Joshua Alder

Joshua Alder

In the recent series of a House Through Time <here>, David Olusoga spent some time on the life of Joshua Alder, a renowned marine biologist who lived at 5, Ravensworth Terrace in Newcastle from 1841 to 1857.

If you saw the relevant episode you will recall that Joshua sold the family cheese business to finance his research, but lost all of his money on the failure of the Northumberland and Durham District Bank in 1857. He was not alone. Locally, on 1st December 1857, the Alnwick Mercury reported that “It was the principal, nearly the only [bank], which did any business in this town, and enjoyed the utmost confidence. The gentry of the district, the tradesmen of the town and almost every person in the neighbourhood dealt with it; and its sudden and unexpected suspension will cause extensive embarrassment and distress“. The Alnwick branch of the Northumberland and Durham District Bank was at 27, Fenkle Street. This remains as an imposing Grade II* listed building dating from the 1830s. It subsequently became a drill hall for the 2nd Northumberland Artillery Volunteers, then offices for a variety of public bodies and community groups <listing entry>.

Although Joshua was born in Newcastle, the Alder family had long-standing connections with Alnwick. In Volume II of his History of Alnwick, Tate covers members of the Alder family going back to the 15th century (page 382) . In the 1560s George Alder was one of the largest landowners in the area, with property that included Hobberlaw, Bondgate Hall, and nine burgages.

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