Tomorrow is part 1 of our walking tour, as I write it is pouring with rain, fingers crossed for sunshine in the morning. We have Mari from the Parliamentary Archive joining us tomorrow and I hope to instigate a conversation with the group about the relevance and responses to visiting historical sites mentioned in the documents we have been looking at.
Part 2 next week will take us along King Street to look at amongst other things St Peter Parmentergate which is now a martial arts centre. This re-invention of buildings is obviously not particular to Norwich, but we do have a fair number of churches in the city.
It will be interesting to consider re-use further when we look at the sites tomorrow, particularly the old Bethel Hospital, which although partly re-developed some of the building remains in a empty state. I have a feeling there might be a covenant on it, perhaps some of the group might have more information.
This afternoon was spent at the Archive, catching up on some of those Land Tax records from yesterday. Desperate for some colour in all that fairly neutral paper, parchment and ink I sought to collect a series of images where colour is either clearly seen or obscured. There seems to be a process of covering seals with pieces of paper, were these to blot the wax which as the wax dried the paper remained fixed or is it another entirely different type of mark? Susan is usually my source of answers for these things and so will ask her when I see her next.
The Land Tax records we looked at were for St Peter Mancroft. With the Archive centre sitting on the site of the former house of Martineau, I wonder if we can find the relevant records relating to his Land Tax bill in the year we are looking at. The records are arranged by parish and I had little idea about how to find out which parish boundary the County Hall site sits within. Asking the archivist on duty at the desk, the parish question, brought about a search on the Internet, exploration of a series of maps and a discussion with a colleague to find the answer: Lakenham. Will ask if these documents might be available for next weeks session. We can then assess just how wealthy Martineau was.
There was a great energy today as we worked at NRO. It feels like we are making real progress and connections.
Last week I spotted a Land Tax reference in the Coleman Collections directory so I requested it ready for today with no idea if it would be useful or not. It’s an early reference, but last week we had spoken about how we hadn’t seen any records of how the tax collecting was recorded. This book gave us a starting point, hand written with amounts for property and amounts for stocks. Wendy mentioned a reference she had written down from the on-line catalogue. When Susan joined us we discussed this early document and Wendy’s note and off she went and came back with two bundles of documents, Land Tax records for the parishes of St Andrews and St Peter Mancroft. Looking at 1821 records, the information is now entered into specially printed forms. There is, after trying to decipher difficult handwriting, a real joy in a form filled in with readable or mostly readable information we can make sense of. The number of entries is much larger which logically follows the rise in population in Norwich over the 100 or so years between the two sets of information. One of our characters Yallop, a commissioner is mentioned as paying some 50 pounds in the St Peter Mancroft Parish (the church opposite the forum in Norwich), not an insignificant amount of money at the time. So being a commissioner in no way was an exemption of the tax. It also didn’t mean that he personally went around collecting money, rather he appointed staff to be both assessors and collectors.
The other two detectives spent time looking at the United Friars materials. A history of the group was written by M Knights when the documents where held in the Coleman collection. On reading the account one of the History Detectives Elaine was questioning Knight’s interpretation, do we trust his referencing or paraphrasing, does he stray into embellishing? Something we might call in the trade artistic license perhaps.
In the afternoon I asked each member of the group to talk about a document of their choice. This audio recording trial run was really useful and gave me some material to work with over the next week.
Philip Meadows Martineau
From the notes prepared by the Parliamentary Archives, Martineau was an ‘eminent surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, where he volunteered his services’. He was well thought of in Norwich and beyond, as he communicated with the Royal Society on medical matters. The notes describe his as possibly socially snobbish if intellectually radical which indicated he was a man sure of himself.
In Norwich we possibly know the name best in connection with Martineau Lane where County Hall is found. Indeed this was on his land that County Hall was built. There is a discrepancy between two sets of notes I have, in terms of an association with the United Friars, was it Philip or his nephew (also a surgeon) who participated in Friars meetings? In any case he was generous in his commitment to the care of the poor.
The old Norfolk and Norwich hospital located off St.Stephens Road is being redeveloped into housing and they are finally after a considerable number of years, starting on what I think is the original Georgian part of the hospital complex.
Martineau’s house was demolished to make way for County Hall in the 1960’s, notes indicate there is a folly within the grounds which I shall, given time, seek out tomorrow.
John Harrison Yallop
Yallop is a very interesting character to explore in this project, There are some almost comic moments within his life which seperate him from other commissioners who were perhaps more philanthropically minded. He became the agent for Government lottery tickets and then after finding an unsold ticket in his safe (all unsold tickets were to be returned to London) he decided to purchase it. The ticket was found to be a winning ticket, but exactly how much was won is unknown. Although he doesn’t appear to been concerned with social matters such as soup kitchens or poor relief he has been noted in record books related to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, with another commissioner Philip Meadows Martineau who I will write about tomorrow. Yallop was well known and powerful within Norwich, elected as Alderman, Sheriff and Mayor (twice) all rounded off with a knighthood in 1831.
My personal associations with the name Yallop are with the old Yallop shoe shop that used to be towards the top of St Augustines in Norwich, just up the road from my studio.