“Down the Generations” by Stuart Delvin

Stuart Delvin is a long-time campaigner for the preservation of British weights and measures and is an active member of British Weights and Measures Association


When William surveyed old Albion
In the Domesday book of yore
There was many a mention
Of an ounce of gold or more
And later when hale Henry
Drank a yard of ale
He somehow stayed clean sober
So his ardour did not pale.

Down the generations
Through the mists of time
There stand our weights and measures
Which have served each purpose fine.


When Newton saw the light
As an apple fell like lead
So many feet per second squared
Accelerated in his head
What steamed into action
And Stephenson got on track
They used up gallons of water
And coal by the hundredweight sack.
Down the generations


The six yard box in football
The cricket pitch of a chain
The final furlong at the races
The golf putt played in vain
The seven pound two ounce baby
Born to a six foot Dad
We choose to use this language
To lose it would be sad
Down the generations


When Francis Drake in Plymouth
Finished his game of bowls
He used his twenty pounders
To see off the Nation’s foes
Then Wren he built St. Pauls
Which is still with us today
Designed in feet and inches
Anchored in London Clay.
Down the generations


Brunel, who was a genius
With his tunnels, bridges and boats
Used traditional measures
Down to the sleeves of his coat
Then our friends across the Atlantic
Taught us how to fly
Using pounds per square inch
As the lunar craft flew high
Down the generations


So when the try to tell you
As they might from time to time
That nothing works but metric
Just say  Don’t spin that line
For British weights and measures
Evolved through the common man
And he never used a hundred
Where a simple figure could stand.
Down the generations