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. 'Songs of the Tyne' were a short series of chapbooks printed by, J. Ross of the Royal Arcade. This book forms no.1 of the 'Songs of the Tyne' series and references to the building of the High Level Bridge dates the book's publication to no earlier than 1846. A number of the songs however, can be dated to the early nineteenth century, some such as 'The pitman's courtship' appearing as early as 1816.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'Cappy; or, the pitman's dog' to 'Canny Newcassel', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as William Mitford and would have been extremely popular among the local population.