May 102013
 

My ancestor Richard Hall presumably approved of the highly moral tale of Joe the Collier, a man who feared the Lord and put up with the mockery of his fellow-miners who worked the pits near Newcastle. Certainly Richard kept the poem, neatly folded, with his other papers.

According to the poem, Joe missed his shift because he chased after the dog which had stolen his bacon sandwich – thereby being spared the fate of being trapped and killed in the mining collapse.

I rather like the small drawing which accompanied the poem, showing the dog snaffling the bacon while Joe and his mate Tim Jenkins walk past the pit-head, where the pony labours to draw the water from the mine shaft….

Post script: I am most grateful to Sarah Waldock for taking the trouble to google in the words “Patient Joe, or the Newcastle Collier”and for pointing out that it is a tract written in 1795 by Hannah More, the social reformer and educator.  The Abe Books site shows it to be scarce – it can be found in fewer than half a dozen public collections and is therefore quite collectable.

  2 Responses to “Patient Joe, or the Newcastle Collier – a morality tale”

  1.  

    I love Richard’s penchant for collecting ephemera. I wonder what the date of this is, it’s hard to date the clothes in the illustration as it’s not well drawn [and but for the hats and pipe could almost be medieval!] but the horse suggests at least that it predates Newcomen’s engine for pumping water out of mines.

    Well, I’d be wrong, because I just found a copy being sold for £200 dating it as 1795. Written by a tract writer called Hannah More. I can’t help wondering if the illustration is earlier though,and the plate used over to illustrate this Jobian ballad…

    •  

      Two hundred smackers! Wow, I’ld take half that any day! I am astonished to see that it is as late as 1795. Richard collected most of the ephemera when he was living in London i.e. pre-1780 and my guess would have been that it was from around 1750. As you say the woodcut clearly looks pre-Newcomen and I suspect that the woodcut is borrowed from a century before that. Interesting!
      (PS I have had a look on Abe Books – the link is http://www.abebooks.co.uk/Patient-Joe-Newcastle-Collier-Signed-Z/1236692374/bd Thanks for drawing it to my attention – my kids will enjoy putting it on the bonfire when I shuffle off!)

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