Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rich and Famous Wills on the Web; THE Wills of Some of History's Most Eminent Figures Have Been Placed Online. LIZ WALKER Looks at the Legacies of North East Movers and Shakers

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rich and Famous Wills on the Web; THE Wills of Some of History's Most Eminent Figures Have Been Placed Online. LIZ WALKER Looks at the Legacies of North East Movers and Shakers

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ WALKER

THROUGHOUT the centuries, they have been the motive for brutal murders and bitter family feuds.

And now the last will and testaments of more than six million people - from the reign of Queen Victoria to the early 20th Century - have been made public for the first time.

Family history site Ancestry. co.uk has made available wills penned between 1861 and 1941.

From Charles Darwin to Karl Marx, the record of how much money they left behind them is now on show for all to see.

The release is a collation of the England and Wales' National Probate Calendar.

And records reveal some large fortunes left by Victorian entrepreneurs.

Engineer Sir Charles Algernon Parsons, who died in 1931, left effects valued at pounds 810,395 8s 9d.

That would be an impressive pounds 40m in today's money.

Parsons revolutionised marine engineering by creating the Turbinia - the world's first steam turbine-driven vessel and the fastest sea-going craft of her day.

His invention led to him setting up his engineering plant in Heaton, Newcastle which, over 100 years, grew from strength to strength to become one of the world's finest manufacturers of turbines.

His turbine generators brought the electricity generated by power stations on to the National Grid - and into every home.

In contrast, suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who died after being struck by King George V's horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913, left pounds 186 1s 7d - around pounds 7,000 today.

Davison is buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth, in a family plot.

A bright idea also paid off for inventor of the lightbulb, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan KBE, who left pounds 60,097 13s 5 d - almost pounds 3m today.

His house in Low Fell, Gateshead was the first in the world to be lit by a lightbulb. …

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