It is not known when this song was written. At some time in the first half of the nineteenth century, about 600 casks of candle tallow were washed ashore at South Shields. An essential commodity before the introduction of electricity to households, candle tallow would have been required by everyone. This song describes how the population of South Shields wasted no time in claiming the washed-up tallow as their own and quickly cleared the casks from the water. Note - The 'Lawe' is a high area of South Shields overlooking the river mouth. The song is attributed to John Peacock, a bookseller in South Shields.
This song forms part of a short run series of 'Shields' songs that were published some time in the 1850s by the Shields Gazette editor, William Brockie. The songs reflect the characters, landscape and industry in the small coastal towns of North Shields, South Shields, Tynemouth and Cullercoats. Famous for their fishwives, press gangs and tars (sailors), these towns, lying at the mouth of the River Tyne, were the gateway for trade in and out of the region. This small pamphlet forms no.2 of a series thought to consist of only 3 publications. Bound together in one volume held by South Shields Library, no.s 1-2 are complete with no.3 lacking all before p.17., and all after p.32. Songs are attributed to various authors in manuscript notes throughout the series, revealing that publisher William Brockie also contributed to the content of the publication.