200 Years after My Great, Great, Great, Great Grandad Set Up History Society, I Will Follow in His Footsteps

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor ? 0191 201 6224 ? tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

A FAMILY tradition came full circle yesterday as a society celebrated its 200th birthday.

It was 200 years to the day yesterday when bookseller John Bell called a meeting which led to the founding of the Society of Antiquities of Newcastle upon Tyne. Although two centuries have passed, some things don't change.

That first meeting of 17 gentlemen was held in the Turk's Head Inn, which stood at the junction of the Bigg Market and Grainger Street.

Yesterday's celebration was also held at an inn near the same location, with members rolling up to the Old George.

Among the arrivals was Karen Robinson, the great, great, great, great grand-daughter of John Bell, who had heard that the event was taking place.

Karen, who lives in Heaton and is a Newcastle councillor, decided to join the society on the date that her ancestor laid its foundations.

Karen heard about the family link from a relative's family tree research.

"The more I have found out about John Bell, the more pride I have felt," said Karen.

"It is so exciting and I am going to join the society. I am sure John Bell would be tickled pink."

The society was the first of its type in England outside London and now has more than 700 members.

It has extensive collections in archaeological and social history items, arms and armour, coins, music, paintings and prints, archive material and a library of more than 30,000 books and periodicals. …