27 January 2012

Mr Stephenson's Regret

North East publisher, Wild Wolf Publishing is delighted to announce the release of Mr Stephenson's Regret by local award-winning author, David Williams.

This absorbing novel brings to dramatic life the pioneers of the railway age. Significant figures appear on the broad canvas of history – Wellington, Peel, Dickens and Queen Victoria among them – but the story belongs as much to the modest mining community that is home to George and Robert Stephenson in the early years, and to their intimates, not least the women in their lives (who have remained all but anonymous in the biographies).

Central to the narrative is the complex, often tense, relationship between father and son. Both have ambitions and desires that provide the engine for their achievements but also create a crisis of conflict that threatens to derail their journey at a crucial stage.

In following their battles, personally and as a partnership, much is revealed about nineteenth century society – about class division, self-interest and greed, indulgence and sexuality, repression and guilt – that may taint even the sweet taste of success.

Semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

“This richly detailed and meticulously researched storyline breathes life and a palpable sense of intimacy into these historical figures and immerses readers in an England embroiled in political and social upheaval as it teeters on the cusp of the industrial revolution.”
~ Publishers Weekly

Title: Mr Stephenson's Regret
Author: David Williams
ISBN: 978-1907954207
Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Retail Price: £9.99 / £3.99

19 January 2012

Ponteland Historian January 2012

 Newsletter of Ponteland Local History Society


This evening Society member, Dr. Adrian Bint pays a return visit, but on this occasion to tell us “more about those early invaders”.  Members will recall Adrian’s presentation to us two yeas ago when he took us on “A Historical Walk Around Edlingham”.  Amongst many other interests Adrian is a volunteer Ranger for a section of The Hadrian Wall Path and it was during a recent routine inspection that he sustained the injury that is so obvious this evening.  We wish him a speedy recovery.


Saturday 25th February
ANLHS Council Meeting, 1.30 (for 1.45), St. Nicholas’ Church, South Gosforth.

Saturday 24th March
 * Day School: “North East History Through Art”, Lit. & Phil. Newcastle

Saturday 30th June
 * Round The County Day, Alston & Killhope Lead Mining Centre

Saturday 10th November
ANLHS Annual General Meeting, Mitford Community Hall

 * The detailed programme and booking forms for these events are available this evening.


The University of Leicester are seeking North of England male volunteers with old surnames to take part in a research project, sponsored by the Leverhulme & Wellcome Trusts, to link with the DNA of people in the past.  They are particularly interested in the history of the Vikings and the possibility of genetic links to today’s population. 
To find a list of eligible surnames and how to participate in the study men are invited to visit the website: www.leicestersurnamesproject.org.uk


Please let us have your email address.  It makes for quick contact with you. There is a form available this evening for submitting details.

The Society was represented at a meeting called by the Spirit Group, owners of the Blackbird, to hear of their plans for development.  It is likely that the building will be branded "Chef and Brewer" described as a "pub with food".  The historic part of the building is likely to remain unaltered with the existing flat roof extension on the West side replaced by a single storey stone built extension to increase the dining area.  A new single storey brick kitchen would also be built.  Generally the proposals were well received although some concern was expressed over "signage" and car parking.


Publication of the next edition is planned for mid 2012 and items are now invited.  Ideally articles should be between 500 and 2000 words long with black and white illustrations being particularly welcome.  They should be forwarded by 1st June to jmichaeltaylor@btinternet.com or by arrangement with the editor on 01661 824017.


A new web site as been launched with the aim of building up the first dedicated encyclopedia of life in childrens’ cottage homes.  Over the years, thousands of children spent time in the cottage homes and yet we know very little about life in these institutions.  Some basic facts are included but the site aims to record what life was like for people living in the cottage homes.  If you would like to share memories, family stories, photographs and other information about the cottage homes, please visit the web site.

Durham Records Online have recently made available the following records from the Bishop’s Transcript:

“Ponteland baptisms & burials 1813-44, marriages 1813-1st July 1837”.

It is believed to be the first time that post 1812 baptisms for Ponteland have appeared indexed and online.


The Tyne is famous for its wide selection of vessels that transported the region’s abundance of coal and other materials along the tidal reaches of the river.  No complete examples of these survive but some skeletal remains of the wherry (often described as a “bath-tub of a boat”) can be seen at low tide on the south bank of the river at Newburn.  Apparently this was a popular graveyard for their abandonment during the 1940’s and 1960’s.  Further upstream at Ryton (NZ 1470 6510) the skeleton of a wooden steam drifter has been the subject of recent archaeological recording. However its name remains a mystery so if you can help or know of a local wreck Alan Williams would be only too happy to hear from you. 


If anyone has an EPSON STYLUS colour printer in any of the following series:-

400/600/800/800N/850/1520/1520k/1520H/850N/850NE/440/460/640/660/670/740/740i/750i/760/860/1160/480/580/MJ-830C/830CS//930C/6000C/SCAN2000/2500/STYLUS C20/C40

a FREE set of unused cartridges is available.