Saturday, 5 January 2019

The Hutton Rudby Sawmill, the Richardson family and Seaham Villas

Darlington & Stockton Times, Ripon & Richmond Chronicle, 9 October 1880

TO BE LET, to enter immediately.  TWO good FAMILY RESIDENCES, each containing Six Rooms, with Kitchen and Outoffice; large Garden. For particulars apply to JAS. RICHARDSON, Hutton Rudby, Yarm.
I thought originally that this little item from the local paper in 1880 might be of use to those trying to disentangle the Richardsons of Hutton Rudby, but on looking into it further, I found that it opened up various lines of interest:  the Richardsons, the Sawmill and Seaham Villas themselves.

The Richardson family

This coincidence of names – Seaham (of Seaham Villas) and the surname Richardson – suggests to me a link between James Richardson of Hutton Rudby and John Richardson of Hutton Rudby (1821-92), proprietor of the Seaham Weekly News

In that earlier post on John Richardson, I suggested that John was probably the son of John Richardson & Elizabeth Richardson.  In the 1841 Census, John (a "general mechanic") and Elizabeth were living in Enterpen, Hutton Rudby, with their children John, Jane, James and Robert.

(This is the O.S. map 1888-1913, reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland from their magnificent Map Images Website,  Do visit the georeferenced maps on the website to use the slider which will enable you to superimpose the old map onto the map of today.)

I think it very likely that James Richardson was the younger brother of John Richardson, the proprietor of the Seaham Weekly News.  Corroboration of this idea can be found in the 1891 Census, in which a Matilda Richardson, who was the same age as James's daughter Matilda, was working as housekeeper to John Richardson's family in Seaham Harbour.  This Matilda is described as John's niece and was born in Hutton Rudby.  In addition, James had daughters called Hannah and Emma, and when John's widow died in 1905 she left £50 apiece to her nieces Hannah and Emma.  I wonder if John had invested in property to let in the village and that it was being managed for him by James ... 

John Richardson married Eleanor Wight on 20 June 1848 in the church of Dalton-le-Dale.  They settled in Seaham Harbour, where they ran a shop and started the Seaham Weekly News.

In July 1849 John's mother Elizabeth died.  The 1851 Census shows that her widower John was still living in Enterpen.  He was 56 years old and his occupation is given as Cabinet Maker.  With him were his apprentice Simeon Burdon, 18, and his nephew Stephen Richardson, 13, also described as Cabinet Maker.  I can't identify James Richardson in the 1851 Census.

However, by 1855, James Richardson was definitely in the village and was working as a joiner:-

York Herald, 13 October 1855
WANTED Immediately, a good WHEELWRIGHT and JOINER.  Constant Employment and good Wages offered.  Apply to Mr JAMES RICHARDSON, Joiner, Hutton Rudby, near Yarm
He was by then married to Hannah, whose surname I think was Charlton (a search on freebmd shows that only one James Richardson married a Hannah in the Stokesley registration district, and her surname was Charlton) and they had started a family.

By the time of the 1861 Census, James looks to be well established and with a growing family.  He had two joiners living in the household and the children (Sarah, Matilda, Lewis, Jane and Ellen) were aged between 1 month and 9 years.  His father John continued to live on Enterpen, on the same side as the National School; James & Hannah lived on the opposite side.  Both James and John are described as Joiner & Cabinet Maker, and John has married for a second time.  His second wife, like James's first wife, was called Hannah.

By 1869, James had branched out and gone into business as a Timber Merchant, as we can see from this advertisement, in which he is perhaps acting as an agent for the owners of the Mill.  I think this must have been the mill in which Joseph Mellanby Mease had lost an arm in 1860:-

York Herald, 18 December 1869
TO BE LET, a STEAM FLOUR MILL, power found, containing Three pairs of Stones, two French and one Grey, with Flour Dresser and Screen, all complete, together with Dwelling-house and Stable, &c.
For particulars apply to JAMES RICHARDSON, Timber Merchant, Hutton Rudby, near Yarm
In the 1871 Census he describes himself as a Timber Merchant employing 6 men & 1 boy.  He & Hannah had three more children: Hannah, John James and Emma.  James's father John, now 76, still described himself as a Joiner.  

And by this time, James & Hannah had moved across to the other side of Enterpen.  According to the house order listed by the enumerator, they lived in the next house after Joseph Hunt the blacksmith.  (We know that the smithy stood beside the National School, on the site of the house called Pyah.)

Smithy on the Wynd, Hutton Rudby
(the School can be seen to the right)
Next door to James was John and his second wife, and listed after John came the occupants of the Brick Garth (Poplar Avenue).  This suggests that the Richardsons were living at the top of Sexhow Lane, close to the site of the Sawmill itself – but not in the house now called Sawmill House, as I will explain later.

