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51 Fleetgate

Volunteer guides look after the building on behalf of the Society, and open the house to visitors free of charge several times a year when they are on hand to answer questions and tell visitors about the building and its history.

51 Fleetgate (on the right) along with 49 and 47 Fleetgate.

This grade II* listed building is thought to be the oldest residential house in North Lincolnshire. The front section is part of what was a single house incorporating 47, 49 and 51 Fleetgate, possibly dating from 1325.  A major extension was started around 1425 when a large oak-framed hall was built on the rear of the north and which is now number 51.

The house was open from the floor to the crown post roof which was originally thatched. There would have been an open fire in the middle of the floor, with smoke escaping through louvers in the thatch.  During the 17th century the chimney stack was added.

The property was later split into three houses and number 51 was bought by the Clipson family and opened as a barber shop and tobacconist in 1908. The Clipson family did not alter the interior, which remains much the same today as it would have done in 1900. The house is owned and maintained by North Lincs Council.


Main Features

Front Room - Barbers Shop and Tobacconist's.

Some of the bottles on display in the barbers shop (front room) One of the advertisements on the ceiling of the barbers shop (front room)

Rear South Room - Kitchen.

  • The range used coal for fuel and would have been lit every morning. If the owners were house-proud, the outside of it would have been polished with black lead every day.
  • The cupboard to the left of the range would have been perfect for storing food that had to be kept dry, so salt, sugar and flour would have been kept there.
  • Flat irons were used for ironing clothes and would have been heated to the correct temperature close to the fire.
  • The oven would have been used for baking bread, although at one time there was probably a separate bread oven in the scullery.
  • Lighting was by gas back in 1900 and the fish tail lamp is still in place.
  • Possibly an early modification was the addition of a sleeping platform over the next door area, supported by the large beam to the right of the door. Later on a full upper floor was added and a wall was built under the beam to form two separate rooms - the kitchen and a separate scullery.
  • The windows are examples of the Yorkshire slide design, which goes back several hundred years.
  • The doorway is very low. People were not generally so tall as they are now.
  • The doors are of a very simple plank construction and the door fittings are handmade examples of the blacksmith's trade, forged by heating and hammering into the required shape.
The range in the kitchen
The range complete with iron still in situ.

Rear North Room - Scullery.

  • The set pot was used for heating water for the weekly wash, which was always done on Monday. Clothes were also boiled in it as a final washing stage. The fire would have been hard to light and burning coals would have probably been carried through from the kitchen range using an ash pan.
  • The dolly-tub was used for soaking dirty clothes overnight in washing soda and then for washing in hot water after being soaped and scrubbed. Either a posher or a wooden dolly was used to agitate the clothes in the dolly-tub. Another tub would be filled with cold fresh water for rinsing clothes after washing.
  • The wooden tub was used for scrubbing and soaping dirty clothes. (Before detergents were invented)
  • Clothes were part dried by squeezing them through the wooden rollers of a mangle. (There is a Victorian one in 51 Fleetgate)
  • There is an arch to the left of the set pot which was probably where a bread oven originally stood. These were heated up with coals and then the coals were scraped out and the risen dough placed in the hot oven.
  • The slop-stone is an early version of a kitchen sink and was carved from York stone. It would have probably been connected to a drain, leading to a sewer or a soak-away.
  • There is a bathtub at 51 Fleetgate which is typical Victorian. The family would have taken turns to use it one a week. In winter, baths would have been taken in front of the kitchen range. This would have stopped the water cooling down too quickly.
  • There are many kitchen tools on show in 51 Fleetgate. These include shears, sleaver, peel, straining frame, salt glazed pots, stew and jam pans, cast iron saucepans, slop pail, fire shovel, Edwardian posher and many more.
  • One of the windows has been blocked up in the scullery. This was probably done after the introduction of tax on windows in the 17th century.
  • The floor was originally all brick, laid in a herringbone pattern.
  • The pine table would have been regularly scrubbed to keep it clean, especially before and after food preparation.
  • The water pump in the yard was the only source of fresh water. (There is now a tap next to it connected to the mains supply)
The scullery complete with some of the items in use in Fred's day.
The scullery with the washing implements used at the time. The scullery complete with may old items not generally seen today.

