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Title : Neibors belaw

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Weams, James

Production details : publisher : John B. Barnes
Groat Market ; Newcastle upon Tyne

Date : 1887

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Collection name : James Weams' Tyneside song book. Written and sung by himself in the principal music halls in the North. No.1


This famous song is probably one in the 'top ten' popular Geordie songs. Recorded on a 78 r.p.m and included in Catcheside Warrington's Tyneside Songs, this song immortalised life in the 'Tyneside flat'.

This song is taken from perhaps the only surviving copy of the small songbook written by late nineteenth century music hall artist, James Weams. The book was published in 1887 by John Barnes of the Groat Market, Newcastle, and is numbered 'no.1'. Presumably there were to be more of these small publications, but how many followed and what form they took is not possible to say. The book contains what would become some of the most famous and popular 'Geordie' songs to be written. In particular 'Neibors belaw' struck a chord with the thousands of inhabitants of 'Tyneside flats' across the region and has become one of the Newcastle's most well known songs.

At the time this book was printed, music halls had become the chief form of indoor entertainment for the working class. Theatres like the Gaiety Theatre of Varieties, the New Tyne Concert Hall and the Percy Hall and Cirque provided the venue for entertainers such as Joe Wilson, Rowland Harrison and others. Although this is only a small publication, like William Thompson's songbook of twenty years earlier, the book is invaluable as a rare example of a working musician's repertoire at the height of Music Hall's popularity.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in a small songbook. Now held as part of the Tyneside Songs volume in Gateshead Library.

First line : Awl tell ye the deins o' some o' the folks

Subject heading : poverty, health and welfare & landscapes, buildings and views

Keywords : housing & neighbours

Period : 1861-1900

Height : 16 cm

Width : 9 cm

Held by : Gateshead Council

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Gateshead Council


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East