Charitable institutions: Benevolent societies

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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Eneas Mackenzie, 'Charitable institutions: Benevolent societies', Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827), pp. 546-568. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

Eneas Mackenzie. "Charitable institutions: Benevolent societies", in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827) 546-568. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

Mackenzie, Eneas. "Charitable institutions: Benevolent societies", Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827). 546-568. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section


There are several Congregational Charities in this town, for relieving the distressed poor belonging to their own body; and also some Public Associations, chiefly for giving pecuniary assistance to persons who cannot be benefited by the poor-laws of England. The following deserve particular notice.


This society was formed in 1797, under the especial patronage of the Presbyterian ministers of the town. It has been supported by small voluntary contributions, and by a quarterly sermon, preached at different meeting-houses. The plan pursued is to combine religious instruction with pecuniary aid; and certainly many of the distressed and friendless, particularly strangers, have been relieved by this laudable institution. But the sums raised for its support are now of very trifling amount; and its dissolution seems to be rapidly approaching. Mr. J. Annandale is the treasurer.


This society was established in October, 1807, "for visiting and relieving the sick and distressed poor." Its chief object is, while alleviating by pecuniary aid the horrors of penury and disease, "to serve as a vehicle of religious instruction. The funds are under the direction of a committee, who meet weekly to hear the cases of distress, and determine what relief can be afforded. This pecuniary relief they commit to other officers, denominated Visitors, whose duty it is to carry it to the persons in distress, and to converse and pray with them, if convenient. A part of the committee are appointed to the additional duty of Inspecting Visitors, and are required to accompany the Visitors from time to time, and see that the persons relieved are proper objects of the charity. No distinction is made as to religious profession, and any one may recommend a person to the society; but no relief will be afforded until such person has been visited by the regular officers. Recommendations will be received by any of the Visitors or members of the committee. Since the society was instituted in 1807, there have been distributed above £2115, in the relief of upwards of 2538 distressed families and individuals; and in the course of the last year there has been expended the sum of £89, 17s. in the relief of 99 cases of distress." The following statement of accounts for the last year will give a pretty correct idea of the usual collections and expenditure:—

The Treasurer of the Newcastle Benevolent Society.

1825. Dr. L. s. d. 1826. Cr. L. s. d.
Jan. 12, To balance 32 8 Jan. 25, By cash paid the Visitors at various times 89 17 0
1826. To collection at Brunswick Place, after a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Mollard 16 5 0 By Walker's bill 2 1 6
Jan. 15, To collection at the New Road chapel, after a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Dunn 1 7 By rent of room 2 0 0
To collection at Brunswick Place, after a sermon by do. 10 10 6 By incidental expenses 1 1 3
To sundry donations and subscriptions 82 12 0 By balance 48 3 3
L143 3 0 L143 3 0
February 1,1826.
Errors excepted,
JOHN FENWICK, Treasurer.

The President for the present year is C. N. Wawn, Esq. Mr. John Fenwick is Treasurer, and Mr. W. A. Hailes, Secretary.


This society was established in 1821, at the Zion Chapel, Westgate Street, Newcastle, "for the relief of the sick and distressed poor of every denomination." It is supported by a subscription of a penny per week, or upwards. Subscribers only can recommend an object. The period for granting relief is limited to one month. "The principal design of this society is the spiritual improvement of the persons enjoying its patronage." The collections last year amounted to £20, 16s. 7½d. of which sum £14, 9s. 6d. was expended in relieving 104 persons, at the average rate of 2s. 9¼d. each. The Rev. Richard Gibbs is president this year, Mr. Edward Hammond, treasurer, and Mr. Joseph Jefcoate secretary. (fn. 1)

There is an useful and unostentatious charity, for the benefit of the poor belonging to Hanover Square Chapel. It is supported by four annual collections, viz. one on buted, with the reservation of a small sum for occasional emergencies during the intervals, immediately after the service. These are of great use in enabling poor persons to clear off their little arrears of rent, and other quarterly expenses. There is also a bequest of £10 annually, distributed every Christmas to poor individuals belonging to this society. At the same time are distributed the proceeds of two collections, one made on Christmas, the other on New-year's day; which distribution is not confined to the poor connected with the society, but to such others as can obtain recommendations from members.


This society was formed at a meeting of the inhabitants of Newcastle, held at the Guildhall on Thursday, January 22, 1827, at which the Right Worshipful the Mayor presided. This society has in view to afford immediate relief to those in any part of Newcastle or its precincts, who are under sickness or distress; that this relief be given in clothing, food, money, or other necessaries, as the urgency of the case may require; but no relief is allowed but where the objects of it have been visited, and their circumstances closely inquired into. The following gentlemen were chosen, at the first meeting, officers for conducting the business of the society, viz.—President, The Right Worshipful the Mayor for the time being. Vice-presidents, Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. M. P.; Cuthbert Ellison, Esq. M. P.; and the Rev. the Vicar of Newcastle. Treasurer, William Chapman, Esq. Secretaries, The Rev. R. H. Scott, the Rev. H. A. Dodd, and Mr. Matthew Forster. Committee, J. Edgecome, Esq.; W. S. Batson, Esq.; Mr. D. Akenhead, Mr. John Fenwick, Mr. Jos. Grey, Mr. G. Richardson, Mr. John Richardson, Mr. S. M. Frost, Mr. Daniel Oliver, Mr. J. Marshall, Mr. John Bruce, and Mr. William Beaumont. On March 2, 1827, the donations amounted to £192, 6s. and the annual subscriptions to £124, 6s. 6d.


This establishment was first opened on October 1, 1825, at No. 4, Mountain's Court, Pilgrim Street, and is managed by Mrs. Pearson. It is under the patronage of Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland; and its formation was zealously promoted by Mrs. Linskill, of Tynemouth Lodge. The object is to afford industrious females an opportunity, which they did not previously possess, of disposing of their work; and the establishment is conducted on the following plan:—There are 20 ladies, called Directresses, who interest themselves in procuring subscriptions and overlooking the books. There are also 12 Visiting Ladies, who attend every Saturday morning, from 10 to 12 o'clock, to receive the work, to approve of the prices, and to see the things marked into the books, according to the name and number the worker gives, which is returned to the person on a card, in order that she may shew it when she comes for payment, during the hours the Visiting Ladies attend. Any name may be taken (and no questions are asked), and the card with the work may be sent by a servant, or a friend; but no person must change the name once assumed. Mrs. Pearson makes up the books every Saturday night, and delivers to the treasurer a per centage of one penny on each shilling that has been received during the week. The institution is kept up by this per centage, and by voluntary subscriptions of £1, 10s., 5s., or 2s. 6d. yearly, and by donations. The works received are all kinds of wearing apparel, knitting and netting of every description, and all sorts of fancywork. The Repository is open for sale every day (Sundays excepted), from 12 o'clock till 6 in the evening. Orders for work are also received at the Repository.


This society was first commenced in 1815 by Methodist females, but was soon extended so as to include all religious sects. Every subscriber of 5s. is entitled to one ticket of recommendation, of 10s. to two tickets, and so on in proportion. The articles are chiefly wrought up by the members. Every poor person pays 2s. on receiving a ticket, which is sometimes taken at two instalments: but in cases of extreme indigence, this payment is dispensed with altogether. During the first five years of this institution, 1869 articles were distributed amongst 578 families and individuals,


This is a clothing society, which was established on the 13th February, 1811, by a few members of the Society of Friends. The original design was to provide "clothing for the infant offspring of the poor;" but, in a few years, the society extended its attention to providing warm and comfortable clothing for the aged also; and though these latter did then, and still do, claim its principal attention, yet it is not confined to any particular age, provided the object be a proper one. This society is supported by annual subscriptions and donations, the amount of which varies considerably, though the average of late years may be taken at about £15: it has, in some years, amounted to £23. The number of subscribers is about 40, all of whom may recommend to the weekly meetings of the society those whom they consider as proper objects of relief. The articles of clothing are all made by the female members, about 20 or 30 of whom usually meet at each other's houses alternately once a week for that purpose, from 6 to 9 o'clock in the evening. They generally commence their labours about the latter end of October, and conclude about the latter end of March, This society has distributed, since its commencement, about 965 articles of clothing.

The subscribers to "the Union Day-school for Girls" support a small fund for clothing the indigent. There is a similar society of young ladies, who distribute clothing during the severity of winter. They have not assumed any peculiar designation, The Dorcas Society, a kindred institution, is now dissolved.


