Kevin Adams says of Worksong: ‘It came from a collage of reminiscences of working lives in Wolverton, so many of them expressing a sense of loss: the Railway Works had once been a fixed point in the life of the town, but was so no longer… There was a mixture of pride and resentment about the Works, once the nation’s major carriage-works, downsized in the 1980s to a nonentity.’ The song was commissioned for a BBC / LAMK radio documentary The Works (1994) to describe these changes seen at Wolverton through the latter half of the 20th century, as described in the words of the men and women employed there.
Cecil Palmer, a Stony Stratford man whose family was much involved with Wolverton Works, was interviewed for the documentary drama Worker By Name in the early 1990s:
The foreman used to go to work in a bowler hat. I don’t know what his wages were but they were vastly different to the mechanic. They never did any actual work. They used to stand around and see that everyone was doing their job right… We didn’t see the Managers very often, if they walked around the Works. They’d just walk all the way round and then they’d go up to the top offices.
‘You've a job for life said your old man
But he didn't reckon with the Beeching plan.
Now we don't build new, we just repair –
You start to think you could work elsewhere…’
Images and material from LAMK archive. The song is featured on the Living Archie Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 1 (LAMK).