Friday, 10 May 2013

Proving that Robert Elstob Hutton was a shipowner in Hartlepool

Back in February I wrote about a little about Hartlepool, in particular the street, Cliff Terrace, in which I thought my 4x great uncle Robert Elstob Hutton had lived.  Hartlepool was bombarded during the First World War and Cliff Terrace was damaged.  I wrote then that I was hoping for more information from Hartlepool museum before I continued Robert's story, this has not been forthcoming so I'll write up what I know so far and it will hopefully give me a few ideas about where to look next.

Robert Elstob Hutton was born in Sunderland, Durham in 1804 and baptised in St Michael's church in Bishopwearmouth, where he married his cousin Catherine Elstob twenty four years later.  He was the eldest son of Robert Hutton, a ropemaker and his wife Ann Elstob, daughter of John Elstob who was the owner of a brewery.  The family appear to have been part of a group of middle class business families in the North East at the beginning of the 19th century who intermarried, attended the same churches and chapels, generally socialised at each others houses and sat on various municipal and benevolent committees together.  It seems to have been customary at that time to give the children surnames as middle names, sometimes the sources are obvious, Robert's middle name is his mother's maiden name, on other occasions less so, maybe the surname of a god parent or just a close family friend that they wanted to favour. 

Catherine was born in London in 1805.  Her father, John Elstob, an Attorney at Law, was the younger brother of Ann Elstob, Robert's mother.  Both Catherine's parents died when she was only six years old, and she may have been brought up in Sunderland by her aunt and that is how she came to know Robert.  Her elder brother Thomas Wilson Elstob (named after Thomas Wilson, his grandfather, a merchant) remained in London, and is listed in the census returns between 1841 and 1861 as a shipowner, a merchant and a manufacturer of hosiery. Her younger brother William Hodgson Elstob (origin of middle name still unknown) is living with him in 1851 but has no profession himself.  He later turns up in Hartlepool.

In my previous post I explained that Robert and Catherine must have moved to Hartlepool around 1840 as their son Henry is born in Sunderland in 1840 but they appear on the 1841 census in Hartlepool at Moor House.  By 1851 they have moved to Cliff Terrace, where Catherine, now a widow, is still living in 1861.

Master Mariner's claim form, dated December 1850 listing Robert Elstob Hutton's service
1850 Claim for Certificate of Service (from Ancestry)
Robert's Master's Certificate of Service was issued retrospectively in 1850 when the scheme was introduced.  It lists his service from 1820 up to 1840 as an Apprentice, Mate and Master sailing from Sunderland in the Coal and Baltic Trade and then the American and Baltic Trade.  A note comments that he "has been residing on shore since 1840", the date at which he moves to Hartlepool.  He claims service on the Vesper as Master from 1829 to 1834 and the Ireby as Master from 1835 to 1840.
Listing for the Ireby in Lloyd's Register of Ships 1838 (from Lloyds Register)
In Lloyd's Register of Ships Robert appears as the captain of both the Vesper AND the Ireby for several years.  The Ireby, we can see in this snip from the Lloyd's Register in 1838, is owned by Hutton&c, suggesting Robert is at least a part owner in this ship.  A document I found online,  on a site called Ookl and ascribed to Hartlepool Museum, is the ship's registration entry for the Ireby.  Hartlepool Museum have been unable to provide me with a copy of the image that I can read, however the note on the page says;

"Taken from the Ship registration records compiled by H.M. Customs and Excise at the port of Hartlepool, this page shows details of Iveby registered 23rd September 1845, built in Sunderland, Durham in 1838. Subscribing owner/s listed: Robert Elstob Hutton of Hartlepool, Durham, Ship owner. This is page 1 of 3 pages devoted to this ship."

Other ships in which Robert had a share according to this collection of documents are the Hotspur, built in Sunderland in 1839, the William Lees, built in Sunderland in 1839, the Duchess of Cleveland built in South Shields in 1836, the Euxine built in South Stockton in 1855, the Acacia built in Hartlepool in 1847 and the Aboyne built in Aberdeen in 1814.

The fact that Robert did not need to work as a ship's captain after 1840 suggests that his investments were paying enough for him and his family to live on, but I don't know whether this was a lot or a little.

The listings and fuzzy images on Ookl are all I have to work on currently for this aspect of Robert's career - Hartlepool museum tried to find the originals of the images but failed.  Close examination of the image for the William Lees (and a fair amount of imagination) suggests William Hodgson Elstob is also mentioned.  This is Catherine's brother, the one with no profession - maybe he invested his money in Robert's ships and had no need to work. 

Newspaper Cutting headed the Hartlepool Corporation and listing the councillors elected under the Municipal Reform Act.
Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury 11th January 1851 (from British Newspaper Archive)
In 1851 Robert Elstob Hutton was elected to the Hartlepool Town Council.  The newspaper cutting above contains a long list of the men who were elected including J P Denton, the third most popular, who is probably the John Punshon Denton who co-owns the ship Acacia with Robert. 

Robert is also listed in Hagar & Co.'s Durham Trade Directory in 1851 as a Ship Owner, and two addresses are given, High Street, Hartlepool and Marine Terrace.  Which is confusing if you go back and read my previous post about where Robert's house was as I decided then that Marine Terrace morphed into Cliff Terrace between 1861 and 1871, but that Robert was living at Cliff Terrace throughout.
A snip from a trade directory showing Robert Elstob Hutton's listing
1858 Post Office Directory listing for Hartlepool (from Historical Directories)

The 1858 Post Office Directory for Durham lists Robert Elstob Hutton as Secretary for the Marine Insurance Company and Portuguese Vice Consul at Town Wall, Hartlepool.  When Robert dies in April 1858 his son John Elstob Hutton takes on these roles, and unfortunately runs away with the money in 1866, I wrote about him in a blog post at the end of last year.
Entry from the National Probate Calendar in 1858 for Robert Elstob Hutton (from Ancestry)
Robert dies intestate and Catherine has to seek Letters of Administration for his estate.  This suggests he died unexpectedly ... but I have yet to find anything in a newspaper about his death, unlike his brother in law.
Shields Daily Gazette 24th May 1860 (from British Newspaper Archive)
In 1860, for reasons unknown, William Hodgson Elstob, commits suicide by drinking prussic acid in his lodgings at Town Wall, Hartlepool.  The article, above, in the Shields Daily Gazette, notes that he had been "many years resident in Hartlepool, [and] brother to the wife of the late Mr Hutton of Cliff Terrace."  He was forty-nine years old and there doesn't appear to be any sign of money trouble which might have precipitated this.  There is no entry for his will or admin in the Probate Index - but that might be because there was no dispute about his estate ...

Robert and Catherine had eleven children, but with the exception of the Black Sheep, John Elstob Hutton whom I've already mentioned, and Alfred Hutton, born 1846 who marries Jane Mary Hyde in 1881 and has a descendant who contacted me many years ago, I really don't know what happened to them.  So I think that is the next step, and maybe along the way I'll find out more about whether owning ships and parts of ships in Hartlepool in the 1850s and 1860s was a profitable thing to do.

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