Take a Trip back in time to Barton upon Humber 1835.


I was recently lucky enough to acquire a copy of Pigot & Co’s National Commercial Directory for 1835. Of course, being interested in the history of Barton, I aimed straight for the Barton upon Humber section. My investigations have been very rewarding and I wanted to share them with other Barton Civic Society members. I have not gone into great detail as I want this article to appeal to people who may be interested in Barton history and those who may not be.

In the opening paragraph of the Barton upon Humber section of the directory Barton is described as “a market-town, in the united parishes of St. Mary and St. Peter, in the northern division of the wapentake of Yarborough, and parts of Lindsey.” Today, suffice it to say, we are in North Lincolnshire.

In 1831 the population of Barton was 3233, less than a third of what it is today, but the town itself was thriving. In 1835 it was described as “a thriving town, a good traffic existing in corn and flour, and having several manufactories of starch, Paris white, sacks, rope, cables &c; besides which, considerable quantities of bricks, tiles and potters’ ware are made here; and the tanneries are upon a large scale. The town derives great spirit and importance from being the place where the great northern road passes the Humber to Hull, and packet-boats, for passengers and carriages, cross and re-cross the river every day.” It must have been a very important place in Lincolnshire.

After the opening paragraph the directory lists the main shops and services available in Barton upon Humber.

In 1835 the Waterside area of Barton was almost a separate community in itself. There were 28 entries for shops and services in the Waterside area, predominantly Waterside Road. The more interesting include the Waterside House Inn (which is still there but is now a private residence), two brick and tile makers, four coal merchants, four maltsters, two millers and flour dealers, Hall and Burton rope manufacturers, two whiting and Paris white manufacturers, a ship and boat builder, two beer retailers and a stay maker (corset maker) amongst others.

In 1835 there were 24 entries for shops and services along Fleetgate, a far cry to what there is today. There were three pubs or inns, these being the White Swan, The Steam Packet (which is now Charlie’s) and the Waggon and Horses (which has been demolished and replaced by the building which is now occupied by St. John’s Ambulance). There were also four butchers recorded, two chymists (or chemists as we now spell it), a boot and shoe maker, a few coal merchants, two corn merchants, two maltsters, some bricklayers and many more. Fleetgate in 1835 must have been a busy thriving street.

In 1835 there were 19 entries for shops and services along Newport Street (yes it was called Newport Street then). Again this is a far cry from the Newport we know today. Amongst the 19 were boot and shoe makers, butchers, bricklayers, hair dressers, joiners and cabinet makers, shopkeepers, tailors and beer retailers. This, along with Fleetgate and the Waterside area, shows how vibrant it was in the northern area of Barton at this time.

High Street today is quite a busy street and in 1835 it was no different, in fact it was probably more so. There were 40 entries for shops and services in High Street with the more interesting being six boot and shoe makers, a brewer, four butchers, a chymist and druggist, a hair dresser, three joiners and cabinet makers, numerous shopkeepers and grocers, two stone masons, a straw hat maker, a few tailors, some beer retailers, a couple of wheelwrights and a nail and patten maker.

George Street and King Street were not mentioned by name in 1835, but there was an Old Market Lane. King Street was originally called Old Market Lane but what about George Street? Was George Street also named Old Market Lane in1835, was it included in the Market Place or was it called something completely different? (If any reader knows please feel free to inform me – please note George Street was known as Market Street in the 1860’s but there is no mention of a Market Street in the 1835 directory). There were 32 entries for Old Market Lane which included the Post Office where William Morley was the Post Master. Also on Old Market Lane was an attorney, an auctioneer, a baker, a flour dealer, a blacksmith, two boot and shoe makers, two butchers, a chymist and druggist, two coopers (wooden cask or barrel makers), many grocers, a joiner, a millwright, four plumbers and glaziers, a tallow chandler (a maker of candles from animal fat) and two watch and clock makers.

Market Lane and Market Place would have looked very different in 1835 to what they do today. Market Lane would have been much narrower; having buildings along both sides, and the Market Place would have had a building joining onto the current restaurant (where the shelter is) and a pub where the toilets now are. There was also a small building roughly where the zebra crossing meets the car park outside the bank. Consequently there were 20 entries for Market Lane and 30 for Market Place. Some of the shops and services on Market Lane consisted of a stationer, bookseller and binder (Charles Ball), a butcher, a china, glass and earthenware dealer, a hatter, two ironmongers, a saddler, many shopkeepers and a tin-plate worker. In the Market Place there was the Hull Banking Co. Bank, a bookseller and stationer, a boot and shoe maker, a chymist and druggist, a farrier (a shoeing smith for horses), two hair dressers, two hatters, a saddler, two straw hat makers, a tea dealer, and a few wine and spirit merchants. Also in the Market place were the White Lion pub (where the china shop used to be) and the Black Bull pub (where the toilets now are).

There are some interesting entries for other parts of the town too. On Whitecross Street there is mention of the Blue Bell pub, there is no mention of the Volunteer Arms or the Whitecross Tavern but there is mention of another pub called the Bay Horse. I have no idea where the Bay Horse pub was and unfortunately this was before streets were generally numbered. Was the Bay Horse to become the Whitecross Tavern or the Volunteer Arms, or was it a completely different building? If anyone has an idea where the Bay Horse pub was then please feel free to inform me. Also to be found on Whitecross Street was a blacksmith, a baker and flour dealer, a butcher, two farriers, two shopkeepers, a tailor, a beer retailer and a tanner and fellmonger.

There were two surgeons on Priestgate, along with a boot and shoe maker, a tailor, a tea dealer and a tallow chandler and soap dealer.

There was a blacksmith, a wheelwright, a clog and patten maker, a tailor, a watch and clock maker and the Wheat Sheaf pub on Brigg Road.

The pub in the Butchery was called the Six Bells (it was later to become the Queens and is now a church). Also in the Butchery was a milliner, a plumber and glazier and a tailor.

There was an entry for the British and Foreign Society’s School on New Street (which is now Queen Street). The master of this school in 1835 was Isaac Pitman.

The Royal Charter Steam Packet (ferry) ran from Barton every morning at half past eight and a quarter past eleven and in the afternoon at three and six o’clock. This was the 1835 equivalent to the Humber Bridge.

To conclude, it must be remembered that this directory was produced before the motor car or the bicycle were around. Horses and foot would have been the main mode of transport. The railway line to New Holland and beyond was not yet in place. People had to live very close to where they worked. Goods and services had to be produced locally. The roads and paths were mainly mud and stones and there wasn’t the same law and order around as there is now. This directory was written before the Temperance Hall (Assembly Rooms) was built, and before the National and Infants School was built. The police station on High Street was not built, nor was Providence House. Life, and to some extent Barton, would have been unrecognisable to what it is today.

I hope you find this article interesting and I hope it whets the appetite for more Barton history. This is only a small part of what I have discovered so if anyone wants to comment on any of my findings, correct any of them, or needs a question answering please feel free to contact me. I can be emailed at webmaster@inbarton.co.uk.

Darren Stockdale

Please note - since this article was written I have solved the mystery of the Bay Horse Pub. The Bay Horse Pub was to become the Volunteers' Arms and must have changed its name sometime between 1861 and 1868.

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