In memory of one of Alnwick’s most famous sons

Historian Adrian Ions at the memorial stone for William Davison.
Historian Adrian Ions at the memorial stone for William Davison.

A memorial stone has been unveiled in Alnwick Cemetery, marking the grave of one of its most notable residents.

William Davison was a publisher, pharmacist and philanthropist, and a prominent citizen of Alnwick who worked in the town from 1802 until his death in 1858.

There was no headstone marking his grave so Alnwick Town Council decided it would install a memorial stone, following a suggestion by Coun Geoff Watson.

The piece of stone used for the memorial was given to the council by historian Adrian Ions.

It is engraved in bronze copperplate lettering with the words, In Memory Of William Davison, Pharmacist, Publisher & Philanthropist, Died 1858.

The town council has a particular link to William Davison as, in 1824, he was one of the town’s philanthropists who founded the Alnwick Mechanics and Scientific Institution, now the Mechanics Institute.

Mayor of Alnwick, Coun Alan Symmonds, said: “William Davison worked in Alnwick and loved the place, and being proud of one of its most influential citizens, we feel that the stone marking his grave is a fitting memorial.”

The memorial stone was unveiled a year after a Blue Plaque was installed, marking the location of his printing works on Bondgate Within.

Davison was born in Alnwick in 1781 and educated in the town until he was apprenticed at the age of 14 to a chemist in Ponteland. He returned to spend the rest of his successful working life in Alnwick.

He only entered the world of publishing accidentally, but established the Alnwick Mercury, a fore-runner of the Gazette.