A strange song which seems to have been inspired by an article in the American press - 'To all the world - I declare the earth to be hollow, and habitable within; containing a number of concentric spheres, one within the other, and that their poles are open 12 or 16 degrees I pledge myself in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the concave, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking. John Symms, St. Louis, April 10, 1818'. Presumably the Newcastle press took up the mad story which inspired songs like this one!
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.7 of the 'Songs of the Tyne' series and was printed some time between 1847 and 1852. 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 'Songs of the Tyne' series were reprinted by W.R. Walker of the Royal Arcade, sometime between 1857-66.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'The beggar's wedding' to 'Callerforney', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as J. Bagnall and would have been extremely popular among the local population.