© Matthew Crampton 2016

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Written and presented by Matthew Crampton, this words-and-music concert combines storytelling and folk song to trace paths through slavery, emigration, the Highland Clearances and convict transportation.


Stop Press. In an exciting collaboration for 2018, Matthew will tour Human Cargo with American traditional music legend Jeff Warner. Dates to be announced soon.













‘Human Cargo is a brilliant concept, combining the great voices of the London Lubbers, singing solo and in unison, as the narrator Matthew Crampton tells the story of people in transit over the centuries, whether as slaves, emigrants, asylum seekers or, most strikingly today, as refugees. I was entranced, as clearly was everyone at the Walthamstow Folk Club, which was packed to the rafters (with many people unable to get in). It was a privilege to see this wonderful performance, using folk songs from different cultures, sea shanties and other musical forms to dramatise one of the worst stains on human history. I can't recommend Human Cargo highly enough.’ Robin Beste

‘Beautiful, powerful, poignant and informative.’

Ilyat Hajat, The Refugee Council


‘I was captivated from start to finish by your

powerful storytelling, and the exquisite blend of

your voices together.’  Olivia Dobbs

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The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo at Sidmouth’s Manor Pavilion during 2016 FolkWeek.

The London Lubbers singing under sail, aboard the Victor barge during the 2015 Harwich Shanty Festival.

Performing Human Cargo at the wonderful Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead, London on 9th November 2015.

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Previous Dates


Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh, Scotland Launch

Tue 27 June, 7.30pm. Matthew, solo


Taigh Chearsabhagh

Mon 26 June, North Uist, Scotland, Matthew, solo


Cutty Sark, Greenwich, London

Sat 24th Sept 2016 The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo at the Nest Collective’s Shanty Sessions


SE London Folklore Society

Thu 15 Sept, 8pm, The Old King’s Head, 45 Borough High St, SE1 1LZ Solo show by Matthew Crampton


London Folk Festival

Sat 3 Sept, Cecil Sharp House

The London Lubbers run a session


Greenbelt Festival

Sat 27 Aug, 5pm

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo


FolkEast Festival

Sun 21 Aug, Suffolk

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo


Sidmouth FolkWeek

Mon 1 Aug, 3pm, Manor Pavilion

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo.

Wed 3 Aug, 6.15pm, Winstone’s Bookshop, 10 High St, Sidmouth. Book signing. Shanties and fun.


Brockley Max Festival

Sat 28 May 3.30pm, London SE23 1PL. Solo appearance by Matthew Crampton to talk & sing about Human Cargo.


Heath Street Baptist Church

13 & 14 May 7.30pm, London NW3

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo.


Walthamstow Folk Club

Sun 31 Jan, 7.30pm, London

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo.


Heath Street Baptist Church

Mon 9 Nov 2015 7.30pm, London NW3

The London Lubbers perform Human Cargo.


Harwich Shanty Festival

Fri 9 Oct 2015, 7.30pm, Essex

Premiere of Human Cargo










Human Cargo - the show












Concert Dates

Matthew’s been busy with a similar show The Transports. Soon he’ll be announcing plans for a new tour of Human Cargo with Jeff Warner.


Reviews of Matthew in The Transports:







‘Matthew Crampton is an accomplished folk singer and live performer; if you get a chance to see his story-and-song ‘Human Cargo’ show, do not miss it.’

Nigel Williamson, Songlines Magazine.


Here’s a TV interview straight after performing Human Cargo on the Cutty Sark in London.






The audience at Greenbelt 2016 for Human Cargo.

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On the Cutty Sark before a supporting cast.

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Human Cargo has appeared on big stages like the Manor Pavilion at Sidmouth and the Canopy Stage at Greenbelt, venues such as the Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich or the church at FolkEast - or large acoustic venues like the magnificent Heath Street Baptist Church in London.


The full show is 2 x 50 minutes. There’s also a one hour festival version, and Matthew performs a one hour solo show. Human Cargo is available for concerts, literary & political events and festivals. Enquire.











‘Incredibly insightful, deeply moving and ultimately inspirational.’  The Young’uns


‘A compelling storyteller’

5 stars, The Guardian



‘Matthew Crampton strikes just the right balance between informing and entertaining as, despite some grim statistics and all too apt comparisons with today’s mass migration, the show manages to be both tragedy and romp.’

The Herald




Tim Chipping