Hugh Shimmin was born in Castletown, and went, when a child, with his parents, to Liverpool, where they apprenticed him to a stationer and bookbinder. When as a young man he had the opportunity to buy the business he was delighted to find that his wife had saved enough money for him to do so. He later founded the "Porcupine" newspaper and, while his colleagues attended to the amusing side of the paper, he developed it into a unique social power which he used with tremendous effect in revolutionising condition of Liverpool. " I never," writes Sir Edward Russell, referring to him and a few friends of his, knew a small combination of men who did such great things." To him, more than to any other single person, may be attributed the sanitary reforms in Liverpool, and the improvement in the treatment of the neglected children in that city. He constantly urged the necessity of supporting the Children's Infirmary and the Seamen's Orphan Institution in the pages of the " Porcupine.
The following article 'Christmas in the Courts' was first published in the Porcupine December 1862.