Friday 31 May 2013

John Elstob and Co Brewery, Bishopwearmouth Panns

A couple of days ago I wrote the first part of John Elstob's story, how he moved from rural Durham to Sunderland his occupation changing from Yeoman to Custom's Officer.  John Elstob was my 5x great grandfather and appears to have improved his circumstances by some judicial marriages and career changes.

When he marries Henrietta Brown in 1778 he is described in the newpaper report of their marriage as a Landwaiter in Customs in Sunderland.  Henrietta was the daughter of a fellow Custom's Officer.  After her death in 1780 he remarries (this is his fourth marriage that I am aware of) to Mary widow of John Swinburn, maiden name Thompson, and an indenture made up at the time of their marriage, referenced in her will, refers to him as "one his Majesty’s Officers of the Customs ".  
Extract from handwritten document indenturing John Elstob the younger son of John Elstob, Customs Officer to Thomas Sanderson
1786 Indenture or Articles of Clerkship for John Elstob the younger (from Ancestry)
In 1786 John Elstob apprentices his second son John Elstob the younger, now aged about sixteen years old, to Thomas Sanderson an "Attorney of his Majesty's Court of King's Bench" as a clerk for five years.  On this indenture John the elder's occupation is still Officer of the Customs. 
A newspaper advertisment illustrated with a little sailing ship, advertising the sale of the Brigantine Intent.
Newcastle Courant 7 Jan 1786 (from Find My Past - Newspapers)
Also in 1786 the above advertisement appears in the Newcastle Courant - an auction is to be held at "the house of Mr John Elstob, sign of the White Lion, in High Street Sunderland".  If this is the right John Elstob, not the one who was the butcher (unlikely but not impossible as probate was granted for that John's estate in April 1786 suggesting he died in early 1786) then our man had already branched out into the pub trade by this time.  Note that the "Inventories ... may be seen at Mr Robert Hutton's" - this is probably be the father of Ann Elstob's husband (another Robert Hutton) as in his 1800 will the elder Robert gives his occupation as Coal Fitter.  Ann hasn't married Robert yet, that will be in 1797.
A sketch map of the banks of the river Wear showing various properties including a glassworks, Elstob's Brewery and a shipbuilding yard.
1785-1790 Rain's Eye Plan (from the Sunderland Antiquarian Society)
The first indication I have found of John branching out into brewing is on the 1785-1790 Rain's Eye Plan, a kind of map of Sunderland, Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth which measures 84 inches by 21 in the original (a bit large to hang on your wall!)  The cluster of buildings to the right of centre are labelled John Elstob & Co Brewery and Premises - suggesting this is also where he lived.
Two map snips, the upper showing the plan view of a section of the south bank of the river Wear and the lower a bird's eye view of the properties as if looking from the river
1792 Mackintosh plan and bird's eye view (from Victoria County History)

The 1792 Mackintosh survey of Sunderland, which form a pair showing the buildings on the banks of the Wear in plan and 'bird's eye' views confirms the placement and relative size of Elstob's brewery premises.  It shows as a complex cluster of buildings on the plan and on the 'bird's eye view' appears much smaller, but maybe that is the elevation as seen from the river.  

A list of items to be auctioned including Lot 4th A Free-hold Malt Kiln in Union Lane Sunderland
Newcastle Courant 6 June 1795
(from Find My Past - Newspapers)

By 1795 John is renting a Malt-Kiln in Union Lane.  He is making his own malt to supply his brewery.

A later trade directory, in 1829, does list the words "and maltsters" after the main entry for John Elstob and Co Brewery so he and his firm continued to prepare their own malt, by that time on their own premises.
A newspaper snip relating the celebrations at Elstob's Brewery.
Newcastle Courant 4 Oct 1800 (from British Newspaper Archive)

The grand celebration related on the right to commemorate the installation of a huge porter-vat at Elstob and Co in 1800 gives an impression of how large a brewery it must have been and how good John was at publicising his firm.  Imagine forty people around a table and still enough room for dancing around the edges - the vat must have been enormous!

In October 1811 a plea appears in the Tyne Mercury from the brewers of Sunderland, led by John Elstob.  This newspaper has not appeared in digital form on the British Newspaper Archive yet so this is the transcript from the Victoria County History collection.

"To Coopers, Publicans, Makers of Ships and Others
We whose names are hereunder written, being Common Brewers in Sunderland near the Sea, in the County of Durham and the Neighbourhood, do agree to form ourselves into an Association for discovering and apprehending any person or persons who shall, or may at any time hereafter feloniously steal or receive (knowing to be stolen) any of our casks or brewing utensils; and as our joint and equal experience to prosecute such person or persons to conviction. And we will liberally reward any person or persons who shall give such information to Mr. Thomas Collin, Attorney, Bishopwearmouth, as shall be the means of bringing such a person or persons to justice.  That Mr. John Elstob, Mr. John Taylor, Mr. James Bell and Mr. John Beecroft be and are  hereby appointed a committee for paying rewards, directing prosecutions and therewith  managing and conducting the business of the Association.  And we hereby give this further notice that we will hereafter individually expect Publicans to return all casks committed to their charge, in good condition as when delivered to them and we will severally consider them answerable for and liable to make good all Damage any casks may receive by neglect or otherwise when in their custody, and will severally commence actions for the Recovery of the amount expended in repairing all such damage."

