The son of a Cumbrian shoemaker, William came to Newcastle at around 20 years of age to work as a clerk for corn merchants on the Quayside, eventually becoming proprietor. Marrying soon after his arrival in Newcastle, his first home was at 9 Pleasant Row in Shieldfield, a three-storey terrace house with a garden reaching down to Pandon Dene. William George Armstrong was born here in 1810. The house disappeared long ago but the lintel inscribed ‘Armstrong House’ and a commemoration stone can be seen in the wall opposite ChristChurch, Shieldfield. William moved to South Jesmond in 1840. Later in life he entered local politics and as a councillor for the new ward of Jesmond, took a serious interest in the modernisation of the Tyne. He rose to become Alderman and then Mayor. Always a keen mathematician, his collection of nearly 1,300 books were given on his death to the Literary and Philosophical Society, of which he had been a member for nearly 60 years. He was also a founder member of the Natural History Society.