A FORMER editor of The Northern Echo is to be immortalised in a bar next to the newspaper's offices.

The Lloyds Bar, in Crown Street, Darlington, will be named The William Stead when it opens on May 15.

Mr Stead, who was better known as WT Stead, was arguably the paper's most famous editor.

A pacifist and fervent campaigner for social justice, he took over the Echo at the age of only 22, in 1870, leading many campaigns to highlight the evils of the time.

Pub company JD Wetherspoon said it always liked to name Lloyds bars after local characters.

A spokesman for the company said: "Our historians brought up the name of WT Stead and we learned of his connection with the region's leading newspaper - The Northern Echo.

"So we thought it would be very fitting to name it after him."

After leaving the Echo, Mr Stead went on to edit the Pall Mall Gazette in London, where he was instrumental in changing the laws regarding child prostitution.

In 1885, he "purchased" a 13-year-old girl to prove how easy it was to buy children for prostitution.

He succeeded in having the law changed, raising the age of consent from 13 to 16. However, he was sentenced to nine weeks in prison for abduction.

Although not a heavy drinker, he was known to enjoy a rare half-pint of stout, the occasional cigar and took six lumps of sugar in his tea.

Mr Stead died when the Titanic went down on the morning of April 15, 1912.

He had been on his way to the US as part of an all-expenses paid trip to speak at the congress of the Men and Religion Forward Movement, at Carnegie Hall, in New York.

The stone to which he used to tether his pony stands as a memorial to him in Crown Street, Darlington.