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Beneath Albion's Surface

The Prospect Before Us
This Is England
Some Early History
British World Heritage Sites
Afield
In The Hedgerows
Albion's Woodlands
Three Forests Of England
Countryfile
The National Nature Reserves
Within This Village
Beneath Albion's Surface
The Albion River Hymn
Where Other Waters Flow
Albion's Railways
In This City
In This City: Some History
Lark Rise To Candleford
John Moore.1907-1967
Montague Rhodes James. 1862-1936
Along The Downs
Along The Pilgrims Way
A Canterbury Tale 1944
Albions' Music
Horse's Brawl
London Calling
Cinema Show
"Just Room For One Inside Sir..."
It's The Vicar!!
All Creatures Great and Small
The Prospect Before Us
Communications and Links

Down In The Drift

Tankerville Mine, Shropshire.
Tankerville Mine, Shropshire, in about 1870

The Blackleg Miner

It's in the evening after dark,
When the blackleg miner creeps to work,
With his moleskin pants and dirty shirt,
There goes the blackleg miner!

Well he grabs his duds and down he goes
To hew the coal that lies below,
There's not a woman in this town-row
Will look at the blackleg miner.

Oh, Delaval is a terrible place.
They rub wet clay in the blackleg's face,
And around the heaps they run a foot race,
To catch the backleg miner!

So, dinna gang near the Seghill mine.
Across the way they stretch a line,
To catch the throat and break the spine
Of the dirty backleg miner.

They grab his duds and his pick as well,
And they hoy them down the pit of hell.
Down you go, and fare you well,
You dirty blackleg miner!

Oh, it's in the evening after dark,
When the blackleg miner creeps to work,
With his moleskin pants and dirty shirt,
There goes the blackleg miner!

So join the union while you may.
Don't wait till your dying day,
For that may not be far away,
You dirty blackleg miner!

[Trad. Arr. Steeleye Span]

It is strange that a song as powerful and as singable as this should be so rare, yet it has only once been collected, from a man in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1949. Seghill and Seaton Delaval (presumably the Delaval mentioned in the song) are adjacent mining villages about six miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but it is difficult to date the song due to the innumerable mining strikes which have occurred. It is, however, interesting as much as it illustrates the violent hatred felt by the `union' men towards the blacklegs. Ashley Hutchings: ``This is the most modern traditional song on the album, possibly dating from the early part of the 20th Century, and is sometimes sung by singers from Northumberland. I believe it was suggested by Tim (Hart).''

Steeleye Span recorded this song for their first album,
Hark! The Village Wait with Tim Hart singing lead vocals.
 

Hark! The Village Wait

Tim Hart - lead vocals, electric guitar
Maddy Prior - vocals
Gay Woods - vocals, concertina
Terry Woods - vocals, 5 string banjo, guitar
Ashley Hutchings - electric bass
Dave Mattacks and Gerry Conway - drums

a now closed coal mine in Kent
and the subject of a song
from the Meridan television series
Ridgeriders
and the subject of a page
on our Ridgeriders
website

a 1934 coalmine explosion
in North Wales and the
subject of a song
by The Albion Band
trad. arr. John Tams

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