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Title : Sair fail'd hinny

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : unknown

Production details : publisher : J.W. Swanston
St. Andrew's Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Date : 1881-1887

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Collection name : Tyneside songster, containing a splendid collection of local songs by popular authors in the Northumbrian dialect.


Song about an old man who complains about his age, comparing his present and past abilities. This is a shortened version of the song printed in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy with alterations to the last line of verse 2 - i.e. 'Cannot do the like' rather than 'hardly step a syke'.

This song is taken from a chapbook entitled 'The Tyneside Songster'. The importance of this collection is in the format. Chapbooks were 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.

This is an example of a later chapbook and follows the style of earlier songbooks such as 'The Newcastle Songster', published by J. Marshall in the early nineteenth century. By the time this book was published chapbook production had decreased dramatically and although the songs printed in the book could be found in many other forms, it is rare to find a songbook in this style from such a late date. A number of the songs from the book can be found elsewhere on the FARNE site and for this reason we have chosen only to include songs that are not included in our other collections. The book was followed up in later years by similar productions in the Evening Chronicle.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

First line:I was young and lusty

Subject heading : poverty, health and welfare

Keywords : old age

Period : 1861-1900

Height : 22 cm

Width : 14 cm

Page numbers: p.12


Held by : Tyne and Wear Archives

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Tyne and Wear Archives


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East