Paul Tweddell

We can't have a new hub for George Markham Tweddell without a tribute to the tremendous ground work done by Paul Markham Tweddell, my friend and co-conspirator in making the work of George and Elizabeth Tweddell available to the world.

Paul's daughter - Hannah wrote a brilliant obituary to Paul which was published in the Guardian and I won't repeat that, just to say a few words myself.

This is Hannah Tweddell's  tribute to her dad -

Paul had been writing a genealogical study of the whole Tweddell family. I have seen the first draft but there are many updates and revisions that Paul worked but the final copy wasn't finished. Paul's wife Sandra will will working on finishing the book and making it ready for publication in the new year. Much of the material in the first draft on George and Elizabeth Tweddell was used for the Tweddell history website -

Hannah tells most of Paul's own story but I met Paul around 2004 while putting together a website charting both my own development of Creative Writing facilities on Teesside and the wider literary history of North Yorkshire. During my research I came across the Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham by George Markham Tweddell published in 1872 and hidden away in the reference library. Although I already knew about Tweddell via Daphne Frank's pamphlet 1986 Printing and Publishing in Stokesley and through the work of historian Tony Nicholson, Tweddell's book alerted me to the fact that the literary history of North yorkshire in the past was far richer and more interesting than most people realised. 

Disgusted that Tweddell's work, at the time, was now confined to the reference library or antiquarian bookshop, I endeavored to include references to his work on my website. Paul and his wife Sandra were over in Canada inspecting schools and came across my website in an internet cafe. Paul immediately e mailed me with further information about his ancestor and sent me some photos of them. After that initial correspondence, Paul visited Great Ayton and Stokesley regularly for the next five or so years and we worked together on researching and making available the resources now linked to this site. Paul had spent most of his retirement up to this point researching his ancestor and had produced the first draft of a book charting the family history of the Tweddell's - mostly for his relatives. The finished book should be out soon. I persuaded Paul that the book and certainly the information about George and Elizabeth should be made available to a wider audience. This was important history and important to the area. 

Paul worked exceedingly hard in his final years, re-drafting his book, continuing to research, compiling the Tweddell website, collecting the poetry, moving the Tweddell archives into the public domain at Teesside Archives and re-cataloging it. My role was to encourage and support Paul in his work, facilitate and network and publish the resultant works. We also bounced ideas off each other and rediscovered so much about GMT that had been obscured or forgotten (see the introduction to GMT's poetry). Paul took around Stokesley and showed me the Tweddell trail (see the video) and Hutton Rudby where Tweddell's tutor William Sanderson had inspired the young Tweddell in the classics. 

Our main aim was to collect the material together and make it available to the general public so further research was possible. Along the way we did more than that, rediscovering Tweddell's Chartist roots, his role in preserving the dialects, his poetry, the nature of his relationship with Elizabeth and much more all contained in Paul's forthcoming book and the update to the main website.

It was a great privilege to work with Paul and a descendant of George Markham Tweddell. He was a good friend, a nice man with an amazing intellect and this site and much of its contents is a result of that association.