Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tyneside, Geordies and the Mason Dixon Line

Caught the train from Carlisle to Newcastle on Tyne, as I had heard about the Children’s Literature Museum, Seven Stories from Kaye Keck at Dromkeen. Whilst in the lakes district, storytellers told me about the ”A Bit Crack: Northeast Storytellers” group and there was to be a performance in a few days by Dominic Kelly.

Arrived late in Newcastle and headed out for tea to at busy Italian bistro in Jesmond near B and B where I was staying. Now a segue, a sidewinder, but you know us storytellers, one story leads to another to something totally different. Sitting with Sylvia and Dan stated to quiz them on local and British history. Tynesider refers to anyone living around the river Tyne and it’s people are known as Geordies.

(Quite a few explanations as to this)
Dan’s father was Scandanavian and he said it was from a Scandinavian word which meant ‘miner’ which a lot of Tynersiders were, the Taxi driver explained there were other explanations
It derives from a familiar diminutive form of the name George, which was once the most popular name for eldest sons in the north-east of England. It was established during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The Jacobites declared that the natives of Newcastle were staunch supporters of the Hanoverian kings, in particular of George II during the 1745 rebellion. This contrasted with rural Northumbria, which largely supported the Jacobite cause.
Another explanation for the name is that local miners in the north east of England used "Geordie" safety lamps, designed by George Stephenson in 1815, rather than the "Davy lamps" designed by Humphry Davy which were used in other mining communities.

Anyway a line kept running through my head, A Mark Knopfler song

“ I am Jeremiah Dixon, I am a geordie boy ( Check out Lyrics here http://www.metrolyrics.com/sailing-to-philadelphia-lyrics-mark-knopfler.html
Or youtube clip Mark Knopfler / James Taylor singing “Sailing to Philadelphia” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrLdKYRBOEE
I never knew the song was about the historic line that marked the divide between free states and slave states of North and South states of America. More info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mason-Dixon_Line
But it had me reflecting what makes storytellers , songwriters use the material songs and stories they do?
Newcastle on tyne was most notable for revitalisation of decaying industry to thriving cultural hub.
Also note, bridge, copied our own Sydney Harbour bridge.

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