In 1872 he had a slight brush with the magistrates:-

York Herald, 6 January 1872
Before I. Wilson and J. Emerson, Esqs., James Richardson, Hutton Rudby, timber merchant, was charged by Robert Scrafton, excise officer, with having used a dog cart at Hutton Rudby on the 29th November last, and not having paid duty for the same.  The case, however, was dismissed.
And then in 1873, his business crashed:

Edinburgh Gazette. 8 April 1873
Bankruptcies Awarded
James Richardson, of Hutton Rudby, York, timber merchant
However, all was not lost, and he was soon back at work in the timber trade.  Within a matter of months James was the manager of the Sawmill in Hutton Rudby.  

In the 1881 Census, he was aged 52 and he and Hannah had with them their younger children, Ellen, Hannah, John and Emma.  Their eldest son, Lewis, is described as a visitor; he was a 25 year old timber merchant.  By then, James's father John had died.

In 1885, James was still a Timber Merchant in the village as we can see from this advertisement:-

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 8 April 1885
TO LET, a pleasantly situated HOUSE at Hutton Rudby; seven Rooms; large Garden.  Apply James Richardson, Timber Merchant.  Hutton Rudby, Yarm
I think this is quite possibly one of the Seaham Villas again.  In 1880 they were advertised as "containing Six Rooms, with Kitchen and Outoffice" but I wonder if now James is counting the kitchen as one of the rooms; reducing the number of words in the advertisement would probably save expense.

Then the following year an identical house is advertised by James's son Lewis – and he gave his address as Sawmill, Hutton Rudby:-

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 21 October 1886 
HUTTON Rudby. - To Let, good House (semi-detached); 7 rooms; large garden.  Apply Lewis Richardson, Sawmill, Hutton Rudby, Yarm 
Clearly, Lewis was now in the timber trade in the village, perhaps having taken over from his father.  A notice in the York Herald reported that on 30 June 1887 Lewis married Miss Florrie Poole of Clifton, Bristol.  In 1888 their son James Arthur Poole Richardson was born in Hutton Rudby.  Soon afterwards, Lewis cleared his stock:

York Herald, 27 October 1888
TO Wheelwrights. - A quantity of best class and specially selected FELLOES, all sizes, for Carts and Rollies.  Also BEDS, SOLES, and sundry Scantlings of first quality.  Will be sold cheap to clear - Apply to LEWIS RICHARDSON, Sawmills, Hutton Rudby, via Yarm
He and Florrie moved the family to Ripon, where their daughter Elsie was born in 1890.  In the 1901 census they can be found living in Stretford, Lancashire, where Lewis was working as a "Foreign Timber Agent".

In the meantime – and perhaps while Lewis was running the Sawmill – his father James had become a farmer.  The 1891 Census finds him and Hannah and their unmarried children Eleanor (Ellen), Hannah, John James and Emma at Potto Carr farm.  It lies off Parson's Back Lane, a little way outside Hutton Rudby.

The 1901 Census shows John James and his sisters Hannah and Emma running the farm together as partners.

The Sawmill in Hutton Rudby

Hutton Rudby Sawmill
We see here the Sawmill in full operation in this photograph, together with 6 men, 3 children and a dog on top of the log pile.  

The first mention that I can find of the Sawmill is in the 1861 Census, when it is recorded by the enumerator, not as an occupied building but in the same way that he recorded the National School and the chapels.  However, while in the 1871 census I can find several men who are clearly employed in the sawmill, in the 1861 census I can find no one.  Either the Sawmill was not in operation, or somebody ran it as part of their main business and employed general labourers to operate it.

By the time of the 1871 Census it is clear that the sawmill is in full operation and staffed by workmen from outside the village.  Apart from James Richardson, described as a timber merchant, there were 3 bobbin makers (two of them born in Middlesbrough, the other in Morley), a bobbin turner (born in Pudsey), a wood turner and a Newcastle-born sawyer.  

But James went bankrupt in April 1873 and it was clearly not a good time for timber merchants in Hutton Rudby, as another notice shows that Aaron Carter of Hutton Rudby, Timber Merchant, went into a composition with his creditors under the Bankruptcy Act of 1869 in February 1874.  Perhaps Aaron Carter had taken over James Richardson's business?  It seems very likely.

And perhaps it was at this point that the Wilson brothers became actively involved.

Allan Bowes Wilson (of Hutton House) and his brother Thomas (of Enterpen Hall) were linen manufacturers and owned the Sailcloth Mill beside the River Leven.  Their father James Wilson was the founder of their fortunes, and the family was of considerable importance in the village.  They had capital behind them and were able to invest.  I wonder if they owned the sawmill buildings, and stepped in to keep the business running.