Anyone who works in the brewery or pub trade today knows that these same problems are still current - fascinating to see it documented 200 years ago though!

In his 1816 will John empowers his executors to continue the brewery for as long as they "deem it expedient to do so", after his death, which occurs in December of that year.

"I hereby authorise and empower the said Thomas Young and William Hindmarch and the survivor of them and the executors administrators and assigns of such survivor to continue and carry on the said trade or business of a common brewer at the said Brewery at Bishopwearmouth Panns aforesaid in such and the same manner as the same shall then be done by me."

This is the state of play for at least ten years, during which the brewery continues to appear in the various trade directories under the name John Elstob and Co Brewery.   

Clipping from a newspaper advertising the sale of a fourth part of the Panns Brewery
Newcastle Courant 3 June 1826 (from Find My Past - Newspapers)

Then in 1826 an advert appears offering a fourth part of the brewery for sale - this must be one of the four shares put aside for John's children and grandchildren in his will (see my previous post about Thomas Elstob)

It would be interesting to find out what prompted this advertisement  - who needed the money, my 4x great grandmother Ann Hutton or one of the sets of grandchildren? The sale appears to have been unsuccessful in selling the part share, however for the following year the whole property is advertised for sale.

A very long advertisment for the sale by auction of John Elstob's estate - including the brewery, two dwelling houses and fifteen pubs
Newcastle Courant 23 June 1827
(from Find My Past - Newspapers)
NB: try increasing the zoom on your browser
 to read this snip

This sale by auction is to include the "two large and convienient Copyhold Dwelling houses adjoining the brewery on the South, one late in the occupation of Mrs Elstob".  

Mary Elstob dies in March 1827 and this advert appears in June 1827 which suggests that once there was no longer a need to provide John's widow with an income the executors saw no reason to continue running the brewery.  In his will John mentions the shares passing from the trustees to the Elstob grandchildren when they reach the age of 21 years and all the surviving children but William Hodgson Elstob had done so by 1828.  Maybe the grandchildren and my 4x great grandmother (or her family as she herself died in late 1827) had decided they wanted the ready cash for other investments and/or they had no interest in running a brewery - not classy enough maybe?

What fascinates me about this advert is the list of pubs included in John's estate.  Fourteen pubs named and described (there were sixteen mentioned in the advert in 1826), I have tried to research them, but you will have to wait for another post to see what I found out.

It is also interesting to see that the auctioneer is one Mr J. L. Hutton.  John Elstob's daughter Ann, my 4x great grandmother marries Robert Hutton, a ropemaker.  He has a number of half siblings including John Lipton Hutton, the auctioneer employed here to sell his half brother's wife's father's estate.  Complicated, but at least it's all in the family!

John mentions other assets in his will, in particular vessels and parts of vessels, in other words, shares in ships.  I can see no mention of them for sale, maybe they had already been disposed of.

The last item on the list of property is a pew in Bishopwearmouth Church - a perquisite of the comfortably off in those days which fits nicely with the family story from the Liverpool descendants of Charles Reuben Hutton, one of John's great grandsons.  One of them told me that the family had owned ships and a pew in the church. 

The brewery buildings must not sell as a going concern for the contents of the brewery, including brewing vessels and dray horses appear in various separate advertisements the following year, 1828.

By the next map of Sunderland which I have, the 1857 Ordnance Survey, the land which the brewery used to occupy has been transformed into a shipyard.

A section of 1857 Ordnance survey map showing the south bank of the river Wear lined with shipbuilding yards
1857 Ordnance Survey 512 sheet 10 (from the Sunderland Antiquarians Society)

 I have tried various overlays of the old maps and lined up the streets and houses and I think the brewery lay to the left (or west) of the row of buildings in the centre of the above map snip running between the river bank and the road called Panns Bank that arches into the map from the bottom.  It is very hard to tell - the edge of the river has changed so much and the older maps were not orientated north south so I had to turn each one a bit this way or that to attempt get them to line up.

So that was the end of the Elstob Brewery - it lasted from somewhere between 1786 and 1790 until 1828, around forty years, so not a bad outing I suppose.  Now to work out what the grandchildren did with the money ...

Wednesday 29 May 2013

From Yeoman to Customs Officer: the first part of John Elstob's story (with a Brewing Empire to come)

John Elstob's story is very much a work in progress, writing his story will hopefully fix some of the facts I have about him in my mind and enable me to search more purposefully for further information.  In proper family history research style we will begin with what I know about his daughter, Ann, my 4x great grandmother and then work backwards.
A newspaper cutting stating that on Sunday Mr George Donkin, Ironmonger married Miss Elstob, daughter of Mr Elstob, Brewer.
Newcastle Courant 16 April 1791 (from the British Newspaper Archive)

Ann Elstob was married twice, firstly to George Donkin, an Ironmonger, in April 1791 in Sunderland.  On the index entry to their marriage bond, available on Family Search, a handwritten note indicates that she is the daughter of Mr Elstob, brewer in Sunderland.  This is supported by a marriage report in the Newcastle Courant of 16 April 1791.  One of the witnesses to this marriage is a Reuben Elstob.  George Donkin dies in April 1795 and Ann, who has had no children with George, remarries two years later in January 1797.  Her second husband is Robert Hutton, a Ropemaker and he is my 4x great grandfather.  This time a Thos Elstob is one of the witnesses.

