Red Row, Crookhall, where the Corrs once lived

A picture of Red Row, Crookhall

Crookhall 1847 w&m Michael Burns 16 March 2016

Come all you music lovers,
a sad story I must tell
about a great disaster
at Crookhall it befell
It was on a Monday afternoon
on April’s 19th day
when that great blast of fire and steam
took many lives away

Did they come from Stafford, (chorus)
or from Bilston or Tyrone?
They mebbes hailed from Glasgow,
their birthplace is unknown.
They might have come from Bellingham,
from Wylam or Armagh
Lift up your glass & wish them peace
came they from near or far.

Not long before the country round
was wood & open fell
where raven, rabbit, fox and deer
unchecked by man did dwell
At Caribbees and Stock’ley Burn,
at Shake & Bogle Hole
The wind would whistle low and moan
like manys the lost soul.


But soon the draw of iron and coal
brought many to Crookhall,
keeper, slagman, charger
tended furnaces so tall
the moulder and the engineman,
iron carriers as well
they saw the black smoke dim the day,
flames light up night like hell


They came up to the engine house,
a father & his girl
to sing a ballad, pass the hat,
their daily bread to earn
the workmen came to listen there,
to stand & hear the song
but suddenly the boiler burst,
cruel shards sliced through the throng


And of the 6 that died that day,
their names weren’t worth the print
the papers gave much detail,
but the victims names did stint
both singers died, the fireman fell
with two more labouring men
and a stranger who came seeking work
died in that scalding hell


The coroner excused the works
no blame’s attached said he
the victims’ names remain unknown,
though archives hold the key
And mebbes Durham County
might reveal to one and all
and make known the names of those
who perished at Crookhall


I’ve long intended to write this one about a sad event that I came across in an 1840′s newspaper. Crookhall is a village in my home area of North West Durham. The places mentioned in the chorus are selected from birth places of Crookhall people listed on the 1851 census. The last verse refers to my unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Durham Records Office to help find the names of the victims.

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