the "last day of September" remain something of a mystery. Is it about a ship named the Arctic that sailed from Manchester and sank in the Atlantic on September 27? Is the last day of September a reference to especially strong tides that occur toward the end of this month? Is it a reference to departing Manchester in time before ice poses a hazard to ships?

Or does the song pre-date the 1850s opening of the canal, a much older song whose lyrics became corrupted and their original significance lost?

Visit our monthly calendar or our "This Week" page for more information on these events and lots of others

Updated: September 25, 2016


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Updated: November 6, 2010