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BLAYDON RACES George Ridley Owen Brannigan and many others. Aa went to Blaydon Races, 'twas on the ninth of June, Eighteen hundred and sixty two on a summer's efternoon, Aa tyuk the bus fra Balmbra's and she was heavy laden, Away we went alang Collingwood Street that's on the road to Blaydon. CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud a' seen us gannin, Passin' the folks upon the road just as they were stannin. Thor wis lots o lads and lasses there aall wi smilin' faces Gannin alang the Scotswood Road to see the Blaydon Races. We flew past Armstrong's factory an' up to the "Robin Adair", Just gannin' doon te the railway bridge the bus wheel flew off there; The lasses lost thor crinolines an' the vails that hide thor faces; Aa got two black eyes an' a broken nose i' ga'n te Blaydon Races. CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud, &c. When we gat the wheel put on, away we went agyen, But them that had thor noses broke they cam' back-ower hyem; Sum went to the dispensary, an sum to Dr. Gibb's, An sum to the Informary to mend thor broken ribs. CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud, &c. Noo when we gat te Paradise thor wes bonny gam begun, Thor wes fower an'twenty on the bus, man how they danced an' sung, They caalled on me te sing a song, Aa sang them "Paddy Fagan"; Aa danced a jig an' swung me twig that day Aa went te Blaydon. CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud, &c. We flew across the Chine bridge reet inti' Blaydon Toon, The bellman he wes caallin' there, they caalled him jacky Broon, Aa saa him taakin' te sum cheps an' them he wes persuadin' Te gan an' see Geordie Ridley's show in the Mechanic's Haall at Blaydon. CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud, &c. The rain it poored aall the day an' myed the groonds quite muddy, "Coffee Johnny" had a white hat on-they yelled, "Whe stole the cuddy?" Thor wes spice staalls an' munkey shows, an aad wives sellin' ciders, An' a chep wi' a ha'penny roondeboot shootin' "Noo me lads for riders" CHORUS: Oh! lads ye shud, &c.. Lyrics taken from the Blaydon Races Centenary official souvenir brochure 1862-1962 published by City and County of Newcastle Upon Tyne and Blaydon Urban District Council. Glossary: Aa - I tyuk - took gannin - going agyen - again hyem - home caaled - called intev - into myed - made cuddy - horse wes - was roundeboot - roundabout Some notes on the song: George Ridley, born Gateshead 1835, injured at work so turned to singing comic songs for a living. Sang old Tyneside songs and some Irish ones, hence possibly the reference in Blaydon Races to 'Paddy Fagan'. Later wrote his own songs and wrote this one in 1862, four days before the races, and which advertised his own show and also Balmbra's (The Wheatsheaf Inn) music hall. The last verse was likely written after the races, which were washed out due to heavy rain, and sung at his show in the Mechanics Hall, Blaydon that night. The song became more popular in the early 1900s than when written and is now a famous local anthem, though the words are sometimes sung with slight variations. Collingwood Street leads from the Cloth Market where Balmbra's was situated. Armstrong's factory - the Elswick Ordnance Works of William, later Lord Armstrong. The Robin Adair - a pub at the highest point of Scotswood Road, then outside the town boundary. The Dispensary - in Nelson Street, a charitable institution to help the poor. The Informary - predecesor of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the R.V.I., then on Forth Banks west of the Central Station. Dr Gibb's - Dr C J Gibb a well-known doctor in Newcastle at the time. Treated rich and poor alike. Crinolines - at that time a new phenomenon in women's fashion. Paradise - area near Benwell. The Chine bridge -the chain bridge, Scotswood suspension bridge, built in 1831 and demolished in 1967. Jacky Broon - Blaydon's bellman, a kind of town crier and supplier of gossip and local information and a character in his own right. Mechanic's Hall - in Tyne Street, Blaydon. Coffy Johnny - a well known local figure who stood six foot six inches and worked as a blacksmith at Winlaton, up the hill from Blaydon. Whe (who) stole the cuddy? - A cuddy is a horse. Most of the horses had failed to appear on time as the river, held on an island in the River Tyne, had been running too high for them to get across. The first race didn't begin until four pm, although advertised for two-thirty. The rain drove many spectators into the beer tents. (Contributed by Michael Makepeace - November 2010)

    


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