Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914 - 1918

The story of Hull in World War One

Our Loss

A great many people from Hull lost their lives in World War 1. 

There are over a hundred families on the Hull Memorial that lost two or more of their family. Each was an individual tragedy.

What follows here are snippets about some of those people.

Over, 7,500 Hull men died in the First World War. Over 1,200 of these were sailors working with the fishing fleet, or serving with the Merchantile Marine, the Royal Navy and the Royal Navy Reserve. They carried out vital war work, bringing in supplies, transporting troops and minesweeping the seas

There were nearly another 1,500 men who were born in Hull, but who lived elsewhere. They died fighting for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and America. There are many others, who enlisted in Hull or who were associated with the City, but are not usually remembered on Hull war memorials. As Hull had four large hospitals and was the port of entry for repatriated prisoner of wars, servicemen from all over the world are buried in Hull. The Kingston Upon Hull Memorial aims to remember all those with a Hull connection who died in the First World War.

There are over a hundred families on the Hull Memorial that lost two or more of their family. Sometimes fathers, sons and brothers were lost on the same day. Some families lost three sons, other Hull families lost four sons, including all their children in the First World War. At least one in six Hull families lost a direct relative. Many others would lose close friends, work colleagues or others known to them. Each death was irreplaceable and an individual tragedy for someone.

Unfortunately, not all deaths were recorded in official casualty figures, particularly if soldiers died of sickness, accidents or were discharged home with wounds, of illness. By 1924 the Ministry of Pensions reported that there were 20,000 war wounded living in Hull. Although they survived the war, they are rarely recorded on war memorials. What follows here are snippets of some of those people who died, whose deaths were reported in the local newspapers. 

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Hull before 1914

No automatic alt text available.Hull is located on the Humber Estuary, on the East coast of England. The Humber estuary links the rivers of Yorkshire and the East Midlands with the North Sea. Hull grew as a settlement in the middle ages, where the River Hull joins the Humber. Hull then developed as a port through which wool, from its surrounding area, was exported to northern Europe, and through which the raw materials of the Baltic region - principally timber - were imported into England. Sea-going ships anchored in the mouth of the Hull to transfer cargo to and from smaller vessels which could sail up the rivers to Beverley, Nottingham, Knottingley, Selby and York. In 1293, King Edward I, bought the port to use as a supply base for his military campaigns in Scotland. In 1299, the king founded the borough of Kingston-upon-Hull on the site, and this name is still the formal title of the city. Hull continued to be an important port in the later middle ages. It exported lead and grain as well as wool. Imports included cloth from the Netherlands, iron-ore from Sweden, oil seed from the Baltic and timber from Riga and Norway. Timber and oil seed continue to be major imports through the port of Hull to the present day. No automatic alt text available.

Some Hull merchants grew very rich. The De La Pole family became wealthy enough to join the ranks of the English aristocracy, and for one brief period in the 1400s, become heirs to the throne. From a town founded in the 12th Century, Hull became one of the new County Boroughs in 1888, a City in 1897 and one of Britain's greatest ports. Hull was probably at its most prosperous at the start of the First World War. This was reflected in the restoration of Holy Trinity church in 1907, the building of Hull City Hall in 1909, and the Municipal Guildhall between 1904 -1916. While Hull's whaling industry, declined in the 1860's, it was soon replaced by a booming fishing and ship building industry. This period of great prosperity was enhanced by the discovery of the fish rich, 'silver pits' in the North Sea and new fishing methods, such as the 'trawl'. The development of steam powered trawlers, also enabled Hull fishermen to fish as far a field as Iceland and the White Sea. Many other Hull industries developed in the 19th Century, using imported raw materials, through its ports. These included corn milling, seed crushing, paint making and cotton weaving.

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The Hull and Barnsley Railway ilne carried coal from Cudworth colliery to Hull Cannon Street, via The Wolds .

Hull: The Growing City

From 1800 -1900, Hull's population increased ten times from 22,000 in 1801, to over 290,000 by 1914. New industries grew around imported commodities, such as timber, wheat, soya beans and seeds for the oil crushing industries.
From 1887, with the establishment of the purpose built St Andrews Fish Dock, on Hessle Road, Hull became the biggest fishing port in the British Empire and provided food and materials for a third of Britain. 

