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Title : Pitman's draw

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Robson, Joseph Philip (b.1808 d.1870)

Production details : publisher : J. Ross
Royal Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Date : 1846 (circa)

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Collection name : Songs of the Tyne; being a collection of popular local songs. No.10


Song about a pitman who wins a lot of money at the Derby (either the Pitman's Derby or the Northumberland Plate). The pitman dreams of what he will do with the money.

The author of this song, Joseph Philip Robson, was born in Newcastle on 24th September, 1808. Losing his parents at an early age, Robson was sent to learn the trade of a plane maker. However, after an industrial accident, Robson eventually took up the occupation of a schoolmaster, issuing a number of poetical volumes. A regular contributor to Chater's Comic Almanack, Joseph Robson died on 26th August, 1870 aged sixty-seven years.

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.10 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 J. Walker of the Royal Arcade, sometime between 1857-66.

The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'The skipper's dream' to 'maw wonderful wife', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as Robert Nunn and would have been extremely popular among the local population.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

Melody used : Barbara Bell

First line:Noo just haud yor wheest for a moment or twee, man

Subject heading : leisure, entertainment and sport

Keywords : sport & horse racing & gambling

Period : 1841-1860

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