At the baptism of her fourth child with Robert Hutton, William James Hutton, at Bishopwearmouth in 1812, Ann is noted as "his wife Ann late Donkin (native of Bishopton)" (Durham Records Online).
Newspaper cutting stating that Mrs Hutton, wife of Mr Robert Hutton, rope-maker had died aged 59 in Sunderland on the 15th inst
Newcastle Courant 20 October 1827 (from the British Newspaper Archive)

When Ann dies in 1827 her burial entry at Sunderland, Holy Trinity and a newspaper cutting from the Newcastle Courant 20 October 1827 both give her age as 59.  This means she was born around 1768.

Searching in the baptism records on Find My Past I found that an Anne Elstob was baptised on 27th December 1768 in Bishopton, Durham, parents noted as John and Eliz, living at Pitfield.  Widening the search to any Elstob's baptised in Bishopton around that date I got listings for Thomas, John and Reubin all with the same parents at either the same address or nearby and within three years of Anne's birth.  These names match the names of John's sons who are listed in his will in 1816; I mentioned his will yesterday in my post about Thomas Elstob, a Master Mariner.  Unfortunately the Bishopton parish records are not included in the Bishop's Transcripts on Family Search and have not been indexed by Durham Records online so I have no further details nor actual images of these baptisms.
Ordnance Survey map snip showing Bishopton centre with Pitfield Farm south, Little Stainton and Elstob north, Redmarshall and Stockton on Tees east.
Bishopton and surrounds (from Bing Maps)

At the bottom of this map snip which centres around Bishopton is a Pitfield Farm, about one and half miles as the crow flies from Bishopton.  The baptisms I found state that John and Elizabeth Elstob were living at Little Stainton when Thomas was baptised in 1767 and Pitfield for both Anne and John.  Interestingly, look in the top left hand corner of the map - there is a place called Elstob!

We know from John's will that when he died his wife was called Mary, so Elizabeth must have been a previous wife who died.  We also know that John was 78 when he died in 1816, so he was born around 1738. 

On Family Search there are two marriages for a John Elstob and an Elizabeth.  One to Elizabeth Thompson on 30th Aug 1763 at Bishop Middleham, John would have been about 25 years old - and one to Elizabeth Rippon on 2nd November 1766 at Aycliffe, John would have been about 28. 

Typed Index Entry for the Marriage Allegation and Bond on 30th Oct 1766 for John Elstob and Elizabeth Rippon.  George Rippon stands surety.  A handwritten note adds that they married on 2 Nov at Aycliffe.
Marriage Bond Calendar Entry for 1766 - Elstob and Rippon (from Family Search)
We can investigate both of these marriages further by finding them in the Marriage Bonds and Allegations, which are also on Family Search.  When John Elstob from Bishopton married Elizabeth Rippon from Aycliffe, at Aycliffe in 1766 he is a widower and a yeoman. 

Another calendar entry, for the marriage allegation of a Thomas Elstob from Redmarshall (which is to the east of Bishopton) in 1765 lists John Elstob of Mount Pleasure (sic), Bishopton, yeoman as the surety for the bond. There is a Mount Pleasant Farm just appearing on the left hand side of my map snip ... very near to Little Stainton, where we know our John was living in 1767.  Maybe this Thomas is John's brother?  John's eldest son is called Thomas so it does appear to be a family name.

John states he is a widower in 1766 therefore it is possible that the earlier marriage, in 1763 is also his. That John Elstob says he is a yeoman from Hurworth on the Marriage Allegation, which is about nine miles south of Bishopton.  Certainly the signatures on the Allegations look similar and one of the witnesses is a Thomas Elstob. 

The Marriage Allegations have a further mystery for us as in 1761 Thomas Elstob, gentleman of Bishopton, late of the parish of Hurworth obtains a licence to marry a Rebecca Musgrave, who is 19 years old, and even has the signed consent of her father on the paperwork - then the marriage does not go ahead.  This non-event links Hurworth, Bishopton and the name Elstob, sure enough, but does make me wonder what happened next ... did Rebecca change her mind? 

John and Elizabeth's fourth child, Reubin (Reuben) is baptised in 1771 at Bishopton but no place of residence is mentioned in the entry I found on Find My Past.  We can only assume that Elizabeth (nee Rippon) dies at some point between 1771 and 1778 as our next sighting of John is at yet another marriage.
Newcastle Courant 30 May 1778 (from the British Newspaper Archive)
John Elstob has arrived in Sunderland by 1778 (or thereabouts) when his marriage to Miss Henrietta Brown is announced in the Newcastle Courant.  

"Last week at Sunderland, Mr John Elstob, a Landwaiter in the Customs  there, to Miss Hen. Brown, daughter of Mr Nicholas Brown of the Customhouse in that port; a young Lady possessed of many valuable accomplishments, with a handsome fortune."

As a Landwaiter, his occupation in the cutting, his duties were to watch over landed goods, taking taxes as appropriate and ensuring goods for export had the necessary paperwork.  Oddly in the Marriage Allegation that goes with this event he still states his occupation as yeoman. Again the signature looks comparable to that on the Allegations from 1763 and 1766.

There is a second John Elstob marrying in Sunderland around the same time (1775 & 1782), however checking those Marriage Allegations we can see he is younger than our John, and a butcher by trade.

