Wallsend is an old place and the clue about it is in the name, it is at the end of the wall. When I was last there, some 50 years ago, there was no clue about the wall visible, lots of walls around shipyards and industry but now archaeology has turned up with a Roman fort and bath house that was at the East end of Hadrian’s wall, one of several attempts the Romans tried to protect their northern border. Hadrian’s wall was the most successful, enduring and still mostly visible.
I am not saying I have traced my ancestors back to Roman times, although with the amount of sex that has occurred in the last 2000 years most British people will have some DNA from Roman soldiers.
I was looking at my 4th cousin 3 times removed, Eleanor Cuthbertson a beneficiary of the Potts Trust. She married Tysick Hope who was born and lived in Wallsend, and he mirrors the industrial revolution.
In the 18th century, and probably earlier, his ancestors were peasants, agricultural labourers in the wilds of Northumberland. Probably 70% of British people were similar for centuries before, the only respite from the daily drudge of surviving was when the local Lord or King decided to play war and marched them off to fight.
In the 1800’s Tysick’s father Thomas moved his family south towards the industrial centre of Newcastle, Tysick learnt a trade and worked as an iron driller, probably in a shipyard, drilling holes so sheets of iron could be riveted together into great ships. He was still basically a peasant, but had a regular income, his wife would buy food in shops instead of gathering what she could. The beginnings of modern decadent lifestyles. He also illustrated another feature of modern people, lower fertility. The couple had no children, so there was hope in Wallsend but only for one generation.