This version of the song has a fuller storyline than the abbreviated one usually heard. It may have started life as a 19th century music hall song. I recorded it for my large collection of mainly traditional songs not previously published, which I gathered as I travelled about the country during my professional folk club days in the sixties and seventies.
The alarmingly realistic Seven Dials Rapscallions are well worth seeing! Take a look at their webpages and the superb photographs by Patricia Jacobs.