Thomas Wilson, the Low Fell poet was born on 14 November 1773 into a very poor family. Like many from the North East, he began his
working life down the mines when he was about 8 year old. He was bright and studied and became a teacher.
He became a wealthy man but not through poetry or teaching but because he went into commerce and joined the Losh, Lubbin counting house. In 1807, Wilson became a partner and the firm changed its name to Losh Wilson and Bell, manufacturer of alkali and iron.
Wilson, formerly a teacher was interested in education.
On the opposite side of the new Durham Road to Fell House there was a level open piece of land, with the Crown Inn on its north side. The site was bought from William Laing in January 1841.
Money was raised by two issues of five shilling shares, which produced two-thirds of the amount required, and the remaining third was raised by public subscription. The chief organisers in the project were Thomas Wilson and Mr. Hetherington, the landlord of the Gateshead Arms. It may be remarked that there was a staircase leading from the reading-room to the Crown Inn, but this was subsequently closed. The architect was Thomas Oliver of Newcastle, and the builder Thomas Liddell of Low Fell. There was a grand opening dinner on 9th November 1841. The building contained a reading room, lecture room and schoolroom. Seven trustees, headed by Thomas Wilson, were appointed to manage the use of the building for its proper purposes.
He lived to be 84; he died on 9th May 1858; and was buried in the cemetery of St. John's Church, Sheriff Hill.
The grave is in an extremely neglected state
It is not possible to read all of the inscription but the heading reads The Family Burial Place of Thomas and Mary Wilson of Fell House in this Parish
One of his twin daughters married Richard Cail
In 1923 Lloyd's Bank bought the Wilson school building. No longer a bank the building is now called The Bank..it is a bar/restaurant
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