On the 26th June 1914 King George V opened the 'King George Dock', which completed the port complex and confirmed Hull as the third largest port in England, surpassed only by Liverpool and London. some of Hull's largest employers were:-

  • - Needlers Ltd: (founded by Fred Needler in 1902, as a large sweet manufacturer) The Needler's sweet factory, employed 1,700 workers, mostly women, to make confectionaries and 'Military Mints' for soldiers at the front.
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  • - Fenner's: (founded by Joseph Henry Fenner in 1861, as a manufacturer of leather belting at Bishop Lane, Hull.)
  • - Rank Hovis McDougal
  • Image may contain: sky, bridge and outdoor(founded by Joseph Rank in 1875. He built a mechanically-driven flour mill in Hull in 1885, becoming one of the largest flour producers in the world.) Joseph Rank Ltd, of Clarence Street, employed nearly 3,000 women in flour production during the war, and Joseph Rank himself was asked to join the Wheat Control Board due to National food shortages.
  • Image may contain: sky, outdoor and waterReckitt & Sons(Reckitt's founded by Isaac Reckitt in Hull in 1840. He became a major producer of health, hygiene and home products, and after his death in 1862, the business passed to his three sons.) The company had three factory sites at Dansom Lane, Morely street and Stoneferry Road. Reckitts expanded at the outbreak of the war by buying two German companies based in England - Rawlins & Son and the Global Metal Polish Company. They employed 4,761 in 1915, which rose 5,609 in 1917. By the Armistice 1,100 Reckitts employees were serving in the armed forces and 153 had lost their lives. Being Quakers, Reckitt's factories, produced non combative war goods, such as cleaning materials, gas masks, and petrol cans.
  • Smith & Nephew: (founded in Hull by Thomas James Smith in
    • 1856 and continued by his nephew, Horatio Smith in 1896, produced multi national medical equipment.) Smith & Nephews', based at Neptune Street in Hull, grew from 50 to 1,200 employees, and supplied field dressings and surgical equipment for the Allies, throughout the war. One particular order, for the French Government, in October 1914, was worth £350,000 (£108 million), and was delivered in just 5 months. 
    No automatic alt text available.Every British soldier carried two field dressings, and with the millions of casualties caused, no doubt Hull helped save many lives.
  • - Wilson Shipping Line: (Founded by Thomas Wilson Sons & Co in 1840, the company operated a relatively large fleet, and was a leading Maritime interest at the time. The Company expanded in 1900 by buying Hull's Earles ship yard in 1900 for a sum of £170,000. It built steamships, yachts, war ships and 'knock down' ships which could be reassembled abroad. It provided vessels for many other British shipping firms, especially those operating on North Sea routes, such as the Great Eastern Railway and the Hull & Netherlands Steamship Company. The Wilson Line, Hull's largest merchant shipping company, was badly affected by the First World War. It had lost 15 of its 79 ships by 1916, and by the end of the war, over 40 of its 84 vessels and some 300 crew members had been lost in the war. It was eventually sold in 1916 after the loss of three of its largest and most prestigious vessels to enemy action ("Aaro" and "Calypso" sunk ; and the "Eskimo" captured).
  • - Fishing Companies. Hull was the home of the great boxer Fleets, such as the Gamecock, Great Northern and the Red Cross Fleets, to the companies of Pickering & Haldane Steam Trawling Co, Kelsall Brothers & Beeching, F&T Ross, Hudson Brothers, Hamlyns, Marrs, Boyd Line, Lord Line and Hellyers. From the early 1840`s, fishermen, boys and vessels came from all corners of the UK to fish from Hull. The Devon Smacks from Brixham and Plymouth, the South East coast smacks of Ramsgate and Gt Yarmouth, to the North East coast smacks from Scarborough and Shields. 
  • - Blundell, Spence & Co: The ready supply of oil from the seed-crushing industry led to paint manufacturing becoming a major industry in Hull in the 19th Century. Blundell's Paint Works was founded in 1811 as a partnership between former Hull city councillor and Lord Mayor Henry Blundell and his brother-in-law William Spence. The company, Blundell and Spence, manufactured paint in a factory on the corner of Spring Bank and Beverley Road. Still referred to as Blundell's Corner, this site was once occupied by the Hull Daily Mail. It was one of the leading paint manufacturers and largest employer in Hull. The company was one of the first to introduce a profit sharing scheme for workers. It created new colours, such as 'Brunswick Green' and 'Hull Red' which was used to paint the keels of ships.
  • - Earle's Cement Company: Brothers George &Thomas Earle established their cement company at Neptune Street, in Hull in 1821. By 1866 it had expanded and moved to a 10 acre site in Wilmington area of East Hull. It served as a significant employer, providing work for several hundred people and by the end of the 19th century it had become one of the premier cement manufacturers in the country. Although it amalgamated in 1912 with other cement companies to form the British Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd., it retained its identity through the marketing of its Pelican brand cement up until 1966, when it subsequently became the Blue Circle Group, which is now part of the Lafarge Cement Company. 

