Broadley Speaking

by Donald Knibb

Early Family History

The Broadley family can trace their Hull roots back to the 1600s. Thomas Broadley and Robert Carlile were both Aldermen in the city in 1690 and their children, Thomas (Broadley) and Agnes (Carlile) married in Holy Trinity in 1700. They had two children, one of whom, another Thomas, lived from 1702 to 1784. In 1726, he married Anne Grundy, daughter of the late John Grundy of Bleasby, former High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire. The monuments to these two Broadleys and their families are in the south choir aisle of Hull Minster. 

Late in the 18th Century the family wealth really began to grow.  Robert Carlile Broadley, grandson of the first Thomas, was a gentleman who lived on the High St and held four of the 120 shares in the Dock Company who built Hull's first dock.  This occupied the area which is now Queen's Gardens and was opened in 1778. He became a partner in the banking firm of Broadley and Raikes but withdrew from the bank a few years before he died to invest his money in land in and around Hull.  He was hugely successful, and it was later said that

'a man cannot pass out of Hull in any direction without walking on land at one time or at present owned by the Broadley family.' 

When he died in 1812 in his 73rd year the land passed to Thomas Broadley and then to Henry Broadley in 1815. 

From Politicians to Landlords

Henry (1793-1851) was a Conservative MP for the East Riding from 1837 to 1851, although Hansard records the number of contributions he made to parliamentary debates as zero.  Powerful and wealthy, he appears to have paid scant regard to niceties such as any building regulations that there may be, and developed a reputation as one of the worst slum landlords in the area.  He was though interested in railways, and subscribed to the building of the Hull to Selby line.  

In 1848 he bought Welton House from the Raikes and Williamson families.  (Incidentally, we owe the fact that there is now a Brough railway station to Robert Raikes.  He objected to the railway company's plan to bring the line through Welton and site a station there on the grounds that it would spoil his view and detract from the value of his estate. They went to Brough instead.)  When Henry died unmarried in 1851 the lands passed to Sophia Broadley, his older sister, who sold the land necessary for the building of the railway to the railway company for £30,000 and this after they had already paid Henry £10,000. 

Sophia Broadley, more commonly referred to as Miss Broadley was born in 1789 and is recorded in the 1851 Census as a 'gentlewoman' living at Welton.  Her nephew, who also lived there was a 'landed proprietor.'  She didn't entirely erase Henry's reputation for keeping property in an appalling condition.  Campbell Street was a case in point. Campbell Street ran north from Hessle Road to Anlaby Road, through land owned by the Broadley family. Sophia signed a contract to have the street laid out in 1861, and it was developed from that date.  The Broadleys found themselves in the company of many other so-called “slum landlords” in the area, and in the 1870s Day Street and Campbell Street were described in the press as “simply disgraceful”, and “the haunts of disease and death”.  Earlier, in 1866, the Works Committee had demanded that the area 'should be placed in a sanitary condition.'  Many streets were reported to be 'almost impassable', and the Hull and East Counties Herald in 1866 commented that the area was 'a disgrace to the streets' foreman' who was said to spend 'a good deal of time in attending to his private business.'  Similarly, Great Thornton Street appears to have been in a similar state of disrepair, with contemporary newspaper reports detailing objections in committee to compelling owners on the West side of Great Thornton Street to flag their footpath until 'means could be found to compel Miss Broadley to do the same on the East side of the road.' 

On the other hand, Miss Broadley was also undoubtedly a great benefactor. The land on Division Road, where Holy Trinity established its new burial ground after the closure of Castle Street, was Broadley land: it was consecrated in April 1862. Her name lives on in the Broadley Chapel in the Minster.  In 1884, the local historian J.J. Sheahan recounts in the Hull Packet that the former chantry chapel that now bears her name is supposed, judging from the principal shields of arms in the interior, to have been founded by the de la Poles and to have been their chantry and burial place.  The chapel was restored in 1863 at Sophia's expense – reported as being £600 equivalent to around £35,000 today.  Sophia herself was buried at Welton although several later Broadleys were buried in the vault below the chapel.  

One particular example of her generosity can be seen at Turner Court, which stands at the junction of Midland Street and St Luke's Street close to Paragon station – Midland Street taking its name from the Midland Railway which once served Hull.  Turner Court was an impressive building offering 'Model Dwellings for the Industrial Classes.'  With housing conditions for workers frequently being very poor it was left to charities to try to improve matters where they could, one such being the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes, chaired by Lord Shaftesbury.  Miss Broadley donated the land for the Model Dwellings, with a Miss Mary Turner paying for the building work.  The choir of Holy Trinity sang at the ceremony in 1862 when the foundation stone was laid, and the Lord Mayor said in his speech that

'it was their duty, as Christian men, to take care to ameliorate the condition of their poorer fellow-men, and one means of doing this was to provide them with suitable and proper dwellings'.

He hoped that

'the working classes would be induced by the improved housing conditions to spend their leisure hours at home and so be withdrawn from the evil influences of the ale-houses and public taverns.'  

There were 32 flats, five with one bedroom, 19 with two and eight with three, with front doors opening onto an interior courtyard. Each flat had a scullery and 'other necessary conveniences' – most unusual and advanced for the day.  The 1871 census tells us that 31 of the 32 flats were occupied by a total of 142 people.   

The site itself is substantial.  I'm pretty tall with quite a long stride – the St Luke's Street side is 65 of my paces, Midland Street is 54.  The sign at the main entrance in Midland Street still identifies the building as Model Dwellings, although 'for the industrial classes' has disappeared!  The building has now passed into the hands of the William Sutton Trust. 

Sophia died in 1864 and the lands passed to her nephew William Henry Harrison-Broadley (1820-96), son of her sister Mary, and then in turn to his nephew, the somewhat extravagantly named Henry Broadley Harrison-Broadley (1853-1914). Both also served as Conservative MPs: William for the East Riding (1868-85), Henry for Howdenshire (1906-14). 

Broadley Chapel Burials

Five members of the Broadley family are buried beneath the floor of the Broadley Chapel. They are 

 Elizabeth (1738-96), Charlotte (1755-1807), Robert Carlile Broadley of Ferriby (1738-1812), Rev Thomas Broadley of Ferriby (1778-1815) and Henry Broadley of Welton, MP (1794-1851).

Robert Carlile Broadley's burial, on 3 August 1812, was one of the last torch-lit night-time funerals. This had been a status-symbol in 17-18th centuries: the end of the day, associated with sleep and rest, symbolised the end of life, but because there was a fine for late burials (after 3 pm), evening burials were favoured by the wealthy. Having an evening burial – and being able to pay the fine for it – was a way of showing off your wealth and importance.

Henry Broadley was one of the last people to be buried inside Holy Trinity. Only a few years later, burials inside churches and in city centres were outlawed through an Act of Parliament. 



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