David Erskine Baker (1730-1767)
David Erskine Baker - actor, freemason and social mover
Robert Anderson, known as the ‘Bard of Cumberland’ was an English labouring class poet who wrote in Cumbrian dialect.
A calico-printer by trade, Robert Anderson was a major standard bearer in Cumberland’s contribution to borderland bardic verse, celebrating the region through fierce local labouring-class pride expressed in his native tongue. In a study that aims to set Anderson in his regional and literary context, Mike Higgins stresses that Anderson wrote about Cumbrian life “not from archival research but from the inside, and from below rather than above.” Anderson was from Carlisle, a city considered from a metropolitan point of view, to be at the very margins of England; however, from a northern perspective, Carlisle was a major cultural centre for the region with a vibrant social life where wealthy families would retire to spend the winter. Anderson’s first publication, Poems on Various Subjects, published in 1798, was dedicated to Carlisle’s MP John Christian Curwen, a progressive Whig politician and enlightened agricultural improver.
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.
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 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.