Francis Gentleman (1728-1784)
Francis Gentleman was an Irish actor, poet, playwright and critic.
George Garbutt was a Sunderland printer who wrote and published A Historical and Descriptive View of the Parishes of Monkwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth and the port and borough of Sunderland in 1819. Garbutt was a member of Sunderland’s Sea Captains’ Lodge (now Palatine Lodge No.97) and he relied on a fellow freemason, the actor James Field Stanfield, to write the sections of his town history dealing with the town’s theatre and masonic activities. Garbutt published Stanfield’s Essay on the Study and Composition of Biography in 1813. In 1819 he involved himself in local controversy by publishing various addresses related to the character of George Wilson Meadley whose conversion to Unitarianism had caused contention among members of the town’s literati.
The Whitby collector of customs Francis Gibson was a poet, playwright and fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
William Hutchinson authored an early history of the County of Durham and the "Spirit of Masonry"
Stephen Kemble was one of the greatest provincial theatre managers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
William Henry Lambton was the MP for Durham and installed as provincial Grand Master of Durham in 1788.
Charlotte Lowes was a strolling player who worked across the north of England and left a valuable memoir of 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 highly regarded freemason, musician and literary man
The Dublin-born actor, James Field Stanfield (1749-1824), 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 antiquarian and historian of "the common people", friend to actors who passed through Stockton, and the man who made Robin Hood the man he is today.
The Yorkshire company under Tate Wilkinson’s management from 1766 to 1806 had the best-known circuit in the North
Thomas Holcroft was a novelist, playwright and actor in the north of England
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.