Rose Downs & Thompson Ltd, Hull

- Rose Downs and Thompson, based at Cannon Street, Hull, was established in 1777. They invented the Anglo American Presses, which could press large numbers of oil cakes, and in 1870, they became the principal British firm for making oil mill machinery. Most of their customers were the seed-crushing firms. In the 1880s the company diversified into winches, grab cranes and other pieces of steam machinery for trawl fishing. This move helped them survive a period of debt in the 1880s and their financial position improved in the 1890s. They became well established engineers, ironfounders and manufacturers of oil mill and hydraulic machinery.

In 1910, the firm expanded, buying a gear wheel firm in Leeds and opening branch offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In 1914, they were Engineers, Iron Founders and Boiler Makers. They still specialised in Oil Mill machinery, made the Kingston Dredger and employed some 350 people. In 1916, John Campbell Thompson, the chairman, died, but not before the company had converted to munitions making to help with the war effort. By October 1918, Rose, Downs and Thompson, employed 938 workers including 359 women (3 under 18 year old girls)  with 212 employees leaving for war service.

Other Trades and Industry There were some 115 major factories in Hull. Of these, 25 were involved in seed crushing and oil cake manufacture, eight in oil extracting and refining, 11 in paint and colour making, three in the manufacture of soap and two in the production of margarine. Grain warehousing was carried out in 10 factories and there were six flour mills. The fishing industry accounted for three premises for cod liver oil extraction and two factories produced fish manure. There were 13 saw mills, four ship yards and six marine and mill engineering works. Other large factories were engaged in the manufacture of starch, blue and black lead (6); tar distilling (2); the making of tin cannisters and paint drums (4); tanning and leather production (3); canvas and sack making (1); and sweets and confectionary (1). In addition to these larger factories, a total of 1,169 workshops were registered with the City Council. The trades with the largest number of workshops were bakers (83), boot repairers (77), cabinet makers (24), coopers (39), cycle repairers (49), dressmakers (118), fish curers (62), tinsmiths (20) and watch and clock makers (27). The largest number of employees in these workshops was in the fish curing trade (407 men and 535 women), with dressmaking second (10 men and 849 women) and tailoring (271 men and 326 women) coming third. Approximately, 700 men and women were employed as outworkers, the vast majority of people being engaged in bespoke tailoring and the making of fish nets. The above details reflect the many facets of life in Hull, suits and dresses made to measure, leather boots and shoes which could be repaired, craftsman-made furniture etc. The number of bicycle repairers also indicated the large number of cycles used in the city, and it was said that only Coventry could match Hull for its number of cyclists. By 1919, there were at least 30 premises in Hull still involved in 'dirty' processes, such as tripe boiling (6), cod liver boiling (5), gut scraping (3), fish manure production (3), tanning (3), fat and candle melting (2), soap boiling (2), bone boiling (2). Hull had expanded massively in the 19th and 20th Century, and by 1914, began to look like a modern city. However, although Hull was prosperous, many of its citizens were not, and the City's population remained relatively poor. Hull's wealthy families were relatively small in number, compared to Liverpool, Bristol or London, and these families increasingly moved away from Hull, to live in style, outside the City.No automatic alt text available.

