Bullar, Anne (1813-56)

Anne Bullar was the younger daughter of John and Susannah Bullar. She was born on 30 December 1813 and baptized at Above Bar Independent Chapel on 19 January 1814. She was the author of instructional books for children. Five titles have been identified:

  • Domestic scenes in Greenland and Iceland, London, John van Voorst, 1844; second edition 1850. “I am going to tell you a story about Greenland. Bring the atlas, and I will show you where it is on the map. There, it is much nearer the top of the map than England.”
  • Every-day wonders; or, facts in physiology which all should know, London, John van Voorst, 1850. Preface: “The object of the writer of this book has been to present a few of the truths of that science, which treats of the structure of the human body, and of the adaptation of the external world to it, in such a form, as that they should be readily apprehended by children and young people. The lively interest which intelligent children would take in the works of God, within and around them, is frequently checked by the manner in which they are introduced to the study of Science.”
  • England before the Norman Conquest, London, John van Voorst, 1851. Review in the Morning Post, 20 October 1851: “It is exceedingly well written, and a very able digest of all that is really known of the early history of England. It ought to find admission at least into every school and family where children are to be taught.”
  • A Sunday book for the young; or, habits of patriarchal times in the East, London, John van Voorst, 1855. Introduction: “It is hoped that this little work, which unites illustrations of manners with the historical narrative contained in the book of Genesis, may prepare some (who have neither time nor opportunity to study larger works on the same subject) to read with more intelligence and delight the Holy Word of God.”
  • Every-day wonders of bodily life, essential to be known for health and comfort, London, Jarrold & Sons, 1862. One of the “Popular Tracts on Health” issued by the Ladies Sanitary Association, affiliated with the National Association for the Promotion of Social Sciences. Issued in three parts (2d each) or in one complete volume. A third edition advertised as “recommended by Professor Owen and Lord Brougham”. The British Library has First (and third) part. Breathing, blood, digestion, food, and nerves, London, Jarrold & Sons, 1862. This alone of her books was published under her own name: the previous four were anonymous.

We have two brief but revealing references to Anne Bullar by Mrs Brookfield. The first is in a letter to William Makepeace Thackeray, 28 April 1849: “another letter from Mrs F. [Fanshawe] very kind as usual, but giving but a bad account of herself, and a prim, well-worded A. Bullar”. The second is a journal entry of 3 July 1856: “Went to Bassett to bury Anne Bullar. About the best woman I ever knew. How much could I say! Back to London”. Anne Bullar had died, after a short illness, on 29 June 1856. Her death was registered in the Alton registration district. She was buried in St Nicholas's Church, North Stoneham.

Bullar, Henry (1815-70)

Henry Bullar was the youngest child of the Southampton schoolmaster John Bullar. Born 25 February 1815, he was baptized at the Above Bar Chapel on 2 January 1816. A member of one of the most prominent Congregationalist families in Southampton, Henry was later to convert to the Anglican church. He followed his eldest brother John into the legal profession. He was called to the Bar on 6 June 1853, having for 14 years practised as a special pleader. In 1850, whilst studying at Lincoln's Inn, he published Praetors or pleaders? A letter to the Attorney-General; with practical suggestions for the amendment of special pleading. After qualifying as a barrister, Henry went on the Western Circuit. He became Deputy Recorder of Portsmouth and, in October 1864, was appointed Recorder of Poole and a judge of the Court of Record for the borough. In May 1861 he was appointed one of the commission of enquiry into election corruption at Totnes, although replaced before the commission sat. In the 1860s he was employed as a revising barrister for the county constituency of Wiltshire and the boroughs of Devizes and Salisbury. He had an extensive chamber practise as a barrister. His legal opinion was often asked on the affairs of his native town. In 1860 he advised both the Royal South Hants Infirmary committee and the Southampton Pier and Harbour Commissioners.

