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Title : Thor's nowt see queer as folk

Format : song

Composer : Heslop, Richard Oliver (b.1842)

Production details : publisher : Daily Journal Office
Newcastle upon Tyne

Edition : second edition

Date : 1879

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Collection name : Geordy's last, (Newcastle folk speech); with rhymes and introductory notes.


A motto song using the local phrase 'Nowt se queer as folk'. Motto songs were common during this period and a number of examples can be found in a number of local song books. Usually containing some kind of moral message, the purpose of these songs was to offer advice on acceptable behaviour or attitudes. The popularity of motto songs during this time is not surprising given the moralistic nature of Victorian society.

This song forms part of a study of 'Newcastle folk-speech' by Harry Haldane. The book was published in 1879 and included a small selection of local song, as well as 'Geordy's last', a local tale. Most of the songs deal with the topics of the day such as town improvements, although there are also a number of 'motto' songs in the collection.

Harry Haldane was in fact a pseudonym for the popular Tyneside song-write Richard Oliver Heslop. Richard Oliver Heslop was born in Newcastle on 14th March, 1842. An iron merchant by trade, Heslop's literary offerings were largely concerned with Northumbrian dialect. His 'Northumberland words' appeared weekly in the Chronicle for a number of years and writing local songs seems to have been something of a hobby.


Collection description : A brief study of the Northumbrian dialect with a selection of local songs.

Melody used : The whistling thief

First line : D'ye think a chep's se daft as buy a pig iv poke?

Subject heading : religious and moral

Keywords : money & morality

Period : 1861-1900

Page numbers: p. 41


Held by : Border History Museum

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Border History Museum


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e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East