Grace's Guide to Industrial British History http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Main_Page. (Grace's Guide Ltd is a charity (No.1154342) for the advancement of education of the history of Industry and Engineering in the UK.)

GREAT BRITAIN BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Poverty and Hardship

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Sculcoates Union Work House

Hull was characterised by dock related work which was temporary and low paid. Over 35% of the population had jobs, such as unloading ships; quayside activities; warehousing and shipyard engineering. 

Many were unskilled casual workers, often out of work in winter, due to Hull's trade with the frozen, Baltic Ports. In 1884 it was estimated that 1,000 Hull families were starving in East Hull, resulting in the premature death of many children. The construction of Albert Dock stopped in 1885 because the Hull & Barnsley Railway Company ran out of money. This put 5,000 men, mostly 'navies' out of work. Weddings declined, which is usually an indication of hard times, and there were some terrible winters in Hull, which compounded the misery of the poor.

Increasing Population & Overcrowding

BRITAIN BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Hull's population increased rapidly - from an estimated 22,000 people in 1801, to 119,500 in 1870. This rose to 186,292 people in 1885 and then 291,118 in 1914. The growing population and increasing competition for work, led to increased poverty for many local residents. Overcrowding was rife. 

For example, in 1909, Hull's Medical Officer, reported that 303 houses registered with the Authority in Hull, provided accommodation for 3,557 persons, and not all this accommodation was occupied. While many new people were arriving in Hull, others left the City and moved abroad. From 1900 onwards, one in twenty British citizens emigrated to the colonies for a better life. In 1912 alone, 300,000 people left Britain, with the majority moving to the United States, Australia and Canada. Conditions were even worse in the surrounding countryside and many agricultural workers, who could afford to, moved to Hull in the hope of a better life. 

The influx of this workforce was added to by emigrants from Ireland and the Continent. A plaque in Hull's Paragon Railway station, commemorates more than 2.2 million people who passed through Hull on their way to America, Canada and South Africa. Over 1,000 emigrants arrived in Hull every day and many decided to stay. The 1891 Census shows 906 German residents living in Hull, many of them pork butchers. The long standing and vibrant Jewish community in Hull was greatly increased by Jews fleeing religious persecution in Russia in 1881.

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Strickland Street Children, Hessle Road

Poor Housing was one of the major health problems facing the City. In 1914, over 90% of Hull people rented their homes from private landlords and the standard of accommodation was squalid. Many houses were errected with speed on ill-prepared sites to meet the urgent demand for accommodation from a rapidly increasing population. There was almost no accommodation specificaaly for the elderly, or adapted housing for the disabled and very few homes solely for women. Over 80% of the estimated 66,090 houses in Hull, were of the 'working class' type, that is, they were let at a rental not exceeding £26 per year. A typical "sham" four roomed house, consisting of a living room, scullery, two bedrooms and bath, but without hot water, was rented in 1914, at five shillings and sixpence per week clear. 

