Shetland Islands invasion

Cookson Country
Cookson Country

LINKS between the Tyne and Britain’s most northerly islands are old-established, forged mostly through the sea.

It’s why certain Scottish surnames repeatedly occur on many family trees, a bridge to the days of whaling etc.

Only recently, fans of BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? will have seen South Shields-born comedian Sarah Millican discover that one of her long lost relatives actually hailed from the Orkneys.

Her four-times-grandfather, John Malcolm, born in 1791, worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, which traded furs.

As a consequence of a disastrous expedition, he lost his feet to frostbite and, on his return to the UK, eventually settled here on Tyneside.

This history of Scottish islanders coming to the Tyne and settling in places like South Shields will be explored further when Keith Gregson is the guest of the Friends of South Shields Museum next week.

Keith will be at the museum, in Ocean Road, next Tuesday at 2pm, when he will explain the connection between folk from the Shetland Islands and South Shields.

Keith has been pursuing this saga for several years.

All are welcome.