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Title : Pit lad at the races

Format : song

Composer : James, Matthew C.

Production details : publisher : Andrew Reid and Company
Newcastle upon Tyne

Date : 1898

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Collection name : Sum Tyneside sangs; a collection of prize songs, etc., in the Tyneside dialect


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.


Collection description : A collection of songs reprinted from the 'Newcastle weekly chronicle' and the 'North of England almanac'.

Melody used : Fiery fyece clock

First line : Yen 'Plate' day te wor lass aa says

Subject heading : leisure, entertainment and sport & entertainment

Keywords : races & horse racing

Period : 1861-1900

Page numbers: pp. 18-19


Held by : Border History Museum

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Border History Museum


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East