Blackleg Miner

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Collected from a man in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, 1949

It's in the evening, after dark
The blackleg miner gangs ta wark
In his moleskin pants and dirty shirt
There goes the blackleg miner.

2. He takes his pick and down he goes
To hew the coal that lies below
There's not a woman in this town row
Would look at a blackleg miner.

3. For Deleva is a terrible place
They rub wet clay in a blackleg's face
Around the pits they run a foot race
To catch the blackleg miner.

4. And don't go near the Segal mine.
Across the top they've stretched a line
To catch the throat and break the spine
Of the dirty blackleg miner.

5. Well they take his pick and duds as well
And they hurl them down the Pit of Hell
So off you go and fare thee well
You dirty blackleg miner.

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


Blackleg is a slang term for a scab or strike breaker.

Seghill and Seaton Delaval are adjacent mining villages about six miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It is difficult to date the song because there have been many mining strikes in this area. The greatest possibility is that it dates from the early 1900s. Of great interest is the illustration of the violent hatred felt by the `union' men towards the blacklegs.

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