At the time this song was written, the miners of Northumberland and Durham had spent a number of years building up effective trade unions. Early attempts during to establish the power of the unions had been broken by strikes in the 1830s and again in the 1860s. However, after the formation of the Durham Miners' Association in 1869, the unions' power was secured and the bonding system was finally abolished in the early 1870s. This song refers to strikes held in the late 1870s, which for the first time, both unions were able to survive.
The author of this song, Thomas Kerr, was born in the Black Gate, Newcastle. A friend of the song-write, Joe Wilson, Kerr moved to Blyth where he became involved in the press industry. Thomas Kerr wrote a number of Tyneside songs, winning several prizes in the Chater's song competitions, and was also a journalist for a number of local papers.
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.