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Byker Hill: background info anyone?

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BYKER HILL


Related threads:
Help What is Bumble? (Byker Hill) (34)
Question about Byker Hill (52)
Elsie Marley & Byker Hill revisited (2) (closed)
Lyr Add: Byker Hill (9) (closed)
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Rosebrook 09 Nov 97 - 11:07 AM
Susan of DT 09 Nov 97 - 03:24 PM
mandola man 09 Nov 97 - 04:47 PM
Ricky Rackin 09 Nov 97 - 10:10 PM
rosebrook 09 Nov 97 - 10:58 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Nov 97 - 03:02 PM
Bruce O. 10 Nov 97 - 07:38 PM
Ian Currie 11 Nov 97 - 12:32 PM
Bruce O. 11 Nov 97 - 08:55 PM
Ian Currie 12 Nov 97 - 04:51 AM
LaMarca 13 Nov 97 - 06:41 PM
Abby Sale 30 Nov 00 - 06:38 PM
Snuffy 30 Nov 00 - 07:12 PM
Sandy Paton 30 Nov 00 - 10:11 PM
Bagpuss 01 Dec 00 - 06:57 AM
Garry Gillard 01 Dec 00 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Les from Hull at work 01 Dec 00 - 08:14 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 01 Dec 00 - 08:46 AM
Abby Sale 01 Dec 00 - 09:24 AM
GeorgeH 01 Dec 00 - 09:27 AM
Bagpuss 01 Dec 00 - 09:46 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Dec 00 - 12:00 PM
A Wandering Minstrel 01 Dec 00 - 12:17 PM
Bagpuss 01 Dec 00 - 01:17 PM
Les from Hull 01 Dec 00 - 03:04 PM
nutty 01 Dec 00 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 01 Dec 00 - 04:19 PM
Abby Sale 02 Dec 00 - 09:03 AM
Jim Dixon 02 Dec 00 - 10:41 AM
Snuffy 02 Dec 00 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,George Henderson - Nenagh Singers Circle 02 Dec 00 - 01:42 PM
Llanfair 03 Dec 00 - 04:37 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Dec 00 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Chris Nixon 03 Dec 00 - 05:11 PM
Fred/Forsh 03 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,laura 04 Dec 00 - 08:38 AM
Noreen 04 Dec 00 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,George Henderson 04 Dec 00 - 10:58 AM
Anglo 04 Dec 00 - 12:08 PM
Anglo 04 Dec 00 - 12:12 PM
GeorgeH 04 Dec 00 - 12:32 PM
Jeri 04 Dec 00 - 12:59 PM
Abby Sale 04 Dec 00 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 04 Dec 00 - 02:13 PM
Anglo 04 Dec 00 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,George Henderson 04 Dec 00 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 04 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM
Jeri 04 Dec 00 - 03:41 PM
Jeri 04 Dec 00 - 05:07 PM
GeorgeH 05 Dec 00 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Rosebrook
Date: 09 Nov 97 - 11:07 AM

Is anyone familiar with the song Byker Hill? It's in the DT. Are they talking about places -- Byker Hill and Walker Shore? What are "Collier" lads? I like how the tune goes back & forth between minor and major key...it's also nice to understand what people are singing about...for me this is never easily accomplished....


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 09 Nov 97 - 03:24 PM

collier lads are coal miners. Byker Hill and Walker Shore MAY be mine names.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: mandola man
Date: 09 Nov 97 - 04:47 PM

Not too sure of the exact location, but Byker is either a suburb, or near to, Newcastle on Tyne. Newcastle was once, before local government reorganization, the county town of Northumberland in the the North east of England, in fact the Northern border of Northumberland is the Scottish border.

At one time one of the biggest coal mining areas in Europe, hence the saying "taking coals to Newcastle" meaning doing something totally pointless.

Cannot verify for certain where they were, because they would almost certainly be closed now, but Byker Hill and Walker shore are certanly the names of coal pits. The latter name may be a reference to a pit that extended under the North sea, as do quite a lot of the coal measures in that area.

I have not looked it up in the DT, but I assume Byker Hill is traditional, the only recording I have (by the Barely Works), claims it as such. I have heard it sung by quite a few people, around Manchester and elsewhere in the UK, and never heard anyone identify a writer.

