Barton-upon-Humber’s Victorian History Walk – An Illustrated Guide

It _IGP2492is perhaps not surprising that the parts of Barton with the most vivid histories behind them are the parts which today bustle with life and interest. The Victorian Walk designed by the Barton-upon-Humber Civic Society and made even more interactive by the town’s new Hidden History App takes you through some of the most attractive and lively parts of Barton.  It takes walkers from the Market Place, to the High Street and back again, as well as showing you some of the places with the greatest stories to tell going back to the 19th century.

The Barton Corn Exchange (above right) is both of these things, once a butter market and, unsurprisingly, a corn exchange where farmers came to trade in a hygienic, indoor environment on market days, it is now a bar, club and popular venue. A quick trip down George Street and King Street, a hub for independent shops and high street retailers brings us to Elm Tree House, the pride and joy of a wealthy industrialist called George Ingram, which stands attractively at the end of King Street. Next door to the left is a, double fronted building which served as the local Police Station and Magistrates’ Court for more than a century and a half. Both can be seen in the picture below.


We really are in the centre of Victorian Barton now as a left turn takes us along the High Street to the top of Queen Street, where a whole host of 19th century buildings still stand in all of their grandeur. There’s the imposing façade of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, now the Joseph Wright Hall, a popular venue. There’s the boarded up, but still impressive Oddfellows’ Hall on the corner with High Street and Queen Street and the more welcoming site of Samuel Wilderspin’s revolutionary school, now a museum to him, his movement and the history of schooling in general (below).  Just across the road is yet another centre of culture and in Barton from the early 19th century. Numbers 13 and 14 Queen Street were once a Free Charity School where Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of phonetic shorthand, once lived. A little way up from this stands the Assembly Rooms, once the home of the local Temperance Society that sought to “preserve the sober and reclaim the drunken”.  The building has also been used for everything from a church hall to a night club.


A return to the nearby High Street takes us back into Barton’s busy shopping district. The trip down this street takes us past some lovely examples of Victorian Romanesque architecture above what is now The Raj and Saw Inc. and on to the old Wesleyan Day School in Maltby Lane now known as the hub, a youth and community centre.  Barton really was a leader in education of all types in the 19th century and traces of this remain in buildings like the hub today. They also remain in buildings like the local library on Holydyke, which occupies a beautiful house built for one of Barton’s wealthiest landowners Thomas Tombleson in the mid-19th century, then used as an orphanage by the National Children’s Homes and an annexe to Barton Grammar School. See below.


A bright and airy walk down Holydyke (below) takes us back toward the Market Place where we started and toward the Trinity Methodist Church. Carrying on around the chapel to the rear will take you to some beautiful examples of late Victorian middle class housing. This brings us to the end of the 19th century and to the end of our walk.  All photographs in this blog are courtesy of Paul Laws.

Remember to check the app and the leaflets for the town’s Georgian and Waterside Walks as well as more information on this one.

The Georgian, Victorian and Waterside Walks are also available for download from the BTP website and more details about the Hidden History app can be found here



Hidden History

Hidden History tells of Barton upon Humber's fascinating history through a collection of media including original and authentic photographs, video clips, narration and text.