Paul Gibson’s Hull and East Yorkshire History

Scott Street Chapel - a lesson unlearned

This one makes me furious but it’s a story that has to be told; this photograph shows Scott Street in September 2009, and as you can see its starting to look a little empty and sad compared to just a decade ago when the sepia photograph (below right) was taken. Its present decline began some years ago, but let's start at the beginning ...

Christopher Scott was a wealthy landowner and merchant whose success helped him to become sheriff of Hull in 1750 and mayor of Hull in 1763 and 1778. Plots of land belonging to Scott were dotted around the south of the Sculcoates area of Hull in the late 18th Century. At the turn of the century he laid out a number of streets with Scott Street as their centre and, as was the fashion, several smaller streets in the vicinity were named with other family members in mind. Christopher Scott’s second marriage was to Catherine Carr of Dimston, County Durham hence Catherine Street and Carr Street. Of his three daughters, one married a Mr Wilson, from which Wilson’s Row was named and another Mr Machell - hence Machell Street.

Having land and considerable estates in the Aldbrough area we also have to thank Scott for the nearby Aldbro’ Street. All of the streets were laid out between 1790 and 1800, with evidence to show buildings were constructed from as early as 1793.

Mulgrave Street, initially a short street that ran north from Scott Street to the Cottingham Drain, was not given a family name and was laid out c.1802 and probably named in honour of Lord Mulgrave who was Commander in chief of the East Riding at that time. Mulgrave Street was later renamed, as a new street was laid out stretching across the drain and Green Lane called Lockwood Street (another Mulgrave Street had been laid out off Cleveland Street by that time).

The new streets and housing were by no means a philanthropic gesture by Scott however, as he was simply making the most profitable use of his lands and by filling every available square yard of land between the industrial premises with quickly built, poor quality housing for the ‘lower classes’

The first decent plan of the area is Anderson’s 1818 map, which shows the street built up on both sides as far west as Mulgrave Street (Lockwood Street), and shows notable buildings in black with an index. Shown on the plan are 35 top right - 'Sculcoates Work House’, left of that no.36 – ‘Sculcoates Charity School’, south side of Scott Street no.57 – ‘New Engine Manufactory’, opposite that, no.58 – ‘Whitaker’s Sail Cloth Manufactory’, and no.7 in the centre – ‘Methodist Chapel’.

Although some histories of Hull, such as Sheahan’s, state that a chapel was built in Scott Street in 1793 this has proved impossible to substantiate, mostly as the street was not yet built at that date. From all the evidence available it seems almost certain that a new chapel for the Wesleyans was built in Scott Street c.1803-04 (it was not listed in Battle’s Hull directory issued in June 1803).

It was constructed on the north side of Scott Street at the eastern corner of Carr Street; the Victoria County History stated: - ‘Some fifteen chapels were opened by the Wesleyans, beginning with Scott Street in 1804’. The information used in the VCH was taken from Home Office records and showed Scott Street Chapel’s importance as one of the first Wesleyan Methodist Chapels in the Hull district, and almost certainly the first to be built in Sculcoates. An article in the Hull Packet in January 1862 noted that the Scott Street Chapel had been built in 1804 at a cost of around £1,500. Originally three bays by four and of simple red brick, by design it was of a typical Georgian box construction, with seating for 531. Historian Sheahan, writing in 1862-66, noted that ‘the front was cemented about four years ago’ (c.1860) and described the building as ‘a brick building with a pedimented front, the interior is rather plainly fitted up. The front of the gallery is white and gold and the pulpit plain and the baptism vessel is of white marble.’

The Sculcoates Workhouse and Sculcoates Charity School listed on Anderson’s 1818 plan of Hull were still visible on Wilkinson’s plan of Sculcoates made in 1832 (see right) but had been demolished by 1849 when in the May of that year and advertisement in the Hull Advertiser noted: - ‘Building land for sale - site of Poorhouse, garden and National school, Cottingham Drain - Scott Street’. The later 1853 Ordnance Survey plan showed the whole of the area behind Scott Street Chapel vacant. Some years later Joseph Somes MP donated £2/2- towards the ‘erection of a new schools in connection with Scott Street Chapel' according to an article in the Hull Packet in March 1860, and Sheahan noted that ‘near the chapel is a commodious Day & Sunday School’ when first writing in 1862. This gives a date for the school attached to the Scott Street Chapel of c.1860-61. Wilkinson's Plan shows the chapel at the corner of Scott Street, with the old National Schools behind, and the Workhouse or Poor House at the bottom of the picture (apologies for the quality - old map).

