New displays featuring the work of 19th-century printmaker William Davison will take pride of place in the
revamped Bailiffgate Museum when it opens its doors next month.
As part of the major refit at the Alnwick attraction, on the back of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a printer’s workshop has been created as a setting for an Arab press from Davison’s era.
In 1854, he published the Alnwick Mercury, an eight-page monthly newspaper costing one penny.
This changed its name to the Alnwick & County Gazette in 1883, eventually becoming the Northumberland Gazette in 1947.
Davison, from Alnwick, is also well-known for producing a Bible in 100 parts, costing one shilling each. It was a venture which eventually lost him money.
The Universal Holy Bible or Complete Library of Divine Knowledge, with its engraved plates, was chosen as one of the Top 100 Objects in the North East during the History of the North East in 100 Objects project in 2013 and is on display in the museum.
Bailiffgate trustee Jane Nolan said: “William Davison is a key figure in Alnwick’s cultural and industrial history. It is right that the museum recognises his innovative role in the printing industry and the legacy of his newspaper.
“The new layout of the display means that people visiting the museum will get an impression of how a printer’s workshop may have looked in the mid-19th century.
“We also have a model of Davison in the workshop. We’ll be interested to see if any local people recognise his face, as we have based it on a well-known local person with connections to the museum today.”
The Davison displays are not the museum’s only tribute to the North East’s journalistic heritage.
A panel also tells the story of the pioneering journalist WT Stead, who was born in Embleton in 1849 and went on to edit the Pall Mall Gazette, which later became the London Evening Standard.
He lost his life in 1912 on the ill-fated Titanic on his way to speak at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The new-look museum opens its doors to the public on Saturday, February 15.