Ralph Blackett was born 1830. He worked for many years on the Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, as a well respected businessman. This position had been earned by his own endeavours, ability and hard work. Unfortunately he lost this due to unfortunate circumstances and downturn in trade.
He was related to George Charleton Barron Actor, mimic and elocutionist.
Like many of his contemporaries, he appears in “Allan’s Illustrated Edition of Tyneside songs and readings with lives, portraits and autographs of the writers, and notes on the songs. Revised Edition”
Blackett was very refined and well mannered, he had obviously had a very good upbringing, he was quiet and reserved, but at the same time could be genial and kind, particularly with friends.
Later in life he moved to Middlesbrough, where he died on 29 December 1877, at the relatively young age of only 46 or 47.
In his youth he had been a proficient and prolific Hymn writer, many were considered to be very beautiful. It is rumoured that one of these sacred works was published, but no trace appears to remain. As he grew older he also turned to songs and poetry, generally in a rich Geordie dialect.
He became a regular contributor to “Charter’s Chronicle and Annual” and he won a prize with his first dialectic song from the “Newcastle Weekly Chronicle” with “Jimmy's Deeth” which was later incorporated into the pantomime at Newcastle’s Tyne theatre.
His works include:
- Fortnith's wages weekly - about a rumour that wages will be paid weekly instead of fortnightly - first appeared in Keelmin's comic annewal, for 1871 (which supposedly “gi'es ye the best bits o' wit an' wisdim, be the clivvorest cheps aboot Tyneside”)
- Jimmy’s deeth – won a prize in the “Newcastle Weekly Chronicle”
- "Allan's Illustrated Edition of Tyneside songs and readings".
- Allan’s Illustrated Edition of Tyneside songs and readings with lives, portraits and autographs of the writers, and notes on the songs. Revised Edition. Thomas & Gorge Allan, 18 Blackett Street, and 34 Collingwood Street, (Newcastle upon Tyne) – Sold by W. Allan, 80 Grainqer Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, B. Allan, North Shields and Walter Scott. London. 1891.
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