Victorian life in town is part of major study

A Victorian family. The search is on to find out details about key figures from Alnwick's Victorian past.
A Victorian family. The search is on to find out details about key figures from Alnwick's Victorian past.

Alnwick has been chosen as one of nine UK towns and cities to be the focus of a major study led by two universities.

And as part of the initiative, the community is being encouraged to help with research about specific historical figures from the area.

The aim of the study by Oxford and Northumbria universities is to assess whether professions during the Victorian period formed a distinct self-sustaining social group with its own mores and values.

The evaluation will look at factors such as whether professional families intermarried and if the new professions which emerged during the Victorian period, such as accountants and bankers, were also colonised by children from professional backgrounds.

The study is in the data-gathering phase and Alnwick’s participation in the project is being coordinated by the Alnwick branch of the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society.

The project has chosen specific Alnwick inhabitants during the Victorian period and information is sought on their lives, ancestors, descendants and legacy.

These are: John Atkinson (1829-1861), Army officer; Walter Ballantyne (1802-?), maths teacher; William Barnfather (1789-1872), architect; William Blarkey (1803-?), master mariner; Thomas Bradley (1817-?), general practitioner; Edward G Brown (b.1823), artist; George Burrell (1777-1853), Army officer; William John Carr (1811-?), solicitor; William Dickson (1799-1875), solicitor; Robert Dawson Ferguson (1821-1878), accountant; Henry Gibb (1822-1898), accountant; Court Granville (1808-1871), clergyman; Hall George (1783-1857), Navy officer; Edward Anthony Hedley (1807-1867), physician; Francis Holland (1815-?) agent to the Duke of Northumberland; John Bartholomew Holland (c.1821-1894), schoolmaster; William Hubbick (1806-1854), veterinary surgeon; McDonald James (1825-?), civil engineer; William Johnson (1803-1878), actuary; Anthony Lambert (1817-?), solicitor and treasurer of county court; George Craster Lambert (1825-1898), East India service; William Leithead (1804-?), author; Edward Marr (1793-?), artist; William McDougal (1794-1875), law clerk; Isaac Newton (c.1831-1868), musician; Frederick William Pond (1824-c. 1890), Inland Revenue; William Richards (1811-?), local preacher; Thomas Rickerby (1807-?), officer for the relief of the casual poor; Henry R Ridley (1816-?), curate; Thomas Robertson (1823-?), portrait and animal painter; George Selby (1789-1867), Navy officer; Prideaux Selby (1810-1872), barrister; Robert Simpson (1805-?), ship agent; Edward Augustine Storer (1825-1877), bankers clerk; Thomas Thompson (1810-?), Police Superintendant; Phillip Thornton (1805-?), surgeon and general practitioner; George Trotter (1815-?), schoolmaster; George Tute (1806-?), postmaster; James Watson (1804-?), land surveyor; John Watson (1768-1854), surveyor; George Wilson (1781-1856), surgeon.

If anyone has information about any of these individuals or is descended from one of them, email alnwickbranch@ndfhs.org.uk or call the Bailiffgate Museum on 01665 605847.

The other towns and cities in the project are Morpeth, Brighton, Bristol, Dundee, Greenock, Leeds, Merthyr Tydfil and Winchester.

Professor Michael Moss, from Northumbria University, said: “We hope there will be a strong contribution from Alnwick, as it is a smaller and more self-sustaining community than several of the other locations. Whether this led its Victorian professionals to be more insular in behaviour than the norm will be one of our lines of inquiry.”

Visit victorianprofessions.ox.ac.uk for project details.