During the late fluctuations in the price of provisions and the demand for labour, a Soup-kitchen has been occasionally opened for the relief of the poor. The east end of the old poultry-market, in the High Bridge, was converted into a kitchen, in which are four boilers that hold 475 gallons. The ingredients used in making 110 gallons of soup are, 110 lbs. beef, 75 lbs. barley, 60 lbs. pease, 11 lbs. onions, 8 lbs. salt, and 8 oz, pepper. From January 17, to April 27, 1820, there were made and delivered 19,558½ gallons, which, being sold at 1d. per quart, produced £293, 4s. 9d. making allowance for loss in measuring out the soup, &c. On closing the kitchen in 1823, a balance of above £270 of the subscription-money remained, and was deposited at interest in the Town's Chamber. With this money, leaving £100 as a fund for any future occasion, the Soup-kitchen was again opened on February 19, 1827. At present, about 380 gallons of soup are delivered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


"The Craft of Keelmen" first occur as a fraternity in Newcastle in 1539. They are mentioned in 1556 as an independent society; but in 1649 they occur as dependant upon the Hoastman, and petitioning that fraternity to provide them with a chapel and minister. They had a charitable fund in 1697: two years after, each of them paid 4d. a tide to it. In 1700, they petitioned the common council for a piece of ground to erect an hospital upon, the lease for which was executed on October 4, that year, in the name of the governor, wardens, and fraternity of Hoastmen, for the use and benefit of the Keelmen, during 99 years. The Keelmen, in 1706, petitioned the House of Commons for a bill confirmatory of the voluntary agreement to support the hospital. This occasioned a dispute between them and the Hoastman; and the latter, in 1710, rejected the Keelmen's solicitation to apply on their behalf to obtain an act of parliament for their better regulation, being of opinion that an act of parliament for their incorporation, or the establishing of the charity formerly paid by their consent, for the relief of such of them as were past their labour, unless it were under "due regulation, or the government thereof in proper hands, with sufficient power rightly to manage and apply the same, would be an entire ruin, not only to them, the Hoastmen, but also to the corporation of Newcastle, and to the coal trade in general."

The Hoastmen, in 1712, repealed their former order for collecting 4d, a tide, because the money "had lately been spent in encouraging mutinies and disorders among the keelmen;" and, in 1723, the Hoastmen ordered that "the Keelmen's charity should be solely under their management and direction." In 1728, the Keelmen, it appears, paid 1d. per tide towards the support of their own poor; which charity was, in 1729, by common consent, laid aside. In 1758, the alarming increase of the poorrate in All Saints' parish, induced the Hoastmen to recommend to the Keelmen to pay one halfpenny per chaldron each tide, for the better support of their own poor; but nothing was finally agreed upon. This matter was revived at different times afterwards: but the narrow policy of the Hoastmen, and the irritated feelings of the Keelmen, defeated every attempt to establish a consistent and effectual plan for relieving the parishes in which the Keelmen resided from an increasing burden. At last, in 1788, an act of parliament was obtained, "for establishing a permanent fund for the relief and support of Skippers and Keelmen employed on the river Tyne, who, by sickness or other accidental misfortunes, or by old age, shall not be able to main, tain themselves and their families; and also for the relief of the widows and children of such Skippers and Keelmen."

This act recognizes "the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne," and directs that a steward shall be chosen once a year by the Keelmen belonging to each respective fitter, and that all the stewards shall meet annually in the Guildhall, to elect 21 persons to be guardians of the society, and which shall consist of the members in parliament for Newcastle for the time being, the mayor, recorder, the four senior aldermen, and sheriff of the town, and the governor, stewards, and nine other brethren of the Hoastmen's Company, who shall be a body politic and corporate, under the name of the "Guardians of the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne." The guardians are empowered to make by-laws, control the expenditure of the funds, and levy upon each keel-crew a sum not exceeding one penny on every chaldron of coals, &c. that may be carried in their respective keels. It was also enacted that no person should receive any benefit from the fund if he ceased to be a Skipper or Keelman, unless he paid a sum not exceeding 6d. per week, except where the cessation of employment was occasioned by his being impressed into his majesty's service, or by old age, sickness, or other infirmity. By the bye-laws subjoined to this act, the weekly allowances to sick and superannuated members are as follow:—To the disabled, by lameness or sickness, 5s.; to the superannuated, 3s.; to widows with one child, or without children, 1s. 6d.; to widows having two children, 2s.; to widows having more than two children, 2s. 6d. Members unable to work in the keels, to follow any other employment; but if they earn 4s. or upwards a week, their allowance to be reduced according to the following scale:—

If earnings amount to To receive from the fund
4s. a week and under 5s. 2s 6d. a week.
5s. a week and under 6s 2s. 0d.a week.
6s. a week and under 7s 1s. 0d. a week.
7s. a week and under 8s to receive nothing.
8s. or more, to pay 6d. a week to the fund.

The penny levied on each chaldron having become inadequate to meet payments to which the several persons were entitled, the owners and lessees of collieries and coal-mines, upon or near the river Tyne, agreed to support the funds by a grant of one farthing per chaldron on all coals exported from the river Tyne. This grant was confirmed by act of parliament, which received the royal assent on July 8, 1820.

When the usual payment of 1d. per tide was abandoned in 1729, in consequence of the shameful waste and profligacy of the sixteen collectors, this useful body of men were left without any fund for mutual support. But in the following year, about 200 industrious and prudent Keelmen formed themselves into a Benefit Society, which body undertook the regulating of the hospital, and the keeping it in repair. This society not being duly encouraged, it became necessary, for the support of the hospital, to admit as members persons who were not Keelmen. However, it still exists, and exercises the right of admission into the hospital; as neither the corporation nor the Guardians of the General Fund have advanced any claim to the right of controlling the stewards of the society, in the government of the hospital. Its anniversary meeting is held on the 27th of December.

The following is the account of moneys collected and expended last year, under the superintendence of the "Guardians of the Society of Keelmen on the River Tyne:—

Dr. L. s. d. L. s. d. Cr. L. s. d. L. s. d.
To balance in the hands of Messrs. Ridley and Co. brought from last year 382 1 7
Collected by the secretary, the Keelmen's contribution to their fund, for the year 1826, at the fitting offices of the undermentioned gentlemen, and paid by order of the Guardians to Messrs. Ridley & Co. viz. Paid to claimants upon the Keelmen's Fund, and sundry expenses for the year 1826, for which cheques have been drawn monthly by the Guardianson Messrs. Ridley & Co. viz.
Mr. William Armstrong 124 15 0 Superannuated members 989 2 6
Mr. N. Clayton 65 16 8 Widows and Orphans 768 3 0
Mr. William Russell 40 12 0 Sick Keelmen 431 5 0
Messrs. Thomas and Robert Brown 8 2 8 Allowance for fifty-eight funerals 113 0 0
Mr. John Brandling 32 12 4 2301 10 6
Messrs. George Dunn and Sons 101 19 4 Stewards' allowance at general & committee meetings 6 8 0
Messrs. Bell and Dixon 98 3 3 Secretary's expenses in attending the fitters at Shields, and Mr. Strachan's expenses 1 0 0
Mr. M. Atkinson 89 19 0 Printing 450 coal vend certificates and stationery 0 17 0
Messrs. Wade and Co. 27 13 4 Officers' salaries by cheques drawn half-yearly by the Guardians on Messrs. Ridley and Co. 80 0 0
Mr. C. Blackett 66 1 8 2389 15 6
Messrs. Surtees and Co. 72 11 8 By balance due to the society from Messrs. Ridley & Co. 724 4 8
Mr. Humble Lamb 89 2 8
Mr. James Hutchinson 3 18 0
Mr. James Potts 40 2 8
Mr. Joseph Lamb, Holywell Main 87 4 4
Mr. Joseph Lamb, Elswick do. 105 16 8
Mr. Richard Lambert 267 6 4
Mr. B. Thompson 19 3 8
Messrs. Newmarch, Sons, and Co. 130 6 0
Messrs. Bells, Robson, and Co. 3 9 4
Messrs. Clark and Taylor, Whitley Main 6 11 0
Messrs. Clark and Taylor, Earsdon do. 15 12 0
Messrs. John Grace and Co. Walker do. 28 7 4
Messrs. John Grace and Co. Felling do. 14 3 4
Mr. R. B. Sanderson, Jesmond do. 5 12 4
Mr. William Andrew, Tyne do. 1 3 4
1546 5 11
Collected by the assistant clerk, Mr. A. Strachan, from members contributing weekly for the year 1826, and paid by the secretary to Messrs. Ridley and Co. 255 13 5
Collected by the stewards for bye-tides for 1826, and paid by the secretary to Messrs. Ridley and Co. 93 19 8
Collected by the secretary, the coal-owners' grant to the Keelmen's Society, in aid of its funds, viz. one farthing per chaldron on the total quantity of coals shipped for the year ending 30th Sept. 1826, and paid by order of the Guardians to Messrs. Ridley and Co. 835 19 7
L3114 0 2 L3114 0 2
Claimants upon the Fund. 146 superannuated members, 180 widows, 13 orphans, 38 sick keelmen.
RA. DEES, Secretary.
Newcastle upon Tyne, January 4, 1827.

