Community urged to help Victorian study

Morpeth has been chosen as one of nine UK towns and cities to be the focus of a major study led by two universities.

And the community is being encouraged to help with research about specific historical figures from the area.

The aim is to assess whether professions during the Victorian period formed a distinct self-sustaining social group with its own mores and values.

The evaluation will look at factors such as whether professional families intermarried and if the new professions which emerged during the Victorian period were also colonised by children from professional backgrounds. Specific Morpeth inhabitants during the Victorian period have been chosen. Details are wanted on their lives, ancestors, descendants and legacy.

These are: William Ayre (c.1800-1877), independent minister of Morpeth from 1848-1872; James Sill Banks (1789-1854), teacher of dancing; John Trevor Barkley (1826-?), civil engineer; Thomas Bennett (1803-1876), land agent to Duke of Northumberland; Edward Bennett (1801-1851), barrister; Francis Burnett (1823-?), attorney; Thomas Bowman (1764-1854), land surveyor and alderman; George Bramell (1808-?), solicitor and mayor; William Creighton (1803-1874), chemist and druggist; Arthur Scott Donkin (1828-1883), physician and surgeon; Thomas Finch (1802-?), chaplain of county prison; Edward Gell (1818-1899), artist and architect; [William] Thomas Green (c.1825-1897), piper to Duke of Northumberland; Robert Hawdon (1812-?), surgeon; James Hood (1817-?), chemist and druggist; James Hubbersty (1814-?), Roman Catholic priest; Henry James (1805-?), parish clerk; Henry King (1824-1896), veterinary surgeon; George Austin Lowe (c.1806-1869), Roman Catholic priest; Andrew Lynn (1834-?), chemist; James Maitland (1823-?), schoolmaster; Benjamin McLaren (1817-?), surgeon; Joseph Millard (1818-1895), solicitor’s clerk, director and chairman; Isaac Oldfield (1814-?), auctioneer; Thomas Redford (1806-?), pilot; Ralph Robinson (1780-?), excise officer; William Edward Robinson (1825-?), solicitor and writing clerk; Charles Cuthbert Shafto (1796-1866), Army officer; John Stephenseon (1825-?), farm steward and bailiff; William Trotter MD (1788-1857), physician; John Turnbull (1825-?), schoolmaster; William R Watson (1819-?), officer registrar; Stephen Wilkinson (1800-1868), banker; William Winship (1789-1867), land agent; William Woodman (1806-1895), solicitor and town clerk; Thomas Younger (1823-?), Inland Revenue.

The Victorian Professions study is led by the universities of Oxford and Northumbria. The research will focus on a sample of 1,000 professional people drawn from the 1851 census for Morpeth, Alnwick, Brighton, Bristol, Dundee, Greenock, Leeds, Merthyr Tydfil and Winchester.

For more information and to contact the project team, visit