There were some 21,800 'Terrace' type houses deemed unsatisfactory. Many of them were in the older working class neighbourhoods, and were four or five roomed houses, built in terraces. They led off from the main streets, with between ten to thirty houses in each terrace. They were built at a density of about 60 houses to the acre, compared with an average of 7 to the acre, for the City as a whole. The structural conditions within this group of houses varied considerably. Many had rear external walls, of only four and half inches thickness, whilst a very large number were congested at the rear and had no secondary means of access. There were also about, 2,800 slum houses which were old, poor in structure, had similarly thin walls, and mostly were without a damp-proof course. They were situated generally in narrow 'courts', in congested districts and were without adequate light and ventilation. The only water tap was usually located in the area of the court and was shared by all the court inhabitants. The sanitary conveniences were also located within the court area and in many cases had to be shared by the occupants of more than one house. There were about 500 houses in Hull which backed on to factories, and therefore had no through ventilation. By 1919, it was estimated that a total of 5,000 new houses were required to meet the arrears which had accumulated during the war years. A further 2,578 were needed  to rehouse people living in unhealthy areas and another 200, to rehouse those living in individually unfit houses, in different parts of the City. There were a large number of insanitary cellar dwellings and kitchens. Filth and dirt, was rife and not only infected living conditions, but transmitted illnesses, far beyond their location, through the agency of flies, water supplies and defective drainage. The collection of dry refuse by Hull Corporation did not begin until 1901 and the building of indoor water closets did not start until 1903. By 1912, only 9,881 or 15% of Hull homes had inside toilets. Many houses lacked a rear entrance and occupants had to carry their 'night soil' out through the dwelling. By the outbreak of war, there were approximately 300 registered Lodging Houses. These included the Dockers' Home in Trippett Street, which could accommodate 77 men, in separate 'cubicles', and the Salvation Army Lodging House, in Chapel Lane, with bedrooms for up  to 130 men. The largest lodging house was Victoria Mansions, in Great Passage Street, which provided separate 'cubicles' for 494 working men and had a restaurant and barber's shop within the building. Some 597 canal boats were also registered as family accommodation. Over 740 homes were recorded as keeping up to 2,850 pigs. The many docks and ships moored in the City Centre at Queens Gardens, meant many Hull houses were plagued by rats and vermin. Few properties had electricity and the smoke from domestic chimneys, factories and coal fired ships polluted the atmosphere. The lack of natural sunlight produced a serious vitamin 'D' defficiency in the general population. While Hull had an overcrowded City Centre, the worst living conditions were to be found in Hull's dock area. Many working class families were crammed into poorly built court houses, often 12 people to a house and different families sharing the same room. These 'homes' were old, damp, with insufficient light and ventilation, without back ways and crowded together. 

They were uncomfortably hot in summer, bitterly cold in winter and had no direct water supply. Toilets were inadequate and had to be shared by households in the same street. Rubbish stagnated in unpaved streets. The Eastern Daily News published a report in 1883, which compared the streets off Hessle Road, with the 'foulest slums in Constantinople'. It reported houses "had no furniture and everywhere animals and humans lived together, with sewage flowing from outdoor privies and forming pools in the street."

Disease

Severe overcrowding and squalid living conditions put Hull's health at great risk. Outbreaks of diseases, such as small pox, typhus fever, diphtheria and tuberculosis were common. Some, like the Cholera epidemic in Hull in the summer of 1849, lasted 3 months and killed 1,860 out of a population approaching 81,000. Of those who died, 1,738 were recorded as belonging to the 'labouring classes' and 40% from the Hessle Road area. By the close of 1871, 23% of Hull children died before the age of one, and 45% died before the age of 12. By 1914, 121 out of the registered 960 Hull births still ended in infant mortality - a rate of 12%. Most children were artificially fed and did not attend infant welfare clinics. They invariably died of diarrhoea, and of 'rickets', a disease characterised by poor nutrition, with a softening and deformation of bones. Infant mortality was largely related to improper feeding, poor education, ignorance, negligence and indifference on the part of their guardians. The outbreak of war in 1914 interfered not only with the development of the school health service in Hull, but also with the expansion of services for infants and the pre-school child.

Corruption

Hull's economic and social problems were often compounded by local corruption. In an age when 'laissez faire' was worshipped in society, it was difficult to expect high standards in public office. Town Councilors were mostly businessmen and amongst some of the worst speculative builders and slum landlords. They probably saw no evil in protecting their business interests and using their special knowledge of the City to make a profit.  Thus improvements made at public expense, such as parks, often resulted in higher property rentals and a better environment for them to live in. Even the Police which had been formed in Hull in 1836, were not beyond reproach. Drinking on duty was common and many police officers were frequently charged, with "being helpless with drink while on duty." In 1885, the Chief Constable of Hull was 'caught' with a young prostitute, and forced to resign. He later emigrated to Australia. Crime, lawlessness and prostitution were common in all areas of the town centre. Dog fights were held every Saturday at Stepney Lane, off Beverley Road, which the Police thought better not to interfere with. From 11am, Paragon Street was a "parade of prostitutes, the numbers increasing all day until the night brought drunken fights." Bookmakers openly took bets on Drypool Green.

