The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11090   Message #80736
Posted By: Ferrara
22-May-99 - 10:26 AM
Thread Name: Narrowboat songs
Subject: RE: Narrowboat songs
Re Lorraine's question about keel boats: What were the boats called that were manned by keelmen, in Newcastle-on-Tyne? There's a song called The Sandgate Lassie's Lament, sung by Norman and Flora MacDonald (or did I forget their names again?) with the refrain, "Since I married a keelman, all me good days are done."

We heard that Newcastle had a fairly shallow harbor, and when coal trains brought in a load of coal, the keelmen rowed it out to where the ships that would haul it were anchored, and heaved it on board, which means they were pretty rough-and-ready guys.

But their boats aren't related to narrowboats, which were strictly for use on the canals, I think. Most of them were houseboats as well, weren't they, in which the captain and his family lived? What was the means of locomotion? In the US most canal boats were pulled by mules.