Biography of Joseph Skipsey
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 pension in 1880 for his literary work, which included preparing popular editions of important poets.
Skipsey died at Gateshead on Sept. 3, 1903, and was buried in Gateshead Cemetery.
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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.