This advertisement of 1874 shows the Sawmill – now called the Hutton Rudby Sawmill Company – advertising for workmen, and we can see from it that James Richardson is the manager:-

York Herald, 7 February 1874
WANTED, by the Hutton Rudby Sawmill Co., one WOOD WAGGONER,  accustomed to loading all kinds of timber; one SAWYER, used to work a Rack-Bench; one WOODFELLER; none but steady men, with good characters, need apply. – Address, or apply personally, to JAMES RICHARDSON, Hutton Rudby, by Yarm
And we are reminded in this advertisement of the crucial importance of the nearby railway station (now disused) at Potto throughout the history of the Sawmill (for a full account of the history of Potto station, see here):

The Northern Echo, 21 March 1874
TO FIREWOOD DEALERS. – FOR SALE BY TENDER, a constant supply of FIREWOOD, free on rails at Potto Station.  Tenders at a price per ton will be received up to the 31st inst. – Samples may be seen, and all particulars ascertained, on application to the Hutton Rudby Sawmill Company, Hutton Rudby
But the Wilson brothers' active involvement seems to have been short term.  A notice in the London Gazette of 4 May 1875 shows that Allan and Thomas had been partners in the Hutton Rudby Sawmill Company as Timber Merchants, Sawyers and Bobbin Manufacturers with Thomas Lewis of Middlesbrough, Cabinet Maker, but that the partnership was dissolved on 30 April 1875 and Thomas Lewis went on to carry on the business on his own account.

Thomas Lewis was still in business in 1879, as we can see from this advertisement:

York Herald, 16 May 1879
WAGGONER – WANTED immediately, a Head Man for English timber.  None but experienced and steady men need apply. - Thos. Lewis & Co., Sawmills, Hutton Rudby, via Yarm
Nine years later, Lewis Richardson was winding up his business at the Hutton Rudby Sawmills – and it seems likely that it was at this point that the sawmill ceased working.

The Sawmill and Sawmill House

Various questions arise over the Sawmill building.  The photograph of the sawmill shown above shows quite a range of buildings.  Did they belong to James Richardson?  Did he have the capital to erect them?  Or did he, as seems much more likely, lease the buildings and the land from Allan Bowes Wilson and his brother Thomas?

This photograph shows the Sawmill in the 1950s, divided into three dwellings.    When did this happen? 

Sawmill House, Hutton Rudby, 1950s/1960s
The censuses provide a clue.

When Lewis Richardson gives his address as Sawmill, Hutton Rudby in the advertisement of 1886, I think this is simply his business address.  The 1891 Census does not show a Sawmill House, and there is no sign of such a house in that area.

Sawmill House makes its first appearance in the 1901 Census.  Listed between the houses of the Brick Garth (today called Poplar Avenue) and Allan Bowes Wilson's home at Hutton House, we find Henry Bainbridge, builder, living at Sawmill House.  He is 34, and his family consists of his wife Susan and children Walter, Alick, Bewick and Maud. 

But I think that the house was not the terrace we see today.  The 1911 census does not give the name Sawmill House, but it is clearly the same house.  The enumerator notes that there is a joiner's workshop next door to it.  It seems to me that Henry Bainbridge is living in part only of the old Sawmill buildings, because he gives the number of rooms (not counting scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom or warehouse, office or shop) as 7.  Perhaps the joiner's workshop took up the remainder of the building.  So the final conversion of the buildings into the houses we see today took place after 1911.

And lastly

Seaham Villas, Hutton Rudby

I had despaired of identifying these houses when a chance glimpse of the 1911 enumerator's lists showed a Seaham Villa a short way up South Side on the western end.

It was occupied by John Purkis Banning, a 75 year old retired schoolmaster and his wife, and two of their middle-aged children, Miss Mary Banning (Professor of Music) and Miss Lizzie Banning (Professor of Music and Dancing).  The tailor John Hall and his family lived next door at Scarborough House.

I think Mr Banning's Seaham Villa was very probably No 37 South Side, and that, together with its neighbour Scarborough House, the pair of Victorian semi-detached brick villas just opposite North End were the Seaham Villas of James Richardson's advertisement in 1880.

An advertisement, in which Lewis Richardson describes one of the houses as "modern", supports this identification:-

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 2 May 1887
To Let, Hutton Rudby, semi-Detached House, modern; 7 rooms; every convenience; large garden.  Apply Mr L Richardson, Saw Mill, Hutton Rudby, Yarm
And the photograph below, thought to date from the end of the 19th century, shows the two houses in the centre of the picture:-

South Side, Hutton Rudby
All photographs courtesy of the Hutton Rudby History Society.  To see them at their best, look at them on the Society's Facebook page, in the Albums for The Wynd, Enterpen and South Side.