Build us something more

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May 19, 2017 by Matt Hill Songwriter

On the galleries of the museum they have some remarkable material from the post Second World War period. It shows Britain building a future – a land fit for heroes. During that period the country was bankrupt, bombed out, food was on ration. We were a broken nation shattered by a long and brutal war. And yet….

In just a few short years from 1945 to 1951, Clement Atlee’s government created a new vision of Britain that would last for the next 30 years. This was the post-war consensus in which the political centre ground shifted left and all parties agreed that we needed to create a National Health Service, to offer pensions, child benefits and to build decent social housing for people to live in. Industries were nationalised and set to work for the nation creating jobs and boosting the economy.  I find this period so inspiring that a country on it’s knees could organise and transform in this way.

Build us something more

The things we saw in the waste of war – we saw
Cities made from rust, our sweethearts turned to dust
And we swore we’ll build us something more

The things we heard. Harrowing words – we heard
Last rites and funeral bells, good byes, good lucks, farewells
And we swore we’ll build us something more

Build us something good, build us something great
And we swore we’ll build us something more

The sounds of sirens once filled these rooms
Now the cries of a million babies boom
and the future’s here, it’s here right now
and we must build, our own way out of here
and we must build, build, build, build….

Finally it’s still. The axis tilts – and we build
Build Hospitals and roads, communities and homes
With no one left behind with no one left alone

From cradle to the grave, for the sacrifices made
There must be something good, there must be something great
A golden welfare state, with food on every plate
And we swore we’ll build us something more

From the horrors of the war there must be something more
And we swore we’ll build us something more


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Quiet Loner

Through 2016 Matt Hill (aka Quiet Loner) was songwriter-in-residence at The People’s History Museum in Manchester, UK. This site contains the blog about the residency along with information about the show and album that sprang from it – The battle for the ballot.

The project was supported by a grant from Arts Council England.

The album

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