Tracing Robert Ward’s House and Workshop

Amongst family papers and documents, we have a photograph that is understood to be Robert WARD’s house and workshop. It presumably dates from the 1870s at the height of Robert’s business. The photograph shows an end-tenement house built alongside a wide thoroughfare with a garden, two waggons parked on the left of the view and a lean-to extension on the side of the house. The house has two storeys and a hint of a skylight in the roof indicating that this space was also used within the house.

Robert Ward's House Marfleet

Robert WARD’s House and Workshop in the 1870s.

We know from the 1861 and 1871 censuses that Robert lived and worked on the Hedon Road, the main thoroughfare from Hull towards Hedon. It was an important route in the 19th century as ships that were docked at Marfleet along the Humber estuary could be offloaded and the goods delivered to Hull by road. Sailors would get shore leave as the goods were landed and there was a brisk trade in catering for shoes and other leather goods needed by the sailors, which needed to be provided in time for them to sail on the next tide.

By using the census and contemporary maps, we have tried to identify specifically where this photograph was taken and therefore where Robert’s house lay.

Marfleet map 1853 cropped
Excerpt from an Ordnance Survey map of Marfleet from 1853. The map shows that the houses on the Hedon Road in Marfleet were all on the South side. The map also shows the location of the Wheelwrights’ Arms.

The photograph gives some clues. All the houses along the Hedon Road lie on the south side, indicating that the photograph was taken across the road from the North. Furthermore, from the census we know that the house lay near the Wheelwrights’ Arms, which is indicated on the map. The photograph shows that the house is an end-tenement with a lean-to on what we must now infer in the Eastern side. Of the houses along the Hedon Road, the one annotated in the map enlargement has both an extension on the eastern side, is shown with a garden, lies along the Hedon Road and lies close to the Wheelwrights Arms. We therefore infer that this is Robert’s house.

Marfleet close up annotated and cropped
Enlargement of the 1853 map of Marfleet. The Wheelwrights’ Arms is the building on the E side of the collection of houses, rather further right than the text would initially suggest.

The photograph must have been taken from the north side of the road from the point at the crest of the ellipse that circles the building.


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