At the time this song was written rowing was by far the most popular sport on Tyneside. Crowds of thousands gathered to see the likes of Bob Chambers, Harry Clasper and Jimmy Renforth race their challengers on the waters of the Tyne. Robert Chambers, or 'Honest Bob' as he was known, was born at St. Anthony's in Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1831. Beginning his working life in an iron foundry, Chambers made his rowing debut at the age of twenty-one. He went on to win the World Sculling Championship in 1863 as well as a number of races against fellow Geordie, Robert Cooper. Robert Chambers died on 4th June, 1868 at the age of thirty-seven.
The songs forms part of a collection held by Newcastle City Library. The collection comprises much of the original material collected by Thomas Allan for the publication of 'Allan's Tyneside songs'. From original Ned Corvan manuscripts to photographs of Joe Wilson, and correspondence from local figures such as Joseph Cowen, the collection provides a genuinely fascinating glimpse of some of the region's best known composers. The material dates from 1860 to 1890, spanning the dates of the various publications of the book in 1862, 1863, 1864, 1872, 1873 and 1891.