Hull 1900

Hull 1900’s

In 1900,  the “Junction Street” scheme to form a centrally located square within Hull,  known as Queen Victoria Square began. in 1903, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales laid the Foundation stone for a public hall with a front entrance facing the square. She was Mary of Teck and married George V, mother to George IV and Elizabeth II’s grandmother.

Part of that was City Hall, consisting of a principal hall and three reception halls, which was in full use by 1909. In 1941, Hull was badly bombed and the City Hall sustained extensive damage to the roof, main hall, and the total destruction of the organ and led to its closure. However in 1950, the City Hall reopened and the following year, 1951, a new organ was installed. Close to the City Hall, the Ferens Art Gallery was built and opened in 1927.

In the early 1900’s many houses did not have flushing toilets, but had ‘earth closets’. A bucket with a container of ashes of loose earth over it which covered the contents when a lever was pulled, it was emptied at nigh time by the council.These were gradually converted into flushing toilets.

1903, Hull owned it’s own telephone system and refused to join other cities and transfer ownership to the Post Office. It was renamed Kingston Communications in 1987 and in 1989 had the UK’s first all digital network.

1911, Pickering Park opened in July.

1913, Hull dockers managed to get better pay and conditions after years of strikes. This was mainly due to the shortage of workers because of the imminent war.

1914, Hull was still enjoying a period of renewal, new streets and buildings like Victoria Square, King Edward Street and Jameson Street.  It will all over by Christmas, is what everyone thought and so men from Hull and every other city in the country rushed to join up, in the region of 30,000 a day.  The Hull recruiting office struggled to cope so volunteers were sent to the City Hall where bands played on the balcony. Men were formed in Pals battalions which lead to more signing up to be with their mates. The four Hull battalions of approx 1,000 men in each were, the Commercials, mostly from Wenlock Barracks, the 2nd Hull Tradesmen Battalion, the Tradesmen,  the Sportsmen, and the Athletes. The problem with Pals battalions was that it lead to large numbers of local men being killed at one time.

National Registration Act of July 1915 and The Military Service Act January 1916 brought in conscription, with single men being forced to join up and soon followed by all men between 18 and 41.

300 trawlers in Hull were commandeered for minesweeping, so most of the fish & chip shops were closed throughout the war. Women were called upon to work at the likes of Rose Downs foundry, trams agriculture by 1918 1.5 million women working in England which eventually helped them get the right to vote.

Forty properties and 24 civilians were killed in a  Zeppelin raid in June 1915 and another in March 1916, destroyed a ship in Dry Dock and the glass roof of Paragon Station resulting in another 17 deaths. There were no public air raid shelters, only ones built by individuals so people would take cover wherever they could. There were other air raids resulting in more deaths but not on the scale of WW2. Mostly of those killed were from the poorer districts, some being children which resulted in bad feeling towards anything sounding German be it shops or families.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the war ended but Hull had lost over 7,000 and at least 14,000 wounded resulting in some disability. After the war, peace parties became popular despite the sadness, with long lines of make-shift tables with smiling faces from end to end.

Those who served returned to no work and little compensation but some of the men and their families were given small holdings in villages and allotments in the towns.

The Cenotaph in Paragon Square, was unveiled on 8 November 1923 and bears the inscription ‘Their Name Liveth for Ever More’. Many of the men that were killed in the war are buried in the one thousand war cemeteries in Europe which include the Locre Hospice Cemetery near Loker in which my great uncle is buried and I recently had the honour to visit.

1926, There was a general strike in support of the miners and 25,000 Hull workers came out on strike.

1927, Close to the City Hall, the Ferens Art Gallery was opened.

1930’s Electric lighting started being installed in houses and began replacing gas lighting in streets although this took many years to convert them all and there were still gas street lights around in the 1960’s.

1931,  Half of Hull’s 8,500 dockers were out of work.

1935, Queens Gardens were laid out on the site of a filled in dock.

1935, Hull had 30 cinemas and around 73 dance halls which were the main sources of entertainment for those who could afford it.

1939 – 1945 – During the Second World War about 5,000 houses were destroyed in Hull as well as 14 schools and 27 churches. Check out the BBC site for in depth info on WW2.

1951, The 11 plus exam was implemented giving the chance to kids from poor families to get a good education. It was all well and good for those parents who could afford the price of the uniforms and accessories the kids needed to fit in. I was one of the kids that passed and went to Riley High School at the bottom of Parkfield Drive, Anlaby Road, another lost relic. My father was more interested in seeing money coming into the house via a job, than it going out to pay for a education, so it was not an easy life at school. I remember seeing quite a lot of the head Mr Hammill :-). The exam lasted until 1960 when the comprehensive schools came in, although Hull regularly came in at the bottom of national league tables.

1954, Hull University was founded.

1956, Prefabs were being built take deal with the housing shortage in the short term until high rise flats and other housing was built.

1958, The riverside quay was rebuilt at a cost of 1.7 million. Most of the docks west of the river were filled in.

The fishing industry was in full swing during the mid fifties and sixties with big money being earned. Some of my own family were fishermen and I remember only too well the anguish felt awaiting the arrival back of the trawlers. I nearly went to sea as a galley boy but my brother talked me out of it. It all ended in 1976 with the Cod War with Iceland who won the right to put a 200 mile exclusion zone which kept Hull trawlers out of the rich fishing grounds. I will cover more about the fishing industry on a separate page.

1968, Triple trawler tragedy of the St Romanus sank 12th January, the Kingston Peridot sank on 26th January and the Ross Cleveland sank on 4th February.

1969, The Queen Elizabeth Dock was opened by the queen which is were most of the docks roll on roll off traffic is concentrated.

1976 The Streetlife Museum opened.

1980, Tidal Surge Barrier was built across the River Hull. The Humber Bridge opened in 1981.

1981, The Humber Bridge was opened but it was a little late because the main usage would have been related to the fishing industry.

1989, The Transport Museum opened.

1990, The Princes Quay Shopping Centre opened in 1990.

1991,  Hull’s Historic Docks were opened.

1997, Hull and East Riding Museum opened.

1999 The Arctic Corsair trawler was opened to the public, after being refurbished.