Here's a virtual movie of a poem by the Victorian English "Pitman* poet Joseph Skipsey "Mother Wept" The poem uses a recurrent poetic motif of grieving over an endangered child the poem tells of a lad foolishly excited about going down the pit. "Father Hid his face and sighed,Mother turned and wept" Skipsey a child miner himself knew all too well how tregedy went hand in hand for children and men in the coal pits of his time.
Joseph Skipsey (1832 -- 1903) was a Northumberland born poet and songwriter in the middle and late 19th century. His best known work is arguably "The Hartley Calamity" about the Hartley Colliery Disaster, a devastating mining accident in Hartley, Northumberland, England in 1862 in which 220 lives were lost.
He was known as "The Pitman Poet".
Joseph Skipsey was born in Percy Village (generally known after the name of the colliery Percy Main), in the Parish of Tynemouth on 17 March 1832. His father Cuthbert, an overman at Percy Main Colliery, and mother, Isabella, had many children, on which Joseph was the eighth.
Joseph Skipsey faced an early tragedy when his father, Cuthbert, was shot dead on 8 July 1832.. On the Sunday evening, an "affray" occurred between a group of miners and special constables. The reason seems to have been forgotten, but Cuthbert Skipsey, an overman and someone who the pitmen would look up to, stepped forward in an attempt to defuse the situation. Unfortunately one of the specials, George Weddell, misunderstood his intentions, pushed him away and shot him with his pistol. Weddell was arrested, tried, found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to six months hard labour.
Like many children of that era, Joseph Skipsey started work in the local pit. He started at the age of seven as a trapper, teaching himself to read and write using pieces of discarded newspaper, adverts etc. progressing to some of the classical British authors and then to write his own stories, poems and later songs.
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2013