Blog No.24: A Musical ‘History’ Of Northumberland & Durham – Part 3 – 1900 to 1945 – Tracks 10 to 13

Tracks 10 to 13 of the ‘album’ covering the first half of the 20th century – from the Jarrow Crusade of 1936, to a fictional, strange mining accident tale


If you’d like to read first why I wrote these 65 tracks, then click HERE to read that blog. (Blue text are external links, which will open in a new browser window.)

(Those getting this via email won’t be able to see the tracks. Clicking on the title of the blog will open it in a tab of your web browser. For those reading on a iPad, the tracks will open in a separate browser windows and not play on the Page. Apologies.)

I’m unable to get the next Close Encounters Of The Musical Legend kind out, so it’s this one instead I’m afraid.

Welcome to a blog about tracks 10 to 13 of Part 3. Now comes the blurb if you haven’t read the other Parts…. There are five ‘albums’ (now 66 tracks in all), covering over three hundred years of history – both real and fictional – relating the English northeastern counties of what were Northumberland and Durham, but now Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham including Teesside; Part 3 covers 1900 to 1945. As such, some of the songs are sung in the old Northumbrian, Geordie or Pitmatic accents and dialects. I’ve included explanations of the words used where necessary, and sometimes give lyrics in Standard English.

The dates by the track are either just where I have placed them (e.g. c.1900), this is when the traditional song was written, or this is when the historical event they portray happened. Keep in mind the music styles will change greatly from Parts 1 to 5 as they reflect the time they depict.

If any ex- or working miners out there spot any technical mistakes, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the page. If anyone else spots typos, please let me know. Thanks.

Anyone can give a Rate This star rating at the top of the blog or leave a Comment at the bottom of the page, and you can Like this blog if you’re a WordPress member at the bottom. If you’d like each blog to be posted to your inbox, click on the Follow Mak’s Music Blog tab at the top of the sidebar to the right if you’re with WordPress, or FOLLOW (THROUGH EMAIL) if you’re not. Please do rate the tracks in the Poll after them.

Blurb over…now for the tracks….

Track 10 – The Jarrow Crusade (Traditional tune, 1936) – This very famous march in British history – also known as the Jarrow March – was organised by the Jarrow town council, who picked 200 of the fittest men to make the 275 mile walk from Jarrow on the Tyne, to London on the Thames. Since the closing of the Palmer’s Shipyard unemployment had skyrocketed, and they took a petition to Parliament to ask MPs to do something about it!

To quote Wikipedia:

“The Jarrow March of 5–31 October 1936, also known as the Jarrow Crusade,[n 1] was an organised protest against the unemployment and poverty suffered in the British Tyneside town of Jarrow during the 1930s. Around 200 men (or “Crusaders” as they prefer to be referred to as) marched from Jarrow to London, carrying a petition to the British government requesting the re-establishment of industry in the town following the closure in 1934 of its main employer, Palmer’s shipyard. The petition was received by the House of Commons but not debated, and the march produced few immediate results. The Jarrovians went home believing that they had failed.

Jarrow had been a settlement since at least the 8th century. In the early 19th century, a coal industry developed before the establishment of the shipyard in 1851. Over the following 80 years more than 1,000 ships were launched in Jarrow. In the 1920s, a combination of mismanagement and changed world trade conditions following World War I brought a decline which led eventually to the yard’s closure. Plans for its replacement by a modern steelworks plant were frustrated by opposition from the British Iron and Steel Federation, an employers’ organisation with its own plans for the industry. The failure of the steelworks plan, and the lack of any prospect of large-scale employment in the town, were the final factors that led to the decision to march.

Marches of the unemployed to London, termed “hunger marches“, had taken place since the early 1920s, mainly organised by the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), a communist-led body. For fear of being associated with communist agitation, the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress (TUC) leaderships stood aloof from these marches. They exercised the same policy of detachment towards the Jarrow March, which was organised by the borough council with the support of all sections of the town but without any connection with the NUWM. During their journey the Jarrow marchers received sustenance and hospitality from local branches of all the main political parties, and were given a broad public welcome on their arrival in London.

Despite the initial sense of failure among the marchers, in subsequent years, the Jarrow March became recognised by historians as a defining event of the 1930s. It helped to foster the change in attitudes which prepared the way to social reform measures after the Second World War, which their proponents thought would improve working conditions. The town holds numerous memorials to the march. Re-enactments celebrated the 50th and 75th anniversaries, in both cases invoking the “spirit of Jarrow” in their campaigns against unemployment. In contrast to the Labour Party’s coldness in 1936, the post-war party leadership adopted the march as a metaphor for governmental callousness and working-class fortitude.”


