Back to Keelman (The)
KEELMAN, THE. English. England, Northumberland. The timing of the tune is unusual. Keelmen worked the River Tyne, which separates County Durham and County Northumberland for much of its course, loading and unloading larger boats anchored in the center of the river for local business, and formed a distinct community in the Sandgate area of Newcastle. Highly skilled boatman, one of their prime jobs in the 19th century was to move coal from the riverside to ships waiting in the Tyne. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century and the development of coal staithes as an alternative method of loading collier ships, the Keel men's trade gradually declined until it became virtually non-existent.
Source for notated version:
Recorded sources: Flying Fish FF-250, The Battlefield Band - "Home is Where the Van Is" (1981).