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Letter NEWHM:1996.H67.38

Sir William George Armstrong to John Hancock (12 January 1881)
br>Lord Armstrong invites Hancock to accompany him to Cragside where he is entertaining a number of guests including the local gentry. John Hancock declines as he is already committed to visiting the Bewick family.




Newcastle upon Tyne

12 Jany 1881

My dear Hancock

Lord Cairns & his 2 sons (Ld Garmoyle & Mr Herbert Cairns) are now with us at Jesmond & are going to Cragside this morning where we shall have an accession of visitors tomorrow viz Ld & Lady Algernon Percy & Sir Matthew & Lady Ridley.    We shall be glad if you will join our party — We go by last train this morning & if you can not come by it we shall hope to see you tomorrow.

Very truly yrs | W. G. Armstrong [signature]


[note of Hancock’s reply in his hand]

I could not accept Sir William’s kind Invitation in consequence of having to spend friday evening with the Miss Bewicks which is Miss Bell’s 91st Birth day.

J.H. [signature]



Sir W. G.  Armstrong


[in Hancock’s hand]




1.  The Cairns party were: Lord Hugh McCalmont (1819-1885), 1st Earl Cairns.

His eldest son Arthur William Cairns (1861-1890), Lord Garmoyle, of Garmoyle in the County of Antrim, who succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Cairns in 1885.

‘Mr Herbert Cairns’ was Herbert John Cairns (1863-1905) 3rd Earl of Cairns, who succeeded his brother in 1890. He was also a partner in Lord Armstrong’s ordnance company in Newcastle upon Tyne.

2.  Lord Algernon Malcolm Arthur Percy (1851-1933) the second son of Algernon George Percy, 6th Duke of Northumberland. His wife was Lady Victoria Frederica Caroline Percy.

Sir Mathew White Ridley (1842-1904), later the 1st Viscount Ridley, and his wife Lady Mary Georgiana Ridley.

3.  ‘Miss Bell’ was Isabella Bewick (1790-1883), the daughter of Thomas Bewick, the famous Northumbrian wood engraver. The ‘Miss Bewicks’, Isabella and her elder sister Jane (1787-1881), were then living at 19 West Street, Gateshead and John Hancock was a welcome visitor having been a lifelong friend of the Bewick family. Isabella celebrated her 91st birthday on the 14 January 1881.