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Elizabeth and George Markham Tweddell.


Elizabeth and George Markham Tweddell

1824-1843 Early life - Elizabeth Cole.

1823-1843 Early life - George Tweddell.

1842-1844 George's first big assignment - a newspaper.

1843-1854 Marriage and the earliest publications,

1855-1860 Work amongst Lancashire's poor.

1860-1890 George's later publications.

c.1865 + Elizabeth enters the literary frame;

c.1875-1892 Staving off ruin.

1872-1892 George, the historian.

c.1870-c1885 The political activist - a historian making history.

1903 The declining years.



c.1875-1892 Tweddell History.co.uk

Staving off ruin

The modest expansion of the Tweddell business continued, no doubt funded as much from Frederica Haviside's annuity as from income. George trained his second son, Horatio John Tweddell (1849-1918), as a compositor and by 1870 he had become a partner in the business, justifying it to be Tweddell and Sons. During the production of the Middlesbrough Directory, Horatio John was put in charge of the printing workshop in Stokesley, taking over a building in the main street of Stokesley, and some examples of the printing for clients remain. The building is now long gone, but its location can be identified in an old photograph of the main street which shows it set between a large store and a bread shop with the name 'TWEDDELL, PRINTER' just discernible on a sign hanging on the wall outside. It seems possible that the building had been used as a printing shop for many years, for a note in one of George's books (and in his own handwriting) says: "Nicholas, the son of Robert Taylorson, tailor, …… was the first Stokesley printer, his office being that now (1867) occupied by Tweddell and Sons."

The earliest financial problems are hinted at during the production of the Middlesbrough Directory. In 1871 Horatio John Tweddell married Jane Elizabeth Clark (1850-1934) and she brought a new idea for income - an agency to introduce customers to potential domestic servants and advertised in the second issue of the Directory. Her agency was based at the Stokesley branch close to which the couple moved, whilst George, Elizabeth and the younger children stayed living above the office in Middlesbrough. In the fourth issue, however, notice was given of the closure of the Middlesbrough office and they moved shortly afterwards to live in Rose Cottage, Stokesley, which became the publication office of the business until it ended in 1892. To help its finances the business expanded to include a wide range of goods: "Hats, caps, books, stationery, paper hangings, toys, teas, coffees, tobaccos, snuffs, spices, pickles, patent medicines, gloves, socks, handkerchiefs, hosiery, braces, worsteds, knitting and sewing cottons, umbrellas, brushes, hardware", along with the income from Jane Elizabeth's dress-making skills and her employed help. (A christening gown still survives from this period.) In part this was a rival to the similar newspaper and stationery shop that George's half-brother, Thomas, ran just round the corner. Despite the help Horatio John and Jane Elizabeth offered to the business, their growing family must have added an increasing burden on the business, at a time when Stokesley's economy had begun to decline. George resigned from the many learned societies around 1874 (of which the Scottish Antiquarians must have been the most grievous for him) and by 1877 son Horatio John, with a growing family, started looking for alternative work. He wrote many applications before he was successful in finding a job as a compositor in 1882 with a printing and publishing company in North Wales.

By 1877 a friend from Hull, William Andrews, persuaded a number of prominent people, both around the region and nationally (from as far away as London, Exeter and Glasgow) to join an appeal for financial support for George's work. A 'Purse of Gold' was collected and given to him: "to help him through heavy losses and family affliction over which he had no control, and to aid him in completing those literary labours in which he has been so long engaged". Clearly he was unwilling to lower the quality of his work or consider more popular and more financially rewarding projects. As a donor of £5 from Exeter commented: "Whether from …… having too many irons in the fire, or from an over sanguine temperament, Mr Tweddell has encountered these reverses. [None-the-less] he is entitled to the sympathy of those who appreciate literary industry and a perseverance in self-improvement in the face of any disadvantage."