The Age of Improvement

Hull City Council initiatived many of the improvements to the welfare of its citizens during the Nineteenth Century. 

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Better Housing: New streets were laid out in the 1860's and new terraced housing built from the 1870's onwards. In 1891, the number of houses in Hull was 49,387, which increased to 53,398 houses in 1895, and 60,237 homes in 1906. This eased overcrowding, as Hull's population grew from 186,292 in 1885, to 291,118 by 1914. Between 1899 to1906, the Council demolished 604 unfit houses and structurally altered another 71 to make them habitable. In 1903, 200 houses were cleansed and 'lime washed' and a halt was made on cellar dwellings. The first Council Houses' were built at Upper Union Street in 1904. In 1908, Reckitt's opened Hull's first Garden Village, which by 1913, included 600 houses, built in five sizes, in twelve different styles, and with streets named after trees and shrubsFacilities included a shopping centre, club house, a hostel for female workers, as well as several almshouses.

Public Parks: The first public park in Hull was Beverley Park, which opened in 1860. West Park opened in 1885. The Council provided work for the unemployed in the form of the construction of East Park.  However, workers were so weak, that they collapsed and had to be replaced by labourers' from the East Riding. Local benefactors also funded four parks, including Pickering and Pearson Park.  (photo of East Park, built by the Council using  the Unemployed)No automatic alt text available.Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Hull Fair above

Learning and Education: A School of Art was opened in Hull in 1861. A Technical School followed it in 1894 and Hull Central Library also opened in 1894. Thomas Ferens provided an art gallery and sponsored local libraries. By 1897 there were 33 Council schools within the City. In 1914, it was only compulsory to attend school until the age of 12. Many children left school early to work and support their families. Only 6% of children remained at school over the age of 16.

Improved Public Health: The Council founded the 'Victoria Hospital for Sick Children' on Park Street in 1873, a pre-school 'Child Health Service', and also a 'Health Clinic', in Jameson Street. No automatic alt text available.A Maternity Hospital was built on Hedon Road in 1887, and the Castle Hill hospital was established in 1911. Mrs Edwin Robson opened a Maternity hospital, at 569 Holderness Road in 1912. A four storey, 240 bed, Naval Hospital was also completed on Argyll Street in 1914. (It still stands today behind Hull Royal Infirmary.) Mother and Infant Welfare Clinics were opened between1915 -19, based at 14 Kingston Square, 70 Dansom Lane, Clarendon House, on Spring Bank and 69 Coltman Street. Hull's improving health also owes much to the pioneering work of Doctor, Mary Murdoch, and her assistant Doctor, Louisa Martindale, who shared a practice at Grosvenor House, located at 120 Beverley Road. Both women shared a crusade to improve women's lives in Hull and also started a women's suffrage society, holding committee meetings in their house, which attracted 200 attendees. In 1904, Mary Murdoch, became founding president of Hull's NUWSS (National Union of Women's Suffrage Society), attracting hundreds of members and forming branches in nearby towns. Mary often acted as NUWSS branch delegate during out of town trips, such as when they visited London to present a petition to the House of Commons. Louisa eventually returned to her home in Brighton, but Mary continued to be an inspiration to local women, even driving voters to the polls in her open top carriage during the local by-election of 1907, decorated with the red, white and green colours of the suffrage movement. In 1910, Mary Murdoch became Hull's first female GP Doctor, a remarkable achievement at the time. She served as the Senior Physician at the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, where she worked from 1892, until her death. She also became involved in several public campaigns including working to improve the appalling living conditions in the city. When war broke out in 1914, Doctor Murdoch dedicated herself to helping the sick and injured, but sadly died in 1916 after a fall in the snow visiting one of her many patients. (photos of Dr Mary Murdoch & a memorial plaque)Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor

New Council Services:  Street widening, better drainage, public baths and laundries reduced the spread of infectious diseases. The water supply from the River Hull was abandoned and clean water supplies from Cottingham and Spring Head were established into the City. An electricity generating station was built in 1893 to provide some street lighting. A volunteer Fire Brigade was also formed from 1887. The Council began Public refuse collection in 1901. It established street cleaning, street lighting; water filtration, and food and public Health inspections to improve general living conditions. The Council opened cemeteries, and built the Hull Crematorium on 2nd January 1901. This was the first municipal crematorium in Britain. The Council also operated two Workhouses and a number of orphanages to provide some relief to the poor and disadvantaged.

