Campaign for blue plaque gets support

Margaret Wilkes, the great, great granddaughter of Ned Corvan, with actors Chris Connel (left) and Jamie Brown at the Blue Plaque in Newcastle.
Margaret Wilkes, the great, great granddaughter of Ned Corvan, with actors Chris Connel (left) and Jamie Brown at the Blue Plaque in Newcastle.

A campaign to have a lasting memorial to a songwriter is gathering momentum.

Edward ‘Ned’ Corvan was the first professional Geordie singer/songwriter before his death in 1865, with numerous links to North Tyneside including living and being married in North Shields.

He was the man behind the song Cullercoats Fish Lass, which told the aspirations of a working class Victorian fish seller.

Playwright Ed Waugh – whose new play about Ned called Mr Corvan’s Music Hall, comes to Playhouse Whitley Bay on Saturday – has given two talks in the borough about Corvan’s life and times.

He is keen to see a blue plaque memorial erected in the borough honouring Corvan’s work.

He said: “As part of the project to reclaim the heritage of forgotten Geordie superstars like Harry Clasper, Billy Purvis, Joe Wilson and Ned Corvan we’ve been doing talks throughout the region.

“Historian Dave Harker, who has written a brilliant biography of Ned called Cat-Gut Jim, and I have spoken to around 500 people who are interested in their past and where Geordie culture developed from.

“The two talks I’ve given in North Tyneside – at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, North Shields Fish Quay, and North Shields library – have had the consensus that Ned should have a blue plaque.

“Newcastle City Council have kindly given Ned, Joe Wilson and Harry Clasper a blue plaque over the past six months so it’s possible.

“If you go to Cullercoats you’ll see, and quite rightly, dedications to the American artist Winslow Homer but not a mention of a home-grown musical artist called Ned Corvan.”

A public meeting to discuss getting a Ned Corvan blue plaque will take place at Cullercoats Crescent Club on Monday, June 5, at 7.30pm.

The play Mr Corvan’s Music Hall at Playhouse Whitley Bay on Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm while there is a public exhibition on Tynemouth Metro station bridge.

For further information about Ned Corvan visit www.mrcorvansmusichall.co.uk/