For this song I made the unusual choice of using the tune of a famous 19th century Wearside song – The Lambton Worm – for a famous 20th century Tyneside event. It just seemed to fit. If you haven’t heard The Lambton Worm, click HERE to do so. Just to warn you: it uses a lot of local dialect words, so you may have trouble understanding some of it.

Created with GarageBand, and even played an harmonica on it!

Some dialect words:  Gan: ‘go’; Whist lads had ya gobs and Aa’ll tell yez aall an amazin’ story: ‘Please lads be quiet and I’ll tell you all an amazing story’; Whist lads had ya gobs and Aa’ll tell yez boot wor Crusade: ‘Please lads be quite and I’ll tell you about our Crusade”; gannin: ‘going’; aaful: awful; coos: ‘cows’; wor: ‘our’; bairns: ‘children’; divn’t dee: ‘don’t do’; back up hyem: ‘back up home’; aall reet: ‘all right’; as lang as we didn’t caall th’m pets; ‘as long as we didn’t call the pets’ (‘pet’ is a form of endearment); soo noo ya knaa: ‘so now you know’; nee bloody joke: ‘no bloody joke’.

Track 11 – Through A Tear (c.1940) – A fiction tale of the sadness of a miner’s dog after his master is killed in a mining accident. I think I wrote this in 1978.

Created with the aid of GarageBand.

The image is by Pitman Painter, Norman Cornish

Track 12 – When I First Met Her (c.1943) – A love story, set in South Moor, Stanley, Co. Durham.

This one I did in full Pitmatic dialect, so below is the translation into Standard English.

When I first met her
Me face was all black
Me clothes were all dirty
And manner I did lack
But I knew when I first saw her
On the streets of South Moor
That I would take her
To have and to hold

She was kind
She was gentle
With the grace of a dove
Yet she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

When I first met her
In the Co-Op she served
And I can say now
That she was more than I deserved
But that little Amy Dodgson
Saw something in me
She says it was me smile
‘Cause it was all that she could see

She was kind
She was gentle
With the grace of a dove
Yet she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

When we started courting
To the flee pit we’d go
To watch a Charlie Chaplain
Or any picture show
But it wouldn’t be long
‘Til we weren’t watching the flicks
‘Cause in the back row
We had started to kiss

She was kind
She was gentle
With the grace of a dove
Yet she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

Her father was a big man
And a miner you see
But thought his little girl
Was too good for me
And when I asked his permission
To marry his lass
He said as long as he lived
That would never come to pass

She was kind
She was gentle
With the grace of a dove
Yet she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

Well her mam, she liked me
See said give him some space
She’d tried to persuade him
But don’t show your face
But his words came to haunt him
‘Cause it was just one more day
That he was left on this Earth
‘Cause under it he would stay

Now she’d lost her husband
Like she’d lost her sons
So she said we could marry
So at least she’d gain one
And soon we were wed
But her mam was all alone
So we said come stay with us
Make our home your home

She was kind
She was gentle
With the grace of a dove
Yet she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

It’s been fifty years now
Since I wed my dove
From the streets of South Moor
From the street we did love
And though so much has changed here
No prospects, no coal
We still have each other
My mate of the soul

She is kind
She is gentle
With the grace of a dove
And she chose me above all
To be the one that she’d love

She is kind
She is gentle
With the grace of a dove
And ’til death us do part
She’ll be the one that I love

Track 13 – It Happened On The Peace Of VE Day (1945) – This fictional story starts with a miner being trapped behind rock after a roof collapse on VE Day, 1945, but which takes an unexpected twist as his rescue is underway. It was somewhat an experiment – not sure whether it worked or not – based on an idea I initially had for a radio play. It’s turned out to be the longest song I’ve ever written.

Use GarageBand both on iPad and laptop.

Recorded in Weston Lullingfields & Oswestry, Shropshire © Mak Wilson 1974, 1976, 1977, 1993, 2007 & 2017


Thanks so much for reading and listening, and please, please, please rate the songs (below – the polls are anonymous) and the blog (at the top)! (Grovelling over.)


I haven’t decided yet what Blog No.25 will be.




3 thoughts on “Blog No.24: A Musical ‘History’ Of Northumberland & Durham – Part 3 – 1900 to 1945 – Tracks 10 to 13

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