The novelist Wilkie Collins was a fellow student at Lincoln's Inn. Collins was admitted a student there on 17 May 1846 - an excuse he later admitted “for enjoying the pleasures of London life”. He was called to the Bar in 1851, but never practised law. Henry was drawn into the intellectual, literary and artistic circle of which Wilkie was the epicentre - the painters John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Augustus Egg and Wilkie's brother Charles Allston Collins; the lawyer and journalist Edward Pigott (proprietor and editor of the radical newspaper The Leader); the poet Edward Lear; and Charles Dickens. Henry and Edward Pigott were sailing companions of Wilkie, spending several summers together in Broadstairs and hiring luggers to sail across the Channel. My miscellanies - a selection of 24 essays by Wilkie Collins taken from Household Words and All the Year Round - published in 1863 was “affectionately inscribed to Henry Bullar (of the Western Circuit)”. It was a social milieu which encompassed both Henry and his brother John. The two shared chambers in the Temple and residences in both London and Southampton. Henry was himself an author. A winter in the Azores; a summer at the baths of the Furnas was published in two volumes in 1841. Jointly written by Henry and his doctor brother Joseph it was (to quote the preface) a “transcript from the journals of an invalid and his companion who, in search of a warm and equable climate, spent the winter of 1838-9 in the Island of St Michael’s, the summer at the Baths of the Furnas, and visited in spring the neighbouring islands of Fayal, Pico, St George's, Flores, and Corvo”: an eight months' residence among “these almost unknown islands”. Nowadays valued for its anthropological content, the work had a mixed reception on publication. The Morning Post 17 July 1841 called these unfinished extracts “two tedious tomes of everything and nothing”.

Henry Bullar died suddenly at his Bassett Wood residence on 5 January 1870. His health had been compromised a few years earlier by an exhausting Chancery case - Slade v Slade - which rested on the validity of a marriage and required Bullar to visit Vienna on several occasions in search for the title to extensive property. He was interred in the family vault in North Stoneham churchyard. Members of Southampton Corporation attended in the full robes of office. The mayor, Frederick Perkins, delivered a eulogy in the Town Council: “It might indeed be said … that he was the friend of man, the friend of truth, the friend of all, and the guide of youth (cheers)”. He died unmarried.

Bullar, John (1778-1864)

John Bullar was born in the parish of Holy Rood on 27 January 1778. His father, also John, was a wig maker and hairdresser in the High Street. Baptized an Anglican, and educated at King Edward VI Grammar School under the Reverend Dr Richard Mant, John fils converted in early adulthood to the Independent (Congregational) chapel at Above Bar. A member of the chapel for 67 years, 43 as deacon, this was the defining influence on his life. His marriage to Susannah Sarah Whatman Lobb on 28 June 1806 brought him within the sphere of one of the town's longest-standing Congregational families. He was founder and secretary of the Southampton branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society, established in 1814. A schoolmaster for nearly forty years - with schools in Bugle Street, Moira Place and Prospect Place - Bullar taught a generation of civic leaders. He was a prolific writer of local guide books, many published by fellow dissenter Thomas Baker, aimed at the new rich coming into the town. He was an active supporter of the Mechanics' Institution, the nascent town library and the Hartley Institute. He died on 13 May 1864 at his home in Bassett Wood and is buried at St Nicholas's Church, North Stoneham. To quote the Southampton Times, 14 May 1864: "The life of Mr Bullar is in fact the life of Southampton during the past fifty years". A more detailed account of his life can be found in the Oxford dictionary of national biography.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, Volume 8
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p83-4. (HS/h)
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p60. (HS/h)
Southampton Times, 14th May 1864, p2 (obituary)
Hampshire Independent, 14 May 1864, p5 (obituary)

Bullar, John (1807-67)

John Bullar was an eminent London barrister with impeccable Southampton credentials. He was born in Bugle Street on 29 March 1807, the eldest child of the schoolmaster John Bullar and his wife Susannah Sarah Whatman Bullar, daughter of the Southampton linen draper James Whatman Lobb and great niece of Theophilus Lobb, MD, FRS. He was followed by three brothers - Joseph (born 21 July 1808), William (born 7 February 1810) and Henry (born 25 February 1815) - and two sisters - Susan (born 17 May 1811) and Anne (born 30 December 1813). Joseph and William became doctors with an extensive local practice. Henry followed John into the legal profession. Anne became the author of instructional books for children. His parents were Congregationalists and John was baptized in Above Bar Chapel on 31 March 1807 - a chapel of which his father, at his death in May 1864 aged 86 years, had been a member for 67 years and deacon for 43 years. Each of the later siblings was baptized at Above Bar Chapel.

