The author of this song, Alexander Hay, was born in Newcastle on 11th December, 1826. Beginning life as a cabinet-maker, Hays soon left for sea as a ship carpenter. Author of a number of songs and poems including 'Board of trade, ahoy', Hays returned to land where he practised as a school tutor in Liverpool and was also engaged in the building of the Great Exhibition, 1862.
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.