In this blog we are exploring a beautiful collection of books that was donated to Preston Park Museum and Grounds in the 1970s. Collected by one man over 25 years, the collection spans over 2,500 books of various literary works. Thomas Hutchinson’s collections includes rare first editions, beautiful examples of poetry, historical and political volumes, and many works by local, Tyneside born authors.
Thomas Hutchinson’s collection was the passion of his life. Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1856 he joined a teacher training program in 1877 and secured a job working in a primary school in the mining village of Pegswood near Morpeth. He settled into this position and lived with his wife Sarah in the village, where they started a family.
Two years after joining Pegswood First School he was appointed headmaster. Thomas was known as ‘Hutch’ to his pupils and the children he taught came from different social situations. Most of his pupils were the children of the local miners, but many moved around leading Thomas to develop just one bit of advice he instilled into his pupils – ‘That whatever is worth doing is worth doing well’
Thomas Hutchinson posing in a school group photograph at Pegswood First School in 1921. Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum and Grounds.
Other than his love of teaching his biggest passion in life was that of his book collection which he built up over 25 years. He had a keen eye for collecting first and early editions of famous authors from the early 1700s and 1800s. Thomas was incredibly passionate about the local works of Newcastle authors and poets and compiled a unique collection of Victorian songs and poems of well-known Tyneside creatives like J.P. Robson, who published works featuring the Geordie dialect.