Account of the death of a Newcastle eccentric.
'Allan's Tyneside songs' reveals that Cuddy Willy was a well known eccentric of Newcastle. Born William Maclachlan, he wandered the streets without hat or shoes for many years. Willy managed to scrape a living playing his fiddle in public houses, although frequenting these venues did not aid his health and on 27th September, 1847, Willy died from the effects of drink.
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 originally printed by, J. Ross of the Royal Arcade. This book forms no.2 of the 'Songs of the Tyne' series and was reprinted by William Walker sometime between 1857 and 1866. Most of the songs in the book were first printed in the 1830s and 1840s although some, such as 'Jemmy Joneson's whurry', did infact appear as early as 1823.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'The new keel row' to 'Harry Clasper', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as Thomas Thompson and would have been extremely popular among the local population.