Piccadilly Gardens hasn’t got the best of reps,
The worst crime spot in the north, you’d better watch your step,
From the winos of the eighties, now Spice has stole the show,
But it’s nothing now compared to what happened years ago.
Because in the 1600s on wasteland past Market Street,
They’d tie up single ladies and strap them in a seat,
Then duck them in the daub hole, where a pool formed in the ditch,
And see if they’d confess to being a Quaker or a witch.
Their crimes were pretty tepid, like being labelled a ‘nag,’
A ‘scold,’ a gossip or a loner or a potty mouthed, foul hag,
They thought witches were everywhere, to not find out, you’d be a fool,
So best to check and strap her in…to the Piccadilly ducking stool.
Then dunk her in and leave her… gasping for her breath,
‘Are you a witch admit it? Or veritably face your death,’
The practice got quite popular, the crowd all smiles and grins,
As the ducking stool and daub hole washed away her sins.
The mobs dragged up more witches, to see if they’d survive,
They soon needed more ducking stools, they ended up with five,
The only witch necessity was to have a male detractor,
Then every week they’d hold their own twisted, medieval witch X-Factor.
But then one rainy Saturday when the Ducking Stool had no room,
One suspect cackled witch like and then whistled for her broom,
And flew on it around the Gardens casting spells on men who raged,
Magic-ing iron muzzles on their mouths ‘til all their lips were caged.
The ducking stools were over, for a while the land lay idle,
But a reminder on a shop door of an iron knot and a bridle,
Was left to remind the silly men to treat their women well,
Or the witch of Piccadilly would be back to cast another spell.
(Disclaimer- an iron knot and bridle was left on a shop door on Market Street, but such were the times that it was to remind women to keep their mouths shut and know their place. Whilst much of this poem is factual, no witches have ever flown around Piccadilly Gardens unless they were fuelled by spice)