Frank Sanderson writes:
“The book ‘Life and Times in Victorian Weardale: The Letters of Francis Vickers’ was published this week and is now available at Amazon.co.uk. John Preston, who you might recall from last year’s Hamsterley event, told me yesterday that I’m already 12,023 in the best-seller list!! I have also written a blog of extracts from the book, which can be found by Googling “Weardaleblog“.
Here’s more information about the book:-
The book has resulted from my long-standing interest in local and family history. A few years ago, I acquired a series of letters written by Francis Vickers, a farmer from Stanhope in Weardale, to his cousins George and Thomas Vickers who had migrated from Stanhope to Ontario in the early Victorian period. These letters provide a real insight into life in late Victorian Weardale and served as the inspiration for writing this book.
In the letters, written between 1874 and 1901, Francis (my first cousin 3x removed) keeps his cousins informed about the fortunes of close family members, but he also includes a wealth of information about family friends and acquaintances, many of whom would have been known to his Canadian cousins before they left Weardale. But he also touches on important issues and events of local and national interest: for example, the triumph of the Liberals in South Durham in the 1874 General Election, the effects on tenant farmers of the agricultural depression, and the opening of the Weardale Extension Railway in 1895.
Using Victorian newspaper sources, I have breathed life into the characters and events to which Francis made passing reference. Many of the people mentioned by Francis Vickers featured in local newspapers for their prize-winning stock at agricultural shows which brought prestige to Weardale, for their service on local public boards, for their political leadership on issues affecting not only tenant farmers but also miners and quarrymen, and their important contributions to the local economy.
What emerges in the book is a series of snapshots of life in late Victorian Weardale, providing a commentary which will appeal to anyone interested in family and local history.”