George Elliott (the ‘Bonnie Geordie’) was born in Gateshead on the 18th March 1814. He began work at the age of 9 as a trapper boy at Whitefield Pit at Penshaw. Elliott was a prominent figure in British history, advising Benjamin Disraeli to invest in the Suez Canal – a crucial decision which led to Britain gaining control of the shipping route to India. Elliott was also a financial advisor to the Egyptian Khedive. Aside from engineering, he once owned an Egyptian princess mummy which became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s 1903 novel ‘Jewel of the Seven Stars’.
Elliott married Margaret Green in 1836 with whom he had two children, Elizabeth and Ralph. Ralph died in 1874, aged 35.
In 1840 Elliott purchased Washington Colliery. In 1849 he formed the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, which in 1866 laid the first Atlantic cable. In 1864 he bought Whitefield Pit, the pit that he first worked at.
Elliott became an elected member of the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers on August 21 1852 and participated in the first meeting in July 1852. He was appointed President between 1868-69. In 1868 Elliott also became Member of Parliament for North Durham. He remained in this position until 1880. Between 1881 and 1885 Elliott was a Member of Parliament for East Durham and between 1886 and 1982 he was a Member of Parliament for Monmouth.
In 1874 Elliott was created a Baronet (Bart) for services to the public.
George Elliott died on the 23rd of December 1893 of pneumonia and was buried in Houghton Hillside Cemetary. At the time of his death he worked to unite the entire coalfields of Britain, with the plan to pay a proportion of coal industry profits into a fund for retired miners.
See also the article in Wikipedia.