For some time now, the Society has been discussing the preservation and sympathetic restoration of the area's historic buildings. Here, our member Edwina Shepherd recalls her family connection with a building which has undergone just such a restoration.
When NE Lincs Primary Care Trust gave up Scartho Hall as its' headquarters in 2004, it seemed that the building would fall into disuse. On 2nd November 2007, however, Grimsby Institute re-opened the building, now regenerated as student accommodation.
Memories of Scartho Hall
Margaret Isabella Mowitt was born in a small village just outside Berwick-on-Tweed. Margaret was thirteen when her mother died and, when she left school at fourteen, she began two years learning dressmaking. A course on hairdressing (as it was then) made her sure that she was ready to become a Lady's Maid and eventually she came to Scartho Hall as the maid to Mrs Barwick.
Reuben White was groom and gardener at Scartho Hall. He and his cousin, Mary Elizabeth Higgins had married when both were widowed. She became assistant cook, and for those interested in Scartho, they lived for a few weeks in the thatched cottage, which stood where the roundabout now is, until their accommodation was ready at the Hall.
Timothy Higgins, the only child of Elizabeth, had been in the army since 1914, and then in the army of occupation in Germany until 1919. Margaret and Tim met and eventually married. Hence my interest in Scartho Hall.
With the help of Alan Dowling and Stephen Birch, I now know that Scartho Hall was built in the 1860's for William Heaford Daubney, who was a solicitor, who eventually became Mayor of Grimsby. He died in 1890 and there is a memorial to him in St James Church. After WH Daubney died, the Hall went to his nephew and in 1915 was rented to JN Barwick. In 1936 it became the home of Mr Hercock, a banana importer and retailer. He travelled the world and collected lots of tree specimens including Cedars, Wellingtonias, and Spruces for the grounds.
One account suggests that the hall and parkland comprised a gated entrance , Lodge, Stables, 2 acres of shrubbery, Tennis courts and Orchard and the total area of the estate was 41 acres. Later, the Hall became the home of North East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust. After the Trust moved to Prince Albert Gardens in 2004, the future of the Hall seemed uncertain.
The overgrown grounds of the Hall, and the suggestion that it was going to be taken down for housing, made me take my camera along to get more photographs of what it had become. Then, when it started to be cleaned up, I thought I had better go again and see what was going on. I took some old family photographs of the Hall, taken by my mother around the end of the First World War, just in case anyone wanted to know what I was doing there.
I met Tony Addison, the Associate Principal for Hospitality and Support Services, and he was delighted with the old photographs. He borrowed them and had them enlarged. I was invited to the official opening of the new building. How lovely it was to see my mother, grandmother and step-grand-dad in the corridors. I too was given framed enlargements.
Now the owners are the Grimsby Institute, and the Hall and its grounds have made the area look "wanted" and very smart. Inside the building, the rooms for its students have been well thought out, and I think that most of them will get the sunshine some time in the day. How lovely it is to see one old building in Grimsby, not only preserved, but looking perhaps a little bit prettier than before.
1 March 2008