Having balladeered his way around Tower Hamlets, Ruairidh Anderson now turns his attentions to the Borough of Greenwich, venue for the Olympic equestrian, basketball, gymnastic and shooting events. He begins his musical tour of the borough by telling the story of Joseph Druce, Greenwich Pensioner who became a Maori Chief.
“Upon being arrested for a break and enter, Joseph Druce was thrown into Newgate prison and, during a time when children were executed for being mildly annoying, was very lucky to find himself instead bound for Australia”
Watch the video and enjoy the London song inspired by this tale,’Ring Out The Old With The New’.
Cockney Maori Chief
How gracious it was, how humbling when our great head of state reached down and allowed a commoner into the House of Windsor. I’m talking of course of Kate Middleton who, despite showing no obvious signs of similarities in profile to that the Grand National winner ,was allowed into the Royal family tree. And then there was that Antipodean who managed to claw her way into the Danish royal family, giving Australia its foothold into royal lineage. But what about a street rat from 18th century London?
George Bruce aka Joseph Druce, before ending his days in the Greenwich hospital , started off life as a mudlark scouring the Thames for scrap metal and lost treasures.
Now as you can imagine it’s a pretty grim existence dredging the filth of the Thames on a daily basis and so he soon descended into the life of petty crime. After a break and enter, he was thrown into Newgate prison and during a time when children were executed for being mildly annoying, he was very lucky instead to be sent to Australia. It was here that he entered a life of farming, went on to becoming a bush ranger and ironically a policeman, before again visiting prison after consuming illicit alcohol he was supposed to have confiscated.
On his release George found work on a merchant ship and it was on this ship that he encountered a Maori chief that was having some severe health issues. Well George didn’t think they were so severe, instead he put it down to bad diet. Indeed he was correct. The Maori chief got better and was so grateful that he gave George and his daughter, tattood his face and bestowed on him a title. And in doing so made George Bruce the first and only cockney Maori chief.