Song about the great changes to Newcastle at the end of the nineteenth century. In particular, the song refers to the relocation of the Newcastle races from the Town Moor to Gosforth Park. The removal of this popular local event from the common land on Newcastle's Town Moor to the private grounds at Gosforth Park not only heralded the end of over two centuries of tradition, but resulted in the introduction of admission fees to what had once been a free sport and one which all classes had previously enjoyed. The song was awarded first prize in the 'Newcastle weekly chronicle' competition for August, 1888.
The author of this song, Matthew C. James, began life as an apprentice draughtsman at Mitchell's shipyard in Low Walker. In 1892, after serving with firms such as R. Stephenson and Co., James was appointed naval architect and surveyor of the Prince Line, and was responsible for the design of a large number of steamers for the line. James remained with Prince Line until 1897 when he rose to the position of manager of the Mercantile Dry Dock at Jarrow.
This song forms part of a collection of songs reprinted from local publications by Andrew Reid and Co. in 1898. Many of the songs deal with the topics of the day such as 'The Carliol Tower', 'The Quay on Sunday morning' and 'The Stivvison centennery', whilst others such as 'Oot iv a job', touch on working and domestic life. All of the songs in this collection are written in local dialect.