Upstairs Rear Wing - Bedroom Area.

  • The long window uses leaded glass, though originally they would have been just open, with shutters that would be closed when it was cold or windy.
  • The fireplace is Georgian, made in the 18th century.
  • When first built, the hall would have stretched right to the wall of the front rooms with no staircase, no chimney breast, no dividing walls, and no upstairs floors. It would have been high roofed. The reeds used for the thatched roof would have been visible and there would have been no glass in the windows. The timber frame was the strength of this design and the walls were just bricks laid on edge with mortar to fill the spaces between the frame timbers.
  • The timber used for the frame is oak. It is probable that the carpenters would have been trained as shipwrights, perhaps working at one of the ship building yards on the Haven, when not building houses.
The crown post roof is also visible in the walls of the room. This room is the best place to see the medieval crown post roof.

Upstairs Front Room - Bedroom Area.

  • The fireplace is Victorian and quite different from the taller Georgian fireplace in the back room.
  • Coal was expensive and it is likely that the fire would not have been lit very often. The room gets quite cold, even though it now has an electric heater. If the fire was lit the coal would have had to be carried all the way upstairs from the coal shed in the back yard. In the morning all the ashes would have had to be carried back down stairs and got rid of.
  • The lock on the door has a wooden case.
  • The Yorkshire slide window dates from the 18th century.
  • The fishtail gas burner provided light at night.
  • The toilet was situated outside in the back yard.
The display in this room is changed frequently. The fireplace with map above.

The Rear Garden.

  • The rear garden has been lovingly restored and maintained by a band of volunteers and is looking wonderful.  There are seating areas where you can sit and contemplate the history of the area.
The gardens of 51 Fleetgate looking towards the building.
The gardens of 51 Fleetgate looking away from the building. The gardens of 51 Fleetgate looking towards the building.


Visit Fleetgate - Open Days 2015

Date Details of Event
19 April Cancelled
24 May Opening times are 1pm – 4pm
26 July Opening times are 1pm – 4pm
13 September Opening times are 1pm – 4pm (Heritage Open Day) 
28 November Cancelled

We are prepared to open on any day at any reasonable time for private bookings, i.e. Clubs, Families, History groups, etc.

For more details please call 01652 635172.

We do not make a fixed charge for bookings but a donation will be appreciated.

Would You Like To Volunteer?

We are looking to extend our small dedicated team of volunteers at 51 Fleetgate.  We realise it can be a daunting experience but believe it can be a rewarding one.  Here are a few frequently asked questions which may help:-

Q. How much of my time will it take up?
A. Your name will be placed on a rota, you will decided how much time you will give and on what day.

Q. I don't feel confident in showing visitors round the property. Is training given?
A. Yes, we will give you all the help you require to boost your confidence. We intend holding regular informal meetings with volunteers to sort out any problems we may have.

Q. I don't want to be a tour guide; can I help in any other way?
A. Yes, there are several ways in which you can help. some are listed below:
    Greeting visitors in the shop, and making them feel welcome.
    Selling books and merchandise.
    If visitors are waiting for a guide, keep them entertained for a few minutes until one becomes available.
    Setting up displays.
    Window dressing.
    Just like your own home, this list could go on and on.

Q. How many volunteers are there at the moment?
A. We have about nine, I won't attempt to list them all as I am bound to miss one out! All volunteers are prepared to give help and advice when required. If you decide that you would like to become a guide, existing guides will encourage you to accompany them on tours of the property. This will give you a good idea of the way in which we do it.

We hope you are interested in becoming a 51 Fleetgate volunteer, you will be made to feel very welcome.  If you are interested please contact the Society on the numbers above, or email them.

Click here for details of The Clipson Family

Click here to view Newport the link between 51 Fleetgate and the Wilderspin National School.

For more detailed history of Barton upon Humber visit

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