Matthew Crampton

Matthew Crampton

Author Matthew Crampton is a writer and folk singer who lives in London. He has recently been touring a show based on his latest book HUMAN CARGO: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation

In HUMAN CARGO, Matthew gives voice to emigrants, slaves, convicts and people trafficked or transported during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its striking mix of story and folk song sets these past voices beside testimony from today – so shedding new light on a defining disaster of our time.

While researching the book, Matthew looked widely into the transportation of British convicts to America and Australia, exploring personal diaries and accounts, new historical analysis and the many ballads and folksongs from the time. This research underpins his work in creating new narrative sections for The Transports.

His previous books include The Trebor Story, a history of the sweet firm, and Tales from the Angler’s Retreat, a book about trout fishing in the Outer Hebrides. Previously, he worked as a speechwriter in London and Hong Kong.

Matthew is known in folk clubs for performing traditional songs, monologues and music hall classics. He also sings with the shanty group The London Lubbers. 

His political activities include work with No Glory, a campaign dedicated to ensuring that the centenary of World War One does not glorify that needless conflict. Matthew’s links with refugee and migrant organisations – forged with Human Cargo – have helped develop the Parallel Lives project.

Here’s Matthew talking to Cerys Matthews about Human Cargo on BBC 6 Music.