Human Cargo

Buy the book

“An elegant, vital insight into human suffering and survival” Cerys Matthews

“If you get a chance to see Matthew Crampton’s story-and-song ‘Human Cargo’ show, do not miss it.” Songlines

Watch my recent short film on Harwich and the Mayflower, and my Armchair Human Cargo show for the Harwich Festival on facebook live.

My show Human Cargo blends storytelling with folk concert to ask – does humanity actually evolve? Charting cruelties past and present, it delves deep into journey, migration and life. Performances include local stories from the Parallel Lives project and, where possible, partnership with local refugee or migrant support groups.

I currently perform the show solo. It works particularly well in historic venues, such as The Guildhall in Lavenham or The Old Shire Museum in Dorchester. In  2018 I toured the show nationwide with American traditional music legend Jeff Warner.

Jeff Warner & Matthew Crampton (pic Tim Chipping)

The show is based on my latest book Human Cargo: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation. This links story and folk song to give voice to emigrants, slaves, convicts and other human cargo from the 18th and 19th centuries. Read more at

Buy the book

“Incredibly inspiring, deeply moving and ultimately inspirational.” Sean Cooney, The Young’uns

“Beautiful, powerful, poignant and informative.” Ilyaz Hajat, The Refugee Council

Listen to me chatting with Cerys Matthews about Human Cargo on her BBC 6 Music show.

Here’s a thoughtful review from Amazon:



Here are some of the many illustrations in the book:

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