George W Meadley (1774-1818)
GW Meadley was a literary figure in eighteenth-century Sunderland
Charlotte Lowes, an actress from Wigton in Cumberland, left the most comprehensive record known of northern strolling in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Her memoir is especially valuable as it provides a perspective on the life of a female stroller in this period, which includes performing for cash-rich miners in the Pennines, visiting coastal Redcar when it was still a village, finding generous patrons at Workington and sailing to the Isle of Man for the season. She performed in companies managed by Naylor, Stordy, Hobson, King, Chamberlain, Johnston and Deans, all men about whom relatively little is known. Her account appears to be the only exclusively northern strolling memoir of the period, as the furthest southern point she ever visited was Milnthorpe in Westmoreland.
Her writing is also particularly relevant as Charlotte appears to have considered her short period acting in Cawdell’s Durham company in about 1790, when she performed at Sunderland and at the opening of Durham’s new theatre, as the professional high point of her “seventy-years pilgrimage” as she described her career.
Newcastle-born William Newton exemplifies the new local builder-architect that catered to élite coal-rich clients
Well-known composer to George III, William Shield started his musical career as the Durham theatre company’s band leader
Robert Tannahill was a Scottish laboring class poet from Paisley, near Glasgow, known as the 'Weaver Poet'
James Tate was a teacher and man of the church who was close friends with northern actors.
William Taylor was a prolific critic and scholar based in Norwich.
She was known as 'Miss Wallis of Bath' but Jane Wallis actually hailed from the north.
Dr Tipping Brown was a distinguished freemason and influential literary figure during a significant period of Sunderland's development.
James Murray was a leading political radical in Newcastle upon Tyne during the turbulent 1770s.
Publisher of the Bible in Arabic, Thomas Bewick's Memoirs and the first volume of the journal of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne Archaeologia Aeliana: Sarah Hodgson also edited the Newcastle Chronicle for over twenty years.
The Dublin-born actor, abolitionist and freemason James Field Stanfield spent most of his career performing in theatres in the north of England.
As a political radical, Thomas Spence was the proponent of the only political ideology, "Spencerianism", to have ever been outlawed in Britain.
Anne Slack was Britain's first modern English-language grammarian, an entrepreneur in her own right, and wife of Newcastle printer, Thomas Slack.
Joseph Ritson was an antiquary and historian of "the common people", a friend to actors who passed through his home town of Stockton, and the man who made Robin Hood a champion of the poor.
The Yorkshire company under Tate Wilkinson’s management from 1766 to 1806 had the best-known circuit in the North.
The novelist and playwright Thomas Holcroft was a strolling player in the north of England in the 1770s and performed with the Durham company.
Ann Allan of Blackwell Grange was a prominent local philanthropist and friend to local personalities.
Antiquary and printer George Allan was an influential cultural figure in the Northeast
Robert Anderson, known as the ‘Bard of Cumberland' was an English labouring class poet who wrote in Cumbrian dialect.
Susanna Blamire, posthumously dubbed the ‘Muse of Cumberland’ has been called "unquestionably the best female writer of her age”
Rowland Burdon was a Newcastle Banker, one time Mayor of Stockton and the first Durham MP not to have been an aristocrat.
Samuel Butler managed one of the most successful northern theatre circuits of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Although now forgotten, this Irish actor was the nation’s leading pastoral poet at mid-century.
West Digges was a popular actor in Ireland before working in Scotland and the north of England.
The Whitby collector of customs Francis Gibson was a poet, playwright and fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
William Hutchinson authored early histories of the Counties of Durham and Cumberland, topographies of Northumberland and the Lake District, plus novels, plays and the much reprinted "Spirit of Masonry" which saw five editions in his lifetime.
Stephen Kemble was one of the greatest provincial theatre managers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.