The Hospital is situated on a rising ground, on the north side of the Shields turnpike road, and at a short distance east from the Carpenter's Tower. The scite, which is inclosed by a wall, contains 2500 square yards. The building is a square, two stories high, "done in the form of colleges and monastries, having its low walk around in imitation of cloysters. The area in the middle of it is about 83 feet broad, and about 97½ feet long. There are galleries above the piazza quite round the house, with windows towards the court. The house contains 60 dwelling-rooms, with a convenient office and club-room. In the front turret is a good clock, and a bell, which is rung at 6 o'clock in the morning and 8 o'clock at night. It was put up, by subscription, in 1772. There is a dial below, and the following inscription:—

"The Keelmen's Hospital, built at their own Charge, Anno. Dom. 1701. Matthew White, Esq. Goverper; Mr. Edward Grey, Mr. Edward Carr, Stewards, of the Hostmen's Company (for the time being) and Trustees for this Hospital."

Between the club-room windows, a stone was erected in 1786, on which is inscribed,—

"In the Year 1786, the Interest of £100, at 5 per Cent. for ever, to be annually distributed, on the Twenty-third Day of December, among the ten oldest Keelmen resident in the Hospital, was left by John Simpson, Esq. of Bradley, Alderman of this Town, and forty Years Governor of the Hostmen's Company. The grateful objects of his Remembrance have caused this Stone to be erected, that Posterity may know the Donor's Worth, and be stimulated to follow an Example so benevolent."

This hospital is approached by a flight of broad steps, at the top of which is fixed a lofty flag-staff. There is a commodious walk, within the outer wall, quite round the house. This building, which was finished in 1701, cost above £2000. Dr. Moor, bishop of Ely, remarked of this hospital, "that he had heard of and seen many hospitals, the works of rich men; but that it was the first he ever saw or heard of which had been built by the poor."


This society originated in an agreement which was entered into by a number of gentlemen at Newcastle, on April 7, 1709, to subscribe not less than 5s. each annually, to relieve the distresses frequently suffered by the descendants of clergymen. They styled themselves the Society of Clergymen's Sons. Mr. Nathaniel Clayton, merchant, and Mr. Deodatus Therkeld, were appointed the first stewards. At the first anniversary, which was fixed to be held on the first Monday of September in every year, the subscription amounted to £5. Their first solemn meeting, when a sermon was preached by Dr. John Smith, prebendary of Durham, was on September 10, 1711. In 1725, this society united with a similar one which had been formed for the benefit of the two deaneries of Alnwick and Bambrough. After this, the society, by donations, legacies, and increasing annual subscriptions, advanced rapidly in prosperity, and has been the instrument of relieving much and complicated distress. In the annual report of the society, for the year ending January 1, 1826, the accounts stood thus:—

Dr. L. s. d. Cr. L. s. d.
To balance of accounts, 1824 9 9 3 By voted at the adjourned annual meeting 0 0 0
Donation from the Lord Bishop of Durham 100 1 10 April 28. To assist Elizabeth Barker in sending her son to the Clergy Orphan Institution 5 0 0
To interest received of corporation of Newcastle, viz. By voted at the annual meeting, viz.
3000/. half a year, January 15, 1825 60 0 0 Four incapacitated clergymen 120 0 0
200/. a year, March 11, 1825 8 0 0 Thirty widows 600 0 0
50/. a year, June 16, 1825 2 0 0 Five sons 45 0 0
3000/. half a year, July 15. 1825 60 0 0 Thirteen daughters 125 0 0
To collected by stewards, viz. Towards educating and clothing children of clergymen deceased 26 0 0
Stockton and Darlington Wards 122 2 6 Eight persons (temporary relief) 61 0 0
Easington and Chester Wards 325 17 0 The Clergy Orphan Institution 21 0 0
Newcastle and Gateshead 73 19 0 Secretary's salary 30 0 0
Northumberland, South of Coquet 134 5 6 Incidentals 21 8 8
Northumberland, North of Coquet 135 7 3 Balance 11 1 4
To collected at church (very Rev. C. H. Hall, D. D. dean of Durham, P. D.) 24 7 8
L1065 10 0 L1065 10 0

Since the year 1774, the anniversary meetings of this society (fn. 2) have been held alternately at Durham and Newcastle. The bishop of Durham, for the time being, is President. Ten Stewards are annually appointed, viz. one layman and one clergyman for each of the five districts of the society. These officers, with all subscribers of three guineas a year and upwards, are Vice-presidents. The lay steward for Newcastle, for the time being, is Treasurer. The Rev. Robert Green, M. A. of Newcastle, is at present the permanent Secretary of the society. (fn. 3)


This fund was first established by 22 ministers, who assembled at Alnwick on May 2, 1764; on which occasion, the Rev. Samuel Lowthian, (fn. 4); minister of Hanover Square chapel, preached. The late Dr. Henry, of Berwick, afterwards of Edinburgh, drew up and digested the statutes which continue to govern this establishment. The number of members was limited to 40; and one of the first resolutions was, "to admit no man into the association, as a Protestant Dissenting minister, unless regularly licensed or ordained by the established Church of Scotland, or by some regular class of their Dissenting brethren; and not even then, unless he were an acknowledged member of some class within the bounds of the association," and which included Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, and the towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick upon Tweed. This rule was relaxed, in 1771, in favour of Seceding ministers, when Messrs. Baillie, Marshall, and Waugh, were admitted. There are three classes of members: in the first, the yearly payment is, for the minister, £2, and his congregation, £2; in the second, £3; and in the third, £2. They have nine widows, who receive payments according to the rate of the class to which their husbands had belonged. The rates and collections at the first meeting amounted to £131, 2s.; and, in 1770, the capital of the association was £1080, 10s. 10d. They received from the Regium Donum, for many years, £40 annually, (fn. 5) which, on being withheld, caused material alterations in their statutes. Their meetings are held at Newcastle, Morpeth, and Alnwick, alternately. The following abstract of the accounts for 1825 will shew the present state of this fund:—

Dr. David Ferguson, Treasurer. L. s. d. To the Fund, Cr. L. s. d.
1824, To balance 13 7 4 By paid Mrs. Baillie 24 0 0
1825, To members' contributions 140 4 0 Mrs. Young 24 0 0
To interest and dividends 336 19 0 Mrs. Girle 24 0 0
To treasurer's donation 1 0 0 Mrs. Trotter 24 0 0
Mrs. Millar 26 0 0
L491 10 4 Mrs. Mason 24 0 0
Mrs. Gibson 24 0 0
Mrs. M'Connell 18 0 0
Mrs. Orr 14 17 0
Remd Rev. Mr. Scott 82 0 0
Expenses annual meeting 4 17 6
Clerk and treasurer 10 10 0
Trustees' meeting 1 16 0
At interest at 4 per cent. 100 0 0
Present capital, 1825, Cons. L3222 0 10 402 0 6
4 p. Ct. 5555 0 0 Balance 89 9 10
At interest at 4 p. Ct. 250 0 0 L491 10 4
At 4 p. Ct. 100 0 0
Balance 89 9 10
D. FERGUSON, Errors excepted. By Order of the Trustees, Wm. TURNER, Clerk.


