Echoes of the past: Yo-ho yo-ho a pirate’s life for me

Children dressed up as pirates
Children dressed up as pirates

’Arrrgh, me mateys’ - did pirates really say things like that and where did the traditional design of the skull and cross bones pirate flag come from ? Some people have even suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek I think, that it was Walt Disney, hmm, not really.

What was the average age of a pirate - 30, 40 - no it was mid 20s and how many pirates were there in what is often described as the golden era of pirates - 1000 to 2000 may be. That is on the low side, at the height of piracy there was nearer to 4000.

Pirates have been around a lot long than the 1700s, even the Greeks were worried about pirates. Did all pirate captains have a black patch over one eye, did most have a peg leg or was that all started by Robert Newton the actor who played Long John Silver based on the book Treasure Island.

There are many books written about pirates both for children and adults. The one that is used as a reference book for many historians is Daniel Defoe’s, ‘A General History of the Pyrates’, edited by Manuel Schonhorn. This can sometimes be found on internet auction and book websites.

In this week’s featured photograph we have a classroom full of friendly pirates. Many wearing eye patches, the skull and cross bones flag emblem on their pirate head gear. It is the image we have all been taught from our own school days.

This is one of those many photographs I have where there is no date other than the mid 1980s and no indication of where it was taken.

So my question is: “Arrrgh, me mateys, if any ye pirates are still in town, lets be knowing you’. You might now be in your late twenties or even early thirties.

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