I was born in Wakefield in 1848. My parents were Henry Clarkson, a surveyor and land agent, and Susan Jane (Guest).

My father also played a huge part in documenting the City’s history, through his book Memories of Merry Wakefield which was published in 1887.

At the time of the 1851 census, I am living with my parents in Pemberton House in Westgate, along with my sister, Louisa Jane, my brother, Robert Henry, and two house servants.

Pemberton House stood at the entrance to what you might remember as the old Westgate railway station next to the clock tower and the railway bridge. The house was built around 1752 for Pemberton Milnes, member of a family of successful cloth and wine merchants. On leaving the Milnes' ownership, the property passed to my father.

By 1861, we are still living in Westgate - my parents, my step-sister Elizabeth Pike Clarkson, my older sister Louisa Jane, and a cook and a housemaid.

In 1864, when Pemberton House was made subject to a compulsory purchase order by the West Riding and Grimsby Railway, we moved to Alverthorpe Hall, which stood off what you will know as Batley Road, between Alverthorpe Road and Flanshaw Road.

The Hall was built by the Maude family in 1585, but since 1800 it had belonged to my father's uncle, Benjamin Clarkson, an attorney.

When Benjamin died in 1820, his widow and two surviving daughters moved to a house in Garden Street, and the Hall was then let to a series of tenants, including Francis Maude, a descendant of the Hall’s former owner, corn merchant George Sanders, who later served as the City’s MP - and, between 1855 and 1857, the Hall was home to a boys’ boarding school. Mother died in 1866.

In 1871, we are living in Alverthorpe Hall - my father, my sister Louisa Jane, my brother Robert Henry who at that time is an undergraduate at London University, along with a cook, a housemaid and a footman.

On 12 April 1874, brother Robert Henry died, leaving an estate of £435 9s 6d.

By 1881, we are still at the Hall - my father, his third wife Annie who was more than twenty-five years his junior, my sister Louisa Jane, a cook and two housemaids.

Ten years later, we four family members are still at the Hall with the three servants.

Father died on 8 June 1896. The value of his estate amounted to £15858 17s 1d.

By 1901, sister Louisa Jane is now the head of the house and we have a cook and a housemaid.

In 1911, Louisa Jane and I are still living in the 18 rooms of the Hall and we have a cook, a waiting maid and a housemaid.

Louisa Jane died on 31 January 1916 at the age of 69. She was buried at Alverthorpe St Paul four days later. The value of her estate was £11386 16s 3d.

My step-sister Elizabeth Pike Clarkson (then Squire  of Rose Cottage), Stand near Whitefield in Lancashire died on 7 January 1919 at Palatine House, Central Beach, Lytham. Her effects totalled £5941 14s 5d.

I died in Alverthorpe Hall on 30 May 1921 and was buried at Alverthorpe St Paul three days later. I was 73 years old, and the value of my effects was £10309 17s 8d.

A granite horse trough and drinking fountain would be erected to the memory of my aunt, my father's sister Ann Clarkson, at what you will know as the Westgate End/Ings Road junction.

Alverthorpe Hall, itself, would eventually be demolished and its site occupied by Flanshaw Junior & Infant School. 

The metal box which was stored by my solicitor, and which contained documents relative to the distribution of my estate by the trustees, is now owned by someone living in Ackworth.

Tin Box Clarkson

By David Simmonds. 2017.

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