Local People

Cumbrian people have a character all of their own, and some of the most renowned have life stories that are worth reading in their own right.

 I have been lucky enough to get permission to borrow and take home many old newspapers in order to take out stories of old Cockermouth.  I have used the information gained in most of my books, some stories go back to the mid-1800s up to well after WW2.  In the four 'Cockermouth People' Books there are so many old stories that even the local people have long forgotten the events.  In those days the papers liked to get as many names of people in their articles and I have coppied hundreds of them in all so if your family lived in or around Cockermouth there is a good chance of them being mentioned.




* If you wish to purchase any of my books and they are to be sent overseas please contact me first as they might incur extra postage.




Lord Mayo Statue - Cockermouth's MP for 11 years 

On the 31st August 1875, the West Cumberland Times gave a full account of the unveiling of the Lord Mayo’s Statue in Main Street, Cockermouth.  Dedicated to a great man of his time, this book gives an insight to what he achieved during his life.  At the end of the book I have shown a little of his last days in India where he was assassinated. There are many names of people living in the town who attended the Celebrations.  If your relatives were there you could well find them.


£6.00 incl. all charges

Memories: The Original Book of Jonah Todhunter's Life 

I first met Jonah in his garden in the late 1990s what an inspiration he was.  Jonah had worked most of his life in farming and for the last forty years of his working life for the same two sisters.  These sisters were good to Jonah and their cook and they were both  left comfortable for their old age.  This is the first version of his life.  The original stock of 500 copies are now nearly sold out which is why I updated the book in about 2010.



The last few books are now for sale on this Special Offer-


£3.25 incl. all charges 

limited stock left before the book was upgraded.  When the last few of these books have gone then only the updated version will be available.

Memories: The Updated Book of Jonah Todhunter's Life 

This is the updated version of the book above. Most of the contents are the same, but with more pictures and a little more information that came to light after the original book was printed.  Jonah died in 2002.

I first met Jonah when he was about 91. He was in his garden using a chain saw - that was an indicator of the man.  It was suggested that I contacted him because he was the oldest man still alive that went to the All Saint’s School in Kirkgate. He had a fantastic memory and ran through his experiences during his life, in the right order, clearly and in an interesting way. He had so many tales to tell that I had to go back again with a recorder. I then set about making sure that his memory was as good as it seemed, which it was, so I recorded it in this book for posterity




£5.50 incl. all charges

Cockermouth People - Part 1

Many stories - long forgotten - are included:

Local people that died from the Cholera Epidemic in 1849, information regarding some of the schools including Lorton, the opening of Waterloo Bridge (including William Alexander’s speech) and many other aspects of life in Cockermouth, including the great flood of 1900. A lot of the people mentioned belonged to families that are still resident in Cockermouth today. In all these books I have included many names of local people - perhaps your ancestors!


£6.50 incl. all charges

Cockermouth People - Part 2

This book takes in the First World War, with many articles about some of the men that took part. It includes: a report on the Coronation of King George V and about the car industry that started up in Cockermouth, the new Picture Palace that nearly came here in 1913, the strike at Derwent Mill, school reports and several other stories from that time, but mainly of the men that went to war. All these books have many local families mentioned so will be of interest to those looking into their history; it gives an idea of what they were doing with their lives.

£6.50 incl. all charges

Cockermouth People - Part 3

Includes information from the Second World War, letters that were sent home and awards earned, the obituary of Mr Morgan Edwards who was the first head teacher at All Saints School in Kirkgate, Miss Peel of Fairfield school who was putting on a production with her school children of “The Tempest” to raise funds to go towards the saving of Wordsworth House for Cockermouth. (Now in the stewardship of the National Trust) There is a story of an Ice Palace that had been built on the River Derwent back in 1895, this was built by out of work men and teas were sold to the public from it. Also included is information about the Adoption of H.M.S. Melbreak by the town. 

£6.50 incl. all charges

Cockermouth People - Part 4

In this book are several stories that came to light after I had finished the first three. It gives the story of when Cockermouth first had electricity and all the concerns that people had as to its safety. In 1886 the building of the Victoria Bridge was first mooted, it was opened for Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1887, a big procession was held in the town and I have listed many people that took part. The little bridge at the end of South Street was also opened. Read about how a cow terrorised the town centre in 1950, and a little about the car industry that nearly was, and the day that Katie Skillen retired from the library in 1978. 

£6.50 incl. all charges

One Man's Life in the Vale of Lorton

This was the 1st edition of W.L.A.s life written in c1989

William L. Alexander was one of the great philanthropists that existed during Queen Victoria’s reign in this area.  As a young man he came, with his brother Kelsick from Liverpool to Cockermouth. He inherited, then bought his first farm in Lorton, and it was from there that he started his good work for the people of Cockermouth and Lorton.  His main interest was Fairfield and Lorton Schools where he was treasurer for many years. He was also interested in improving the way the workhouse was run. William built bridges, improved the poorer people’s homes, drained fields for his fellow farmers and so much more.  

