Robert Whinham (1814-1893)

Robert Whinham is one of the unsung heroes of traditional music in the North East of England.

It is remarkable that for a man who died in poor circumstances in the workhouse, oral and documentary evidence about him still survives. He was an exceptionally good all round musician and dancing master who could turn his hand to any musical employment. There is evidence of him organising or playing at concerts along with various singing, band and orchestral activities.

The fiddle would appear to have been his main instrument. It is paradoxical that despite his eclectic musical activities most of his music which has been uncovered to-date have been preserved in the manuscripts of traditional musicians.

This image of Robert Whinham was most likely taken when he was an inmate of the Workhouse at Morpeth in the 1890's, just before he died.