William Coulston 1766-1835 Plumber, Glazier, and Tinman, Kirkby Lonsdale

William Coulston’s Bill, 1813-1814

Poorhouses were not only in need of supplies but also maintenance. William Coulston was one of the traders helping to keep Kirkby Lonsdale poorhouse running.

Coulston’s business was situated in the old Market Square of Kirkby Lonsdale, well-positioned to take advantage of trading opportunities. He supplied the poorhouse with various cutlery items, milk cans ‘chocolate’ paint and a brush. His receipted bills totalled 14s in  August 1811 and £1 17s 9d in April 1814. [1]

Presumably this paint was destined for use outside owing to its durable properties. The British manufactory Company of London supplied different colours of paint, expounding their cheapness, durability and readiness to be thinned with prepared oils. [2]

Around this time other bills were sent to Thomas Parkinson who was the governor of the poorhouse, which was built in 1811 for the use of the townships of Kirkby Lonsdale.[3]

William Coulston was baptised 16 July 1766 in Kirkby Londsdale, as were his siblings . His older brother Thomas (baptised 29 October 1758) was also a glazier while his sister Margaret (baptised 14 June 1761) married a soldier, John Dunn in 1782. [4] Coulston married Sarah Baines on 1 December 1798 in Kirkby Lonsdale where all their children were born. William, born in 1798, didn’t survive long. Another son also named William and daughter Margaret followed in 1801 and 1802. In 1804 when Elizabeth was born Christopher Ellershaw began his apprenticehip as a tinplate worker with Coulston.[5] The Coulstons had another two daughters Sarah (b.1805) and Jane (b.1807). Tragedy struck the family in 1817 when only son William, aged sixteen, drowned while swimming in the River Lune. [6]

Coulston appears to have continued in business for a number of years appearing in the 1829 trade directory. [7] He died 10 May 1835 around the time the poorhouse was closed. [8]

Thomas Parkinson had been the Governor of the poorhouse until its closure. Parkinson and his wife Mary Gill were then employed as master and mistress of the workhouse East Ward, Kirkby Stephen, in 1836  remaining there for the next nine years. [9]

By 1841 William’s widow and her unmarried daughter Margaret were living with daughter Sarah and her husband at Horse Market in the town. Both were of ‘independent means’.[10]. Sarah had married Isaac Dalkin, a currier, on 14 February 1831 in Kirkby Lonsdale. The Coulstons’  youngest daughter, Jane,  married John Carter, a tinman, in Liverpool. [11]. When Sarah Coulston the elder died on 21 January 1843 the local newspaper referred to her having been ill for some time. She was buried at  Kirkby Lonsdale alongside her husband and son William. [12]

Margaret Coulston perhaps finding herself in reduced circumstances set up in business in the busy area of Mill Brow in the town and can be fond in the trade directories in subsequent years. An Elizabeth Coulston is listed as a tea dealer in the same directory and location as Margaret in 1851 but their relationship is unknown. [13] As Margaret’s sister Elizabeth had married James Atkinson, a saddler, on 20 September 1823 it assumed it is not her. [14]. Margaret continued in business for at least the next 10 years. She died on 9 April 1868.[15]


[1] Cumbria Archives, Kirkby Lonsdale Overseers’ vouchers, WPR19/7/1/5/3/13, 31 August 1811, WPR19/7/1/5/5/4, 4 March 1814
[2] Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser, 7 March 1815
[3] Cumbria Archives, Kirkby Lonsdale Overseers’ voucher, WPR19/7/1/5/3/61/6, 4 November 1811. .www.thepoorlaw.org, Peter Collinge, The Kirkby Lonsdale Digester, 1 June 2020
[4] Lancashire Archives, Marriage Bonds, APR 11, Thomas Coulston, glazier and Sarah Hudson, 18 November 1780, John Dunn, soldier, and Margaret Coulston, 15 April 1782
[5] The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Collection: Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books: Series IR 1; Class: IR 1; Piece: 71, UK Register of Duties Paid for Apprenticeship Indentures,1710-1811 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk]
[6] Lancaster Gazette, 28 June 1817, p. 3, col. d.
[7 ] Principal Inhabitants of Cumberland and Westmorland 1829, Parson and White’s Directory compiled by R Gregg
[8] Kendal Mercury, 16 May 1835, p. 3, col. e
[9] Kendal Mercury 21 December 1850, p. 3, col. g
[10] TNA, 1841 Census HO107; Piece: 1161; Book: 9; Civil Parish: Kirkby Lonsdale; County: Westmorland; Enumeration District: 15; Folio: 39; Page: 15; Line: 18; GSU roll: 464191
[11] Lancaster Gazette 13 April 1833 p2 col e
[12] Kendal Mercury, 28 January 1843 p3 col f www.findagrave.org
[13] Mannex and Co.,  History & Directory and Topography of Westmorland (1851) [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk]
[14] Lancashire Archives, Marriage Bonds, APR 11, Elizabeth Coulston, James Atkinson, saddler, 19 September 1823
[15] Kendal Mercury, 25 April 1868, p. 3, col. g
William Coulston’s will, plumber and glazier, is held at Lancashire Archives, WRW/L/R640, 29 August 1835

Catherine Lawrie (1786-1873), Brazier, Tin Plate Worker and Plumber

Catherine Lawrie traded in Carlisle while she supplied the workhouse in the village of Dalston some 4 miles away with a number of items. Her bill of April 1831 for repairing 8 tins at a cost of 8d and supplying 12 tins at 3s along with the supply of a boiler costing 1s. 2d was settled by William Barker. [1] She was still supplying them with items in 1837. [2]

the former Workhouse at Dalston

William Barker’s employment with Catherine was abruptly terminated in January 1836. He fell from a ladder fracturing his leg leading to his death. His wife Catherine Henderson was left with four young children.[3]

Richard Johnson became one of Catherine’s employees as her foreman. In 1857 he left Catherine’s employment and set up business on his own. [4] Advertising his new venture, he placed an announcement in the newspaper stipulating his role as foreman to Mrs Lawrie for nearly 20 years, suggesting Catherine was someone respected within the city. It was standard procedure to alert the public of your previous experience when setting up a new venture.

