Joseph Skipsey in context
Some background notes on the social and cultural history of the period.
Joseph's father, Cuthbert Skipsey, was one of two people killed during the miners' strike of 1832. The song The Blackleg Miner, possibly dating from the strikes of 1844, mentions places with which both Joseph and his father would have been familiar - (Seaton) Delaval, Seghill.
Joseph Skipsey was a contemporary of other Tyneside and pitman songwriters, including Ned Corvan (1829-65), Geordie Ridley (1835-64), Joe Wilson (1841-75) and Tommy Armstrong (1848-1920). Geordie Ridley's description of The Blaydon Races is set in 1862, the same year as the Hartley Calamity which gave rise to Skipsey's famous poem. Ned Corvan wrote a series of songs about emigration to Australia, which complement Skipsey's correspondence with Willie Reay.