51 Fleetgate is thought to be the oldest residential house in North Lincolnshire and definitely the oldest in Barton upon Humber. It has a history of about 600 years. The building was restored by Glanford Buildings Preservations Trust, with assistance from English Heritage, after the death of Fred Clipson in 1989.
|The spectacular crown post roof at 51 Fleetgate.|
The building's medieval timber framed rear wing, with its crown-post roof, is a rare survival and dates back to the 15th century. It was originally constructed as a large hall, open from the ground level to the roof - no doubt heated by a fire in the middle of the floor, the smoke curling upwards and escaping through louvres in the thatched roof. During subsequent centuries. the open hall was divided into a number of rooms by the insertion of walls, ceilings, a flight of stairs leading to an upper floor with two massive chimney stacks accommodating fireplaces.
The area of the building fronting the street, together with 47 and 49 Fleetgate which originally formed part of number 51, appears to be some 250 years old and probably replaced a timber-framed structure. The scale and quality of the timbering in the rear wing suggests that the building was originally the home of a wealthy merchant. It was later used as a farmstead and in the 19th century it apparently became a boys' boarding school, run by the Rev. Robert Forster. About a hundred years ago it was divided into the three shop units which exist today.
|The timbers are clearly visible in the walls at the rear of 51 Fleetgate.|
In 1908, 51 Fleetgate was opened by Fred Clipson's father as a barber's shop and later became a newsagent. Unique ceiling posters have survived in the shop through work carried out by a specialist team from the Department of Conservation and Restoration of De Montford University Lincoln.
Many features from past generations have been retained in the building : the slop-stone (the forerunner of the modern kitchen sink), the copper for heating water and boiling laundry, gas lighting jets and a Victorian kitchen range. The building forms a valuable teaching aid, demonstrating the development of the domestic house.
The second phase of the restoration was completed using the Single Regeneration Budget. North Lincolnshire Council now owns 51 Fleetgate, but the building is cared for by the Civic Society. This architectural gem is a fitting addition to Barton's rich heritage and complements the town's importance as an historic centre.
|The rear of 51 Fleetgate showing the uneven chimney breast.|
Taken from "Barton Regeneration Centre - a short guide to 51 Fleetgate".
51 Fleetgate is now in the hands of North Lincolnshire Council and is well worth a visit. It was brought back to life with the aid of North Lincolnshire Council, Glanford Borough Council, Barton Town Council, Glanford Buildings Preservation Trust, English Heritage, Barton upon Humber Civic Society and CHAMP (SRB).
51 Fleetgate used to be the home of the Barton upon Humber Regeneration Centre which ended in March 2002. The Barton upon Humber Civic Society and archives are still based there although there are plans to move them to Wilderspin National School in the future. There are special open days organised by the Civic Society more details of which can be found in the events page or on the Civic Society website.
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