FAMOUS PEOPLE: THE NORTH-EAST
This companion compilation to Myers Literary Guide to the North East of England covers the same four counties, including Cleveland, even though that entity has ceased to exist. Similarly, entries have been restricted, as a rule, to figures of national or international note who have some significant connection with the North East. This is mainly because local personalities have been fully documented elsewhere by local historians. Again, only the mighty dead are included. There are some entries which overlap with the Literary Guide.
The polemical case I made out for more recognition of the North East literary heritage applies to this volume also, though perhaps with less force. The television documentaries are still about Brunel rather than Robert Stephenson; the National Portrait Gallery knows Sir Andrew Noble only as a chemist, Lord Armstrong is mentioned only rarely, and Joseph Cowen and Count Boruwlaski not at all. John Dobson's centenary was ignored and books on the KGB still think Colonel Rudolf Abel was born in Russia rather than Newcastle.
Within, we find the oldest coat of arms in England, and the oldest flag; the most celebrated dwarf ever shown in Britain, buried alongside a man who played Falstaff without padding; a man who was buried in a gold-plated coffin; two British heavyweight champions, one bare-knuckle, and a heavyweight champion of the world; Britain's record female serial killer and a murder weapon which fired bullets of differing calibres; the Stockton girl who attempted to assassinate George III; a Soviet super-spy from Benwell; the greatest British geologist of the 20th century; an adviser to NATO and one to NASA; the discoverer of Uranus; two prime ministers and three foreign secretaries; Richthofen's body; the ship which rescued the Titanic survivors; the man who captured the first Enigma machine; the inventor of plasticine; three famous cookery writers and the doctor who cured Nelson's other eye; the man who designed the Rolls Royce mascot Spirit of Ecstasy ; the man who designed the famous Guinness advertisements; the man who predicted tektites on the moon; the first racehorse to win the triple crown and Sparkie the budgie; the actress who gave her name to a range of mountains on Venus and Lola Montez, adventuress and exotic dancer...