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Mr Alexander and Rosie


Rosie O’Shea was born in the village of Ballyogan, Ireland, on February 8, 1851.

Rosie’s dad Patrick was in poor health, so he sent her off to England with her aunt, uncle and cousin Bert to find a better life.

They set up home on Newcastle’s Quayside where bare-knuckle fighter Bertie was taken under the wing of a local character known as a Mr Alexander.

Mr Alexander also took a shining to Rosie and they opened a tavern where Rosie’s on Stowell Street still stands.

Rosie began to earn a great reputation, not only from her nightly singing performances, but from selling much more than ale!

In 1874 Alexander was attacked and stabbed to death for his bag of coins and watch. Rosie went into deep depression and one morning a lodger at the tavern went to see if Rosie was OK, but she had fled.

Five years later an Irish immigrant, who had left Newcastle, arrived at the Ellis Island immigration arrival hall in New York when he heard a familiar voice singing an Irish song.

There was Rosie O’Shea – standing on a wooden trunk singing her heart out to the Irish masses.

But he was knocked over in the crush and by the time he had recovered Rosie had gone. To this day nobody knows what happened to Rosie O’Shea but her legacy lives on in the Newcastle tavern bearing her name.