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Blaydon Races

Blaydon Races was written in the 1800s by Geordie Ridley, deriving from music hall.

It is regarded by many as the unofficial anthem of Tyneside and is frequently sung by supporters of Newcastle United Football Club.

Blaydon itself is a small town in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead and it is about 5 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east of England.

Aw went to Blaydon Races, 'twas on the ninth of Joon,
Eiteen hundred an' sixty-two, on a summer's efternoon;
Aw tyuk the 'bus frae Balmbra's, an' she wis heavy laden,
Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that's on the road to Blaydon.


Oh lads, ye shud only seen us gannin',
We pass'd the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin';
Thor wes lots o' lads an' lasses there, all wi' smiling faces,
Gawn alang the Scotswood Road, to see the Blaydon Races.

We flew past Airmstrang's factory, and up to the "Robin Adair",
Just gannin' doon te the railway bridge, the 'bus wheel flew off there.
The lasses lost their crinolines off, an' the veils that hide their faces,
An' aw got two black eyes an' a broken nose in gan te Blaydon Races.


When we gat the wheel put on away we went agyen,
But them that had their noses broke they cam back ower hyem;
Sum went to the Dispensary an' uthers to Doctor Gibbs,
An' sum sought out the Infirmary to mend their broken ribs.


Noo when we gat to Paradise thor wes bonny gam begun;
Thor was fower-an-twenty on the 'bus, man, hoo they danced an' sung;
They called on me to sing a sang, aw sung them "Paddy Fagan",
Aw danced a jig an' swung my twig that day aw went to Blaydon.


We flew across the Chain Bridge reet into Blaydon toon,
The bellman he was callin' there, they call him Jackie Brown;
Aw saw him talkin' to sum cheps, an' them he was pursuadin'
To gan an' see Geordy Ridley's concert in the Mechanics' Hall at Blaydon.


The rain it poor'd aw the day an' myed the groons quite muddy,
Coffy Johnny had a white hat on - they war shootin' "Whe stole the cuddy."
There wes spice stalls an' munkey shows an' aud wives selling ciders,
An' a chep wiv a hapenny roond aboot, shootin' "Now, me boys, for riders."


The song is now usually sung with slightly more modern language. The modern chorus would typically be:

Oh! me 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, all wi smiling faces
Gannin alang the Scotswood Road to see the Blaydon Races.

Ridley sang the song at a concert in Balmbra's Music Hall on 5 June 1862. It is likely that on this occasion the song ended with the exhortation to see Ridley's show on the 9th, and that the final verse was added for this later performance. Although the account of the trip to Blaydon is a fiction, the heavy rain and missing cuddy (horses) were reported in the local press.

Airmstrang's factory was the engineering works at Elswick. The Robin Adair was a pub on Scotswood Road. Paradise is a suburb of Newcastle.

The Blaydon Race is a 5.7 mile athletics race from Newcastle to Blaydon that takes place on June 9 every year and starts off with the singing of The Blaydon Races – with the words as the basis for the race.
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Blaydon Races Gannin' to Blaydon Races! - The Songs of George Ridley
Arranged & produced by Vic Gammon Sung by Terry Conway, [more]

With the Northern Sinfonia Conductor: David Haslam And the Sinfonia Chorus Chorus Master: Alan Fearon This CD, recorded in 1987 with David Haslam and Northern Sinfonia accompanying Thomas ...