Monday, 13 October 2014

William Martin

William Martin, amongst the remarkables of Newcastle this is not the least.


“…..when Martin, with exaggerated politeness, drew his feet together, bent forward, lifted his tortoise-shell hat high in the air and answered, “Gratified to meet you sir! I am the philosophical conqueror of all nations, that is what I am and this is my badge…." William Bell Scott, Autobiographical Notes. ed W. Minto, London 1892, from an account of his time in Newcastle written it is thought in the 1840s and edited by Bell Scott in the 1860s

William Howitt (1792–1879), and Mary Howitt (1799–1888)
 
Few places in the British Empire possess more or greater claims to the notice of the antiquary, the merchant or the man of taste. To the first its history and localities present a rich mine of subjects for interesting reflection; the second beholds in it the emporium of trade of the north of England; and the third may NOW be gratified by the display of architectural beauty presented in its ‘streets of palaces’.
.Not only are the streets “of palaces” but they are a heavenly vision, a divine creation, a miracle of architecture: a quotation from Milton precedes the description of the streets in which
“Anon out of the earth a fabric huge/Rose like an exhalation...”


“The inhabitants are fond of comparing it  [Grey Street] with Regent Street and the streets of the new town of Edinburgh, and giving it preference to both. in many particulars this is undoubtedly true, but in others, perhaps no street in the world can compare with Regent Street. The air of life and wealth. The mass of wealth in the shops; the crowds of carriages of the aristocracy at certain hours, and the presence of the English aristocracy themselves - some of the finest specimens perhaps of the human race, both men and women.....it is perhaps rather unwise in its [Grey Street’s] native admirers to challenge rivalry with the capital, for that brings ideas with it that make one feel comparative want and loneliness, that must in the comparison force themselves on the imagination in any country town.”  
VISITS TO REMARKABLE PLACES



“O Martin! Martin! how vague and uncertain
Have systems all been until now;
But thy master-mind, as the learned will find,
Set Philosophy right at the Cow!”


William Martin, The Anti-Newtonian philosopher", Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend October 1887 pp343-349.  This contains a list of his published works and the text was derived from a manuscript copy of an autobiography. 
See also Print and the People 1819-1951,  Louis James London 1976 p.52, reproduces Martin's Invention of the High Level Bridge
The Local Collection, Newcastle Central Library has a large collection of the printed broadsheets Martin was said to sell in the street.

 How to clear the River Tyne of the sand beds, and to quay off Jarrow Slake! The High Level Bridge from Gateshead to the Castle Garth! How to make a railway from the Red Sea to the Levant! How to prevent wood from taking the dry rot! How to blow up the wreck of the Royal George! How to make a harpoon gun! A model of a flying machine! A boat to go with paddles! The Grand Desideratum, the Perpetual Motion! Metallic Railways! A patent for shoes! A life preserver! The fan ventilators! A tin pen! The Mechanical Horse! The Swan-foot paddle! The best safety lamp, pirated by George Stephenson!
See also
William, You Were Really Something


Eccentric Characters of Newcastle by Henry Perlee Parker(after) Laing Art Gallery Date painted: 19th C Oil on canvas, 62.8 x 75.5 cm Collection: Laing Art Gallery


Images and links here http://www.pinterest.com/peterjquinn/william-martin/

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