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British Industrial History

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Thomas Wilson (1773-1858)

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Thomas Wilson (1773–1858) of Losh, Wilson and Bell, was a Tyneside poet, from Low Fell in Gateshead. His most famous work, an example of Tyneside Dialect Literature, is The Pitman's Pay, originally published between 1826 and 1830.

Wilson, was born on 14 November 1773 at Low Fell, now a suburb of Gateshead into a very poor family.

Like many from the North East, he began his working life down the mines at one of the many local pits, starting as a trapper-boy at around the age of around 8 or 9 years old. He had the determination to better himself, and wanted to improve his life and so studied, educating himself to a high standard, before moving on to become a schoolmaster at an early age.

After a short stay in this job, he moved to a clerkship on Newcastle's Quayside with Losh, Lubbren and Co, corn merchants

1803 Wilson followed this with a move to join a Tyneside engineering company run by John Losh.

He became a partner in the company in 1807; the partnership later changed its name to Losh, Wilson and Bell, manufacturer of alkali and iron.

In 1826 the first part of his most famous song The Pitman's Pay (with a subtitle of Or, A night's Discharge to Care) was published in a Newcastle magazine. Subsequent parts appeared over the next two years.

Thomas Wilson never lost his love of the area, or its people, He moved to Fell House, a residence close to his birthplace, and spent the remainder of his long life there.

He went on to write many other songs and pieces of prose, mainly in the Geordie dialect, most of which were published by George Routledge & Sons of The Broadway, Ludgate, London.

One of his other best known and loved works was The Weshin’ Day, and his last was The Market Day written when he was over years old.

Wilson died on 9 May 1858 at the age of 85.

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