Ellen Woodman, whose story is featured in Hidden Newcastle
Witch-hunters, ghostly figures and body-snatchers who used to roam the streets of Newcastle are brought to life in a new app which has been created using information from the city’s archives and libraries.
The Hidden Newcastle app is free and has been produced by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Newcastle Libraries. It reveals stories about real life historical characters who once lived and worked in the city and is now available for both iPhones and Android phones.
John Coburn from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums explains:
“The app contains stories about people who lived in Newcastle between the 17th and 19th centuries including the ‘Bad Beadle’, who in 1858 dug up graves in All Saints churchyard to steal lead from coffins and Martha Wilson who committed suicide in the 19th century and is said to have haunted the Quayside ever since.
“The stories are told by actors and accompanied by photographs of the people and places.”
Each story in the app is linked to the location where it is said to have taken place and people can unlock more stories as they move around the city.
Other people featured in Hidden Newcastle include Jack Wilson, known as Cuckoo Jack. In the early to mid 1800s Cuckoo Jack worked as a bargeman on the River Tyne. His knowledge of the river led to a profitable sideline in retrieving dead bodies from the water and selling them to the council.
Not all of the stories are so gruesome, however, including the tale of Geordie Woodford who was credited with helping to save people from the flood of 1771 which swept away part of the old Tyne Bridge.
John Coburn adds:
“We used historical maps, books, photographic archives and newspaper archives to compile the information in the app. It’s easy to forget that these tales happened to real people and took place in the locations where we stand today – using this app you can visit those locations and listen to these fascinating stories on the spot where they took place.”
To download the free Hidden Newcastle app go to www.hiddennewcastle.org