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Title : Fish-wives' complaint, on their removal from the Sandhill to the new fish market, on the 2nd January, 1826.

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Emery, Robert (b.1794 d.1871)

Production details : publisher : J. Marshall
Old Flesh Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Date : 1826 (circa)

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Collection name : Newcastle songster; being a choice collection of songs, descriptive of the language and manners of the common people of Newcastle upon Tyne and the neighbourhood. Part VI.


Between 1824 and 1860 Richard Grainger embarked on an extensive scheme of town planning. The construction of 'Grainger Town' involved the demolition of most of the old markets, which centred around what was to become Mosley Street. The Flesh Market, vegetable market and the corn market were all demolished and rebuilt on new sites. The fish market, which like most of the other markets had originally been located on Sandhill was removed in 1826, when plans to extend an open colonnaded market next to the Guildhall were put to John Dobson.

This is one of a number of song protesting, not only against the removal of the fish market, but also of the vegetable and flesh markets, from their original sites. Both Ross and Mitford also wrote songs on the removal of the fish market.

The author, Robert Emery, was born in 1794 at Edinburgh but moved to Newcastle at an early age. He served his apprenticeship as a printer with the well known bookseller Angus. Author of some of the region's most celebrated songs such as the 'Sandgate pant' and 'Hydrophobie', Emery died on 28th March 1871, at the age of 77.

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 VI 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 the removal of the Vegetable Market from Sandhill in part VI, give some indication of the publication date.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

Melody used : Sleeping Maggie

First line:The merry day hez gettin past

Subject heading : shopping and trade & protest & urban growth

Keywords : protest & markets & demolition

Period : 1801-1840

Height : 14 cm

Width : 8 cm

Held by : Newcastle University

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Newcastle University


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East