Whoever reflects seriously "on the great importance of schoolmasters to society, the frequent smallness of their salaries, and the many infirmities to which the studious are more subject than those who follow manual employments, must be sensible that a plan calculated to relieve the necessities of that useful body of men, their widows and orphans, cannot fail of being highly beneficial to individuals, and advantageous to society." Under this impression, a number of respectable schoolmasters in Newcastle and its vicinity assembled, on the 15th of July, 1774, to consider how far it might be practicable to make some permanent provision for their indigent brethren and their families, residing within the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the towns of Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick upon Tweed. A plan was adopted and acted upon with great diligence. The Rev. Robert Green, and Messrs. Alexander Murray and James Wood, prepared the rules, and drew up an address, soliciting subscriptions or donations from those ladies and gentlemen who were persuaded of the necessity and utility of the institution. A deputation waited on his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, who agreed to take the Association under his patronage. A secretary, treasurer, five trustees, and a committee, were also chosen to conduct the business of the society, which was formally instituted on November 19, 1774. The calculations were made on rather a liberal scale, in hope that the assistance of the more opulent, who had turned the advantages of education to a good account, would enable them to realize the benefits first proposed. In this, however, the original projectors appear to have been mistaken: for the patron and trustees conceived of it only as a common benefit-club, which it was only necessary for them to compliment, ex-officio, by a small donation; and the rest of the public paid very little attention to it. It therefore became necessary, when the fund was opened for the granting of benefits (which was at the end of four years from its commencement), to restrict these to one-half of the allowance originally proposed. Thus the affairs of the Association continued, its members fluctuating from thirty to above forty, and its funds producing some, though but a partial benefit; till, in the year 1792, the Rev. John Farrer, (fn. 6) the president, undertook to advertise extensively, at his own expense, the original objects of the scheme, and the necessity of a more efficient public assistance; and also to solicit personally, on its behalf, the contributions of his numerous opulent acquaintances. From this time, the society flourished, the number of members advanced, the fund was greatly increased, and the benefits rose to seven-eighths of the original calculation. The venerable Farrer was succeeded in the presidency by the Rev. William Turner, through whose exertions the number of its benefactors, though somewhat changed, did not, on the whole, diminish, until last year, that the death of three of the earliest benefactors caused a loss of £12, 1s. 6d. annually. The Association is under peculiar obligations to the late Dr. Hutton, (fn. 7) who sunk £100 with the corporation, for a perpetual annual subscription of £5. The corporation itself subscribes five guineas annually; and the present Duke of Northumberland, when he accepted the office of patron, gave a donation of £25.

During the first year of the Association, all schoolmasters capable of gaining a competent maintenance were admitted, without regard to age. Twenty-four availed themselves of this indulgence; seven between 40 and 45, eight between 45 and 50, three between 50 and 55, three between 55 and 60, and three upwards of 60. From the commencement to 1823, there have been admitted 151 members, viz. the above 24 above 40 years of age, 115 average 302/3 years nearly, and 12 whose ages are not mentioned. Subscribing members consist of four classes:—

Entrance. Contributions. Infirm Members pd. Widows. Orphans.
£. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d.
Members of the first class 1 0 0 0 14 0 10 8 0 5 0 0 2 12 0
second do. 1 10 0 1 1 0 15 12 0 7 10 0 3 18 0
third do. 2 0 0 1 8 0 20 16 0 10 0 0 5 4 0
fourth do. 3 0 0 2 2 0 26 0 0 15 0 0 7 16 0

The above contributions are paid annually, and the benefits received are also annual. An anniversary is held on Tuesday in Whitsun-week. At the annual meeting in 1823, some doubts were suggested whether the present scale of contributions and benefits be such as to secure the stability and permanence of the institution; on which, a sub-committee, consisting of the Revds. William Turner and John Tyson, and of Messrs. Bruce, Dees, Clarke, Atkinson, Charlton, and Gourly, were appointed to examine the general state of the fund. This sub-committee, after a laborious and minute examination of receipts and disbursements from the commencement of the Association, presented their report to the quarterly meeting held February 21, 1824. The following results are taken from this valuable document:—

£. s. d. £. s. d.
From members, from 1775 to 1823, 2959 13 7 To members, from 1775 to 1823, 1201 11 11
From interest, 2131 13 3 To widows, 3455 6 11¼
From benefactions, 1580 1 6 Incidental, including officers' salaries, 303 5
Total 6671 8 4 Total, 4960 4
Paid by Members. Members received. Widows received.
£. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d.
First Class, 211 8 0 267 15 2 316 16
Second Class, 767 3 6 554 18 3 926 6 7
Third Class, 1217 12 6 374 9 6 1868 10
Fourth Class, 771 8 0 4 9 0 343 14

This statement shews the ratio which the benefits of members of the different classes bear to their respective contributions. It is clear that, without the assistance of its benefactors, the Association could not have paid the usual benefits. Since the commencement, 161 members have been upon the books. The Association, at present, consists of 54 members; and there are 18 superannuated members and widows upon stationary benefit. (fn. 8) The following was the state of the fund on the 20th of May, 1826:—

1825, Balance in the treasurer's hand 5 2 10½ To a member of the first class 5 0 0
1826, Amount of annual subscriptions received 45 17 0 To widows of the first ditto 17 10 0
Arrears received this year 9 18 6 To a member of the second ditto 13 13 0
Donations 7 13 6 To widows of the second ditto 36 1 6
Interest on 1525l. from the corporation of Newcastle 61 0 0 To members of the third ditto 34 0 8
Interest on deposits in the Newcastle Savings Bank 16 7 8 To widows of the third ditto 41 1 10
Subscriptions from members of the first class 2 19 6 To a widow of the fourth ditto 13 2 6
Ditto of the second ditto 15 15 0 Treasurer's salary 4 4 0
Ditto of the third ditto 18 4 0 Secretary's ditto 2 2 0
Ditto of the fourth ditto 62 9 6 Paid postage, stamps, &c 0 8
Entrance money, &c. 10 2 0
167 3 71/8
255 9 Paid into the Savings Bank L.53 0 0
236 11 Ditto interest on deposits 16 7 8 69 7 8
Balance in the treasurer's hand L.18 18 3 L.236 11


This benefit-society was established in Newcastle upon Tyne, on January 1, 1807, by 54 members, 11 of whom were between the ages of 41 and 57 years, and who were admitted on the same terms as young men of 20 years of age and upwards. A member who paid in advance 15 guineas was to be exonerated from all future payments; and other members, who paid five guineas, were to pay one guinea annually. These payments being found by calculation inadequate to meet the demands against the society, it was agreed, at the end of the first year, that members who had paid in advance 15 guineas pay one guinea annually, and those who had paid five guineas to pay two guineas annually. At the end of three years, the following scale for admitting members was adopted, viz.—From 21 years of age to 25 inclusive, to pay six guineas; from 25 to 30, to pay eight guineas; from 30 to 35, to pay 10 guineas; and from 35 to 40, to pay 15 guineas.

The annual subscriptions are paid quarterly. The committee has also a discretionary power to demand 5s. upon a legacy of £100 being paid, and 1s. for each annuitant chargeable to the society; but only such portions of these sums are required as are judged to be necessary. The society is restricted to 150 members. In 1821, it was deemed proper to revise the rules, which, in their amended form, were, after some delay and difficulty, enrolled according to law. At the annual meeting of the society, held on January 2, 1826, the new committee was requested to take into their serious consideration the state of the society's funds, and to report thereon. The report was presented at a general meeting held on the 3d July, 1826. A clear statement of the condition of the society had been submitted to Mr. Joshua Milne, Actuary to the Sun Life Office, who remarked, "that if a member of this society, entitled to bequeath £100 in money, or £20 a year to his widow, during her widowhood, were to be seized with an illness which he thought likely to prove fatal to him, his wife being then 30 years of age, and in good health; if he knew the respective values of the two reversions, would be sure to bequeath to his widow the annuity, as if he died then, it would, immediately after his decease, be worth about £340, supposing her not to marry again." With respect to another part of the enquiry, he is of opinion, that it would be of great advantage to any society, to increase its number of members to several hundreds, instead of restricting it to one hundred and fifty, using great caution in admitting lives. Mr. Finlayson, Actuary at the National Debt Office, refused to give an opinion on the points requested, unless that part of the plan relating to widows and children were dropped. On the other hand, the committee viewed this as the grand object to be attended to. Considering, therefore, that the present number of claimants on the fund, exclusive of sick-money (fn. 9) and incidental expenses, would absorb the whole income derived from the subscriptions of the members, and looking to the fate of other societies, the committee recommended an immediate reduction of the allowances to superannuated members from £30 to £24 per annum, and the annuities of widows from £20 to £16 per annum.

The committee further stated, that, even at this reduced sum, it would require £2960 to pay off the claims at present on the fund, according to Mr. Milne's calculations of the value of life annuities. The meeting adopted the proposed alterations, hoping "that by such timely reductions, the period may yet arrive, when it will be deemed quite safe and proper to submit an increase of the benefits to the several claimants."

The following are the receipts and disbursements of this society since its commencement:—

Subscriptions 6814 8 2 Legacies 800 0 0
Donations (fn. 10) 89 5 0 Widows 1501 10 3
Interest 3532 6 8 Orphans 93 15 0
Fines 20 0 0 Superannusted members 166 1 0
Profits on investment 165 13 6 Sickness 605 1 0
L.10,621 13 4 Members' wives deaths 190 0 0
Balance due the Treasurer, 31st December, 1826 67 0 1 Members out of situation 134 10 0
Incidents 138 14 7
Subscriptions returned 88 5 9
Loans 51 10 0
Lost in investments 3 18 10
Vested in the Savings Bank 6914 8 6
L.10,688 13 5 L.10,6888 13 5

Agreeably to the provisions of the act, this society constituted itself into a Savings Bank, under the appellation of The Tyneside Savings Bank, whereby they realize the entire interest of £4, 11s. 3d. per £100 upon their stock, which, at the last anniversary meeting, amounted to £6914, 8s. 6d.


