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Singin' Hinnies - the story of the book


In January 2011, one of our members, was given a number of boxes containing documents, letters and photographs that had belonged to the family of Dr Robertson who lived in Glanton House from 1848. Included with the boxes was a type written manuscript of the Singin' Hinnies carefully written by Joyce Robertson, one of the two last survivors of this family, although the last Glanton Robertson resident had died in 1965. The following is an account by John Lang concerning the receipt of the boxes.

"Social history has always been a subject close to my heart and I had a wonderful time delving through the boxes looking at old photographs and reading the original letters from as far back as 1830. At the same time I read the manuscript. It was quite apparent that Joyce Robertson would have liked to have her book published but unfortunately this was not possible at the time and she died in 1987 without achieving her wish. I suggested to the fledgling Glanton Heritage Group that this might be an ideal project for us. It was an idea which bore fruit three years later with the publication of the book."

This project involved all members in many different aspects of the publication. Each chapter had to be typed out into pdf format and emailed to the members so that they could all read the book. The chapters were shared out with instructions to proof read for correction. A very long and laborious process making sure that Northumberland dialect was not edited out of the book.

During this time the group approached the Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick to see if they could assist financially. They were very keen to help, having just been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and project this would meet with their community aims. The book was now looking as if it might reach publication. Dr RobertsonPhotos of the family members at various ages had to be identified, a family tree drawn up and the design of the book agreed between all members. Many hours were spent on this and finally we had to find a publisher. This was possibly one of the most difficult tasks as none of us was experienced in this field. Mistakes were almost but not quite made in the choice of publisher. The internet, whilst containing a wealth of information about publishing, could easily lead one in the wrong direction and one could end up with a very pricey and inferior product. The final choice was given to Carnegie Publishing who between them and Short Run Press produced a quality book of which we are all justifiably very proud.

Published in February 2014 this is a book that tells the very human story of an impoverished doctor's family living and growing up in the tiny village of Glanton, North Northumberland, England between 1859 and 1965. The nine surviving Robertson children being educated and making their way in the world through two World Wars. It is a fascinating account of a rural life in a bygone age.

Available to purchase from the Glanton Heritage Group for £10 plus post and packing. Please contact for details .