Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
The New Ballads of Reading Gaol
Ballad of Reading Gaol
Young people have been re-writing the Ballad of Reading Gaol

Reading Prison was made infamous by Oscar Wilde's haunting Ballad, published in 1898.

Throughout 2009 a team of poets has been running poetry and creative writing workshops in Reading prison.

The poets also worked in the Youth Offending service and with young people not in mainstream school.

Most recently, musicians have been working with the young poets to set their words to music, in a series of songs and raps.

The new Ballads of Reading Jail reflect life for offenders in 2009, and cover a huge range of themes including bereavement, fractured relationships and parenthood.

Project poets John Hegley and Tim Turnbull have been taken aback by the sheer amount of writing being done in Reading Prison, and by the interest in writing poetry and rap lines.

Now five of Berkshire's finest musicians have taken the lyrics of their favourite poems and set them to music.

Click on the link below to listen to their work.

One Day I'll Be Back words by Simon* with music and vocals by James Ewers from My Luminaries.

My Moon My Stars My Sun words by Rachel* with vocals by Amy Barton from Amy's Ghost and music by James Ewers.

Valentines Day words by Luke*, vocals by Jasmine and music by Steve Hiscock.

Charlie Finn words by Liam*. Music and vocals by James Ewers.

The Day I Got Stuck words by Marco*. Music and vocals by Ben Marwood.

You can read a selection of the ballads using the links below.

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

Another Country

Charlie Finn

Inauguration Day

Hard on the Roadside

Making Peas

Moving On

My Mum

On the Run

The Day I Got Stuck

The Jail

Walk in my shoes


To hear the poetry being read, click on the links below

LISTEN: The Jail

LISTEN: Jamie Rap

LISTEN: Valentines Day

LISTEN: Charlie Finn (The Unknown Soldier) by James Ewers

LISTEN: Thames Valley Chorus perform Stand And Fight

*names have been changed.

Oscar Wilde and the Palmer family
24 Sep 09 |  History
Wilde libel papers go on show
09 Apr 03 |  Arts & Culture
Burns and Wilde possessions sold
25 Mar 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife



Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific