The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life—from the Romans to the 21st century. Published online, and extended three times a year, the ODNB includes more than 60, 000 life stories.
Public libraries in Middlesbrough subscribe to the Oxford DNB, which means you can look for people either in the library or from home (or anywhere, anytime) using your library membership number as a personal log-in.
You can gain access via Middlesbrough libraries’ Reference Online or the Oxford DNB online, adding your number.
With access Middlesbrough, Britain, and indeed the world, is your online oyster.
The Oxford DNB includes nearly 50 men and women with connections to Middlesbrough—from the 19th-century railway promoter, Ralph Jackson, to Sir Edward Pickering (1912-2003), post-war editor of the Daily Express.
You can also search within Middlesbrough, allowing you to find 20 people baptized in or near the city, 15 former pupils of Middlesbrough schools and 25 one-time residents.
Further afield you’ll find 100 people linked to Darlington; 400 sons and daughters of Durham, and 446 residents of Newcastle, including novelist Catherine Cookson and notorious local politician, T. Dan Smith.
Across the ODNB’s 70 million words, you’ll also find more than 100 references to Middlesbrough, 150 to Captain James Cook, and 13 to the River Tees.
It’s easy to search by place in the Oxford DNB, as the following section explains.
The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 60,000 men and women. Online you can search for where they were born, baptized, lived, died or were buried, searching by county, town, village, church, and even street.
You can find people near you—be they one-time residents of Princes Street, Edinburgh (45), sons and daughters of Whitby (24), or those buried in Exeter (112)—and how this can be used for school projects or family history.
Text searching across the ODNB’s 65 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 92 references to Clapham Common, 23 to the River Trent, and 40 to Snowdonia.
Listen to a life
Every two weeks the ODNB releases a biography podcast. There are more than 250 episodes to choose from, including John Lennon, Madame Tussaud, Morecambe and Wise, Roald Dahl, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.