Meet the ex teacher who is converting the former Dutch consulate in Hull's Old Town into high-end apartments

A year after swapping the classroom for property developing, former Filey teacher Sarah Corrie-Pearce turned her attention to one of Hull’s oldest properties.

Sarah Corrie-Pearce who is converting 41 High Street in Hull into apartments Picture: Gary Longbottom

Tucked away at the rear of 41 High Street, is the entrance to Crowle House, built by wealthy merchant George Crowle, and until now the last stop on Historic England’s walking tour of Hull’s Old Town.

Its impressive entrance –marked with the initials GC and EC, for George and wife Eleanor –was used for a scene in the 2019 film The Personal History of David Copperfield, when parts of the Old Town stood in for Victorian London.

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The building was previously derelict offices – builders found collapsed ceilings, dead pigeons and a foot of muck upstairs – and before that the Dutch Consulate.

Crowle House - built for wealthy merchant George Crowle in 1664

There were still pictures of the Netherlands’ Royal family on the walls and an old passport control desk. Builders said they have had a couple of elderly people turn up and ask where they can sign so they can receive their pensions.

Miss Corrie-Peace, 43, taught at Ebor Academy Filey but long harboured ambitions of becoming a developer.

She and her late mum watched “obsessively” the TV series, Grand Designs and Homes Under The Hammer – her “guilty pleasure”.

When her mum died in March 2019 she decided to make her dreams reality and quit her job. “I promised her I’d be a success,” she said.

The plaque outside 41 High Street in Hull

She then obtained a Sourced Property franchise, which raises investment to cover purchase and development costs. For the Hull project, her second to date, it took under a week to raise the funding needed.

Rather than dealing with 30 teenagers and the constant moving of goalposts in teaching, she is now trying to keep on top of the myriad issues a housing project throws up – and provide a return to investors.

She said: “Teaching was pretty stressful, but this is quite stressful.”

However, she enthuses over Crowle House and its Old Town setting “like a little town within the city” and “almost reminiscent of Amsterdam”, and hopes it appeals as a home to working professionals.

Sarah Corrie-Pearce in one of the upstairs rooms

The house was built for Alderman George Crowle in 1664, who traded with the Low Countries, Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Crowle was Sheriff of Hull in 1657 and Mayor in 1661.

It was designed by Hull bricklayer William Catlyn who was also responsible for two other well-known Old Town buildings – the Olde White Harte on Silver Street and Wilberforce House.

A team of 15 tradesmen led by Stuart Clayton-Edwards, from Dot Build of Malton, have been hard at work since last August converting the four-storey building into 12, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The first phase should be finished in July.