Almshouse Charities


Northumberland Court – A Brief, General History

Our History

Little is known of many of the smaller charities whose administration was entrusted to The Corporation. Some of them may have been lost, but others were merged in 1701 in an annual payment of £100 which the corporation agreed to make to the Corporation of the Poor, established three years before. This sum was to be ‘in full [recompence] of all manner of payments for the poor at the mayor’s house or at the town’s hall at the courts there, except coals distributed at Christmas’.

The more substantial charities administered by the town corporation included a number of almshouses and one or two falling within the category of ‘general charities’. Several of the town’s medieval hospitals were in the corporation’s charge and at least two of these, Gregg’s and Riplingham’s, continued after the Reformation. To these, other almshouses were added during the 16th and 17th centuries, and by the time of the Charity Commissioners’ inquiry of 1823 the corporation was administering eight hospitals. The general charities were those of Thomas Bury, Thomas Ferries, and William Cogan.

Shortly before municipal reform, allegations were made of extensive abuses in the corporation’s conduct of charity affairs. Not only had some of the smaller charities been entirely lost, but much other charity property had been sold, exchanged, or lost, and places in the hospitals were frequently given to ineligible applicants. Aldermen, it was alleged, were increasingly living in the country and placing country people in the hospitals. Whatever the truth of these charges, the corporation lost its control of charities after the passing of the Municipal Reform Act in 1835, and in 1836 the Hull Charity Trustees were established to take its place. In 1840, however, apparently because charity properties could not all be identified and separated from other corporation property, the corporation agreed to continue paying the stipends of the inmates in Crowle’s, Ellis’s, Gee’s, Gregg’s, Harrison’s, Bishop Watson’s, and Weaver’s Hospitals. These seven became known as the ‘minor hospitals’. The Charity Trustees retained the patronage of the minor hospitals, and they had full control over the remaining municipal charities, that is Bury’s and Ferries’ for exhibitions and the poor, Ferries’ for apprenticing, Cogan’s for a school and marriage portions, and Lister’s Hospital.

An inquiry by the Charity Commissioners in 1871 led to the formulation in 1875 of Schemes for several of the municipal charities. The proposal to appropriate £10,000 from Ferries’ apprenticing charity for the benefit of the Grammar School met with strong local opposition, however, and nothing more was done until 1879. Further allegations of mismanagement began to be made in 1878, and in the same year the Charity Trustees protested against the corporation’s ownership of charity property. Another Charity Commission inquiry resulted in 1879. The
outcome was that in 1881 the corporation surrendered the management of the minor hospitals to the trustees, and agreed to pay them £1,000 a year for stipends and other hospital expenses. The charity properties remained in the corporation’s ownership. By a Scheme of 1887 all the minor hospitals, together with Lister‘s, were consolidated as the Hull Municipal Hospitals.

A single large set of almshouses was built to take their places — Northumberland Court, and most of the old buildings have since been demolished. The municipal hospitals and the various charities of Bury, Cogan, and Ferries were further consolidated, by a Scheme of 1913, as the United Charities of Kingston upon Hull.
The hospitals then became known as the Almshouse Charities.

In 2008 the schemes for the charities were re-written to incorporate modern protocol and to reflect society today. As far as possible, Trustees try to maintain the ethos of the original Trust Deeds.

Around the site, stones taken from the original hospitals were built into the walls of Northumberland Court. There were originally 101 bedsits which were modernised in the mid to late 9’0’s into 56 self-contained flats. Flats 1 & 30 were for staff. These were converted into sheltered flats in 2004.

The clock and chimes

The original clock was fashioned in 1887 by a local firm, Barnett and Scott. They made two clocks, one for the Almshouses and one for Hull Cricket Club.

The original clock needed to be wound with a handle three times per week. It had three cast iron weights which weigh approximately 30 stone. The clock was refurbished in 1960 by Mr Dayid Stipetic MBE, who continued to wind and maintain this clock along with many others in Hull.

The chimes known as “ting tang quarters” were cast in 1886 by John Warner & Sons Ltd of Cripplegate, London. They also cast the quarter chimes that accompany Big Ben. The bells are made of bronze (77% copper and 23% tin).

