Archives take delivery of more fantastic finds

Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn has received a donation of two volumes of letters, adding to the important collection of papers from local solicitors.

Monday, 23rd April 2018, 09:48 am
Harry Carr, chairman of Sir Francis Festing Fund, Sophie Hearn, volunteer coordinator at Northumberland Archives, Graeme Hero of Northumbria Army Cadet Force.

The original collection, acquired last June by Northumberland County Council’s Archives following money raised through a series of grants, charts the history of Alnwick-based Dickson, Archer & Thorp from its establishment in the late 18th century until its closure in 2003.

The firm had a wide client base dealing with probate cases from families of relatively modest means to handling the business of many county families including that of the Duke of Northumberland.

The additional volumes to the collection include letters from Lieutenant Robert Thorp and Captain Collingwood Thorp between members of the Thorp family during the First World War. The Thorp family were owners of the Farne Islands, which they gave to the National Trust in 1925.

The two volumes were purchased for Northumberland Archives by the Sir Francis Festing Fund, a local charity focusing on providing advice, assistance and relief in need to former members of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, at a total purchase cost of £5,500.

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Harry Carr, chairman of the Sir Francis Festing Fund said: “The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is delighted to be able to donate the two volumes of the Thorp Letters to the Northumberland Archives for research and display purposes.”

He said it would further reinforce the relationship between the county and the regiment in celebrating and commemorating the service and sacrifice of men of the ‘Fighting Fifth’ who served during the Great War.

Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts and leisure at Northumberland County Council said: “This is a fantastic acquisition for Northumberland Archives. The volumes of letters will provide an amazing resource for those studying local history and also people interested in the First World War. It will give an incredible insight into the Thorp family history and the history of Alnwick.”

Robert Thorp was killed in action on 22nd March 1918, and with the centenary of the end of the First World War being celebrated this year, Northumberland Archives would like to invite ex-servicemen and local army, airforce and naval cadets to assist in the transcription of the Thorp letters onto their digital archives system. If you are interested in getting involved in this project, please contact Graeme Heron on