James Cawdell (1749-1800)
James Cawdell was an actor and manager of the Durham theatre circuit.
Rowland Burdon was a Newcastle Banker, one time Mayor of Stockton and the first Durham MP not to have been an aristocrat. At his Castle Eden estate Burdon worked closely with the manager Michael Scarth to develop a friendly society with two hundred members consisting of farmers, artificers, labourers and their families. Burdon was also responsible for building the turnpike road that linked Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth to Newcastle. However, the most remarkable civic infrastructure with which Burdon involved himself was the Wearmouth Bridge built between 1793-96 which was a technological marvel, being the longest span iron bridge in the world.
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 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.