Poor John isn't very lucky with his wives - the accomplished Henrietta gives him a son, Nicholas, named after her father we assume, the following spring but then in 1780 first Henrietta dies in May and then little Nicholas follows her in December.  This seems fairly straightforward, based on the records on the National Burial Index (NBI  - I have the disk) and Durham Records Online.  Unfortunately on Find My Past there are two listings for Henrietta's burial, one the same as the NBI and the second a little different - saying that her husband was a Thomas Elstob!  I currently have no way of checking this, there are no images for that year on the Family Search Bishop's Transcripts for Durham.

It seems very likely she does die as in December 1781 John marries again, this time to a widow, Mary Swinburn.  In her will written in 1818 she mentions an indenture drawn up just before they marry.

"the trusts and powers contained and reserved in and by a certain Indenture bearing date twenty ninth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one and made between my late husband John Elstob by the description John Elstob of Sunderland near the sea in the County of Durham one his Majesty’s Officers of the Customs of the one part and Thomas Langstaff of Sunderland aforesaid Surveyor of Excise and George Thompson of the same place Surveyor of Customs of the other part being the settlement made previous to and in Consideration of my marriage with my late husband the said John Elstob"

Mary appears to have been protecting her own interests by this indenture - maybe she had some property or money left to her by her previous husband or from her own family that she wished to keep separate from John's.  She also mentions a niece, Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of James Thompson of Islington in Middlesex.  I have found a marriage of a Mary Tomson or Thompson (depending on which transcription you read) to a John Swinburn in 1776 in Sunderland and a John Swinburn dying in Sunderland in 1779.  So that fits nicely. 

Mary's will confirms that John was, in 1781, unmistakeably a Customs Officer, however on their Marriage Allegation he describes himself as a Gentleman.

So far we have established that John Elstob was a yeoman, from Little Stainton, and possibly prior to that from Hurworth.  He may have had a brother called Thomas who also lived in Hurworth, Bishopton and later Redmarshall.  John was married at least four times, firstly possibly to Elizabeth Thompson, then definitely to Elizabeth Rippon, mother his four children, Thomas, Ann, John and Reuben.  His third marriage was to Henrietta Brown in Sunderland, she bore him one son, Nicholas then both wife and son died within a year or so.  His fourth marriage was to Mary Thompson, a widow previously married to Swinburn, who survived John by eleven years.  At the time of his marriage to Henrietta in 1778 he is a Landwaiter in Customs or a yeoman, or both.  By 1781 he is a Customs Officer and feels he can now describe himself as a Gentleman rather than a yeoman when he marries Mary.

Next time, the Brewing empire of Elstob and Co.

Monday 27 May 2013

Connecting Thomas Elstob, Master Mariner with the rest of the family

I have been aware for a while of a Thomas Elstob, Master Mariner, in the Sunderland census returns, but had been unable until now to positively connect him to my Elstob family.  Last night, thanks to a DVD I bought at the Yesterday Belongs to You event I attended in Durham last week I found proof which links him to the family.

Elstob is a popular middle name in my Hutton line and originates when Ann Elstob (1768-1827 and previously married to George Donkin) marries Robert Hutton, the ropemaker, in 1797.

Ann was one of four siblings, but her three brothers, Thomas, John and Reuben were all dead by 1811, leaving a number of grandchildren who were mentioned in the 1816 will of John Elstob, Common Brewer, their father, which I had obtained from Durham University's Probate Records collection.

A handwritten section of a will naming numerous grandchildren, transcript below in body.
A snip from the will of John Elsbob, Common Brewer, 1816 (from North East Inheritance)
The section of John Elstob's will reproduced above reads:

"In trust for my grandson Thomas Elstob the only child of my late son Thomas Elstob his executors administrators and assigns.  And as to one other equal fourth part of the same residue or overplus in trust for my grandchildren Thomas Wilson Elstob, Ann Elstob, Catharine Elstob and William Hodson Elstob the children of my late son John Elstob in equal shares and proportions to take the same as tenants in common and not as joint tenants their respective executors administrators and assigns.  And as to one other equal fourth part of the same residue or overplus money In trust for my grandchildren William Thompson Elstob and Isabella Elstob the children of my late son Reuben Elstob in equal shares ..."

As you can see the will mentions Thomas Elstob, the son of Thomas Elstob and I had long suspected that the Master Mariner I had found on the census returns was this man, but I had no proof.

Last night, investigating the DVD "Where did my ancestors live? Sunderland" that I had bought last week, for the first time (I've been washing and gardening since we got back on Friday) I found an entry in a trade directory section for 1846.

Trade directory entry listing Jane Elstob, Confectioner, 9 High Street, Thomas Elstob, Master Mariner, 13 Sunderland Street and William Hodgson Elstob, ship owner also 13 Sunderland Street.
1846 Trade Directory Elstob entries in Sunderland (Sunderland Antiquarian Society disk)
Thomas Elstob is shown living at 13 Sunderland Street, Bishopwearmouth and at the same address is William Hodgson Elstob.  This is a very distinctive name and if you check back in the will snip you will see that he is one of John Elstob's grandsons (although it is spelt Hodson here).  I mentioned William Hodgson Elsbob in a post just a couple of weeks ago, the brother of Catherine Elstob (also mentioned in the will above, who marries Robert Elstob Hutton her cousin); he commits suicide in Hartlepool in 1860.