This society was instituted in 1791. The age of admission during the first year was under 50 years; afterwards under 40, which, in 1806, was reduced to under 36 years. The entrance-money, in 1806, was raised from two guineas to eight guineas; the subscriptions were fixed at 10s. each quarterly meeting; sick and blind members to receive 10s. per week for one year, and afterwards the sick 7s. and the blind 8s. a week whilst such sickness or blindness continued. The funeral-money was £10. In 1818, the graduated scale of legacies and annuities to the widows of free members was abolished, and a legacy of £100, or an annuity of £20, substituted. The receipts always exceeded the disbursements until 1817, when the bad calculations made in proportioning the payments to the benefits began to become manifest. From that year to the anniversary meeting held on the first Wednesday after December 25, 1825, the excess of expenditure above the receipts amounted to upwards of £2000, which has reduced the capital from £5000 to about £3000. In order to avoid absolute ruin, the contributions have been slightly increased, and the payments reduced 75 per cent. Last year, the receipts exceeded the expenditure nearly £300. The number of members, however, has declined from 120 to between 70 and 80.


As persons professing the Roman Catholic religion are ineligible as members of most friendly societies, the Catholics residing in Newcastle very properly established a benefit-fund on September 11, 1823, under the patronage of the Rev. James Worswick. The trustees are, Robert Leadbitter, Esq. Mr. John Fletcher, and Mr. Charles Larkin. The society consists of about 130 members. At the last anniversary, held on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, 1826, there remained, after paying all benefits, a balance of £180, 11s. 6d. Their rules were enrolled, according to act of parliament, on December 8, 1823. The appended religious rules provide that a mass be said on the death of members or their wives, and also an anniversary mass. Those members that neglect to attend these masses are fined sixpence each. Members irregular in their attendance at divine service to be reprimanded by the president; and those who neglect their Easter duties for two successive years are to be excluded.


The following is as correct a list as could be procured of the friendly societies in Newcastle and Gateshead:—
Viewers' Benefit Society
Ancient Masonic Benefit Society
Hanover Square Chapel Society
Pitmen's General Benefit Society
Pitmen's Benefit Society
Loyal Orange Lodge Society, No. 69
Select Friendly Society of Orangemen
Second Select Free and Easy Johns
Third do. do.
Odd Fellows' Lodge
Select Friendly Soc. of Odd Fellows
Joiners' Benefit Society
Shoemakers' Union Society
Potts Box
United Friends' Society
New United Friends' Society
Unanimous Benefit Society
Independent Friendly Society
Union Benefit Society
General Scotch Society
Benevolent Benefit Society
Phœnix Benefit Society
Industrious Benefit Society
Old Waggon Society
United Odd Fellows' Society
Benefit Society
Waterloo Benefit Society
Shipwrights' Benefit Society
Friendly Benefit Society
Sociable Society
United Tradesmen's Society
Tyne Street Benefit Society
Glass-makers' Fund
All Trades Benefit Society
Unanimous Society of Men
Glasshouse Bridge Benefit Society
Brown Jug Benefit Society
Young Man's Benefit Society
United Brotherly Society
Good Design Society
Union Society of Shipwrights
Universal Friendly Society
Royal Jubilee Benefit Society
Brothers' Society
Masons' Benefit Society
Independent Society
Burial Club
Good Intent Benefit Society (fn. 11)
Hope Life Box
First Friendly Society
Second Friendly Society
Brotherly Benefit Society
Love and Unity Society
Harmonious Benefit Society
St. John's Benefit Society
Independent Benefit Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Good Intent do.
Unanimous Benefit Society
Crown Glass-makers' Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Moulders' Benefit Society
Friends' Benefit Society
Old Friends' Benefit Society
Liberal Society of Tradesmen
United Society of Cabinet-makers
Low Glasshouse Florist Society
Friends of Humanity Society
Corvers' Benefit Society
Smiths' Benevolent Society
Miners' Benefit Society
Joiners' Benefit Society
Tradesmen's Friendly Society
Rising Sun Men's Society
Independent Society
North Briton Union Society
Old Friendly Society
Tanners' Society
United Brotherly Society
Benefit Society
St. Michael Pine Apple Society
Loyal Independent Society
Brunswick Benefit Society
Royal Veteran Benefit Society
Good Intent Benefit Society
Good Intent do.
Men's Friendly Society
Journeymen Tailors' Benefit Society
Tailors' Box
Maltsters' Benefit Society
Men Shoemakers' Benefit Society
Potters' Benefit Society
Union Benefit Society
Newcastle Union Benefit Society
Journeymen Cordwainers' Society
4th Friendly Society of Orangemen
Coach-makers' Friendly Society
Society of Printers
Flax-dressers' Benefit Society
Benwell Benefit Society
Scotch wood do.
Elswick do.
Willington do.

Women's Benefit Societies.

Women's Box
Love and Unity Society of Women
Female Independent Society
Female Friendly Society
Waterloo Society of Women
Peace and Unity Society of Women
Queen Caroline Society of Women
Friendly Society
Women's Monthly Fund
Concord Female Benefit Society
Tyne Society of Women
Flourishing Society of Women
Female Mothers' Benefit Society
Queen Caroline Female Benefit Soc.
Friendly Sisters' Society
Jubilee Box of Women
Rising Sun Female Society
Queen Caroline Benefit Society
Westgate Female Benefit Society
Queen Caroline Soc. High Bridge
Female Benefit Society
Good Hope Female Society
Friends' Civil Society of Women
Female Benefit Society
St. Ann's Female Benefit Society
Female Friends' Society
Friendly Society of Women
Friendly Benefit Society of Women
Mothers' Box
North Shore Friendly Society
Hope Society of Women
Benevolent Society of Women
Dent's Hole Female Society
Honourable Friendly Soc. of Women
Female Friends' Society
Byker Hill Female Union Society
Women's Monthly Society

Benefit Societies in Galeshead.

Anchorage Society
Amicable Tradesmen's Society
Friendly Association
Friendly Benefit Society
Hawks' Tradesmen's Society
Christmas Box
St. Oswald Melon Lodge of Free
Crown Glassmakers' Society
Benevolent Society
Female Little Box
Half Moon Female Society
Female Benefit Society
Female Friendly Society
George IV. Female Society
Queen Caroline Benefit Society
Female Big Box

Thus it appears there are at least 165 benefit societies in Newcastle and Gateshead, which certainly evinces a desire amongst the industrious classes to make provision for themselves against the attacks of old age and its consequent infirmities, and to relieve the necessities of their widows and orphans. Of those associations existing in Newcastle, only about sixty-three have been registered in pursuance of the several acts of parliament made and passed for the relief of benefit societies. In societies under the control of those acts, the authority of justices of the peace has, in some instances, been usefully applied in preventing the unjust expulsion of members; but as such societies, as well as others of loftier pretensions, are liable to miscalculate the capabilities of their finances, it, in such cases, becomes necessary for the members to exercise their discretion in lessening the amount of benefits to be paid. (fn. 12) But this being generally opposed by the magistrates, some societies have, in consequence, been dissolved; and others, warned by their fate, are deterred from accepting the protection of the law.

The benefit societies in this town usually allow, to sick or disabled members, from six to eight shillings a week for a stated period: half that sum for another limited period: and, in some instances, when they become pensioners for life through infirmity or old age. they are allowed 2s. or 2s. 6d. a week. Four or five pounds are allowed for the funeral expenses of a member or a member's wife; and widows have a legacy varying from £5 to £10. Few women's societies allow sick-money; but then the funeral expenses of children, husbands, &c. is greater, in proportion to the payments, than in societies composed of the other sex. Taking the average number of members in each of the 165 existing benefit societies in Newcastle and Gateshead at 70, the whole will comprise 11,550 individuals; and, if the average annual payments be taken at 18s. then upwards of £10,000 must be raised every year by these societies, (fn. 13) which is a pleasing proof of the eminent utility of these associations of good fellowship and mutual assurance.

