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Broadside sheet featuring two ballads, 'The Exiles Return' and 'Hawell Cages'.

Date: 1838-1870
Overall: 256 x 194 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017363
Place Manufactured:Durham

User Terms

    This broadsheet contains the ballads 'The Exiles Return' and 'Haswell Cages' and was published by Walker in Durham, England. 'The Exiles Return' has a woodcut headpiece representing the title and details a story about the return of an exile presumably from transportation. 'Haswell Cages' contains an inscription 'Tune - The Wedding of Ballyporeen' underneath the title. It details a story men working at the coal mine at the Haswell Colliery which was built in Durham in 1833. The discovery of coal, known as 'black gold' because of its value, brought many miners from across Britain to the area in search of work.
    SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation and migration.
    TUNE.—The Wedding of Ballyporeen

    Come all you good people and listen awhile,
    I will sing you a song, that will cause you to smile,
    It is about Haswell I mean for to sing,
    Concerning the new plan we started last spring.
    And the very first thing I will mention,
    Without any evil intention,

    It is concerning this new invention,
    Of winding coals up in a Cage.
    It was eighteen hundred and thirty eight,
    We began to prepare to make the shaft right,
    We put in the conductors from bottom to top,
    The materials were ready, prepar'd at the shop.
    From the top of the pit to the bottom,
    One hundred and fifty six fathom,
    And the distance you think it is nothing,
    You ride so quickly in the Cage.

    Now considering the depth its surprising to say,
    The quantity of work we can draw in a day,
    Five hundred and thirty tons of the best coal,
    In the space of twelve hours we can wind up this hole.
    Above forty-five tons in an hour,
    And viewers, overmen, and hewers,
    Our engines must have a great power,
    To run at such speed with the Cage.

    Then as soon as the tubs they do come to the day,
    To the weighing machine they are taken away,
    Where two men are appointed there to attend,
    To see justice done between master and friend.
    And when they leave the weighing machine,
    Straightway they take them to the screen, sir,
    And the keeper does see they are clean, sir,
    All the coals that come up in the Cage.

    I have wrought with the corves, I have wrought with the
    I have wrought by the baskets come up by the lugs,
    I have wrought by the dozen, I've wrought by the score,
    But such curious contrivance I never saw before.
    When we get in, they pull by the rapper,
    At the top it does make a great clatter,
    And the brakesmen they know what's the matter,
    And bring us away in the Cage.

    And when the bell rings and the top we approach,
    It oft puts me in mind of the new railway coach,
    The numbers of passengers I cannot tell,
    But she brings a great many, I know very well.
    But I wish they may not overload her,
    And do some mischief on the road, sir,
    To much charge makes a cannon explode, Sir,
    And so will to much in the cage.

    Now the young men and maids do sometimes take a trip,
    Out to sea in fine weather, on board a steam ship,
    But if any be curious enough to engage,
    For a trip down below, and a ride in our cage.
    It would be a fine recreation,
    For to go down and view the low station,
    I wish they may meet no temptation,
    When they take a trip in our cage.
    By a Coal Hewer.


    Sons of the green ood Isle,
    Pay attention for n while,
    Glad tidings I'll relate unto thee
    The boys they are returning,
    And our hearts with love ls burning,
    Thanks to heaven hey re once more at li-


    So let us cheer them three timos three,
    They're once mo e at liberty,
    They loved their country every man
    God save Ireland was their cry,
    They were reconclled to die;
    Like the brave Manchester Martyrs who
    are gone,

    Long live our worthy Mayor,
    Whose,heart is just and fair,
    To the house of Commons did repair i
    full speed,
    With McCarthy Downin & Maguire,
    He never did retire.
    Until the Fenian prisoners were free

    Oh glory to the men,
    Who brought those Exiles home again
    To the land of old Erin Macoree
    And we hope before its long,
    O'Donovon Kossa & every man,
    Of the Fenians will get their Liberty,

    Broadsheets or broadsides, as they were also known, were originally used to communicate official or royal decrees. They were printed on one side of paper and became a popular medium of communication between the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe, particularly Britain. They were able to be printed quickly and cheaply and were widely distributed in public spaces including churches, taverns and town squares. Their function expanded as they became used as a medium to galvanise political debate, hold public meetings and advertise products or cultural events.

    The cheap nature of the broadside and its wide accessibility meant that its intended audience were often literate individuals but from varying social standings. The illiterate may have also had access to this literature as many of the ballads were designed to be read aloud. In 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', Peter Burke notes that the golden age of the broadside ballad, between 1600 and 1700, saw ballads produced at a penny each which was the same price for admission to the theatre.

    The ballads also covered a wide range of subject matter such as witchcraft, epic war battles, murder and maritime themes and events. They were suitably dramatic and often entertaining, but as James Sharpe notes, also in 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', some of them were designed as elaborate cautionary tales for those contemplating a life of crime.

    The broadside ballads in the museum's collection were issued by a range of London printers and publishers for sale on the streets by hawkers. They convey, often comically, stories about love, death, shipwrecks, convicts and pirates. Each ballad communicates a sense that these stories were designed to be read aloud for all to enjoy, whether it was at the local tavern or a private residence.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Broadside sheet featuring two ballads, 'The Exiles Return' and 'Hawell Cages'.

    Web title: 'The Exiles Return' and 'Haswell Cages'

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