John was educated at his father's school until - on 31 July 1823, aged 16 years - he was articled to the Frome solicitor Alfred Whitaker, an attorney of the Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas at Westminster and a solicitor in the High Court of Chancery. In 1827 John moved to London to train as a barrister and was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1834. By 1839 he was at Lincoln's Inn. On 31 January 1838, at St Mary's Paddington, John married Rosa Follett, only daughter of Andrew Tucker Follett of Manor House, Paddington and sister of Frederick Charles Follett, then a student of the Middle Temple, to which he was admitted in January 1841. The officiating minister was the Reverend William Henry Brookfield, then curate of All Saints in Southampton, a charismatic Anglican clergyman whose life was to intertwine with the Bullars for thirty years: he officiated at each of the brothers' funerals between 1867 and 1870.

John Bullar maintained an extensive legal practice in London, with chambers at 11 King's Bench Walk in the Temple which he shared with his brother Henry. He became Examiner of titles under the Land Transfer Tax and was a member of The Institute (a club of conveyancing counsel, of which it was said he was the life and soul) and in 1866 was appointed a bencher of Gray's Inn. He gave legal advice on the establisment of the Hampshire Independent in 1835/6 and at its subsequent purchase by Thomas Leader Harman in 1840 (‘The establishment of the Hampshire Independent and the editorship of John Wheeler, 1835-40’ in Journal of the Southampton Local History Forum, forthcoming).

It was, however, as a sanitary reformer that John Bullar is better known. In his early days he was associated with the surgeon James Farish, a near neighbour in Lincoln's Inn Fields and a former colleague of his brother Joseph: Farish was house surgeon to Sir William Lawrence, Bart in the late 1820s at the same time that Joseph Bullar was one of his dressers. John Bullar and Farish were honorary secretaries of the pioneering Committee promoting the establishment of cheap baths and wash-houses for the working classes. Rosa Bullar recalled, in a letter to The Times 20 August 1872, how about 30 years ago the idea came to the two friends “that some establishment where poor women might go and wash and dry their cloths would greatly diminish the discomforts and unhealthiness of their small and crowded houses”. Model baths - the first of their kind - were opened in Goulston Square in Whitechapel. Bullar was also a committee member of the Association for Promoting Cleanliness among the Poor, which established a bath house and laundry in Glass House Yard, East Smithfield. Election in late 1847 as a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Sewers widened Bullar's remit and brought him into close contact with Edwin Chadwick. In February 1853 Bullar was part of a deputation of the Promoters of the Health Fund of London to the Home Secretary, Viscount Palmerston, to inquire into the government's proposed measures to counter the threat of cholera: an echo perhaps of Dr Joseph Bullar's work in Southampton during the cholera outbreak of 1849 praised by William Ranger.

Congregationalists by parentage and baptism, each of the four Bullar brothers had by their mid-30s at least converted to the Anglican church. A supporter of church extension, John subscribed £100 in April 1853 towards a chapel of ease at Putney, with half the best seats free for the poor.

He was a friend and spiritual confidante of the Reverend Charles Kingsley, debating matters moral and physical in a series of letters partly reproduced in Charles Kingsley: his letters and memories of his life, edited by his wife and published in 1877. Kingsley wrote to Bullar from Eversley on 23 January 1853: “All I do recollect is, that when I saw you first I was afraid of you. For you must know that I am - for reasons which I can't explain to myself - afraid of men whom I suspect to be experienced, sober, self-possessed people; above all afraid of lawyers; and there was a reverend look about you which made me shy…. But, I little knew then what manner of man you were, and how strangely your inner heart and mine answered each other.”

He was also in the circle of the landscape and genre painter William Collins and his wife Harriett: a portrait of the then three Bullar children was painted by William in 1845/6. Religious enthusiasts, the Collins had by the 1840s joined the fashionable Tractarian congregation of the Reverend William Dodsworth, perpetual curate of Christ Church, Albany Street in London and in 1851 a convert to Roman Catholicism. John attended William Collins's private funeral at St Mary's, Paddington in February 1847 and with Harriett and the Reverend Dodsworth was one of the executors of his will. This gave control of William's sizeable bank account at Coutts, and its gradual disbursement to his sons, the writer Wilkie Collins and the pre-Raphaelite painter Charles Allston Collins. The 1861 census shows Harriett Collins as a visitor chez John Bullar and his family at Bassett Wood.

