P h o t o B l o g

Monday, 26 May 2008

It's a Long Way to Stalybridge

An interesting public sculpture outside the former Market Hall in Stalybridge, entitled "Jack Judge accompanied by a WW1 soldier".

The plaque reads:
"Inspired to compose the famous marching song 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. He was the first to sing it publicly in 1912 at the Grand Theatre in Stalybridge, the town of its conception. Unveiled 16th December 2005 by Councillor Frank Robinson."

The plaque is carefully worded to avoid controversy by saying that the song was conceived in Stalybridge, rather than composed there, as is widely believed. This is because there is a rival claim from Oldbury, Staffordshire, which is where Jack Judge lived.

However, there is a story that while Judge was staying in Stalybridge, performing at the Grand Theatre, someone bet him that he couldn't write a song and perform it that night. He went off and wrote it and won the bet. [Read more]

Another story about the song is that it was originally going to be "It's a Long Way to Connemara" but Judge changed this to Tipperary just before the performance, because he thought more people would have heard of Tipperary!


  1. When this statue was unveiled certain comments were passed that the WWI soldier was depicted wearing an incorrect cap for the period. It was said it was too "Americanised" possibly in the style of the 2nd world war.However from photographs taken early in 1914 the cap appears to be correct. What do others think

  2. There's a cafe in Staly called the "Tipperary" - decent grub last time I was in there!

  3. My wife and I visited Stalybridge yesterday and were fascinated by the Jack Judge statue and story.

    It was of particular interest since I have written and arranged many songs for the Barbershop Harmony Community and as an ex 'club 'Turn' I felt a certain affinity with Jack.

    It seems that Jack and the story of his great song are well documented, however, less well documented is the name of the Sculptor and try as I might I can find no reference to this other talented person, anybody know who actually made this lovely piece of work?


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