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5, Scale Lane - Alice De Rysterby's


5 Scale LaneThe present building consists of two parts, front and back, joined by a connecting piece. It is entirely built of brick apart from the front wall and parts of the eastern wall which both retain their original timber framing. Both the first and second floors are jettied.

Old Hull would have much resembled the Shambles of York but, due to Hull's prosperity during the industrial revolution, Hull experienced far more rebuilding than the poorer city of York. The German bombers of World War Two did their best to destroy what remained of Hull's old-town heritage, including the total destruction of number 4, next door, setting fire to the roof of number 5.

In 1293, it formed part of a property belonging to Alice De Rysteby, being acquired by John Bedford (twice Mayor) in 1440 who in turn sold it to the Mayor and Burgess of Hull 15 years later. In 1448 it was leased as the 'middle tenement of three' to his servant William Topcliffe - firm evidence that the frontage was clearly built-up by this date. The least mentions it as a tenement 'in which William Rawlinson, joiner, lives' on the east', and a tenement 'in which Simon Locksmith lives', on the west. To the south was a tenement occupied by John Cogwright, providing evidence of the trades being carried on in the area. An analysis of the boundaries has shown that number 5 was the westernmost tenement occupied by Simon Locksmith.

5 Scale Lane - May 2004When the Town took over the properties in 1455, they spent 13s 3d on repairs, suggesting that they had already been standing for some considerable time. Further repairs were made in 1456/57 and a pump-shaft purchased for the pump in the cellar of the middle house, occupied by Henry Halibrand. Although the pumpshaft was found during 20th century excavations, the purpose remains unclear. 1475/76 saw more major repairs, including roof replacements and wainscots.

When the wool trade collapsed in the 15th century, the rents on the properties reflect the changing prosperity of the town. In 1527/28 John Blak, a bellman, rented one of the properties for 4s 6d. In 1543/44 the same property was let to William Robinson for 40d but, by the following year, the rent recovered to 4s. It wasn't long after this that the properties were sold and the deeds for the next 200 years remain untraced.

Ten new houses were built on the north side of Scale Lane in 1576 by James Smith. Four of these houses had a frontage onto the lane with the remaining six in a courtyard behind.

The next identifiable owner turns up in 1753 when Jonathon Serjeant, sailmaker, sold the property to sailmakers Mary & Joseph Elgin, but whether they actually lived there is not known. John Robinson, tailor, occupied the house in 1790.

7 Scale LaneBy 1814, number 7 had become a public house, as it still is in 2004(see picture).

In 1822, number 5 was still being occupied by the tailor John Robinson, but he had been joined by Thomas Wilson, a shopkeeper. Major alterations were made including new timber supports, a new brick floor and a shop front added. John Robinson continued to operate his tailoring business at number 6. He was shown as being 94 in the 1841 census. When he died the property became a boarding house and the 1851 census shows 11 people crowded in. Edward Robinson is shown as owning the property in 1842, as a resident in the census of 1861 and continuously until 1882. The Robinsons' owned the rear part of the building (known as number 6) with Thomas Wilson appearing as the owner of the front in 1823 and in 1842 the business was being continued by George Bowman 'grocer and tea dealer'. By 1863 the shop owner had become Sarah Allen, in 1871 it was grocer Joseph Oxtoby and in 1888 it was acquired by James and Selina Robinson.

Frederick J. Robinson was born at number 5 on the 30th of April 1889. His life story was published in a booklet 'Hull's Oldest Dwelling House' (Swanland Arts & Crafts Ltd), which may be still available from the publishers.

1892 saw Mary Mason and Julia Oglesby acquire the property, the Robinson's having emigrated to British Columbia. It was soon after this that the Georgian bow-winded shop front was removed as, it was said, passing horses and carts were breaking the window panes. Miss's Mason and Hayward (who had replaced Julia Oglesby in 1897) continued trading until 1921, from when Miss Mason was to continue on her own. The shop became the property of tobacconist Charles Foster in 1939 who was described as a tobacconist and confectioner in 1954. It is said the Foster's Shop used to sell pack-ups in red spotted handkerchiefs to the bargees.

In the 1970s, the City Council held off redeveloping the area as part of a major project and, in 1975, scrapped plans for a major new road along the High Street. Instead, the area was declared a Conservation Area and the street has since seen a major revival. The old shop became the property of Glenvern Investment Ltd in the late 1970s and they were determined to restore the old building. The project set about restoring the property to its last major restoration using F. S. Smith's 1883 drawing as a model. The restoration cost in the region of £37,000 and offer a fine opportunity for an archeological exploration of the structure, including the opening of a number of trenches.

Joanne & Tony Mallory became tenants of Number 5 in 1997 operating the ground floor as a tea room with a take away at the rear. In 2004 the property has become a take-away, the Hurry Curry, as can be seen by the photograph further up this page.

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