The Bullars were a close-knit family. The Royal South Hants Infirmary was largely the creation of Drs Joseph and William Bullar. John - along with his father - was amongst the first trustees of the hospital and a signature of the deed of settlement in January 1846. John and Henry shared barrister's chambers in London and a stylish residence at Fairfax House in Putney High Street. Their support of the Girls' Housework Society in the 1860s reflects both the closeness of their personal views and the pervasiveness of their circle of influence. The society was formed by the surgeon Alfred Ebsworth to improve the lot of those young, overworked, ill-clad girls whom he had encountered whilst attending the sick poor in London. The organising committee included John Bullar, his wife Rosa, brother Henry and brother-in-law Frederick Charles Follett, his close friends the Reverend Charles Kingsley and John Duke Coleridge (a prominent judge) and fellow travellers John Ruskin and the Earl of Shaftesbury. John was treasurer.

Bassett Wood became in the mid-1850s a virtual Bullar enclave in Highfield. A 1,000-year lease of 163 acres on the Fleming estate in the parish of North Stoneham was signed by John Bullar and his brother William in 1856 (Hampshire Archives and Local Studies 102M71/E65). Two adjoining properties, with John pere and John fils as respective heads of household, were home to almost the complete Bullar dynasty. It was whilst living at Bassett Wood that John became involved in a controversy that divided local society. He was legal adviser to the trustees of the fund set up to aid the survivors and the relatives of those killed in the great fire at Messrs King and Witt in November 1837. A lengthy, rancorous debate, thought destined to end in Chancery, arouse in the late 1850s over the disposal of the residue of the funds to the Royal South Hants Infirmary. John Bullar found himself accused of misappropriation of funds, attacked by John Traffles Tucker and Timothy Falvey for acting without justice or conciliation. Falvey went so far as to regret that “in this case the hereditary character of the father had not descended to the son (cheers)”. The one issue that separated John Bullar from both his father and his brothers was politics. John was a Tory in a family of Liberals.

John and Rosa Bullar had six children:

1) John Farish Bullar. Born in Kensington 1842; buried at St Mary Extra, Southampton, 12 December 1842, aged 9 months. Presumably named after John Farish.

2) Susanna Rosa Follett Bullar. Born 18 November 1838; baptized 4 January 1838 at St James's Church, Paddington; died 5 December 1894 at Westbourne Hill, Southampton. In early life she travelled extensively and mixed in the literary, artistic and professional world frequented by her parents and uncle, including Wilkie Collins, his mother Harriet and John Duke Coleridge. Her portrait was painted by the pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. In the 1860s she became involved with the United Kingdom Beneficent Association - an organization which granted annuities to ladies in reduced circumstances and feeble health. An invalid for the last decade of her life, she published the bi-monthly magazine Con Amore from her invalid chamber. An avid recycler, she invented a design for using every scrap of wool sent to her for the UKBA into strips of wool from which warm garments could be knitted.

3) Anna Mary Bullar. Born 8 August 1840 at the Manor House, Paddington; died 31 March 1923 in Guernsey. Probate £5,533.3s. A supporter of Southampton Waterside Mission and inventor of cork lifebelts and cork jackets for seamen. These were manufactured by the Miss Bullars out of old corks sent to Bassett Wood.

4) Edith Penelope Bullar. Baptised at Paddington in late 1843; died 23 August 1920 at 20 Carlton Crescent. Probate £8,143.5s. A dedicated campaigner for improvements in the condition of tenement houses in London.

5) Anna Katharine Bullar. Baptized 16 April 1847 at St James's Church, Paddington; died 27 February 1912 at 20 Carlton Crescent. Probate £4,100.16s.10d. Founder and honorary secretary of the Southampton Branch of the Home Arts and Industries Association, whereby workshops were set up in School Board schools to teach boys carpentry and woodworking skills. Small items such as bandboxes and toys were made out of donated work waste and scraps. An ally here of William Erasmus Darwin.

6) John Follett Bullar. Born 2 May 1854 at Putney; died 24 January 1924 in Madeira. A surgeon. See entry below.

John Bullar died at Bassett Wood on 23 August 1867, aged 60 years. He left probate of £16,000. His three brothers died unmarried in the following three years. The family finances - apart from legacies to the Royal South Hants infirmary and Southampton Ragged Schools - permeated seamlessly to John's siblings. His wife Rosa, who died in October 1896, is the subject of a separate entry.

