New book reveals ‘Dark Crimes of Jarrow’ from long ago
A new book dealing with the murkier side of Jarrow’s history has been released.
Dark Crimes of Jarrow by Natasha Windham looks at the Victorian and Edwardian era when the town was booming, but had a definite dark side. Jarrow’s industry attracted newcomers, transforming it from a small market town to a shipbuilding and coal-mining powerhouse.
But many found that life could be hard as the archives of the Jarrow Express, a long-gone newspaper of the time used as a source for the book, go to prove.
Natasha delved into the archive to discover tales of murder, manslaughter, brawls, theft and other skulduggery.
Stories include the attempted murder of a police sergeant by an ex-officer who drowned in the Tyne while fleeing the scene, with the would-be murderer treated to a hero’s funeral.
Also included are a murderous sprint across town one night by an armed gunman, which left two dead and seven wounded; and a love triangle that ended in death outside the gates of Palmers Shipyard.
Natasha is from Cambridgeshire, but her dad and granddad are from Jarrow. She was inspired to write the book after reading old articles from the Jarrow Express to her granddad in the last months of his battle with Alzheimer’s.
Her previous book was Jarrow Murders and Misdemeanours. She also co-founded the Jarrow Genealogy and Our Ancestors group on Facebook, which helps people with Jarrow connections to research their family history.
Natasha said: “Usually, I post newspaper articles that paint a vivid picture of Tyneside’s most interesting characters, crimes, brawls, humour, drunkenness, riots or deaths. Sometimes people request I research and write about their own ancestors.
“There are some stories I post because they’re emotive and I feel the victims deserve to have their voices heard.
“While I read articles to my granddad, my gaze would often wander across the pages and I started researching the people I read about.
“It takes me six to eight months to complete a book. I research each story first in the newspaper archive, build family trees for everyone I research, attempt to trace their descendants so I can interview them about their ancestor.”
Dark Crimes of Jarrow can be bought from www.amberley-books.com for £14.39.