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28 October 2014

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You are in: Humber > Places > Walks > Coast Walk > Point 2 - Wilberforce House

Wilberforce House

Point 2 - Wilberforce House

Walk to end of park turn right onto Wilberforce Drive and cross the two pedestrian crossings, you should be at the top of Lowgate in front of the Magistrates Court. Turn left into Chapel Lane. At the end turn left. Wilberforce House is on your right.

The city had a significant role to play in the fight against slavery. One of Hull's most famous sons was born in this house on the 24th of August 1759.

Wilberforce house was designed by Hugh Lister, the son of a wealthy Hull merchant and Parliamentarian, John Lister, in the 16th century.

The facade

The house typifies the Artisan Mannerism style

At the time, Hugh Lister was inspired by the architecture in Holland and France, where he had lived for two years - a year in each country.

The style of the house is known as Artisan Mannerism and refers to the use of classic decorations such as ornate gables, hipped roofs, heavy cornices and pilasters.

William Catlyn, a bricklayer, had built the house. He was responsible for other similar buildings in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire.

Georgian Houses

A century later came the arrival of Georgian Houses on the High Street. These were mainly built for the merchant, James Hamilton.

However, these neighbouring houses caused a number of problems for the Wilberforce household.

A portrait of William Wilberforce

William was never vain, but hated his nose.

The arched window above the original staircase was blocked and the family's water supply and street access was threatened. This meant a new staircase had to be built on the south side of the building. You can see this staircase as you enter the museum.

The council formally acquired the adjoining Georgian houses in April 1949 to expand the existing museum, which opened in 1906. The houses were restored and opened in 1957.

A corridor between the Georgian Houses and Wilberforce House holds the museum's costume displays including the dresses made by Madame Clapham, Hull's renowned dressmaker.

Birth Room

In the museum, you will find the birth room of William Wilberforce next to the Banqueting Room on the first floor. This room was thought to have been William's nursery.

Birth room

The birth room of William Wilberforce

During the election in 1784, Wilberforce house was attacked by mobs. It is believed that William had ran into the birth room to calm the crowd and it was here that the MP had been hit by a snowball.

Fourteen years later, William, who at the time was in London, returned home to visit his dying mother. He wrote a letter to his wife Barbara, it read:

"It was a solemn and affecting scene to me yesterday evening, to be in my mother's room and see the bed where I was born, and where my father and mother died, and where she lay in her coffin."

Today, this room houses displays of Wilberforce's efforts in abolishing slavery.

We don't have to travel far for our next point of interest.

last updated: 01/05/2008 at 16:06
created: 22/07/2005

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