Song describing the novelty value of a procession to an idle keelman in North Shields.
Anti-papal song on the dream of a local skipper. With caustic comments about the forgiving of sins for money.
The influx of Irish working families into British industries in the early nineteenth century caused a great deal of resentment among many Englishmen. This, accompanied by the threat of invasion from Catholic France, caused Orange lodges to multiply at such an alarming rate during the early nineteenth century, that by 1825 the Government felt obliged to legislate against the Orange Order.
In this song, a Tyneside skipper, having fallen into a drunken sleep, is tempted to 'turn Papish'. Orange lodges were particularly dominant on Tyneside and this song is evident of the anti-papal paranoia felt at the time. Authorship of the song is attributed to T. Moor, a shoemaker from Denton Chare. There is some speculation however, that well known Tyneside composer Robert Emery may have had something to do with the writing of it.
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 V 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, references to 'Hackney cabs' in part V, which were not introduced into Newcastle until 1824, give some indication of the publication date.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From the 'Keelmen's Stick' to 'Hell's Kitchen', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as William Oliver and would have been extremely popular among the local population.