If you are interested, there are loads of references to coal mining in the North East of England in Jez Lowe's songs, although he is from the next county south of Northumberland, County Durham. Small coals (about the hardship of mining in narrow seams) and Gallaways ( about the fate of the pit ponies when the mines were closed) spring to mind. There are of course many levels of interpretation to Jez's songs, these are very glib descriptions.

Hope you find this helpful


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Ricky Rackin
Date: 09 Nov 97 - 10:10 PM

I got to stay on Byker Hill back in '71 with a singer named Ray Tremble. He said all the "hooses doon the ra'" [on his street] were sinking because the mines went right beneath the streets and houses. I also was told it was "Walker's Hall" [not Waukesha- I moved to Newcastle from Milwaukee !!!] RR


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: rosebrook
Date: 09 Nov 97 - 10:58 PM

thanks! I had no idea this song was referring to coal mining...you can always learn something new at the mudcat....


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Nov 97 - 03:02 PM

Jut a note: The song was collected in the 50s by Sandy Paton. And the song referred to in Byker Hill--Elsie Marley--is in the database, too.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Nov 97 - 07:38 PM

The late A. L (Bert) Lloyd sang "Walker Shore and Byker Hill" on a recoding, Prestige-International 13066, but the notes on the jacket aren't very informative, beyond that it was from the mining district of the Northeast. He doesn't seem to have mentioned it in 'Folk Song in England'.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Ian Currie
Date: 11 Nov 97 - 12:32 PM

I think if you ask a Geordie (i.e. from Newcastle and environs) they will tell you that it is Walk Ashore not Walker Shore. It was a coal mine which extended miles below the sea - hence its name.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bruce O.
Date: 11 Nov 97 - 08:55 PM

From a newly acquired bibliography the song is in:

1: Michael Dawney, Doon the Wagon Way: Mining Songs from the North of England, 1973.

2: A. L. Lloyd, Come All Ye Bold Miners: Ballads and Songs of the Coalfields, 1952 and revised ed. 1978 (in both eds).


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Ian Currie
Date: 12 Nov 97 - 04:51 AM

I think if you ask a Geordie (i.e. from Newcastle and environs) they will tell you that it is Walk Ashore not Walker Shore. It was a coal mine which extended miles below the sea - hence its name.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: LaMarca
Date: 13 Nov 97 - 06:41 PM

Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick recorded a wonderful version in which Martin melded "Byker Hill" with a song "My Jinny She Sits Ower Late Up", a collier's lament about his wife's drinking habits. The whole thing is done in 9/8, to a tune I think is called "The Drunken Piper". It's on their old album from the 70's, Byker Hill, and again on Life and Limb. Really fun to sing, if you're into weird time signatures (like me).


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:38 PM

Looking at LaMarca's 13, Nov 97 post above, and reading the Byker Hill notes re "Byker Hill," I concur that Carthy refers the great 9/8 Northumbrian tune as the "Drunken Piper." Couple o' questions there:

Please, however, refer to thread Lyrics to The Drunken Piper which refer to The midi at Contemplator

1. Is Carthy's "Drunken Piper" the same tune as the Gaelic "Drunken Piper?" Don't seem at all similar to me. Sorry, the only working clip I could find of it

2. At Clicky, the first line of "Drunken Piper" is given as "Far am bi mi fhìn is ann a bhios mo dhòchas." Would my USian ear have heard that in Edinburgh as the very popular song sounding like 'Para-he me hee?' I'd swear that that's the tune I often heard.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Snuffy
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:12 PM

Between Newcastle and Wallsend the River Tyne loops to the south and back up. Byker and Walker are both on this peninsula, about three miles apart. Walker is on the river and did have a shore before they built all the shipyards (now making oilrigs, I think).

I believe the original Elsie (or Alice) Marley kept an inn some disatnce to the south, in the Durham coalfield.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:11 PM

All I can tell you is that I learned the song from Redd Sullivan, a wild merchant mariner and singer I met at the Troubadour in London, 1958. When I first met Peter Bellamy, who had recorded that version with The Young Tradition, he asked me where I'd gotten it. He said that Bert Lloyd had accused him of singing "an American version" of the song, since it was the one that I had recorded on Elektra in 1959. Lloyd seems to have assumed that I had made up the tune (I'm not that talented!). Anyway, I told Bellamy my source was Sullivan, and he was happy. "Walk Ashore" could well be what Redd Sullivan sang, since I was taking down what I heard and "Walker Shore" or "Walk Ashore" would have sounded the same to my American ear. I don't know Lloyd's 1952 "Come All You Bold Miners" version, so I can't compare them, and my computer skills aren't up to dealing with Abby Sales' contribution above. Sorry!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 06:57 AM

It would seem odd for the lyrics to be walk ashore and for others to mistake it as Walker shore - since Walker is definitely an area of Newcastle. It seems more likely that some Geordies told someone this for a joke and it stuck...

