Similar to the cheap press of today these poorly printed books and broadsides catered for popular tastes, being sold by chapmen in the country and booksellers in the town. Usually sold for no more than a penny, the production of these little books and broadsides were extremely profitable for most printers. Sold in bulk the material required little proof-reading, was widely plagiarised, and badly printed.
This book was printed by G.W. Barnes at South Shields in 1826. Most of the songs in the chapbook are not terribly well known today and it is likely that the majority of them were specific to South Shields (unlike Newcastle chapbooks which were sold throughout the North-East). A small number, however, have been printed elsewhere, in particular 'The devil and the nanny goat', 'The skipper's mistake' and 'The cliffs of Virginia' have all appeared in Newcastle publications, and were still being issued as late as the 1850s. The songs reflect the characters and industry of this small fishing village at the mouth of River Tyne, famous for its fishwives, sailors and boatmen.