In 2013 Mr Stipetic MBE retired and the clock was changed too a mechanical auto-wind system.

‘Charities’, A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1:The City of Kingston upon Hull (1969), pp. 335-347.

URL: [Accessed: 03 October 2012]

David Stipetic MBE

History of Alderman Ferries and Alderman Cogan’s School Charities

Thomas Ferries was born about the year 1568, it is supposed at Egton, in the North Riding, and was originally very poor. There is a tradition, that in crossing, by stepping stones, the river Esk, when swollen by rains, he fell in and was nearly drowned, and that, in gratitude for his own preservation, and with that charitable regard for others for which he was afterwards so eminently distinguished, he made a vow that if ever he was able he would build a bridge there. The bridge is of one arch, and is known as the “Beggar’s Bridge,” and bears the initials of Ferries, with the date 1621. Coming to Hull, he was apprenticed to Thomas Humphrey, master mariner and shipowner, and in 1596 was admitted and sworn a burgess of Hull in right of this apprenticeship. At the time of taking up his “freedom,” he was master of a coasting vessel called the “Francis,” and he continued at sea for about 18 years afterwards. in 1602 he was admitted a Younger Brother of Trinity House, and in 1612 erected a wall round the western portion of the yard of Holy Trinity Church, which up to that time had been unenclosed. In the following year he was made an assistant of the Trinity House.

In 1614 he was Sheriff of Hull, and three years later became an Elder Brother and was elected Warden of the Trinity House. He was mayor of Hull in 1620, and during his mayoralty he gave to the Trinity House the valuable estate of the Whitefriars Monastery, which he had purchased some years previously. The annual value of this estate was then £50, it is now upwards of £4,700. Ferries was again Warden of the Trinity House in 1622 and 1627. He died in 1631, and is buried in the north aisle of the choir of Holy Trinity Church, in which there is a handsome marble monument, by Earle, erected to his memory in 1850, by the Corporation of the Trinity House. By his will he bequeathed to the Corporation of Hull a farm at Ferriby, the income of which was to be applied to the apprenticing of poor, fatherless children. He also bequeathed legacies for the maintenance of a poor scholar of Hull at the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford, for ever; and for setting up the poor of the Charity Hall of Hull “on worke,” and for paying a man to teach the poor children. He also gave certain plate to the Trinity House and Holy Trinity Church, and left annuities to the minister and churchwardens of Glaisdale Chapel, Danby, and for the repair of that chapel. (see Sheahan’s “History of Hull,” pp. 593-4.)

Ferries‘ Charity for Apprenticing: by will proved in 1631 Thomas Ferries devised to the corporation his property at North Ferriby, then let for £21, for the apprenticing of poor orphans of Hull. Ferries‘ and Bury’s Charities for Exhibitions and for the Poor: by will proved in 1631 Thomas Ferries devised to the corporation property in Hull. By will proved in 1628 Thomas Bury gave the corporation property in Hull.

By 1823 the two charities had for long been administered together. A division into three separate charities was made in 1904, and in 1913 they became part of the Hull United Charities.

From: ‘Charities’, A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1: The City of Kingston upon Hull (1969), pp. 335-347.

URL: [accessed 03 October 2012]

Alderman Ferries

Further education funding for students.

Alderman Cogan's Fund

Provision of facilities for the school.

Alderman Cogan's School Charity

The object of the charity is the provision of items, services and facilities for the school

Almshouse Charity

Home for people who wish to live independently but with the peace of mind that help is at hand if needed. 

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We have been in operation since the late 19th century. Today Hull United Charities is made up of 4 separate charities and whilst each has a different objective all remain closely linked to the people of Hull.


Hull United Charities
Northumberland Court
Northumberland Avenue
01482 323965
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Alderman Ferries Charity – reg. charity no. 529821 - Alderman Cogan’s School Fund – reg. charity no. 529802 - Alderman Cogan’s Fund –reg. charity no. 226291-1 - Hull United Charities & Almshouse Charities – reg. charity no. 226291