The Oggie Man (at Albert Gate)

A Folk Song by Cyril Tawney

An 'Oggie', for those who live in Devon and Cornwall, is another name for a pasty. In the 1950s and early 1960s, outside Albert Gate of Devonport Dockyard stood an Oggie Man, selling pasties from his cart. The pasties were extremely popular with both sailors and dockers - the stall holder would sell-out every day. The Oggie Man's stall became a recognised place that could be referred to in a conversation and the other person would know exactly which spot you were referring to - the pasty stall was that well-known.

By the time Albert Gate closed in 1966 the Oggie Man had disappeared for ever. A replacement gate was built 50 metres away at the bottom of Albert Road, but the Oggie Man never came back - times had changed. New competitors had arrived. The Dewdney family had set up pasty shops in both Plymouth and Devonport. Even worse for the Oggie Man, Hot Dogs had become a favourite by then. Thus the Oggie Man disappeared into legend.

Dockers and sailors could still buy pasties of course, just not from the Oggie Man. Opposite the new dockyard gate at the bottom of Allbert Road stood (still stands to this day) the Albert Road Dairy, owned and run by the Tincler family; Mike Tincler says the dairy did a roaring trade in pasties for a while, when the Oggie Man first disappeared.

According to Wikipedia [1] Cyril Tawney wrote the following lyrics in 1959, and the tune, according to the book Singing Histories [2] was composed in 1966. 'The Oggie Man' was subsequently published on the music albums of two different record companies [1].

Well the rain’s softly falling and the Oggie Man’s no more
I can’t hear him calling like I used to before
I came through the gateway and
I heard the sergeant say
‘The big boys are coming see their stands across the way'
Yes the rain’s softly falling and the Oggie Man’s no more
---- ---- ----
It was here that she told me when she bade me goodbye
‘There’s no one will miss you one half as much as I
My love will endure dear
like a beacon in a squall
Eternal as that Oggie Man beneath the dockyard wall’
Well the rain’s softly falling and the Oggie Man’s no more
---- ---- ----
Repeat first verse.

Cyril Tawny was an ex Petty Officer who wrote and performed his own Folk songs and gained a popular reputation, even appearing on British television. As an ex sailor it's likely that Cyril purchased pastys from the Oggie Man himself.

In addition to the Royal Navy, Cyril had a further link with Devonport. In 1965 he opened the 'West of England Folk Centre' in Devonport; the club was registered with the objective of 'furtherance of British traditional culture. The Centre didn't last long as Cyril became ill at the time; but it remains with a respected name in the annals of British Folk history. It is understood that Cyril wrote notes about his time with the Devonport Folk Centre - see the link at Reference 3 for further details of the publication 'Celebrating Cyril".

1. Wikipedia page on Cyril Tawny.
2. Book: Singing Histories produced by 'Sing London' and Plymouth Music Zone et al. PDF copies can be freely downloaded from

(page added March 2010)