The chapel itself was extended north circa 1850 and the 1853 Ordnance Survey plan (see right) showed it as an irregular shaped property whereas Wilkinson’s plan of Hull in 1848 showed it unchanged from the 1832 plan. During this remodelling the plain brick exterior was stuccoed, as was the fashion at that time. Further alterations and extensions to the rear were made in 1859-60 to the designs of architect William Botterill. The Pevsner guide, revised in 1995, states simply – ‘a neo-classical design with pedimented façade. 3 by 5 bays stuccoed with quoins. Round, arched windows to the ground floor’. Brown’s Guide to Hull in 1891 noted that a new organ had been added that year and that the chapel had been re-decorated ‘in an exceedingly pretty style’. 

Note the vacant land at the rear of the 1853 plan, as the Workhouse and old school had been demolished and Marsh Street was yet to be built.

Following the extension of the chapel and the construction of the new schoolrooms, a new street was created behind the chapel running parallel with Scott Street. Marsh Street ran east from Carr Street to join Thomas’s Place, an old court that had been opened out to street width. There is no known derivation of the name Marsh Street however, in Stephenson’s trade directory of 1842 there was a Joseph Marsh (one of only four Marsh’s named) who was a ‘Relieving officer of the Sculcoates union’ residing at 30 New George Street. New George Street is the next street to the south of Scott Street. One of the first buildings to be built on the land to the rear of the chapel, at the corner of the new Marsh Street was the Sculcoates Relief Office. Shown clearly on the 1890 Ordnance Survey plan running from the end of Marsh Street through to Wilson’s Row. Shown above is Carr Street in 1997, with the entrance to Marsh Street on the left. The school rooms can be seen at the rear of the chapel.

Sadly Scott Street Chapel had ceased to be a place of worship by 1910 and the building had been taken over by printers Mason & Jackson Ltd.

Having survived two world wars and the ravages of 1930s and 1950s local council modernisation, Mason & Jackson continue to trade until 1997. The chapel and the attached Sunday school belonged to the company and they had an agreement with their neighbours in Scott Street, Maizecor Ltd., that a gate was built to secure the entrance to Marsh Street. A long-standing agreement between the two companies suggested joint ownership. When I visited in 1997 a very dissolusioned and sad Mr Mason senior was still in overall control of the company with his son Robert as director designate. Mr Mason senior recalled that his father started the business in Hull from premises in Alfred Gelder Street, moving later to Wincolmlee and then Scott Street. A photograph in Mr Mason’s records shows the chapel before post war extensions and an extra section of the chapel is shown to the east side of the frontage. As the building was decorated with quoins exactly similar to those on the chapel this must surely have been part of the building. Could it have been the old chapel keeper’s house?

Once inside it was easy to visualise the chapel in its prime as the slim columns supporting the gallery were still in place as was the gallery floor upstairs. The gallery had been floored- out at some point to create a complete floor space for storage, but the lines of the original gallery boards were still visible. The buildings of the chapel and the schoolrooms at the rear were inter-connected but this appeared to be a 20th Century alteration rather than one of long-standing. 

Unable to compete with recent printing innovations and without the funds to invest in the new technology themselves, Mason & Jackson had to consider an offer from their neighbours to purchase the site for eventual demolition. Then reduced to only three full time staff including Mr Mason himself, and open until only 3.30 p.m. each week day the clock was ticking for the Scott Street Chapel. It grieved me at the time to think that one of the second oldest surviving chapel buildings in Hull was to be lost simply for vehicular access to a factory for modern tankers and lorries that could easily have been met elsewhere.

