Dave Harker: The Gallowgate Lad. Joe Wilson’s life & Songs

Dave Harker gives a fascinating glimpse into the life of the writer of Keep yor feet still, Geordie Hinny and hundreds of other ‘Tyneside Songs’

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‘Dave Harker’s work on Newcastle music is second to none and is not only an important piece of British cultural history, it tells a vital piece of the social and political history of the North East. His work is not only impeccably researched, breaking new ground for specialists, it is entertaining and interesting for a wide, popular audience. Joe Wilson was the most prolific and important of the incredible flowering of singer-songwriters in the North East. They were not only the ‘Pop Stars’ of their day but chronicled the lives and hopes of the ordinary people of the North East during a time of tumultuous change. As a songwriter Joe Wilson could be considered our ‘Robbie Burns’ but in his depiction of ordinary life he is perhaps better described as our ‘Charles Dickens’ and is certainly the most important writer to come out of Newcastle in the Nineteenth Century. Dave’s new biography is lavishly illustrated, meticulously researched, and is an important and much needed cultural history, but it is also a fascinating insight into life in Victorian Newcastle, and it will be of interest to anyone who grew up hearing Keep Yer Feet Still Geordie Hinny. I highly recommend it.’

Lee Hall, author of Billy Elliot and screenplays including Pride and Prejudice and War Horse.


Dave Harker with Kasandra van Keith and Terry Wilson, two of Joe’s four Canadian great-grandchildren, at his grave in Jesmond Old Cemetery