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Hullwebs History of Hull


The House on Salthouse Lane


During the period of the Horners’ ownership of the house, from 1796 to1801, the only tenant about whom there is any information is Edward Foster Coulson. He appears in the rate books of 1798, where the house is recorded as worth twice as much as any other property in the street. Coulson was the son of Edward Coulson, a woolen draper turned wine merchant, who was Mayor in 1781. The Bench Books record Edward junior, as an Alderman, asking the Corporation to stop paying a pension to his mother because he was now in a position to provide for her himself. Edward Foster Coulson became Sheriff in1800 and Mayor the following year. He moved from Salthouse Lane to Charlotte Street in 1801, and was Mayor again in 1809. Like so many residents of the house down the years, he appears to have been unmarried;when he died in Kirkella in 1825 most of his property went to his brother, George.

By the end of the century Salthouse Lane had been filled with buildings. On the south side was the White Hart public house, as well as homes and shops. This was the middle-class side of the street, and it was paved. The north side began to fill up with tenements, courts and alleyways. The 1803 "General Directory of Kingston upon Hull" shows at least three pubs besides the White Hart, and various small businesses. Among the more affluent residents were John Wilson, "gent.", (the house's immediate neighbour) and Thomas Westerdale, boat-builder. There were also two surgeons, a book-keeper, a pilot and a master mariner.

The Harrisons

In August 1801 the house was bought by Richard Acklom Harrison as a residence for himself and his sister, Elizabeth. The background of the Harrisons is intriguing. Their mother, Eleanor Ridgway, was born in 1712 in Bawtry, and her family can be traced back to the 16th century in Derbyshire. Their father was Joseph Harrison. He was the son of Thomas Harrison and Elizabeth Denison, a Yorkshire Quaker couple, and was born in 1709. Joseph's younger brother was Peter, born in 1716, in York. The two brothers went to America and became traders, dealing in wines, rum, molasses and mahogany, in Newport, Rhode Island. Peter Harrison became a self-taught architect, responsible for some famous buildings. He married a descendant of Benedict Arnold. Joseph married Eleanor in 1746 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but there is no record of how she came to be in America. Joseph was one of the 46 founders of the Redwood Library in Newport (a building designed by Peter). Richard (his second name, Acklom, was Eleanor’smother’s maiden name) and Elizabeth were born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1750 and 1752 respectively. In 1761 the Harrison brothers moved to New Haven, where Peter became Collector of Customs. He died in 1768. Joseph lived until 1789, but we do not know whether he ever returned to England. Certainly at some point his children did.

Richard Acklom Harrison became Collector of Customs for the port of Hull, and was also appointed Water Bailiff in February 1784. The posts dated back to the early 14th century, but were acquiring greater importance as trade increased. A new bank had to be opened to handle the remittance of customs revenues to London; this was Abel Smith & Sons, and one of its first accounts was in Harrison’s name. As Collector of Customs Harrison was paid £50 per quarter, and as Water Bailiff he received a percentage of the dues collected. He seems to have argued at some point that he should get more, because the Bench decided in December 1792 that “two and a half per cent upon the amount of dues is a very sufficient allowance” for the work involved, and wrote to Harrison to tell him that these were the terms of the job and ask him“ whether he chooses to accept them or not. ” He replied the following month accepting“without any further additional allowance,” and his appointment was made official. Since the collection of customs was notoriously corrupt, it may be that the Bench was trying to limit Harrison’s scope. Certainly he became rich enough to buy up several other properties in Salthouse Lane. He eventually owned the White Hart Inn, two houses with shops attached, a large tenement house, and the “family dwelling house” next door to his own home. This was the home of the Wilson family, owners of the shipping line. The numbering of houses was introduced early in the 19th century, and Harrison’s house became number 13 Salthouse Lane.

Richard Acklom Harrison resigned as Collector of Customs in 1805, at the age of 55. His successor was Charles Lutwidge, the grandfather of Lewis Carroll. In November 1813 Harrison died in London, and was probably buried there. He left no will, and all his property passed to his “only next of kin”, Elizabeth. Like her brother, she remained unmarried. She continued to live in Salthouse Lane until her death in November 1818. Her obituary in throwing newspaper described her as “A lady whose benevolence to the poor, and cheerful spirit afforded to every charitable object, public or private, will long cause her loss to be regretted.” She left money in her will to erect a monument to her brother in Holy Trinity Church. The plaque reads:

To the memory of Richard Acklom Harrison Esq. late Collector of His Majesty’s Customs at the Port of Kingston upon Hull, who died in London the 3rd of November 1813

this monument is erected by his Sister in testimony of her sincere regard and affection to a beloved Brother. The said Sister lies interred in the vault below, by whose death the poor have lost a kind friend, and the charitable institutions of this town a liberal supporter. The tombstone on the floor below reads:

Beneath this stone are deposited the Remains of Elizabeth Harrison Spinster who died the 20th of November 1818 aged 67 years.

The directories for this period give an indication of the rapid development of Salthouse Lane. In 1815 there are five pubs, a livery stables and numerous shops and businesses (including Peter Nainby, described as a "hairdresser and tax collector"), as well as three "gentlemen", two single ladies and five master mariners. Two years later the house's neighbours include a solicitor's office and a mustard manufacturer, and Mr Nainby at no. 58 has dropped hairdressing to concentrate on being a collector of taxes.

The House on Salthouse Lane by Ann Godden - Page 3


Copyright © 2005 Ann Godden

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