I once heard (many years ago) someone singing a parody of this song - called Byker Wall. The Byker Wall is a very famous piece of 60's architecture in Newcastle that they have been threatening to pull down.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:36 AM

My Martin Carthy etc. links are for Byker Hill (songs and recordings) here and elsewhere.

hth, Gaz


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Subject: Lyr Add: BYKER HILL (parody)
From: GUEST,Les from Hull at work
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 08:14 AM

As I was cycling home from the weekly singy-playey thing we have in Hull (Yorkshire, England), singing to myself, I thought how nice Byker Hill went with a reggae rhythm. Well, I'd had a drink.
So this is the reggae –type parody of Byker Hill that I've been doing for some time (complete with reggae melodeon).

Byker Hill

If I had another penny
I would have another gill
I would have the piper play
The Bonny Lass of Byker Hill

(Chorus)
Byker Hill and Walker Shore
Collier lads for evermore
Byker Hill and Walker Shore
Collier lads for evermore

The calypso man and the Lilt man come
They drink rum punch made from rum
Then they dance and they have such fun
With the rhythms of Bob Marley

When Gary Linaker went to Spurs
They gave him a number 9 shirt
Expensive cars he's getting two or three
He say 'Walkers' Crisps done well by me'

Winston Charlton had a pig
He hit it with a shovel and it danced a jig
All the way to Kingston Town
To the rhythm of Bob Marley

For non-UK 'catters, Gary Linaker is a former football (Real Football, that is) player who used to play for Tottenham Hotspurs (Spurs) who advertises Walkers' Crisps (a fried thinly sliced potato snack). A potato is … - oh, you probably have them.

Les


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Subject: Lyr Add: BYKER HILL
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 08:46 AM

I found a mental note that there is a bit of interesting background somewhere but you see its the end of the year and the papers are thick upon the office floor...more later. Yes the song relates to mines and shirts.... You can find the midi, notation and that below here Click to Byker We used to sing this song walking along the unused railway line through the hawthorn in bloom from durham to the next little town after a night at the pubs feeding our brain cells. We would return to the dawn and fresh hot kippers at college before falling over to awake just in time for clases on monday....maybe
BYKER HILL 
For Midi Sound click here

If I had another penny
I would have another gill
I would make the piper play
The bonny lass of Byker Hill

Byker Hill and Walker Shore
Collier lads for ever more (2x)

The pitman and the keelman trim
They drink bumble made from gin
Then to dance they do begin
To the tune of Elsie Marley

When first I went down to the dirt
I had no cowl nor no pitshirt
Now I've gotten two or three
Walker Pit's done well by me

Geordie Charlton, he had a pig
He hit it with a shovel and it danced a jig
All the way to Walker Shore
To the tune of Elsie Marley -

Verse in version in Bell:

When I cam to Walker wark,
I had ne coat nor ne pit sark
But now aw've getten twe or three,
Walker pit's deun weel for me.


Bell gives tune as:  Off she goes.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 09:24 AM

Sandy: I am deeply saddened to learn you can't click on a Clicky & play the tune or read a thread. Still, I suppose such disabilities must be accepted in these days of Americans-with-Disabilities-Acting. No, your tune is, I believe, the actual traditional one. Carthy used "My Dearie Sits Ower Late Up," (page 155 in Northumbrian Minstrelsy) because he liked it.

When I first heard him do this, before I had the advantage of liner notes, I became irate and threatened to pour boiling lead on him if he didn't explain the rhythm. (Carthy saw this was no idle threat as President Taylor and I were at that very moment melting a lead pipe. It coincidently happens that one MacEwan's beercan-full of lead exactly equals the weight needed to replace a lost one on a grandfather clock [I don't know enough clock history to know if that's an accident or not] and we were making a new weight. It worked, BTW.

I've always hated flamenco both for the sexual frustration of it and also the impossibility to tap your foot to it for more than a few seconds unless you'd studied the stuff for years. I was less likely to put up with Brit folk song that just never did that kind of thing with a rhythm to people. Oh maybe an off-rhythm bar now and again but never throughout a whole song.