Annual Benefit Societies are also very numerous in Newcastle. There are, at the present time, at least fifty of these associations. Each member usually pays one shilling a week, the amount of which for a year is paid back to a certain number of the members every month, and who draw lots for an early chance; and three-pence a week is paid for the support of sick members. Such part of the latter payment as remains in the hands of the stewards at the termination of the year, is divided amongst the members. In some of these yearly clubs, each member subscribes one shilling to pay the funeral expenses of every member that dies during the year. These societies, which combine the properties of a money menage with those of a benefit society, are computed to comprise at least 5000 members, and to pay in benefits £1600 in one year. (fn. 14);

This establishment commenced on January 10, 1818; and, on the 6th of October following, the sum of £15,100 had been paid in. It was formerly held in the Mayor's Chamber, but was lately removed to the premises formerly occupied by the Tyne Bank, at the end of the Tyne Bridge. The last report of its accounts was as follows:

The Trustees of the Savings Bank established at Newcastle upon Tyne.

Drs. L. s. d. Crs. L. s. d.
To balance due on the 20th day of November, 1826, including interest 196,514 8 By sums invested with the Commisioners for the Reduction of the National Debt (including Interest) on the 20th day of November, 1826 195,785 11
By cash in the hands of Sir M. W. Ridley & Co. bankers, on the 20th day of November, 1826 728 17 1
L. 196,514 8
Witness our bands this 14 day of December, 1826,
Witness, ARCHIBALD BOLAM, Actuary.

The balance due on the 20th November, 1826, was composed as follows:—

Number of Depositors. Total Amount of each Class.
£. s. d.
1224 whose respective balances on Nov. 20, 1826, (including interest) did not exceed £20 each 10,245 5 7
1136 ditto were above £20 and not exceeding 50 do. 35,045 18 9
637 ditto were above 50 and not exceeding 100 do. 42,811 19 7
335 ditto were above 100 and not exceeding 150 do. 39,396 8 1
110 ditto were above 150 and not exceeding 200 do. 18,850 5 1
66 ditto exceeding 200 15,215 3 9
3508 161,565 0 10
117 friendly societies 31,161 14 10
Amount of balance on the reserved fund 3,787 13
3625 Total amount of balance, on the 20th November, 1826 £196,514 8

Before closing this division of the work, it may be proper to observe that the Alms-house, which formerly stood at the west end of the Low Bridge (see page 154), consisted of one large room. It being pulled down on forming Dean Street, the corporation rented two rooms for the poor inmates of the hospital in the George's Stairs; but, about five years ago, they built a New Hospital, containing two good rooms, in the Manors, and on the north side of All Saints' poor-house. The family of Simpsons of Bradley have two widows in it, and allow each 1s. a week.

The Association for Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was instituted at the Trinity-house in 1825. President, William Clark, Esq.; Treasurer, William Chapman, Esq.; Secretary, Mr. R. Plummer.