I have now come into possession of a few copies of this original book.  This book is different from the updated edition (below), the only damage is a little rust to the staples.

  Therefore the book is reduced from £2.99 to £2.00 plus P&P

 whilst stocks last.

P.S.- Why not buy both books? if you do I will refund £1 from the P&P charge.


Special price £3.50 inc. all charges.

One Man's Life in the Vale of Lorton - Updated

                          2nd Edition written in 2010 

This is an updated book about William Lancaster Alexander from Lorton.  It contains a lot of new information that came to light after the book above was finished. I have included a copy of his Illuminated Address that was presented to him in 1901 by the people of Lorton, this includes the names of all the people that donated to it's cost including his Portrait. There are also pictures of this Portrait and his father’s obituary as this gives an idea of why William took the path through his life that he did.  He was a remarkable man. So a lot of new information about what William did to help others around Lorton and Cockermouth is included.

£6.75 incl. all charges

George Moore of Whitehall, Mealsgate

A few years ago, I came across several references to a Scholarship in George Moore’s name.  At the time I was researching Lorton School, and one pupil who had received a £50 scholarship and went to further his education in Maryport, did very well for himself by becoming a solicitor. Because of his changed circumstances, he was in a position to give a home to and educate three cousins who had lost their parents from Cholera and ended up in the Cockermouth Workhouse. His influence reached far and wide. He even paid (anonymously) for over 1000 weddings so poor children wouldn’t be born out of wedlock. He was responsible for repairing and building new schools in this area of Allhallows.

£5.50 incl. all charges (offer last for one month only.)

George Moore's Voyage Across the Atlantic 1844

George Moore, 1806 - 1876 was born in Mealsgate but made his money in the Silk/LaceTrade in London.  After a bad illness, mainly due to over work, he was advised by his doctor and business partners to have a change of scene. This book is a copy of George Moore’s travel across the Atlantic to Canada and the United States, and the people he met. 

At the end of the book is an article about a very sick girl named Laura Bridgman that George Moore helped.  Laura was taught a form of 'Braille' by her father, was this the beginning of people learning how to use 'Braille'? I don't know, maybe read the article and form your own opinion, either way she was an interesting little girl. 


£5.50 incl. all charges (offer last for one month only.)

George Moore's "The Siege of Paris Relief"

My aim is to make it easier to read about George Moore’s life. He was born in 1806 in Mealsgate, Cumberland.  In future years it will become more difficult to find old copies of the books that have been written about his achievements. Most of these books, were written in the latter part of the 1800s by Samuel Smiles, who used the George Moore Diaries for much of his information. Now with these books out of print, there is great difficulty in obtaining them. Recently, I was lucky enough to purchase a copy of the eighth edition that was printed in 1886, and this is where I have copied his account of the “Siege of Paris”.  He was a great friend of Charles Dickens they did a lot of charity work together.  If you go to Useful Links you will be able to click on an excellent site for more information about George Moore. 

£5.50 incl. all charges (offer last for one month only.)

George Moore's "The History of Whitehall from the 13th Century"

I have tried to trace the history of the Whitehall estate, Mealsgate, near Fletchertown from the 13th century, to what it is today. Some of the people who lived there, especially George Moore, did so much to restore the building, unfortunately because it had become unsafe and would cost too much to repair, it was demolished in the 1960s. I have included a little on other interests that George Moore undertook, such as the building of a 1000 seated school and Church in the poor area of London - two magnificent buildings - both demolished after the war, owing to bomb damage.

£6.50 incl. all charges

Day Dreams: Poems by John Bewley 

written about the people of Blennerhasset area, 1891

John Bewley of Blennerhasset was a remarkable man. For many years he could neither read nor write, yet he became a tradesman, earning his living as a shoemaker at Crookdake near Fletchertown and also at Mealsgate. As his eyesight left him, he took up work as a farm labourer in Blennerhasset, before having to retire by the age of about 56 years old with 8 children to support. He learnt to read and write and began penning these poems. John died in 1896 at the age of 63. Poems include George Moore and several other of his friends and villagers.

Yes, John Bewley was only an amateur writer, but I think you will find his poems worth reading.

This is a copy of the original booklet.

 £5.75 iincl. all charges

The Banks Family of Wigton Introducing George Moore

Much has been said about the Banks family, some true and some not.  I have mainly, through old newspaper cuttings etc, tried to trace a little of what the family did over a 100 year period, sadly much of what they achieved has gone. Like George Moore and others, although they are still talked about, much or their legacy has gone.  These men and many others like them, spent so much time and money to help Wigton and the surrounding area a better place to live. I have shown why I feel it was William Banks who helped George Moore obtain his first job in London.

 £6.75 iincl. all charges

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