Hull Street Memorials
The first and earliest war memorials in Hull, were the 'Street Shrines' or 'Rolls of Honour', These were created in the early years of the war to commemorate all those locally serving in the armed forces. The idea of Street War memorials started in the East end of London, but it was soon adopted in towns, such as St Albans, and became particularly widespread in Hull. In 1915, St Marks Church was the first to errect a large, wooden board, on the railings outside, showing all the men from St Marks Street serving in the war. The Memorials took many shapes, forms and styles. Some included only those directly involved from the street, others included relatives from other streets. Some 'Roll of Honours' covered large areas, such as Wilmington and Sculcoates, which included many streets. A great deal of work went into designing these 'Rolls of Honour'. Committees were set up and Ladies went round collecting names, information and money. The names of servicemen, were often written on paper scrolls, or scratched onto wooded boards, and displayed prominently on Street corners. The memorials were often so highly decorated, with flowers, flags and patriotic pictures, that they took the form of 'Street Shrines'. There was keen competition between Streets for the best memorials. Montrose Avenue, boasted the finest, Courtney Street the largest, and Northumberland Avenue drew the largest crowds. The opening ceremonies were grand affairs, with bands, choirs, hundreds of people attending and widely reported in the local newspapers. It was reported that the unveiling of the Wilmington Roll of Honour, on the 12th November 1916, attracted over 10,000 people (HDM 13/11/16). Some opening ceremonies caused incidents, such as the unveiling of the New George Street memorial, on the 8th October 1916. Here, Thomas Boast, the local Greengrocer, had failed to display a flag in his shop, and was attacked by a crowd for being unpatriotic.
Emily Atkin, from New George Street and Alice Brown, from Scott Street, were fined £5 for breaking his shop window and accusing his wife of being 'Austrian'. While Street memorials were widely popular, they relied on the goodwill of residents to maintain them. Inevitably these 'Rolls of Honour'. could not keep pace with conscription, or the movement of men between regiments and armed services. There was also some opposition to the memorials, with people refusing to include their names or saying that the money should be spent on the troops. Some complained that names had been mis-spelt, left out or ignored. Others were forced to move after the death of their husbands and their connection with the street was forgotten. The memorials were often too small to record the increasing numbers of casualties. For example, Bean Street, lost at least 93 men in the War; Waterloo Street 75; Barnsley Street 59; Walker Street 52, Spyvee Street, 51; and hundreds of men died from the Hessle Road, Beverley Road and Holderness Road areas. The declining enthusiasm for war, meant that many Street memorials were not updated after 1916. For example, the current Eton Street, marble memorial, bears little resemblance to its original, which included many more names of men killed in the war. As well as these ommissions, there were also spelling mistakes, wrong intials or nicknames used on street shrines which compromised their accuracy. Sometimes the same servicemen appeared on several memorials, as they moved address, or were included by relatives in different streets. Also, as most 'Street Shrines' were only designed as temporary structures, they were not long lasting. The Courtney Street memorial was not updated after 1916 and fell into dis-repair. It was discovered years latter in a shop attic and re-errected in 1924. Many Street memorials were destroyed during the Second World War blitz, which devastated Hull. Others were lost through slum clearance in the 1970's and post war reconstruction. For example, the Portland Street Shrine, was removed for safety in 1941, and placed in St Stephen's church , which was then destroyed in the Blitz, in the same year. Only Waller Street attempted to update their memorial after the war, but this has now disappeared. Just a few examples of Hull Street memorials survive today. Most notably, these are at, Sharp Street, Newland Avenue, and Eton Street, on Hessle Road. Some other examples of street shrines are also preserved in the Hull Transport museum.
The following 'Street Shrine' details were reported in the Hull Daily Mail during 1916. They give some idea of the popularity of Street Memorials, and the large numbers of men who enlisted. They also indicate the impact of casualties on these Hull communities.
Alexandra Street, Warne Street and Sutton Street shared a memorial, which showed 250 names;
Brighton Street - 129 men joined up;
Bellamy Street - 51 houses, 38 men serving, and 3 fallen by 16/10/1916;
Crystal Terrace, Courtney Street - 15 houses, 13 serving;
Conway Street , Rosamond Street, and Sefton Street memorials showed 167 men serving, seven of which had been killed by 12/9/1916;
Chiltern Street - 103 men serving;
Eastbourne Street - 113 names, 13 killed by 8/9/1916;
Epworth Street - 26 houses, 31 men serving, 1 killed, 2 wounded. Private, A Teasdale awarded the DCM. (HDM 29/11/16)
Emmeline Terrace, St Paul's Street - 19 houses & 32 men serving;
Flinton Street & St Andrew's Street Shrine - 300 names with 22 sailors and fishermen lost at sea.
Gillett Street, - its Roll of Honour showed 325 names, of which 24 were dead, by 30/8/1916;
Grange Street - reported 179 men, of which 5 had been killed and two had lost limbs, by 26/9/1916;
Havelock Street - 127 names and one killed - 8/9/1916;
Lockwood Street, shows that the Tock family at No:21 have 11 family members serving, including 7 sons. There are also 4 Gorrods, 3 Keeches, 3 Lamberts, and 4 Woods serving. By 1916 it already shows 16 killed, 2 wounded and 2 Prisoners of War.
Lorne Street - 8 killed, 19 wounded, 2 Prisoners of war and 2 others discharged.
Manchester Street - 170 men serving and 5 killed - 30/8/1916;
Montrose Avenue, Gibson Street had 19 houses with 31 men serving, including five brothers. By 28/11/1916, three had been killed, one was missing and 11 others had been wounded.
Northumberland Avenue Shrine - 228 men served, of which 7 were killed, 2 drowned, 1 died, 1 died of wounds, 15 wounded, 6 Prisoners of War, and Private, J L Elston, EYR was awarded the DCM.
Osborne Street - 163 serving from 115 houses. Six men from one house, 13 killed, 13 wounded & 1 prisoner of war (HDM 30/10/16)
Portland Street and New Garden Street - 98 men serving and 7 killed, by 30/10/1916;
Porter Street and Michael Street - 116 men serving from 88 houses, of which 14 had been killed, 14 wounded, three of them wounded three times, and three others were Prisoners of War.
Providence Row - 181 men serving, and 12 reported killed by 19/9/16.
Rose Street - 50 houses, 66 men and one Nurse serving, 20/9/1916;
Spyvee Street Shrine showed 140 names of men serving;
Strickland Street - 130 names - 24 killed and 3 Prisoners of War;
Walker Street - 300 men had enlisted by 26/9/1916.
Waterloo Street, Sarah Ann Terrace, - 31 houses, 35 men serving, 3 killed and 2 wounded;
Wellsted Street Memorial showed 235 men serving by 26/9/1916;
Wilmington Roll of Honour - listed 460 names of those serving (HDM 13/11/16)
Witty Street -70 men serving, of which 2 had been killed;
Worthing Street - 93 names & 5 killed by 19/9/1916;
Wyndham Street, Grosvenor Avenue, - 8 houses & 8 men serving.
Hull had many more Street Memorials during the First World War. While these have now largely disappeared you can search this website to find the casualties on each street in Hull. This website records over 9,000 men from Hull or with a Hull connection. Their addresses come from local newspapers, army records, Census details or local trade directories.
For other local casualties see the excellent work of the ROLL OF HONOUR - East Riding of Yorkshire Council