He happily said that's why he used the tune. The liner notes go into this but most don't catch it and, in fact, the signature is usually just given as 9/8. Bruce & Stokoe just do that. But it's really 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3. Now I could foottap and was happy again and allowed the new lead weight to cool. (Remembering, of course, to insert a loop of wire clothes hanger in the top fitst.)

No, I'm really just trying to find out why he also calls it "Drunken Piper." It's hard to believe there's more than one drunken piper.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 09:27 AM

Yup, Byker Hill and Walker Shore (NOT walk ashore; that's from Grey Funnel Line . . ) were two mines.

Carthy took a different tune for his version of this, AND interspersed some words from a second song (possibly the "right" song for the tune . .)

I saw a lengthy discussion of this somewhere; if it wasn't here then I guess you need a deja-news search of uk.music.folk or rec.music.folk.

Byker is now a housing estate; Byker Grove is a successfull Children's Drama Series on UK TV (and pretty good it is) - unfortunately the producers lacked the initiative to use either of the Byker Hill tunes as the basis for theit theme tune . .

Personally, the Carthy/Swarb recording of this would sit well up my "Top ten best folk tracks ever".

G.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 09:46 AM

Has anyone heard the Barely Works version of Byker Hill? The guitars in it do give it a bit of a reggae rhythm (as Les suggested). They also use tuba in it! Its an interesting arrangement, but ends up being a tiny bit too heavy and plodding in my opinion.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 12:00 PM

The verses Carthy interpolates are from "My Dearie Sits Ower Late Up", though a little modified.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 12:17 PM

Having lived for much of my childhood in Walker, I can definitely confirm the geography.

The Walker Shore was the section of the river where Swan Hunters Walker Yard stood (the Griffin yard I think? they built destroyers there). From the gates of this yard a fairly major road (Wellbeck Road) ran up to the top of Byker Hill where it joined on to Byker Bank.(where the Byker Wall is now) The entrance to Byker Pit was just where the two roads merged and there used to be a cinema/music hall there called the Blacks Regal, Also up there was the Dainties Toffee Factory and a Ringtons Tea depot from which the tea was sold on horse-drawn vans. My mother and I used to travel on the Number 37 trolleybus by this route into New Bridge Street whenever we went into Newcastle city. This was back in the early 1950's

Minstrel


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 01:17 PM

Interesting coincidence - I've sung an arrangement of Elsie Marley (mentioned in Byker Hill) sung with My Laddie Sits Ower Late Up (modified to 6/8 when singing both songs at the same time).

I tell you what - you barely had time to catch your breath when singing that one.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 03:04 PM

Ooh ta Bagpuss! Perhaps that's where the idea came from. Although I definately wasn't thinking about the Barely Works at the time. After a Friday night out I can sing, I can cycle, but I can't think.

I should say, it's the original tune that was in what I laughingly call 'my mind.' I can see how 'Off she goes' would work - it seems to work with plenty of stuff from nursery rhymes up.

I've always loved the Drunken Piper version of Carth and Swarbrick, although I've always thought of it as alternate bars of 4/4 and 5/4, which I suppose is 9/8 but not as we know it, Jim. By the way, Martin reckons that unaccompanied English folk singing should be in time signature of 1/1. And he should know, i mean he's got a medal for it an' all.

And the idea of singing anything to 'the tune of Elsie Marley', even the original words is a feat of vocal gymnastics to be applauded.

Les


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: nutty
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 03:17 PM

Some years ago at a memorial concert for Peter Bellamy and Keith Marsden at Whiby Festival, I heard Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson do a wonderful parody on this song called Biker Bill and Walter Shaw
Yes it's really true - Carthy did sing a parody and I still have it on tape to prove it.
I believe the parody was written by Chris Sugden( Sid Kipper)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 04:19 PM

Only one traditional version is listed in Steve Roud's folk song index, Roud# 3488. It's "Walker Pit and Byker Shore", with music, in Dawney's 'Doon the Waggon Way', which I don't have. It was collected from Jack Elliot of Birtley. I have one LP of Jack Elliot's songs and tunes, but it's not on that.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 02 Dec 00 - 09:03 AM

*#1 PEASANT* : That's a good tune but that's the traditional, Sandy Paton 4/4 tune, not the Carthy 9/8 one.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Dec 00 - 10:41 AM

Speaking of Walker Shore -- can anyone give me a definition of "shore" in this context? Apparently it doesn't always mean seashore. I recall in a pseudo-Victorian but well researched novel that I read, called "The Quincunx," that the sewers of London were referred to as shores. Is this related to the verb, to shore up (brace, support)?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Dec 00 - 11:44 AM

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives shore1 (sea-shore etc) as coming from Middle Low German and/or Middle Dutch schöre, perhaps from the same base as 'shear'.

