Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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Topographical histories are peculiarly exposed to general and severe criticism; for, though it be scarcely possible to obtain unerring accuracy in the numerous and diversified notices which compose such works, yet no error, however trifling, can escape detection. Subjects generally unknown are familiar to certain individuals, who often exult in the possession of exclusive information, and attach importance to trifles with which they are conversant. Others again, regardless of the social obligation to add to the public gratification, carefully conceal their little hoards of local curiosities, vainly and selfishly expecting some improbable occasion of displaying their useless treasures with advantage. Such conduct is generally rewarded with vexation and disappointment.
The honest and industrious Bourne, though despised by the literary aristocrats of his day, achieved much. Brand not only enjoyed the fruit of his labours, but was also favoured with such assistance as perhaps will never be extended to any succeeding local historian, however connected or talented. Yet Brand's valuable work can be of little use to those who want a description of Newcastle in its present state. The whole of our numerous and important religious, literary, and charitable institutions, have either been established or considerably extended since his time. Besides, the biography of individuals connected with the town, and eminent for moral or intellectual excellence, never received its just share of attention. How far the present publication contains a complete view of the modern state of the town, is left to the decision of the reader. The writer is conscious of having used the most indefatigable exertions to render the work generally useful and entertaining, without pretending to enter into deep antiquarian and genealogical researches. He has also sedulously avoided party prejudices, and endeavoured to observe the strictest impartiality. On these grounds, he trusts that occasional inaccuracies will meet with the indulgence of the subscribers, who, in number and respectability, exceed whatever has appeared in support of a local work in the north of England.
The kindness and assistance which the writer has experienced is honourable to the literary spirit of the age. The politest attentions have been received from the present the Rev. the Vicar of the town, from the Rev. William Turner, and J. Edgcome, Esq. the collector of his majesty's customs at this port. John Clayton, Esq. town-clerk, and indeed all the official gentlemen of the corporation applied to, have shewn the strongest disposition to oblige. Mr. John Dobson, architect, with his characteristic frankness, has always been ready to give his valuable assistance. To Mr. John Fenwick, solicitor, Mr. Thomas Bell and Mr. John Bell, land-surveyors, Mr. James Charlton, teacher, Mr. William Cail, agent, and Mr. John Sykes, compiler of the Local Records, the editor is deeply indebted, for their constant attentions and desire to add to the interest of the work. In short, the most obliging dispotion has, with few exceptions, been evinced by every gentleman whose assistance was solicited.