The Blaydon Races

William C. Irving's painting captures the lively atmosphere of the Blaydon Races and fair.

A painting showing the Blaydon Races



Visitor information

The Shipley Art Gallery is reopening on Tuesday 25 August 2020.

Plan your visit and find out what measures we are taking to keep staff and visitors safe. 

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10am - 4pm
Wednesday 10am- 4pm
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday Closed

Free entry

No booking required


See William C Irving's famous depiction of the Blaydon Races, painted in 1903. 

The annual Blaydon Races and Fair was a major event on Tyneside in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The attractions shown in this well-known and much loved painting include a large open carriage pulled by a team of white horses, men demonstrating acrobatics or boxing, and a sweet stall. 

The picture was painted by the Newcastle artist William Irving, who included many local characters in it. Towards the front of the picture, 'Gull Willie of Newburn' is being tricked by the card cheat, the 'Swalwell Cat'. Filled with boisterous activity and fascinating detail, the characters in the world famous Geordie anthem, 'The Blaydon Races' are brought to life in this unforgettable painting.