Shore2 (a prop or stay) also comes from Middle Low German and/or Middle Dutch schöre - a prop. But it's not clear whether these are the same or two different words.

And shore3 is a sewer:
Shore, sb.3 1598. [orig in common shore, perh. an application of this phr. (SHORE sb.1) in the sense 'no-man's-land at the water-side, where filth was deposited for the tide to wash away'. Not a var. of SEWER sb.1 (common sewer is later).] = SEWER sb.1
Olde receptacles, or common-shores of filthe. SHAKS

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,George Henderson - Nenagh Singers Circle
Date: 02 Dec 00 - 01:42 PM

The Wandering Minstrel is correct. And the 37 trolley used to right out the West Road. I travelled on it many times.

Byker pit was one of the wettest pits in the North East. As a result miners were paid about 50% more than their compatriots in other pits. They had difficulty in getting workers even so but those that did work there were very happy with their lot.

There was a circular gravity rail track with inter connected wagons. The weight of full wagons pushed empty ones around. The coal was shipped on these down the hill to the Walker Shore where it was loaded onto coasters which transported the coal by sea to London.

As far as I am aware the Byker Pit gravity railway was the only one in existence but I could be wrong on that point.

Geordie Charltons pig is referred to in other publications (not sure which) but as a result, the verse is probably based on fact.

The only pit still operating in the North East is Ellington Colliery and it stretches some 10 miles out under the North Sea.

Hope this is of interest.

George Henderson.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Llanfair
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 04:37 AM

I heard Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick do this live in the '60s, in Manchester, and can remember being blown away by it. I have since sung it myself, and found that, to do it justice, you have to be able to absorb oxygen through the skin!!!!!
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 08:54 AM

Snuffy: Thanks for the info. It explains why the London sewers were called shores, because they were below tide level, and relied on the tides to wash them out. However, it doesn't explain how Walker Shore got its name. Was it named after a seashore, a prop, or a sewer? Also, am I correct in thinking only the mine was called Walker Shore while the surrounding town or neighborhood was simply Walker? Which got its name first?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Chris Nixon
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 05:11 PM

Notes on tunes - "The Drunken Piper" is probably better known as Dorrington Lads, and has an even more fiendish 'B' part - as far as I know it's a Northumberland small pipes tune, and it takes a bit of playing... Elsie Marley is in fact two related tunes - one, again, a jig for pipes, and the other a song concerning said Elsie Marley, a lady of negotiable virtue who frequented the quays of Newcastle. KYBTTS Chris


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Fred/Forsh
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM

well, that prety much sums it up! Please note the correct pronounciation, in Dialect, of "Walker"..Waahkah, or warkah, with "ar" as in Bar. Yes, I am a Geordie, still living here, too!


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,laura
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 08:38 AM

as far as i know, byker hill is about miners in the newcastle area. byker hill and walker shore are both place names near newcastle or duhram.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Noreen
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 08:39 AM

Chris- Keep yer boots tied tight, son?

KYFSGH

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 10:58 AM

Jim Dixon.

There was no pit in Walker as far as I am aware. The pit was in Byker and the shore relates to a shore line along the river Tyne at Walker.

Gulleys or drains are also known as shores throughout Ireland. I do not know why.

I do not know the origins of the area name of Walker but it goes back a very long time. There is an district call Wallsend a bit further down the Tyne which dates back to Roman times and was where the great North Wall ended. It was built by Hadrian and parts a still visible today. Worth a visit.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WALKER PITS (Lloyd)
From: Anglo
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:08 PM

Since Lloyd has been cited but not quoted, here's the version from "Come All Ye Bold Miners."

Walker Pits

If I had another penny,
I would have another gill;
I would make the piper play
The Bonny Lads o' Byker Hill.

Byker Hill and Walker Shore,
Collier lads for evermore!
Byker Hill and Walker Shore,
Collier lads for evermore!

