Those who know us well will also know that we have a habit of bursting into pubs and whipping our swords out(*).
In general, this provokes at least one punter to ask what the hell they are. This is a vexed question and one which has never been answered to our satisfaction.
It is clear that the first rappers would have been made from surplus mining gear in the 19th century. But what would that have been?
Pictured above is a brass horse scraper used in the Boer War, which puts the date of manufacture towards the end of the 19th century. This shows they were in use at the time of the introduction of rapper dancing, and there is an obvious visual correlation between the design of the scraper and the rapper swords themselves.
The miners of course used pit ponies to bring the coal to the surface, and these were cleaned using scrapers similar to the Boer War scraper, and therefore to the rappers used in the dance.
Where to find out more
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so if you’d like to see a demonstration of how the pit ponies were cleaned, join us at Wessex Folk Festival next weekend and Martin will be more than glad to show you how they were used. Be prepared to take part.
(*) we also love cheap innuendo.