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 Emery also wrote songs on the removal of the fish market.
This song was written by William Mitford. Mitford was born at Preston, near North Shields on April 10th, 1788. The earliest record of Mitford was in 1816, when Marshall published his 'Budget; or Newcastle Songster'. Mitford went on to write some of the region's best known songs such as 'The Pitman's Courtship', 'Cappy', and 'XYZ', and is considered to have been one of the most influential author's of Tyneside song.
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.