1851 census snip showing Thomas Elstob, his wife Ann and daughter Catherine
1851 census for 13 Sunderland Street, Bishopwearmouth (from Ancestry)
Thomas Elstob, Master Mariner, is living at 13 Sunderland Street in the 1851 census return, with his wife Ann and daughter Catherine.  They have one young female servant.
Large scale map snip showing Sunderland Street, East Cross Street and William Street in 1857.
1857 map snip showing Sunderland Street (from Sunderland Antiquarian Society Maps)
This map snip from 1857 shows Sunderland Street on the right and some nearby streets including East Cross Street, to the west of Sunderland Street, which is the address at which Thomas can be found in earlier trade directories.  The houses are quite large and that coupled with the servant found in the census return suggests a comfortable lifestyle.
Thomas Elstob at East Cross Street, Ship's Master and Ship Owner
1827 Pigot's Directory showing Thomas Elstob in the Ship's Masters Category,
 the asterisk indicates he is a Ship Owner too (from Sunderland Antiquarian Society disk)
Searching my family tree in Family Historian using one of the new plug in facilities I found that Sunderland Street was mentioned as the address from which Ann Hutton (nee Elstob) Thomas's aunt, was buried in 1827 although no house number is mentioned.  Does this hint that the orphaned Thomas Elstob and William Hodgson Elstob lived with the Huttons after their parents' deaths?  However I cannot find the Thomas Elstob family or William Hodgson Elstob in the 1841 census in Sunderland Street or anywhere else for that matter!

Now knowing that this Thomas is a member of my family I back tracked to look up his Master Mariner records on Ancestry and Merchant Seaman's Records on Find My Past.  He has entries in both record sets. 

Thomas Elstob's claim for a Master's certifcate of service showing service on the Frederick, May, Sarah and Wm Lees all from Sunderland between 1821 and 1850, the date of the document.
Thomas Elstob's Claim for a Master's Certificate of Service (from Ancestry)
Thomas claims for a Master's Certificate of Service in 1850 listing service from 1821 to the present on four different ships from Sunderland.  He serves on the Frederick from 1821 to 1822 as Mate and returns as the ship's master in 1823.  He has a long stretch on the Sarah from 1825 to 1838 and then by 1838 he has settled on the William Lees as Master.  This is the ship I mentioned as owned by William Hodgson Elstob and Robert Elstob Hutton in my previous post.  All in the family then!

Thomas's birth place and date of birth is noted at the top of this claim form - Sunderland 12th Janry 1801.  I notice that on the certificate he is issued, which is also available on Ancestry this has been copied across as 12th June 1801.  The entry I have for his baptism on Family Search states that he was born on 7th January 1800, son of Thomas Elstob and Eleanor Reay and this is supported by the image from the Durham Bishop's Transcripts also on Family Search.

Baptism Entry 28: Thomas Elstob [born] 7th Jan 1800 [bap] 8th Apr 1800 1st Son of Thomas Elstob native of this parish [Sunderland] by his wife Eleanor Reay native of this parish.
1800 baptism entry for Thomas Elstob (from Family Search)
The entry reads: "Thomas Elstob [born] 7th Jan 1800 [bap] 8th Apr 1800 1st Son of Thomas Elstob native of this parish [Sunderland] by his wife Eleanor Reay native of this parish."

Either the transcription is wrong (and BT's are not always accurate) or Thomas didn't know his birthday! 

Newspapers are another fruitful source now we have more clues about Thomas.
Newcastle Journal 21 September 1833 (from Find My Past - Newspapers)
Here we have a snip from the Newcastle Journal in 1833 relating how the brig Sarah, captain by the name of Elstob, barely escaped from a storm on her journey from Sunderland to Schiedam in Holland.

Thomas, now a widower, and Catherine appear in the 1861 census still at 13 Sunderland Street.  He is a 61 year old Dock Gate Man and Catherine is a teacher.  In an 1865 directory on the disk I bought, Catherine is listed at the same address, running a Seminary. 

I'm sure I remember a mention of a Captain Elstob working as a Dock Gate Man in something I've read ... but I can't lay my hands on the source today.  It does sound like a good land based job for a retired ship's captain.

By 1871 Thomas is alone but for a lodging teacher (a friend of Catherine's maybe?), Catherine herself having died in 1866.  He is still working as a Dock Gate Man and he is 70 years old.

Thomas dies in 1872 and is buried from Sunderland Street in Sunderland Cemetery. His branch of the Elstob line dies with him.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Open University - Update on my module conundrum

Just before I went away on holiday I posted about the effect of the fees increase at the Open University on my life.  I have been studying with the OU since 1998 and I wanted my very last module with the OU to be an interesting history one, not an introductory level 1 general arts and humanities one.

Just as we were coming home yesterday I received an email to say that the Humanities Programme Director had agreed that I didn't have to take the interdisciplinary level 1 module after all.  They had taken into consideration the wide range of modules I've studied over the years, history, technology, maths, computing, sociology and heritage. 

I've now registered for my last module - A327 - Europe 1914 - 1989: war, peace, modernity.  When I have completed that in the summer of 2014 (and of course subject to passing the module I'm doing now and the new one) I'll have earned a BA Humanities.

There's a space waiting for the certificate on our office wall!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

A visit to Beamish, tea in Crook and an old friend

Yesterday we visited Beamish, the North of England Open Air Museum.  It was the first of two planned visits for this week.  You pay once and your ticket entitles you to visit as many times as you want for a whole year!  For the lady and gentleman we met in the Sun Inn, a real pub, with real ale, in the middle of Beamish's 1913 town, a wonderful idea, as they visit often because the pub reminds the chap of a place he used to drink many years ago.  It did sound as if they used it as their local!

