Originally the Vegetable Market was part of the old Flesh Market on Sandhill, near Newcastle's Quayside. In 1808 a number of town improvements were completed including the erection of a new Flesh Market. This was situated on the upper part of the levelled dene of the Lort Burn, with entrances from Mosley Street, Pilgrim Street and the old Flesh Market. The market sold goods from the surrounding countryside, fish from Cullercoats and Whitburn, and vegetables, a great part of which were supplied from gardens at Newburn and Hexham.
Similar to the 'Petition from the women of the Vegetable Market', this song is a protest by the women of the old market on being moved from their traditional pitches on Sandhill to the new market.
Similar to the cheap press of today these poorly printed books and broadsides catered for popular tastes, being sold by chapmen in the country and booksellers in the town. Usually sold for no more than a penny, the production of these little books and broadsides were extremely profitable for most printers. Sold in bulk the material required little proof-reading, was widely plagiarised, and badly printed.
Newcastle was the second largest producer of chapbooks in the country at the time of this book's publication. 'The Newcastle Songster' was printed by J. Marshall, one of the most prominent chapbook printers in Newcastle during the early nineteenth century. This book forms part IV of the 'Songster' series and is perhaps easier to date than the preceding parts. Although it is not clear whether parts I and II of the 'Songster' were published before or after John Bell's 'Rhymes of the Northern Bards, 1812, the appearance of the 'Newcastle swineherds' proclamation' in part IV indicate the publication date to be no earlier than 1821.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'Newcastle Noodles' to 'Famed Filly Fair', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as James Morrison and would have been extremely popular among the local population.