Requests to the Secretary of State’s listing office were made in 1993, from the Civic Society of Hull, the Georgian Society of Hull and myself but failed to obtain qualification for inclusion on the approved list. Their reason was that the building has been ‘too altered to qualify’. An easy answer to give, but on the grounds that it was one of only two surviving original places of worship in this part of Sculcoates, an area more ancient than Hull itself, I suggested to the Department for Culture Media & Sport in March 1998 that the Scott Street Chapel qualified easily as being of specific historical interest to the people of Hull but sadly they chose not to even re-inspect the building and stated clearly that the original decision would stand.

As ever, I wrote in the original version of this history ‘No doubt the protests will begin when the chapel is about to be demolished’. Little did I know how quickly the company would act once they had knowledge that we were trying to get the building ‘Listed’. To my eternal shame I let this one go without a fight and the bulldozers moved in – the Scott Street Chapel and all its associated buildings were demolished between 19th May and 23rd June 2001. I did manage to get some pictures of the demolition and these added to the few poor photographs I made of the interior (no flash!) in 1998, and a small survey of the exterior in 1997 are all that remain on record (see my photography page on this website). The site remains fenced off and vacant, with all trace of human inhabitation gone – Carr Street and Marsh Street have disappeared under the lorry park along with the chapel and just the Carr Street sign stares back through the characterless modern fencing. The urgently needed lorry park remains predominantly empty and the new owners make little use the expanded entrance.

Scott Street is now a shadow of its former self with just a few industrial buildings remaining and St Gregory’s Roman Catholic school-chapel built in 1893. Situated at the corner of Lockwood Street, I fear this may end up being the next victim in Scott Street. As for original chapels and church buildings in Sculcoates the picture is grim; the other old survivor was the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Wincolmlee, latterly used by Towndend’s as a Wines & Spirits warehouse – sadly they saw fit to demolish that too just a few years ago (see right). All that remain in the historic east part of Sculcoates now are St Mary’s Anglican church in Sculcoates Lane (built 1916), the only religious building left in the whole of Sculcoates of any real age is Glad Tidings Hall at the corner of Cave Street and Beverley Road, formerly the Zion New Connexion Methodist Hall – built in 1849.

I did hope that when the Scott Street Chapel had gone the powers that be might show a little more respect and interest in our architectural and social heritage but it seems little has chaged.

More and more irreplaceable buildings are added to the list of losses at an alarming rate whilst others stand empty with their fate in the hands of seemingly out of touch or unaware local and national authorities (see Albert Hall page on this website). A lesson unlearned.  

The Scott Street Chapel is shown right at Christmas 1996, and in the images below during June 1998.

© Paul L Gibson 1998

Revised October 2000 and updated for the Internet September 2009

Bibliography

Basic Chronology of Dates, Styles and Periods. Christopher Ketchell, unpublished manuscript. Hull, 1997.

Browns Illustrated Guide to Hull. E. Wrigglesworth 1890, reprinted by Mr Pye (Books). Howden, 1992.

History of the Town & Port of Kingston upon Hull. J.J. Sheahan, John Green & Co., second edition. Beverley, 1866.

Lost Churches & Chapels of Hull. David Neave with Geoff Bell, Christopher Ketchell and Susan Neave, Hull Museums & Art Galleries and the Hutton Press. Hull, 1991.

The Buildings of England: York and the East Riding. Nikolaus Pevsner (1972) and David Neave, Penguin Books. Second Edition, 1995.

The Streets of Hull: A History of their names. John Markham, Highgate Publications (Beverley) Ltd. Beverley, 1987.

Victoria County History of the County of York, East Riding, Volume 1 The City of Kingston upon Hull. Edited by K J Allison, Oxford University Press for Institute of Historical Research. 1969.

Maps and plans etc

Thanks to Ted Tuxworth collection for 1984 Wincolmlee photograph

1832 Plan of Sculcoates by George Wilkinson. Hull City Archive ref. ICS 1449 (part)

1818 Plan of Hull by Thomas Anderson. Author's collection

1853 Ordnance Survey

1889 Ordnance Survey

1908 Ordnance Survey

1928 Ordnance Survey

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