Project looks at history of fishing town

A PROJECT to record every single family ever to live in Newbiggin is gathering pace with the publication of a book.

Former MP Hilton Dawson has returned to his roots to chair the pioneering Newbiggin Genealogy Project, a unique community initiative that aims to document the lives of everyone who ever lived in the fishing village or town as it is today.

Hilton, who was born in the town and now lives in Warkworth, has completed the first stage of the project by researching his own family history, leading to the publication of Frank Renner’s Bairns which is launched at Newbiggin Maritime Centre on March 13.

Frank Renner’s Bairns uncovers the rise, tragic fall and ultimate resilience of a 19th Century Northumbrian entrepreneur and his family.

Rising from humble roots in the Newbiggin fishing community, and spurred on by an ambitious mistress and famed business associate’ Frank takes every opportunity presented by the herring boom and the coming of the railway to become the local ‘kipper king’.

Hilton, who was Labour MP for Lancaster from 1997 to 2005, said: “This account is about my Newbiggin forebears, but there may yet be more local tales to disclose. I believe that whoever we are, wherever we come from, we all have an important story to tell.”

Frank Renner’s Bairns is published on March 13 by Powdene Publicity, priced at £7.99.