As we knew we would be coming back we didn't even try to see everything; we knew that was impossible anyway, the OH and I tried it a few years ago and only managed about two thirds of the site.  With my reduced mobility, my mum on my arm (yes, but she can get up steps a lot faster than me, and beat me in Sainsbury's if she's got the trolley) and the OH's mum and her bionic knees, we really had to face reality and set ourselves just two of the areas for the first day.  We visited the town - including the pub - and the pit village.

I feel I want to write a lot about Beamish, but maybe later.  I really want to get onto Crook ... if I do another post about the museum I'll link it backwards to here, I promise.

The plan said we were going to Crook for tea at the new Wetherspoon's pub there.
A low black and white pub with a stone built extension to the left.  A recent Wetherspoon's upgrade.
The Horse Shoe Inn, Crook
The ordnance survey map I had brought along didn't reach as far as Crook, so we set the sat nav for fastest route from Beamish.  It took us along some very windy roads, up and down hills so steep that they felt like rollercoasters, and yet we were only going fourteen miles.  This is why I do like Durham so much, Barnsley and Sheffield have hills but somehow not the same.

The meal in the pub was fine, the young man serving even managed to whip up a bowl of warm water for my mum to use as a finger bowl with her rack of ribs - probably not a frequent request in a Wetherspoon's.  Then the OH and I noticed a familiar face at the neighbouring table - an old friend from the Great British Beer Festival.  Hugs and exclamations and introductions to the two mums followed.  Wonderful, what a small world!

After the OH and I had finished our tea we went for a walk around Crook so I could take some photos. 
A stone built church, two aisles with a small bell turret on one.  A porch to one side and another at the end of the nave
St Catherine's Church, Crook from an old postcard
The church now has trees all around and the wall has gone, I got a picture similar to the one in the old postcard above, but would have had to stand in the road (not a good idea these days) to get a truly comparable one.

A street view, a stone wall to the left, over a stream leads to a row of houses working their way up a hill.  The houses are old, with different styles of roofs and windows.
Church Hill in Crook
My granddad was born in Church Hill, Helmington Row, I've blogged about this before.  I worked out in February that this street was actually in Crook, so made a point of going to find it yesterday.  I know from the 1911 census summary books that the family lived a few doors up from a pub just on the other side of the stream, indicated by the stone wall to the left of the picture above, so hopefully I've got their house on this photo.

The market square has changed a lot from the old photos I've seen online.  My great granddad worked at the Co-op, or so the family story goes.  He is enumerated as a Grocer's Assistant in 1901 in Crook.

An old black and white photograph of shops, there is a large double gabled shop on the right, smaller shops running off to the left.  Children are playing in the foreground.
North Terrace, Crook from an old postcard
The big double gabled building in the photo above is just one end of the huge Co-op which used to dominate the market square.  To the very left of the picture is the entrance to Hope Street, a narrow street lined with shops.  Another relative was the postmaster at the post office on Hope Street in 1911.
A modern colour photo of the same view as above.  Modern shop fronts mostly although the shapes of the buildings are similar.  A road with cars where the children were playing
North Terrace, Crook 2013
The Co-op has been replaced by a modern office block for Durham Council, but the roof line to the left seems similar.  One old shop front has survived, a hardware shop with a bow window just to the left of centre in the picture above.  The row of shops is shorter because several shops were demolished in the early 20th century to open up the entrance to Hope Street.

We collected the mums from the Wetherspoon's and returned to the car.  On the way we spotted an advert in a building society window for a 400 page illustrated history book about Crook.  It only seems to be on sale locally and might have been a very short print run as the paperback is £20 and the 'limited edition' hard back £40.  I'll add it to my wishlist ... but not hold my breath.

Monday 20 May 2013

How and why do Family Stories become Family History?

Where do family stories become family history?  Every time a group meets news is transferred, the latest information or gossip is passed on.  But which are the stories that become family history?  I suppose they would be the ones that are repeated more than once, that get passed from group to group and that resurface on regular intervals retold and reinforced.

Do we choose which stories to pass on to the next generation?  How much editing, to save embarrassment or to make the content suitable for the listeners, do we do consciously?  As family historians we are aware that we can never know the whole story behind a picture or a document - do we need to? 

Are the stories that are passed on the ones that illustrate a particular aspect of the family that, by consensus, we feel we need to emphasise?  Or is it just as simple as repeating interesting scandal and gossip that catch the attention of the group? We tell the stories which help us to feel a connection with the family members who are present, choosing not to repeat those which may alienate the listeners, or which might be of no interest to the group.

Popular stories are often those which remind us collectively, in a way which draws us closer together, of the members who are now gone from the group.  Stories about family members who are no longer with us can contain details that, if about a person still alive, may not have been repeated for fear of anger, disappointment or shame.  We love to find a common point of interest, a memory that is shared is more powerful than just one person's account. 

"Do you remember?" or "That was when you ..." Imagine these stories as the sticky threads of a spider's web, pulling us into the conversation, giving the speaker more authority by virtue of our participation and agreement over the details and content of the story.