When I came to Walker wark
I had ne coat nor ne pit sark;
But now I've gotten two or three;
Walker Pit's done well for me.

Byker Hill and Walker Shore,
Collier lads for evermore!
Byker Hill and Walker Shore,
Collier lads for evermore!


Walker Pits. First printed in John Bell's Rhymes of the Northern Bards...[etc.] (1812). Directed to be sung to the tune of: Up She Goes.

(His notes are a bit skimpy, I'm afraid.)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Anglo
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:12 PM

(Oops, missed some line breaks, sorry - I'm too old for this techie stuff).

Also note that the tune is given as Up She Goes, not Off She Goes, which is a well-known Irish/New England single jig.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:32 PM

Re: London sewers and shores . . there is a "shore" as in beach along the Thames in central London at low tide; in places this was certainly used for bathing in the first half of the 20th century. I'd guess the banks of the Tyne in Newcastle would be the same; they'd certainly be tidal at Walker/Byker.

G.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:59 PM

It's getting dangerous. No one has posted the 9/8 tune, and I'm tempted to try to do a MIDI, since I can't find it anywhere on the net, and I sort of know it. (It's that 'sort of' bit that has me worried.)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:29 PM

Jeri: The best I found was at the link I gave above. I did look around some, too. There's a few given as "Windows Media Player" at CDWorld & CDNow but I get the error that they're lying and no such file exists. I could scan & e- you the two tunes given in N. Minstrelsey if you like.

Anglo: Good for giving that. I'm pretty sure that's a 2223 one.

Has anyone who has the Gaelic tried the Gaelic text I asked about?

I also have a vague recollection of Lloyd singing "Walker Hill and Byker Shore" but maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 02:13 PM

More re "shore":

By coincidence I recently edited a legal title on Waters and Watercourses, and came across the idea that, in the English common law, the term "shore" refers only to tidal waters, while in North America the term was expanded to include freshwater lakes as well. (My Oxford Concise English Dictionary only partly bears this out: "Law. the land between ordinary higgh- and low-water marks.")

Is this a legalistic idea which isn't reflected in common speench in England (and is the river tidal at Walker Shore)? If not, what would a lakeshore be called in England?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Anglo
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 02:15 PM

Abby:
I also have a vague recollection of Lloyd singing "Walker Hill and Byker Shore" but maybe not.

Spot on, Abby. It's on the Fellside compilation "Classic A.L. Lloyd" accompanied by Alf Edwards. Peter Bellamy apparently supplied the recording, and remarked on the inversion of the names.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 02:35 PM

John Leeder

Yes the river is tidal at Walker

Anglo

There is no hill in Walker but try walking up Byker Hill!!!


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM

There's a third tune for this that hasn't been mentioned so far (unless my skim back through the thread was overly superficial). I have it on an LP of The High Level Ranters, "Northumberland Forever". It's a bouncy, jolly tune which the group give a big, full sound. Quite different from both the Young Tradition and the Carthy melodies (and I seem to recall having the latter tune on an LP by A.L. Lloyd, to corroborate whoever mentioned it earlier).


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 03:41 PM

Off She Goes goes "bum-ty, bum-ty, bum titty bum."

The 9/8 tune I'm thinking of, the lyrics sort of fit:
BYker hill AND walker SHORE me boys COLLier lads FORever MORE me boys...
Hard to explain. There's a BUM-titty, BUM-titty thing goin' on. But I don't even know if we're talking about the same tune, but I'm interested.

If you want to scan and send, clicky here to e-mail. I could send a .wav or RealAudio (smaller) of me valiantly trying to sing the one I'm talking about.


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Subject: Tune Add: BYKER HILL
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 05:07 PM

For anyone wot's got ABC, or wants to try it anyway. It's pretty simple, and you can probably figure this one out without having a program. 'z' is a rest, and the baby 'c' means it goes up:

T:Byker Hill
M:9/8
L:1/8
Q:1/4=80
K:C
z3G GEG GEG|
cGE GEG GEG|
FDG GEG GEG|
cGE FDD DEG F3||


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 10:11 AM

The album of Byker Hill is available on CD and should be in everyone's collection, so there should be no need for ABCs or any other transcriptions . .

(I'm talking the Carthy/Swarbrick one here, and it really IS that good; it would certainly be in our top 10 all time best albums. And we had to replace it after our son took the original CD copy off to University with him . . )

G


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