Samuel Culpin Of Spalding

From Mariner to the Founder of the British Tulip Growing Industry

Samuel Culpin (1826 – 1921) and his son Fredrick are said to be the first people to bring Tulip Bulbs over to England and to grow them commercially. Sources vary as to which one of them actually brought over the first 100 bulbs in six varieties, but by 1907 they were growing them commercially on the outskirts of Spalding.

Samuel’s ancestors had lived in Spalding for generations, probably moving from North Northamptonshire or Rutland in the early seventeen hundreds. Many of them were mariners and were either owning or crewing the vessels that moved goods from the rivers of the Holland District of Lincolnshire to Yorkshire, London and beyond. With the growth of railways, river trade diminished and the Culpin family seem to have been particularly adept at moving into other areas of work, especially Market Gardening. Various members of the family moved into this by the mid eighteen hundreds and farmed land to the North East of the Commercial Road and Albert Street area of the town.

It isn’t clear with current research how much of the land they owned and how much they rented at various times, but by 1890 Samuel owned a sizeable amount of land between the Low Road and Commercial Road, and near to Albert Street, an area now covered by housing a street called Culpin Close!

Charles had a long life and moved from being a Master Mariner like his father, to a publican and well respected member of the town and then to a Tulip grower, but along the way there were various hurdles. If you would like to find out more about him Click here.

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