Racing was one of the first sports to be recorded in Newcastle. Although races were held on other Newcastle moors in the seventeenth century, racing became a regular feature on the Town Moor in the eighteenth century. From 1751 a 'race week' was held, and in 1800 local gentry organised a permanent grandstand on the Town Moor. The grandstand was surrounded by marquees and tents during race week, with many side shows, beer stalls and entertainments also covering the Moor. Racing remained on the Town Moor until 1880, when it was suggested that a private site may be more suitable. The song is reprinted from the 'Newcastle weekly chronicle' for May, 1880.
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.