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Memorial plaque to regional editor who died on Titanic vandalised

A plaque commemorating a regional daily editor who died on the Titanic has been removed after being vandalised.

The plaque in memory of the Northern Echo editor WT Stead has been removed by Darlington Borough Council from outside the town’s library after it was daubed with felt-tip by vandals and is now being cleaned.

Stead , born in 1849 and originally from Embleton, Northumberland, was a pioneering investigative journalist who edited the Echo between 1871 and 1880.

He was jailed for his work exposing child prostitution in which he ‘bought’ a child to prove his point. Nonetheless, his work helped raise the age of consent from 13 to 16.

stead-stone

The plaque, pictured above with the stone, reads: “This stone, originally in possession of Mr WT Stead when resident at Grainey Hill and to which he tethered his dogs and pony, is probably the only monument in granite to his memory in Darlington.”

Stead died on the Titanic in 1912, having boarded the fateful ship to travel to America, where he was due to take part in a peace congress at the request of US President William Howard Taft.

He was last seen clinging to a lifeboat, having given up his life jacket to another passenger.

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