Joseph Skipsey

(March 17, 1832 - September 3,1903 / Percy, Northumberland)

Joseph Skipsey
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Born March 17, 1832, in Percy, Northumberland. Joseph Skipsey was a colliery worker at seven years of age. He made himself educated, publishing verse in local newspapers until he was gradually able to leave harsh labour behind him. He earned a living as caretaker to schools and colleges. He and his wife Sara Ann Fendley, married in 1854, had eight children. Of the 8 children, only the last three, Elizabeth, Joseph and Cuthbert survived to adulthood and old age.

Skipsey had several literary positions: Assistant Librarian, Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society (1863), and custoldian of Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon (1889-91). He was awarded a annual civil list... more »

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Best Poem of Joseph Skipsey

The Hartley Calamity

The Hartley men are noble, and
Ye'll hear a tale of woe;
I'll tell the doom of the Hartley men -
The year of sixty two.

'Twas on the Thursday morning, on
The first month of the year,
When there befell the thing that well
May rend the heart to hear.

Ere chanticleer with music rare
Awakes the old homestead,
The Hartley men are up and off
To earn their daily bread.

On, on they toil; with heat they broil,
And streams of sweat still glue
The stour unto their skins, till they
Are black as the coal they hew.

Now to and fro the putters ...

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