Stan Hugill quotes Doerflinger in calling Paddy West the "Paul Bunyan of crimping". Usually said to be a Liverpool Irishman, legends of Paddy West's boarding house were traditional in the British mercantile marine. One story tells how West gave rapid seamenship classes, hosted in the boardinghouse and back court, to green sailor boys before passing them on to unsuspecting captains.

The tales say Paddy West is a clever stickler for honesty who would keep an old rope and a cow's horn in his kitchen. Every boy who wanted to go to sea would step over the rope and walk about the horn so that he could claim he had "both crossed the Line an' rounded the Horn!"

The tales and an excerpt of this song can be found, for example, in The Nautical Magazine vol. 75 (1906).