  • 1. The New Sympathetic Society, "for visiting and relieving the sick and distressed poor," was instituted in 1816, "by a few tender-hearted and Christian-spirited females who met in the vestry of the Postern chapel." It was, soon after the first year, dissolved.
  • 2. "The Society for clothing, maintaining, and educating poor Orphans of Clergymen of the Established Church in England," was formed in 1749, and incorporated in 1809. Its funds are adequate to the support of 150 children. "The Association of the Stewards of the Feast of the Sons of the Clergy," has existed for nearly 200 years. Several poor children of clergymen are put apprentice by this association. "The Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy," was established by royal charter in 1678. This is an extensive and beneficial charity.
  • 3. The late Hon. and Right Rev. Shute, Lord Bishop of Durham, founded, with £1000, another institution, on September 6, 1810, for the benefit of the clergy in his diocese. The chief source of its revenues was expected to be found in the opulent clergy, some of whom agreed to pay 12s. per £100 on their ecclesiastical income. Lay support was also calculated upon; and benefactions of ten years' purchase were to be accepted instead of annual subscriptions. Unmarried clergymen, or widowers with children, not having incomes exceeding £200 a year, were to be assisted with 5s. in the pound on their annual premium, in insuring a sum of not more than £500 upon their lives, provided they continued in the diocese, and did not dispose of their policy. The insurance to be made in the Equitable Insurance Office, London, where the assured are mutual assurers of each other. In six months, the benefactions amounted to £1175, and the annual subscriptions to £360, 17s. The fund is to accumulate until it amount to a sum equal to supply the charges of the society, which object, it is said, is very nearly being accomplished.
  • 4. Mr. Lowthian was a warm promoter of this fund. His contributions, during the first nine years, exceeded £150; while few members in the same class paid more than about £50 during the same period.
  • 5. At a general meeting, held July 30, 1766, Mr. Lowthian is "desired to wait on Lord Ravensworth, and return their most grateful acknowledgments for his lordship's friendly interposition on behalf of the association, and beg his lordship would be pleased to inform Mr. Lowthian in what manner the association may pay their acknowledgments to my Lord Rockingham." After the commencement of this fund, several donations were received. Sir W. Blackett, Bart. in 1768, gave a donation of £20, through Mr. Lowthian.
  • 6. The Rev. John Farrer was born in 1735, at Bousfield in Westmoreland, and was the second son of an independent yeoman. His mother was descended from the family that produced the celebrated Joseph Addison. At a proper age, John was put under the care of Richard Yates, whose school, for more than half a century, might be regarded as a seminary for schoolmasters and parish-priests. His father, being burthened with a numerous family, could not afford to send him to college: he therefore, at an early age, became a teacher at a village in the county of Durham, and afterwards an assistant to his old master, Mr. Yates. In his 20th year, he removed to Newcastle upon Tyne, at which place he corresponded with his friend, Langhorne the poet, part of which correspondence appeared in a periodical publication of 1758. From Newcastle he removed to Bishop Auckland, where he was admitted, by Bishop Trevor, successively into the orders of priest and deacon in 1759. In the following year, he became master of the grammar-school in Bishop Auckland, and assisted in the duty of that parish. In 1762, he married Frances, one of the daughters of Sir William Richardson, Bart.; and, in 1765, accepted the curacy of Whickham, near Newcastle. Immediately after, John Cuthbert, Esq. gave him the nomination to the perpetual curacy of Witton-le-Wear, with Hamsterley in reversion. The income of both was extremely scanty; but the deficiency he made up by opening a school, in which he and assistants taught every branch of education suitable to the future destinations of the boys. His scholars amounted to about 100, and were mostly distributed amongst the houses in the village. He composed several elementary tracts for the use of beginners, in English, Latin, and Greek. In 1794 he was prevailed upon to resign his school, and accept the living of Sunderland, worth only £80 a year, with a house, garden, and the usual fees. Here his health received a severe shock. However, in a short time, he obtained the vicarage of Stanwix, near Carlisle, in which city his only daughter, the wife of James Forster, Esq. resided; where he faithfully discharged his ministerial duties until his death, on November 23. 1808, at the close of his 73d year. His pupils, many of whom have risen to eminence in society, erected a handsome monument to his memory in the chancel of the village church of Witton-le-Wear.
  • 7. Charles Hutton, L. L. D., F. R. S. was born in a low thatched house in Percy Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, on August 14, 1737, and was the youngest son of Henry and Eleanor Hutton. His father was a pitman, and died in June, 1743. His mother married again, November 13, 1743, to Francis Fraim, an overman in the pits, who was killed by an accident, but who was, while he lived, a kind father to Charles. When about seven years of age, while quarrelling with some children in the street, he had the elbow-joint of his right arm put out, which his parents did not discover until it was too late for any surgical assistance thoroughly to restore it. This was considered a heavy affliction to his mother, as he was thus incapacitated from working with his brothers in the pits. He was taught to read by an old Scotch woman, who kept a humble school in Percy Street, in a house that projects into the street at the foot of Gallowgate. On his parents removing to Benwell, he went to a school at Delaval, near that place. Shortly after, his parents removed to High Heaton, when he was sent to a school at Jesmond, kept by the Rev. Mr. Ivison, a clergyman of the Church of England. How long he was at this school cannot now be ascertained; but, in the pay-bills of Old Long Benton Colliery, his name occurs as a hewer in the Rose Pit in September, 1755, and again in March, 1756; though, from the small quantity of work he executed, "he seems to have been a very indifferent hewer." He was now more than 18 years of age, when, finding that the lameness in his arm rendered him unfit for so laborious an occupation, he seized the opportunity of Mr. Ivison's removal to Whitburn, to enter upon his school at Jesmond. In a short time, he was encouraged to engage a larger room, in the old house called Stote's Hall. Here he prosecuted his studies with great assiduity; and, in the evenings, he attended a school in Newcastle, kept by Mr. James, a teacher of the Mathematics. On the latter declining school, Mr. Hutton determined to come into Newcastle, which he announced in a flourishing advertisement, wherein he boldly professed to teach "a regular course of arts and sciences,"—"likewise shorthand, according to a new and facile character never yet published." His school, which was opened April 14, 1760, was "at the head of the Flesh Market, down the entry formerly known by the name of the Salutation Entry." His friends advised him to be more moderate in his pretensions; but he felt confident in the strength of his powers. Mr. Hutton's advertisement attracted the attention of Robert Shafto, Esq. of Benwell Hall, who engaged him to teach his children in the evenings. Mr. Shafto possessed an excellent library, to which Mr. Hutton had free access, and with whom he re-perused the Mathematics that gentleman had formerly read at college. In March, 1764, Mr. Hutton published the first edition of his Arithmetic, which still remains a standard school-book. In this year, his name first occurs in the Ladies' Diary, with which he was connected, either as contributor or editor, for 56 years. A second and improved edition of his Arithmetic appeared in 1766, after which his leisure time was employed in the composition of a much more elaborate and recondite work, viz. A Treatise on Mensuration, in Theory and Practice, which Dr. O. Gregory pronounces to be "by for the best treatise on Mensuration, in its several branches, which has yet been published in any country." It was first published by subscription in 50 sixpenny numbers, and then altogether in a 4to. volume in the year 1770. Another specimen of his genius and industry followed, in a republication of all the useful parts of the Ladies' Diaries, from the beginning of that valuable Almanack in 1704 to 1775, in five volumes, with numerous corrections and notes. While preparing these works, Mr. Hutton pursued his other avocations with the most indefatigable industry. His school was so numerous, that he found successively every room too small for his purpose. He removed from the Flesh Market to St. Nicholas' Church-yard, and from thence to the Back Row, and at last was obliged to build a school-room for himself in Westgate Street. Many scholars belonging to the Royal Grammar-school studied the Mathematics under Mr. Hutton, amongst whom was the present Lord Chancellor of England, who considers "it as one of the many blessings which he had enjoyed in life, to have had the benefit of his instructions." He also acted as a surveyor; and his plans, compared with those done at that period, are remarkably neat. In 1770, he was employed by the corporation of Newcastle to make a survey of the town and county of this town, which difficult task he executed with accuracy that has excited the surprise and approbation of subsequent surveyors. In this work he was ably assisted by the late Mr. Fryer, and who was mainly engaged in reducing the large map to the size at which it was engraved in 1772. In the preceding year, the bridge of Newcastle fell; when Mr. Hutton published a work on "The Principles of Bridges, containing the Mathematical Demonstrations of the Properties of the Arches, the Thickness of the Piers, the Force of the Water against them, &c. together with practical Observations and Directions drawn from the Whole." In 1773 appeared an advertisement for a Mathematical Professor in the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Mr. Shafto, of Benwell, urged Mr. Hutton to become a candidate, and gave him a warm recommendatory letter to Lord Sandwich, post-master general. Mr. Hutton, though confident of his qualifications, was, "at that time, a very modest, shy man;" but, thus encouraged, he resolved to proceed to London. Being furnished with an introductory letter from his friend, Mr. George Anderson, to the celebrated Mathematician, Emerson, he went by way of Hurworth, where he received very flattering encouragement to proceed. He had ten competitors, several of them Mathematicians of note. The examiners were, the learned Bishop Horsley, Dr. Maskelyne, and Col. Watson, afterwards chief engineer in Bengal. After several days' examination, Hutton's superiority was decisive; and he received the appointment on May 24, 1773. About this time, he was also appointed editor to all the Almanacks published in England, except the Gentlemen's Diary and Poor Robin; in which situation he continued for 46 years. In the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for 1776, appeared a paper from his pen, entitled, "A new and general Method of finding Simple and Quickly Converging Series, by which the Proportion of the Diameter of a Circle to its Circumference may easily be computed to a great Number of Decimals." In 1778, he presented the same learned body with an ingenious paper on the force of exploded gunpowder, and the velocities of balls projected from artillery, for which he was awarded the Copleian prize of a gold medal. In the following year, he received the degree of L. L. D. from the university of Edinburgh; his friends, Dr. Matthew Stewart and Mr. Dugald Stewart, being at that time joint professors of Mathematics there: and, about the same time, he was appointed Foreign Secretary to the Royal Society. Immediately after, he laid before this body his "Account of the Calculations made from the Survey and Measures taken at Mount Shichallin, in Perthshire, in order to ascertain the mean Density of the Earth." This ingenious disquisition was the first tolerably correct appreciation of the mean density of the earth, by elaborate computations applied to actual experiments. During the year 1780, he presented to the Royal Society a curious essay, "On Cubic Equations and Infinite Series." In 1781, he prepared "Tables of Powers and Products," which were published by the Board of Longitude; and, in 1783, he laid before the Royal Society his "Project for a new Division of the Quadrant." This was the last of Dr. Hutton's communications to the society; for, in consequence of the jealousies and dissensions that then prevailed in that institution, Drs. Hutton, Maskelyne, Horsley, and other eminent Mathematicians, seceded. In 1784 appeared the first edition of Dr. Hutton's "Compendious Measurer;" and in the following year, he published his "Mathematical Tables," which evince immense labour and extensive reading. In 1786, he laid before the world, "Tracts, Mathematical and Philosophical," in one 4to. volume; and, next year, our indefatigable author published, "Elements of Conic Sections." This useful treatise was warmly patronised by the Duke of Richmond, master general of the ordnance, who, on this occasion, presented Dr. Hutton at court to his majesty. After this, Dr. Hutton employed his leisure from academical duties in the composition of his "Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary," which appeared in 1796, in two large 4to. volumes. Two years afterwards, he published his "Course of Mathematics," in two 8vo. volumes. A third volume was given in 1811. His translation, with notes, of the "Mathematical and Philosophical Recreations of Ozanam," is too well known to need description. From 1803 to 1809, he was employed, in conjunction with Drs. Shaw and Pearson, in completing an "Abridgement