If we find ourselves telling a story that turns people away or which elicits no interest we stop, change the subject, take the story down a different route - that is effectively an editing of the family stories by the consensus of the group.  Whereas a tale that causes people to go at once to another person, maybe in another room or who was distracted or out of earshot for the first telling and retell it again so they have not missed out, those are the stories which will be passed on and on. 

Yesterday I met a whole house full of my extended family, many for the first time face-to-face.  Some I knew virtually, through Facebook, some I had met at family weddings and funerals.  Some were comfortable talking to us, we who were 'relative' strangers, others kept their distance for a while.  Little children are great ice breakers in these situations, and once their initial shyness around new people was over they became amongst the friendliest of all, keen to collect a new adult willing to smile and praise them.

When a story was told that had a theme which evoked mirroring remarks and stories from the listeners, it encouraged the original story teller to expand upon their tale with details missed from the first telling as they now knew they had their audience's attention.  Sometimes this effect bounced back and forth between several story tellers with more and more detail being added to the tales as the narrators sought to reassure each other that they were sympathetic to the stories being told by their companions.

Finding someone who shares your world view, be it on beer or ex-husbands, childcare or education encourages you to speak more freely - this is not a phenomenon restricted to family gatherings.  But the stories we tell at family gatherings will become family stories, will become part of our family history and we choose them to suit the company, to suit the event, as tools to gain entry and acceptance to the group if we are new or to reinforce our status in the group if a longstanding member.

How do family stories become family history?   They are our collective memories, edited and agreed by the group.  They cannot exist without the consensus of the group - stories which do not 'fit' will not be accepted, stories which we 'discover' may, despite the documentary evidence behind them, never become part of the family canon.  Yet the stories on which we all agree, no matter how loosely based in reality, will become valued family history in time and will be fiercely defended against all comers!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Yesterday Belongs to You

We had a plan, a devious, cunning plan ... plotted in advance in a many leaved multi-coloured plan folder, with maps and bus timetables and lists of pubs (well what did you expect with the OH on holiday!). 

And then it rained ... all night, and all morning.  There were news reports about floods on the local roads, and it came in through the windows which we'd opened to let some of the heat out of this lovely warm cottage (still not got the hang of this thermostat).  So we didn't get to the bric-a-brac market in Chester-Le-Street, instead we just sat in the lounge of the cottage watching the rain drumming on the roof of the car parked just outside. 

Then I had one of those "light bulb above the head" moments.  An earlier version of the plan had me visiting the local and family history day at Durham County Hall, a plan I had rejected as it was very like to end in costing more money than I could actually afford to spend.  However it was indoors and there were apparently over 60 stalls and a cafĂ© so we would be out of the rain, and there might be something for everyone to look at for at least a couple of hours.

Yesterday  Belongs to You is the name of the event - it is held every two years and I have visited it once before.  I believe that in 2011 it was held at the railway museum at Shildon, but this year it was going to be just down the road from our cottage.  It was meant to be, how could I argue with fate - plus it gave my mum, my mum in law and the OH something to do instead of looking at the rain on the first day of our holiday.

Things didn't go completely to plan, however, as the OH had never approached the County Hall from the north before and we got completely lost in Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor.  Too many roundabouts, not enough signs.  Finally we did manage to catch a glimpse of the County Hall, but only over a red and white striped barrier ... turn around and try again!

There was a vintage bus parked outside the venue - we wondered why?

Inside we found the promised multiplicity of stalls, people dressed up as Romans and lots and lots of lovely books, maps, DVDs, and family history accessories to buy.  On telling the ladies on the Beamish Museum stand that we were planning a visit on Monday they gave us a couple of back issues of their Friends of Beamish Newsletter.  My mum needed to sit down for a while so we left her on a comfy chair in the foyer with the magazines and a big cup of tea while we continued to look around.  As a consequence mum has decided that she'd like to sign up to be a Friend to support them and get further copies of the magazine through the post.

The OH found out what the vintage bus was for, he took a free twenty minute joy ride in it back to Pity Me (honestly that is a place ... find it here on a map, my mum says it comes from the French petite mere, or small sea, so I suppose there must have been a significant water feature there at some point, although Wikipedia is not sure).

My mother in law was fascinated by the rag rugs.  Several ladies were actually demonstrating prodding the scraps of fabric through the old sacking.  I remember the pieces of a very similar frame to one a rug was stretched on being propped up in my grandparents' bedroom many years ago. I can even remember cutting the fabric scraps for my mum when I was very small.

My own mum found a stand from the Spennymoor Local History Society.  They had a collection of digital photos on a laptop and were able to show her pictures of the primary schools from the 1950s, which would have been just after her time.  I now know she went to Kings Street primary school, information I had not had before.

Myself, I succumbed to a book containing some collected memories of Crook, subject of some of my previous posts, a DVD with a scanned book about the history of shipbuilding in Sunderland, some maps and a street directory, a couple of maps of Durham and a bargain book from the Local Population Studies bookstall.

All in all, everyone was happy, and we wouldn't have gone there if it hadn't have been for the rain.  The old saying about clouds and silver linings comes to mind.  Thank you rain!

County Durham History and Heritage Forum logo

(Oh, and we managed to get lost in the roundabouts again on the way to the Wetherspoons in Chester-le-Street for our tea.)

Thursday 16 May 2013

Effect of the Fees Increase at the Open University on me

I've been studying with the Open University since 1998, I used my Radiography diploma as transferred credit and I was awarded a BA Hons Open in 2000 after just three additional 60 credit modules.  I wrote about my experience in one of my earliest blog posts.

