lyrics text

Rap 'Er Te Bank

words & tune traditional; additional words Ridley

Rap 'er te bank, me canny lad
Wind 'er away, keep tornin'
The back-shift men are gannin' hyem,
We'll be back in the mornin'

Me feyther used to caal the torn
When the lang shift was ower
As he went oot bye, ye'd heor him cry
D'ye knaa it's efter fower?

Rap 'er te bank...

And when that aaful day arrived,
The last shift for me feyther
A faal of stones an' brokken bones
But still above the clatter, he cried

Rap 'er te bank...

Then it's off te work all by mesell
Never more with me feyther
It's my job now ta call the torn
When the lang shift is ower

Rap 'er te bank...

Me feyther he used to call the torn
When the lang shift was ower
Now he sits at home wi' mended bones
An al' see him efter fower

Rap 'er te bank, me canny lad
Wind 'er reet slow, that's clivvor
This poor aad lad he's tekken bad
He'll be back heor nivvor.

The local coal trade made the North East the engine room of the Industrial Revolution. This pithead song was collected from Henry Nattress of Low Fell, Gateshead by Walter Toyne in 1962 and caught on through the singing of Jack Elliott of Birtley. AL Lloyd published it in his Come All Ye Bold Miners: Ballads And Songs Of The Coalfields. Richard added the final two verses. The onsetter would rap on the cage, and the winding man, hearing the signal, would draw the cage to the surface (the "bank"). After the introduction of electricity, the signal was made by an electric bell in the winch house. The "Rapper Rope" was the line running down the shaft that the signalman would pull to ring the bell. Richard's father worked as a mechanic and fitter in the Harton and Acomb collieries; one of his duties was to keep the rope and winding gear in good repair.

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