Early 20th Century Glanton Flower Show song
John Carr-Ellison of Hedgeley Hall has kindly given us a copy of an unusual and amusing document that he found among his grandfather’s papers. It’s a typewritten copy of the lyrics to a humorous song written by Mr Sam Dunn sometime between 1917 and 1923.
Sam was the Hedgeley Railway Station porter at the turn of the 20th Century: a time when there were only two trains each day. Presumably, this gave him time enough to write these lyrics to the tune of ‘Blaydon Races’:
It’s a wonderful piece of satire and mimicry written in the Northumbrian dialect. It reflects the story of the original ‘Blaydon Races’: a fictional coach journey from Newcastle to Blaydon to see the horse racing on 9 June 1862 (in reality, the event was called off owing to a severe storm).
In case you can’t quite read the old typewritten text of the song above, here it is again in a clearer format:
We went to Glanton Flower Show, twas on an August day
Just before the harvest time, when folks could git away,
We meant at forst ta walk across, but it was rather far
For once we thowt we’d cut a dash, and hire Cox’s car.
Oh lads, ye shud ha seen us starting
Aa the folks cam ta thor doors when we were departin
They shoots Yor bonny lads ta gan to sic a place as Glanton
When the car cums hyem tha night some of you will be wantin.
We went by way o Beanley and tha the hills were steep
The car went on wi sic a speed it fair made oor flesh creep
We nearly knock’d an aad chap doon, he gav a tarrble shoot
And yells Yo silly lot o fules dis yor Mothers kna yor oot.
We rushed on past tha rustic bridge and reached the station gate
But fund it closed when we arrived a minute over late.
We shooted on tha porter, Aa think they called him Dunn,
But aa tha noise we cood make, it didna mak him come.
At last the gate was open’d, tho he wasna very keen
So we flew throw Powburn village, and on ta Crawley Dene.
We cam ta Dodd’s Glanton hoose, where he brings beasts ta kill
Just as we turn’d that corner there we had a tarrble spill.
We sune got things put right agyen, bot oor faces were a sight
Ye’d thowt we’d come off second best in some Whitechapel fight,
So when we got ta Glanton toon we warn’t fit ta be seen
We thowt we’d hid worsels a bit in tha Lion and tha Queen.
Now when we left the Queens Heed Bar and walked doon throw tha toon,
Wha shood we meet but wor sad freend, ye ken him, Geordie Broon,
Says he Ma lads am greeved ta hear you’ve had sich rotten luck,
But it wadn’t happnd if you’d been insured wi Geordie Buck.
Despite oor sairs and bruises we spent a happy time
And when we left for hyem that night tha folks sang aad lang syne.
Tha shoots You’ll soon cum back again and better luck next time.
So that’s why we’ve come to Glanton to show wor Pantomime.
To see the Blaydon Races
Blaydon Races is a famous Tyneside folk song – often heard nowadays as an anthem on football terraces. It was written by George (Geordie) Ridley.
Geordie was born in Gateshead on 10 February 1835. Initially, he worked in a local coal mine before transferring to Hawks, Crawshay and Sons (Engineers of Gateshead Ironworks). He worked as a wagon rider at the Oakwellgate Colliery on the River Tyne. It was dangerous and he eventually suffered an accident that left him disabled. To continue to make a living, he became a songwriter and a performer in the popular music halls. He performed ‘Blaydon Races’ for the first time, at the age of 27 years, on 5 June 1862 at the Balmbra’s Music Hall in Newcastle city centre.
Folk Archive Resources North East ‘Blaydon Races’ http://www.farnearchive.com/detail.asp?id=T0200602 Accessed 17 December 2020.
Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History ‘Hawks, Crawshay and Sons’ https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Hawks,_Crawshay_and_Sons Accessed 17 December 2020.