Since then I have continued to take OU modules on an irregular basis, with the freedom of choice to study anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, for a reasonable cost ... until last year.

While I was still working at Sheffield Hallam University I studied modules in statistics, mathematics and computing.  Since becoming too ill to work I find studying gives me something to do with my days, OU study leads to credits and a feeling of achievement, you didn't have to aim towards a degree or any particular goal if you didn't want to. 

Family History is fine, and I did do the Oxford University Advanced Diploma in Local History via the Internet (while I was initially working part time), but unless you sign up for an expensive long distance course from Dundee or live near enough to one of the universities that offer postgraduate study in local history such as Winchester, Teesside or Leicester (there may be many more but those links were just the results of a quick Google search), the only other option is the courses aimed at training professional genealogists and archive searchers such as the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies or Pharos recommended by the Society of Genealogists.

So I took a module in Cities and Technology (which was a different angle on history - looking at buildings and infrastructure), and one in Sociology (because my PGCE had given me an interest in it and I wanted to investigate further) and was looking forward to taking whatever history modules appeared over the years.  Both of those modules have since been discontinued, so I can't give you weblinks.  The family history modules I originally studied are long gone, the range of modules at the OU constantly changes, depending I suppose on what the academics want to offer and what is popular. 

Then two years ago they announced that from 2012 the fees were increasing from around £600-700 for a 60 credit module (120 credits is equal to full time study) to £2500.  Yes you did read that right, two and a half THOUSAND pounds!

I usually pay for my modules by instalments and although the payments have crept up over the years, not by so much that it put me off until I finished work.  This year I paid £93 a month for nine months or if you split it up over the year for comparison, just under £70 a month.  I had put money on one side from my redundancy and my mum has also been helping me out since my ESA stopped.  For that you get most of the books, plus the online guides, student and tutor forums, face to face tutorials and the support of your tutor and the other students, plus of course you get 60 credits that they can't ever take away from you.  Under the new arrangements students without a degree can get a student loan for the fees, otherwise you can pay by twelve monthly instalments of around £220.  That's three times the money for the same service!

The new fees don't affect people who are currently studying towards a degree that will finish before 2017 and who take at least one module a year towards that pre-specified goal between now and then.  This is called transitional arrangements and I qualify.  However it means I can't have a year off to save up for the next module, or just to have a change or a rest, or be ill ... I am also limited in which modules I can study if I want to end up with a degree with a proper name - I don't really want another BA Open, what's the point in that?  I could have traded in my maths and computing and the Cities course for a BSc Open, but was that any better? I decided to go for a BA Humanities.  I just needed 120 more credits from appropriate modules.

This year I've been studying AD281 - Understanding Global Heritage, and it's a doozy.  Not what I thought at all, all politics and legislation, very little history or contemplation of nice old things.  I could really do with something I enjoy more for my last ever OU module.

From 2014 the Level 1 module AA100 - The Arts past and present - becomes compulsory for anyone taking a Humanities degree.  I really don't want to do this module - most of the modules I've done have been level 2 or 3, with long essays, discussion, background reading and being able to contribute your own opinions at some point, even if it's just in the final assessment.  Level 1 is where you start, the essays are short and prescribed, the course is an introduction to the OU for new students - I don't want to pay £755 for something I won't enjoy.  But the only other option is A207 - From Enlightenment to Romanticism.  Can you tell I'm not thrilled with this either?

I really fancy a new module, A327 - Europe 1914-1989: war, peace, modernity - which is a reincarnation of an older module AA312 - Total War and Social Change: Europe 1914-1955 which in its turn was a revamp of A318 - War, Peace and Social Change - which ran in the early 1990s.  The books for the older courses are available on ebay and Amazon Marketplace for as little as 99p and I've bought a couple just for interest.  Of course the new module might not be much like the older ones, the lead academic on both the previous courses was Arthur Marwick and he died in 2006 so I suppose the content is bound to have been updated to suit the new course team. 

It's not the first time I've bought old OU text books - I have a set of AA313 - Religion in Victorian Britain books, which I bought in a local charity shop for a few pounds.  Useful background reading for family history on everything from Non-conformists and Catholics, to Agnostics and Jews.

So here's my quandary ... do I study a module I feel I will not enjoy just to get the named degree? Or do I study the history module, which I think I can get away with under the transitional arrangements and then the compulsory AA100 the year after?  But that's two lots of fees ... and we still haven't sold our old house so we are very poor at the moment and I'm not going to enjoy that level 1 course any more in a year's time. 

Or do I just buy 99p (plus p&p) old text books from ebay so I can study history for the rest of my life and trade in the modules I've got for another Open degree and call the whole Open University thing a day?

I have a feeling I'm not the only person in the country, or even the world, when you consider the OU's catchment area, who is facing a decision like this about now.  Thank you Open University, for the last fifteen years (on and off), but just now I'm very disappointed in you. 

Update: In the last fifteen minutes, since I posted this blog I've received an email from the OU, it's AA100 or nothing apparently - that's not the way I read their website, so I'll try ringing them AGAIN! 

Further Update (an hour and half later): the advisor at Leeds thought I might stand a chance of an exception to study the history module rather than the level 1 module  - so I've written to the OU qualifications office to enquire about this.  Cross fingers.

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.