Bouncing Billy Barker - Springheel Jack


Bouncing Billy Barker - Springheel Jack of Gorton, Manchester, England


Bouncing Billy Barker

The newspaper extract above is taken from the Manchester Evening news circa 1992. Many readers from the Gorton and Abbey Hey areas wrote to the Manchester Evening News, asking about Bouncing Billy Barker (Real name William [Bill] Scruton) and wondering if he was just a local myth. The paper investigated a little and produced the article above on their letters page. Billy did indeed teach some of his secrets to Tony McCabe who did indeed once jump on and off Russell Harty's nose without hurting him!

Bouncing Billy Barker, (aka Springheel Jack, aka The Man With Springboard muscles) was famed for his ability to jump onto a tray of eggs and out again without breaking them and being able to jump onto a man who was holding a lit candle in his mouth, snuff it out with no harm to the man. His feats of jumping over Openshaw Canal using momentum weights were indeed famous and quite true.

Bouncing Billy Barker of Gorton, Manchester, could jump across the local canal from a standing start. Used weights to gain momentum and 'skimmed' like a stone apparently. Won many a bet and escaped from the local constabulary by the same means after some more nefarious activities as well! He could also jump over a horse from a standing start and was regarded by many as a local sporting hero. Tony Hill wrote the song with the chorus - "It's impossible, it can't be done cried many a remarker, but now who's heard of Gorton town, and Bouncing Billy Barker?"

I have been lucky enough to get two MP3's of the song. Thankyou to Mark Dowding for sending them to me. The first one is by Tony Hill who wrote the song. This was recorded at Harry Boardman's folk club at the Unicorn in Church Street, Manchester around 1984. Click the music note button below to listen to it.

Harry Boardman's folk club

The second one I have is the same song but this version is sung in the same venue again around 1984 by the group Gorton Tank. Click the music note button below to listen to it.

Click Here To Hear The Song - Gorton Tank

I must also thank the good folks at the Mudcat Forums for providing the inspiration for this page.


Thank you for visiting this page.

If you have any other articles, links or information about Billy Barker of Gorton, Manchester, England,

please e-mail his Great Grandson Stuart.

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Bouncing Billy Barker Blog Entry

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