Bullar, John Follett (1854-1929)

John Follett Bullar was the youngest child, and only surviving son, of the barrister John Bullar and his wife Rosa (nee Follett). He was born on 2 May 1854 at Putney. The 1871 census finds him in East Molesey (where the Folletts had property) as a border in the house of the Reverend Charles Scott, vicar of Kent Town. The next year he was admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge. He progressed Bachelor of Arts (1877), Master of Arts and Bachelor of Medicine (both 1883). He was University Curator in Zoology (1877) and was elected a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) in 1880 and a fellow in 1884. The same year he was elected fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society.

After serving as opthalmic house surgeon and assistant demonstrator of anatomy at St Bartholomew's Hospital he came to Southampton c.1887 to set up an opthalmic practice. He married Gertrude Elizabeth Olley, daughter of the late Frederick Olley of Helions Bumpstead in Essex, on 10 January 1888 at All Saints Church. He began out-patient sessions in a house in Oxford Street on 30 September 1889. This led to the creation of the Southampton Eye and Ear Hospital the following year, with Bullar honorary ophthalmic surgeon, and ultimately to the Southampton Free Eye Hospital in Wilton House, Bedford Place, in 1893. Dr Bullar was asked to lay the foundation stone. He was consulting surgeon to both the Free Eye Hospital and the Royal Hants County Hospital in Winchester.

He later moved to Guernsey - living at Houmet du Nord Vale - becoming opthalmic surgeon to the Guernsey Victoria Hospital. He served during World War One as an opthalmic specialist with the rank of captain. He died, with his wife, on 24 January 1929 in a sea-plane accident in Antibes harbour whilst returning from a holiday in the south of France. He left property worth £16,810.5s.8d.

Bullar, Rosa (c.1818-96)

Rosa Bullar was the wife of the Southampton barrister Henry Bullar. She was born c.1818, the only daughter of Andrew Tucker Follett, born 5 February 1774 in Topsham, Devon, a significant landowner in Dorset and Somerset (including Dunwear Farm south east of Bridgwater) and a director of the British Colonial Bank and Loan Company. Rosa Follett married John Bullar on 31 January 1838 at St Mary's, Paddington: her father was then living in the Manor House, Paddington.

It was a successful dynastic marriage for the young lawyer. It brought him within the circle of one of the most influential legal families of the age. Rosa was related (possibly a cousin) to three brothers, born in Topsham between 1797 and 1809: (Sir) William Webb Follett - solicitor general and attorney general under Sir Robert Peel and according to his entry in the Oxford dictionary of national biography by reputation the greatest advocate of his age; Robert Bailley Follett - a barrister of the Middle Temple; and Brent Spencer Follett - barrister, Queen's Counsel and according to Anthony Trollope one of our best constitutional lawyers. Both William and Brent were to enter Parliament as MPs for, respectively, Exeter (1835-45) and Bridgwater (1852-7). Rosa's only brother - Frederick Charles Follett - was at the time of her marriage a student at the Middle Temple (enrolled 12 November 1834). He was admitted to the Middle Temple on 29 January 1841 and followed a successful career as a barrister.

Rosa was clearly an indefatigable spirit. In 1860 she visited Egypt, prompting Charles Kingsley to commiserate with her husband on being left alone, albeit temporarily. She carried on much of her husband's social work after his death in 1867. Pre-eminent was her campaign to revive the Whitechapel baths - in which her husband had invested so much time - after crippling debt had forced their closure in 1871. The subscription lists were re-opened and, following a series of letters to The Times and the energetic support of Charles Kingsley, the baths were open once more in 1878. Good works flowed for many years from the Bullar household at Bassett Wood, orchestrated by Rosa with the energetic help of the flotilla of four unmarried daughters. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society in May 1868. She corresponded with Charles Darwin on the behaviour of the family's pet Labrador (letter of 9 June 1868, apparently not replied to). She was active in the organisation of the annual meeting of the Church of England Congress at Southampton in October 1870, and in the Religious Tract Society. Rosa Bullar died on 29 October 1896, aged 79 years, at 20 Carlton Crescent.

Bullar, Susan (1811-37)

Susan Bullar was the elder daughter of John and Susannah Bullar. She was born on 17 May 1811 and baptized at Above Bar Independent Chapel on 4 October 1811. She was the first of the Bullar children to die, and is the only one to be buried (on 23 March 1837) in Above Bar Chapel.


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