New life for scholar’s sketches

James Irwin Coates (centre)

James Irwin Coates (centre)

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DRAWINGS by a 19th century Ackworth School scholar have been published in a new history book.

Illustrations from James Irwin Coates – who taught at the Station Road school between 1858 and 1868 – have been included in Hadrian’s Wall Through Time by Alan M Whitworth.

James Irwin Coates' picture of Heddon-on-the-Wall.

James Irwin Coates' picture of Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Mr Coates developed an interest in archaeology while at the school and drew detailed sketches of the Roman wall as it was being swallowed up by housing and industrial developments.

A spokeswoman for publishers, Amberley, said: “In the 13th and 14th centuries early maps of the British Isles depict the wall. In the 19th century there was an increased awareness of historical monuments and their survival with a number of antiquarians beginning excavations and publishing reports.

“This unique look at Hadrian’s Wall uses Coates’ ‘old views’ of the wall as a comparison to how it looks today.”

Coates’ sepia watercolour drawings stayed with the family until 1948 when they were presented to Ackworth School by one of his sons to commemorate the centenary of his father’s birth.

John Lebeter, bursar at the school, said: “The pictorial record of Hadrian’s Wall, made by Coates who studied and taught at Ackworth School, is one of the most important in existence.

“The school is profoundly pleased that his work remains relevant today.”