A Tyneside Heritage

When I started in practice as a partner in Ryecroft Glenton 55 years ago, a luminary on the accountancy scene in Newcastle was the much respected Sir Robin Chapman Bt.  He was senior partner in the firm of Chapman, Hilton, Hutchinson and Dunford on Jesmond Road.  Sir Robin’s son Peter Chapman is a client of Ryecroft Glenton and the author of a new book ‘A Tyneside Heritage’.

‘A Tyneside Heritage’ by Peter Chapman is being published by The History Press. Sub-titled ‘South Shields, County Durham and the Chapman family 1811-1963’ the book is a pioneering work of interwoven local and family history.  After the nineteenth century boom years of coal exporting and shipbuilding for global markets came the First World War and then the mass unemployment and political turbulence of the 1930s.  Luftwaffe bombings in the Second World War were followed by further challenges in peacetime.  Against this background four generations of the Chapman family played a leading role in South Shields and in County Durham as businessmen, soldiers, borough councillors, sportsmen, philanthropists and representatives of royalty. 

Robert Chapman JP (1811-1894) set himself up as a draper in South Shields; he became a Borough Councillor and invested in a sailing collier which journeyed to St Petersburg, Constantinople and the Black Sea.  His son Henry Chapman JP founded a chartered accountancy practice and a building society.  Three of his sons and a daughter served in the First World War, as did his son-in- law.  Only two returned – Dr Fred Chapman, the first England rugby player to score an international try at Twickenham, and Col. Robert Chapman (1880-1963). 

Robert became a South Shields Borough Councillor, Mayor and Member of Parliament for  Houghton-le-Spring in County Durham.  In the 1930s he lobbied hard for Government funding for the North East ‘Special Area’, becoming Chairman of the new and very successful Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead.  Knighted after the Second World War he was appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham in which role he escorted the young Princess Elizabeth on a visit to Durham City.  He and his wife Hélène entertained Princess Marie Louise at their home ‘Undercliff’ in Cleadon.  He was made a baronet a few years before he died and his son Robin Chapman was Senior Partner in Chapman, Hilton, Hutchinson and Dunford, Chartered Accountants in Newcastle.

If anyone would like to order a copy of “A Tyneside Heritage”, which is available to RG clients and contacts at a discounted price, please contact Peter Chapman at peterschapman@chapmanlondon.com

The Author

Peter Chapman enjoyed a career in housing, founding a niche consulting firm.  He has been chair of charities in his fields of interest including the National Communities Resource Centre and the Friends of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge.  Living in London, he maintains close links with the North East where he was born.  He is an Honorary Life Member of the South Shields Local History Group to whom he has delivered two lectures on themes from ‘A Tyneside Heritage’.  

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