Richardson, George (1773-1862) (DNB00)

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RICHARDSON, GEORGE (1773–1862), quaker, born on 18 Dec. 1773 at Low Lights, near North Shields, Northumberland, was fourth son of John Richardson (d. 1800), a tanner there, by his wife, Margaret Stead (cf. Newcastle Advertiser, 5 April 1800). George's mother died when he was eight, and he was sent to live with an aunt who kept a shop at Shields. There he read largely, chiefly quaker books. At fourteen he was apprenticed to Joshua Watson, a grocer in Newcastle, where he settled for life, and soon took charge of a branch of his master's business. He began preaching at twenty, and was recorded a minister by the Society of Friends at twenty-four. After travelling seven hundred miles or more as ‘guide’ to friends from America, he began religious tours on his own account, and during the next forty years visited every county in England, as well as Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Jersey, and Guernsey. He also interested himself in missions, and was for fifty years connected with the Bible Society. He actively helped to found the Royal Jubilee schools at Newcastle by way of celebrating the jubilee of George III (1809). He spent his leisure among the fishing population of Cullercoats (Northumberland), and provided for the village efficient water supply and schools. Even in advanced age he would, when at Cullercoats, put out to sea with bibles for the French sailors in the ships in the offing.

He died, aged nearly 90, on 9 Aug. 1862, and was buried in the Friends' burial-ground, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. By his wife, Eleanor Watson, niece of his first employer, Richardson had five children, who reached maturity. Of a son Isaac, who died at Ventnor, aged 30, Richardson wrote a brief ‘Memoir,’ published in London, 12mo, 1841. He also wrote tracts and pamphlets on tithes and other subjects, and ‘Annals of the Cleveland Richardsons and their Descendants,’ Newcastle, 12mo, 1850.

[Mrs. Ogden Boyce, Records of a Quaker Family, London, 1889, 4to, with genealogical charts, based on Richardson's Annals of the Cleveland Richardsons; Journal of the Gospel Labours of George Richardson, &c., London, 1864; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books, ii. 483; Northern Daily Express, 11 Aug. 1862.]

C. F. S.