The Tees-side Fettlers

Ring of iron

Side One                                                                       Side Two

Boar’s Head Carol – Traditional                   Blackleg Miner – Traditional

Ring of Iron – Greame Miles                         Chemical Worker’s Song – Ron Angel

Whitby Whaler – Richard Grainger            Jigs – Thady You Gander/Paddy Carey/                                                                                                 The Wistling Thief/The Peeler

Dol-Li-A – Traditional                                     The Waggon Driver’s Song – Ernie Green

Ore Boats – Gordon Steer                              John North – Vin Garbutt

Pulling in Song – Pete Betts                          Pride of Kildare – Traditional

Rap Her to Bank – Jack Elliot                      Shanty Set – Saltpetyre Shanty/                                                                                                            Way Down South/Lowlands

Rambling Sailor – Martin Carthy               Guisborough Road – Greame Miles




St Hilda’s is the oldest part of Middlesbrough, for most of the life of modern Middlesbrough the area has been known as The Border or Over the Border. The border being the railway track that separates the area from the rest of the town.

The border always had a reputation for being a tough, close-knit  community. A few years ago Middlesbrough council  launched a redevelopment plan for the area which they renamed Middlehaven. Unfortunately the redevelopment involved the demolition of the existing housing estate and the removal of the small community that lived there.

Some new housing has been built in the area, the development has been labelled ‘The Urban Pioneer Site’. Urban pioneers and ‘Boho Zones’ on a site that has seen continuous habitation for over a thousand years. I wonder if any of the original border families will be given the opportunity to live in these houses, I wonder if they would want to.

The people of Middlesbrough speak with a deep pride and affection for their river but strangely they have very little access to it. Walking from the town centre it struck me that the town and its river are detached, other than the lifeless old dock, there is very little accessible river frontage within strolling distance of the town centre. There are two parks that have river frontage but both are hidden away in industrial zones.

The redevelopment of the land around the Middlesbrough Dock continues but the large derelict former industrial site that sits between the dock and the river does not seem to feature in any of the proposed plans for the area.

imagetwoA new road is currently being built to improve access to the site and there is a plan to build more houses and a snow centre where perhaps former steel workers can start new careers as ski instructors.



Whitby Abbey and Cliffs, from the North 1801 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Whitby Abbey & Cliffs from the North by JMW Turner. 1801.

Copyright Tate CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

During the summer many an excursion train, or ‘chape trip,’ as the natives say, brings thousands of the hardworking population of the West Riding, to enjoy a brief holiday by the sea. There once arrived a party of miners two of whom hastened down to the beach to bathe. As they undressed one said to the other “Hey, Sam, hoo mooky thou is!” “Aw miss’d t’chape trip last year,” was the laconic and significant reply.

A Month in Yorkshire. Walter White. 1861




When parsley is sown it goes nine times to the devil before it comes up. Only the wicked can grow parsley.

If a loaf of bread is cut at both ends the devil will fly over the house.

It is said that when a woman whistles, the devil rattles his chains.

It is unlucky to meet a red haired woman in the morning.

To keep the cramp away, carry a potato in your pocket.

It is lucky to carry a tip of dried tongue in your pocket.

If you lay a new born child on its left side it will always be awkward

If a child is put upon a bear’s back at a bear baiting he will be cured of the whooping cough.

It is lucky for your first child to be a girl.

If you sit on a table you want to be married.

If you dream of losing your teeth you will lose your best friend.

If you point nine times at the moon you will not go to heaven.

Crooked money brings good luck.

If you throw the gills of a fish over your house they will become a silver spoon.

Let a spoon fall and a fool will come to see you.

It is unlucky to turn a spoon over in your mouth.

It is unlucky for the clock to stand opposite the fire.

It is unlucky to mend your clothes whilst wearing them

It is unlucky to count your teeth.

Never buy black pins unless you are in mourning. 

Taken from – Household Tales with other traditional remains. S Addy. 1895



Blood-red. Was it blood?
Was it red-ochre, for warming the dead?
Haematite to make immortal
The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.

From Red by Ted Hughes


..containing about sixteen houses, situated upon the sea, and under a mountain. I remarked to the inhabitants, “If they could but keep peace within themselves, they would keep it with the world, for nobody would come and quarrel with them;” nor could a more abstracted spot be found, if a man chose to hide himself from man.

A Trip to Coatham: A Watering Place in the North Extremity of Yorkshire.

W. Hutton F.A.S.S