• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

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Commemorating the Bard of Tyneside

160629A_001The great granddaughter of a man dubbed the Bard of Tyneside has given her thumbs up to a plaque made in his memory.

Joseph Joe Wilson penned a staggering 360 songs and recitations and packed out music halls on Tyneside in Victorian times despite dying of TB aged just 33.

His great granddaughter, Canadian Kasandra Van Keith, met the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and came face to face with the plaque dedicated to the memory of her superstar ancestor.

She only discovered her Geordie roots seven months ago while researching her ancestry online.

Kasandra, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, said: “I was overwhelmed when I discovered who he was. He was quite a man in his day and I’m very proud to be his great granddaughter.

“I think it’s lovely that this plaque has been made in his memory and everyone who sees it will learn about him and perhaps try to find out more about his amazing life.”

The plaque, will be unveiled later this year in Stowell Street, Newcastle, where Joe was born in 1841. He died in 1875 – 175 years ago this year.

Ian Ayris, the council’s Conservation Manager, said: “Joe Wilson was one of a series of important Victorian songwriters and entertainers who began the music hall tradition and has left us a legacy of well-known Geordie folk songs and anthems which include the likes of Blaydon Races and Keep Your Feet Still Geordey, Hinny.”

Lord Mayor Cllr Hazel Stephenson said: “The plaque to Joe Wilson is just the latest in a series to famous sons and daughters to go up in Newcastle.

“They celebrate the lives of people who left their mark on the city and I look forward to unveiling Joe’s plaque later this year.”

Kasandra’s brother George Terry Wilson accompanied her on the visit which they considered a ‘pilgrimage’ to not only honour their great-grandfather Joe Wilson, but also their father, George Hartley Wilson.

By admin