of the Philosophical Transactions of the Society of London," from their commencement to the end of the last century, and which work was comprehended in 18 thick 4to. volumes. Dr. Hutton, for his share of the labour, received £6000. About 12 years after Dr. Hutton had commenced his duties at Woolwich, his health became so precarious that he was permitted to reside in a more healthy situation on Shooter's Hill. Woolwich Common had then a most desolate appearance; but he, perceiving its capabilities of improvement, purchased land, begun a manufactory of bricks, planned and erected a series of genteel houses, and thus took the first important step towards rendering this common what it now is—one of the most picturesque and salubrious places of residence in the vicinity of the British metropolis. On the removal of the Royal Military Academy to Woolwich Common in 1806, Dr. Hutton sold these houses, on advantageous terms, to the Board of Ordnance. Having suffered much from a pulmonary complaint, he resigned his professorship in July, 1807, and was assigned a pension of £500 per annum. As he had previously acquired a very handsome fortune, he fixed his abode in Bedford Row, London, where he enjoyed his otium cum dignitate. Much of his time was now occupied in superintending the publication of new editions of his numerous works. Conceiving that Mr. Cavendish's paper on the mean density of the earth was erroneous, this Nestor of science, in his eighty-fourth year, went through the laborious computations de novo. Some time previous to this, he had prepared for publication the extensive course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy which he had delivered at the Royal Military Academy; but the manuscript was lost in a very extraordinary manner. In the midst of his various labours and increasing infirmities, he found time to carry on an extensive correspondence with many eminent Mathematicians at home, and with the celebrated Laplace and other philosophers abroad. About the year 1816, Dr. Hutton offered his valuable library for sale to the British Museum; but this was prevented through the influence of his "old implacable enemy," Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society. In 1821, the friends and admirers of Dr. Hutton entered into a subscription, which was headed by Lord Chancellor Eldon, for executing his bust in marble, from which casts could be taken. The bust, which is admitted to be a most correct likeness, was completed by Gahagan, and presented to the Doctor on September 21, 1822. This bust, being bequeathed to the Literary and Philosophical Society of his native town, now ornaments the new Library of that institution. The surplus of the subscription was employed in engraving a die for striking off medals (one of which was given to each subscriber), and which contains, on the obverse, the head of Dr. Hutton, in profile, with an appropriate legend of name, age, &c.; and, on the reverse, emblems of two of the Doctor's philosophical results, the one on the density of the earth, and the other on the force of gunpowder, with an appropriate motto. These medals were executed by Wyon, in a masterly style. On this occasion, Dr. Hutton was peculiarly gratified at the marks of high respect he received from the public bodies in Newcastle, for which he retained a strong partiality. In 1817, he deposited £200 in the corporation funds, for which that body engaged to pay £5 annually for ever to the Royal Jubilee School, and £5 to the Schoolmasters' Association. So late as the year 1822, he proposed to visit the many places of his "youthful scenes and infantile delights;" but in October, that year, he caught a severe cold. His physical strength rapidly declined, and he expired on Monday, January 27, 1823, in the 86th year of his age. Three days before his death, he dictated a reply to a communication upon the subject of the arches of the new London Bridge. Dr. Hutton, as a writer, is highly popular; for he always avoided the pedantry and parade of science, and aimed at utility and simplicity. He is represented to have been unrivalled as a preceptor and lecturer. His friend and successor, Dr. O. Gregory, says that he was remarkable for his unassuming deportment, the simplicity of his habits, the mildness and equability of his temper, and the permanency and warmth of his personal attachments. From the earliest age, he evinced an extreme fondness for reading of every description, but especially delighted in the "Border" songs, legends, and stories, of which, while a mere child, he made a large collection. When a boy of only 10 or 12 years of age, he read some old devotional tracts, by which he was excited to a high pitch of religious feeling, under which he destroyed all his curious mass of ballads, tales, and stories. He also formed a little arbour in a wood at Jesmond, to which he might turn aside to pray in his way to school. At last, he ventured to write sermons, and even to preach occasionally. On his removal to Newcastle, he gradually declined his connection with the Methodists. About the same time, his mother died; and he married Miss Isabella Hutton, a distant relative of his own, by whom he had three daughters and a son. But this matrimonial connection was unaccompanied by domestic happiness. On his removal to Woolwich, he was followed by an officer's widow, named Maxwell, who cohabited with him for a short time, but whom he was obliged to dismiss on account of her extravagance. She was succeeded by another woman, who lived with him seven years, at the end of which time they were married. Mrs. Hutton lived at Newcastle, as a widowed mother, and her children remained for some time under her care, being very liberally supported, and no expense spared in their education. All communications from Dr. Hutton were addressed to his daughters, who, after their separation from their mother, came occasionally to Newcastle to see her. She is represented to have been a genteel woman, of rather superior manners and attainments, and had learned the business of dress-making. She died at Jesmond, May 26, 1785, and was buried in the Dissenters' burial-ground in Percy Street. By his second wife, who died in 1817, Dr. Hutton had a daughter, named Charlotte, that died in 1794, aged 16 years. She was her father's amanuensis and assistant, was highly accomplished, and promised to become a second Hypatia. His son completed his education at the Royal Military Academy, and, at an early age, obtained a commission in the Royal Artillery. He is now a lieutenant-general in the army, and a member of several learned societies. Some years ago, he was presented with the degree of L. L. D. by the Marischal College of Aberdeen. Both his sisters are living. It only remains to notice, that Dr. Hutton was a member of the Philosophical Societies of Haarlem and America; and to express surprise that his Journal and Life, penned by himself, have not yet been published. Mr. W. Harvey has published an excellent half-length portrait of Dr. Hutton, from a painting executed by Mr. A. Morton.
  • 8. Mr. Joseph Mordue, schoolmaster, &c. at Wallsend, up to the last anniversary meeting has generouslyreturned his mother's annuity to the society.
  • 9. This society enjoys a peculiar advantage in the members seldom requiring relief during sickness, as thesalary of a clerk is in such circumstances generally continued.
  • 10. William Batson, Esq. L.21; Anthony Hood, Esq. L.5, 5s.; and Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. and Co. bankers, an annual donation of 10 guineas.
  • 11. The distinctive appellations given to benefit societies shew a great want of invention in the projectors. Many such clubs have the same name, which is calculated to create some confusion and inconvenience. Thus, one called The Good Intent meet in a house in the Close, another in the High Bridge, a third in Pilgrim Street, a fourth in the Flesh Market, a fifth in Queen Street, and a sixth at the Ouse-burn Bridge.
  • 12. By the 59th George III. it is enacted, that when trustees are apprehensive that the funds of the society are likely to prove insufficient to make the payments according to the rules of that society, the justices, at a quarter or petty sessions, are, on an appeal being made, and a statement of accounts furnished, to make an equitable order for the adjustment of the claims of all parties interested. By the same act, no tables of payments or benefits are to be confirmed by justices of the peace, at quarterly or adjourned sessions, unless previously signed by two actuaries, or persons skilled in calculation. But few persons possess sufficient skill or experience to decide correctly on such subjects. According to the experience of the friendly societies of Scotland, it is found that the average annual sickness to an individual is pretty nearly as follows:—From 20 to 50, one-tenth part of a week for each five years of his age: thus, at 30, it will be about six-tenths of a week annually on an average. In the decade from 40 to 50, it is about one week annually; from 50 to 60, the average is about two weeks annually; from 60 to 70, six weeks; and above 70, about eighteen weeks annually. Dr. Price required the following weekly payments, in case of illness or other infirmity, to be entitled to the weekly benefits attached thereto:—                         To receive weekly,  4s.        8s.        12s.        16s.        20s. Under 32 years of age,      to pay  1d.        2d.        3d.          4d.          5d. Between 32 and 42,                      1¼d.    2½d.      3¾d.       5d.         6¼d. Between 42 and 51,                      1½d.     3d.        4½d.        6d.        7½d. Between 51 and 58,                      1¾d.     3½d.    5¼d.        7d.          8¾d. Between 58 and 64.                      2d.        4d.         6d.          8d.          10d. Mr. Morgan, actuary to the Equitable Assurance Office, and Mr. Frend, an eminent mathematician and actuary to the Rock Assurance, concur in opinion of the correctness of this table. Experience has amply proved that the individual members of a large society enjoy the greatest advantages. It is not easy to determine what number of persons ought to combine: but the ablest calculators agree, that no society should consist of less than 200 members. A very small society cannot be secure; as, among a few individuals, the law of average will not operate. An institution called the "Associated Brethren Benefit Society," established above 23 years ago and now consisting of 3500 members, with a capital of £13,000, has a table of payments and benefits to be received much more favourable than any similar society. Most of the new benefit societies in Newcastle must, at the end of 20 or 25 years from their commencement, either be dissolved or remodelled; an evil which will be found to arise from the original error in computing the necessary quantity of members of a certain age, as well as accurate tables of contributions.
  • 13. This is exclusive of that part of the contributions levied under the name of "drink-money," and which, in the clubs under consideration, certainly exceeds £2000 per annum. The spending of this money in the club-houses is to remunerate the landlord in part for the accommodations he affords, and the security he provides for the safe keeping of the floating capital and other effects of each respective society. The conviviality that usually closes the meetings of benefit societies may, with some persons, operate as an inducement to become members; but the money paid for drink is felt as an oppressive tax upon members that reside at a distance, and those who are extremely poor, or too infirm to attend. Perhaps the trustees of the Newcastle Savings Bank, who have a disposable sum in hand of £3787, 13s. 1¾d. which the law permits them to expend in objects of public utility and charity, could not do better than apply this money in building convenient offices for the business of the bank, above which might be a large hall, with committee-rooms, &c. to be let for a trifling acknowledgment to such benefit societies as wished to pursue a plan of economy.
  • 14. The North Shields Seamen's Loyal Standard Association, established October 5, 1824, and consisting of 2500 members, has a branch in Newcastle. By the accounts for the year ending January 4, 1827, it appears that the unemployed members in the Newcastle Division bad received relief during the preceding year to the amount of £727, 13s. 9d.; the payments to the sick in the same division amounted to £91, 16s.; passage money to £12, 10s.; and various expenses to £90, 16s. 4d. This is exclusive of funeral-money, shipwreck-money, and wages advanced to members on account. The general account of this association, on December 31, 1826, stood thus:—                                                          £.        s.        d.                                                                 £.           s.        d.                                            Collected from January 6, 1826        5504    10         5      Disbursements from Jan. 6, 1826         6512         7        8½  In the treasury box                           1079     5       11½    In the treasury box                                71           8         8                                                        6583    16       4½                                                              6583      16       4½                                                                              £.       s.     d.           Amount of capital January 5, 1826              1079    5      11½           Increase this year                                        577     2      8½            Total amount December 31, 1826               1656    8      8
  • 15. A vain and silly attempt has been made, in various periodical works, to induce the world to believe that Mr. Hutton's father was a colliery viewer and land-steward to Lord Ravensworth! Now, certainly, "the lower any man's origin is, the higher and the more honourable is his subsequent elevation." --- See Gent.'s Mag. for 1823. Annual Biog. for 1823. Dr. O. Gregory's Memoir of Dr. Hution, Imp. Mag. for 1823. Bruce's Memoir of Dr. Hutton, read to the Lit. and Phil. Society of Newcastle in 1823.