Catherine Elizabeth Henegan was born in Ireland. On 1 January 1814 she married Archibald Lawrie a brazier and tinplate worker from Carlisle at St Mary’s church. Her residence was given as Canonbie, North Britain (Scottish Border region).[5] Archibald and Catherine had four children: Richard Hanegan (1815-91), Catherine Anne (1817-86), Mary Isabella (1819-89), and Archibald,  baptised 17 July 1822. By the time of Archibald’s baptism, his father, lately of Eden Court, was recorded as deceased. His death, aged 51, appears in the burial register of Stanwix on 23 June 1822. [6] The running of the business was taken on by Catherine. When her children were young, Mary Bell became a part of her support network, remaining with her for 30 years.

When Mary Bell died in November 1851, the Carlisle Journal recorded:  ‘At Rockliffe on the 21st inst Mary Bell 58 nearly all her industrious life was spent in the service of the widow of Russell the historian of modern Europe and Mrs Lawrie of Scotch Street Carlisle with the later of whom she lived upwards of 30 years’. [7]

Catherine’s name is in the local trade directory of 1834.  The name of her son, Archibald, begins to appear in the trade directories in the late 1840’s. [8] Their place of business always clearly specified as 54 Scotch Street, Carlisle.

Guildhall and Fisher Street, Carlisle Cumbria Image Bank

Using entries from local newspapers, Catherine’s business activities can be traced. She appears to be the only woman on a list of those allocated shares in a stock company for the provision of a building for the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1838. [9] There is evidence of her securing tenders for work in the city for lanterns costing £12.9s 4d in 1841[10], the maintenance of a force (water) pump in Fisher Street in 1843, [11] and plumber’s work at the Court buildings costing £8.6s.9d in 1845.[12]

Catherine chose to give to charitable causes in the City. She subscribed to a fund for the widow of Thomas Dougall, a mail guard killed in a railway accident in 1840 [13], and to the relief of the distressed poor in Carlisle in 1842.[14] In her later years in business she contributed to the building fund of the Dispensary in 1857.[15 ]

When John Nicholson a stone mason stole 11 lb of lead from her property and sold it on, she decided not to pursue matters further. [16]

While Catherine’s eldest son, Richard, had chosen to pursue a career as a barrister from 1840 practising in the city until 1849, [17] it appears that Catherine was gradually withdrawing from the business in preparation for Archibald to take over. Unfortunately Archibald died on 29 January 1852 aged 29. [18]

In 1860 Catherine appears to have decided to call it a day. Although she is not named in the notice for the sale of plumber’s stock, the address of the retiring proprietor is given as 54 Scotch Street so it is assumed this is her.[19]


The Tin Plate Worker Wellcome Collection

In 1868, creditors received a once only payment relating to her business. [20] Catherine left Carlisle with her two daughters to live with her son Richard at Wellington Terrace, Hammersmith. Without the existence of the vouchers Catherine Lawrie’s business interests outside of the city of Carlisle may not have become apparent.

[1] Cumbria Archives, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, SPC44/2/48/114, 30 April 1830
[2] Cumbria Archives, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, SPC44/2/46/16, 1837
[3] Carlisle Journal, 30 January 1836, p.2, col. d.
[4] Carlisle Journal, 30 January 1857, p. 4, col. c.
[5] Carlisle Journal, 8 January 1814, p. 3, col. d.
[6] Cumberland Paquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 24 June 1822, p. 3, col. a; Cumbria Archives, PR117/13, Stanwix Burial Register, 1814-1846.
[7] Carlisle Journal, 28 November 185,1 p. 3, col. g.
[8] Pigot & Co., National Commercial Directory of Chester, Cumberland, Durham, Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmorland and York (London and Manchester: J Pigot & Co., 1834);Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland (18470, p. 164.
[9] Carlisle Journal, 17 March 1838, p. 3, col. a.
[10] Carlisle Journal, 16 October 1841, p. 2, col. b.
[11] Carlisle Journal, 15 April 1843, p. 3, col. b.
[12] Carlisle Journal, 18 October 1845, p. 3, col. b.
[13] Carlisle Journal, 21 March 1840, p. 2, col. e.
[14] Carlisle Patriot, 19 February 1842, p. 2, col. b.
[15] Carlisle Journal, 14 August 1857, p. 4, col. d.
[16] Carlisle Patriot, 21 August 1858, p. 6, col. d.
[17] Alumni Cantabrigienses A biographical List of all Known Students Graduates & Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge from the Earliest times to 1900, vol 2, 1752 to 1900, ed. John Vale, Cambridge Library, accessed at books.google.co.uk
[18] Carlisle Journal, 30 January 1852, p. 3, col. g; Cumbria Archives, PR 117/14, Stanwix Burial Register, 1846-1862 entry 264
[19] Carlisle Patriot, 19 May 1860, p. 4, col. b.
[20] Carlisle Patriot, 28 February 1868, p. 3, col. g.

Catherine and her daughters are buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London. Richard at Cheritan Road Cemetery, Folkestone, Kent.