Image may contain: 12 peopleSport, Clubs and Entertainment: Societies and clubs began to emerge to provide recreation and education. The Young Peoples' Institue (YPI) was established in 1860, at 36 George Street, to promote the"intellectual, moral and religious improvement of young people."  700 members enrolled in its first year and it expanded in 1891 by  purchasing 1 & 3 Charlotte Street. The Hull Boy's Club was established in Roper Street, on the 18th November 1902, to promote sport and "train youth to be good and useful citizens". It was a centre for boxing. By 1891, Hull had 15 bicycle dealers to support a growing number of weekend cyclists. There were street bands, and the Police band performed concerts in the parks. One park concert by the Artillery band attracted ten thousand people. The Hedon racecourse was opened in Preston. New swimming baths were opened in 1885, 1898 and 1905. By 1914 there were 29 Cinemas and Halls showing films in the city. Hull also had many pubs and beer was cheap, about two pence a pint, which proved a huge attraction for working men.  Hull has always been a great sporting city. Both of Hull's professional rugby league clubs and football team were well established before the First World War. Hull Football Club, formed in 1865, by ex public school boys from York, became one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Football Union formed in 1895. No automatic alt text available.Hull Kingston Rovers rugby team began in 1882, as Kingston Amateurs. They were made up of  young boiler makers form the West Hull shipping industry and originally played rugby at Gillett Street, off Hessle Road.  The Hull City Association Football Club was formed in June 1904 and played their first football matches at the 'Boulevard' the home of Hull FC. Hull Cricket Club was founded in 1875 and the Zingari Cricket club in 1896. Both cricket clubs remain today, literally across the road from each other, on Chanterlands Avenue, Hull. There were also many running Clubs operating in Hull at the time. These included the East Hull Harriers, Speedwell Harriers, Central Harriers, Hull Harriers, St Marks Harriers, and Stepney Harriers. Some of the Clubs even staged runs on Thursday afternoons to cater for shop workers who were off work on half day closing. The Hull Kingston Swimming Club was formed on 5th August 1886 as an amateur club for men. Its motto was ‘Kingston First’. It grew at an astonishing rate with more than 200 members being enrolled in its first year. (It was at this Hull club, that one of it's famous Olympians, Jack Hale, invented the 'Dolphin Method' or butterfly stroke.) Such is the City's keeness for sports, Hull formed its own 'Pals battalion, the 12th East Yorkshires, known as the Hull Sportsmen's battalion. During the course of the war, the 12th EYR, lost 366 men, with 138 of them killed on one day, at the Battle of Ancre, on the 13th November 1916. Jack Cunningham won Hull's first Victoria Cross, with the 12th Sportsman Battalion on this day.

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Beverley Road Baths

(see http://ww1hull.org.uk/index.php/our-loses/the-sportsmen)

Employment Opportunities: There was growth in seed crushing mills along the River Hull. Local companies like Reckitts started to take a paternal interest in its workers, providing pensions, and profit sharing schemes. Reckitts built the 'Garden Village' housing scheme in East Hull in 1908. The building of the Hull and Barnsley railway line in 1885, opened up the massed markets of the Yorkshire hinterland, Lancashire, the Midlands and beyond. By 1914, Hull was Britain's third largest port in terms of tradeand Britain's biggest fishing port. Hull was also a major passenger port, with over 2 million people passing through the city to America and beyond.
Transport:  Image may contain: sky and outdoorThe Council established an electric tram system in 1899, following the five main roads in Hull. Two of these lines went west, and two east. The fifth went to the north, and branched to include extra lines serving suburban areas. Three tram depots were established at Hessle Road (near Regent Street), Temple Street and Jesmond Gardens. By 1914, there were 180 trams, operating along 20 miles of track throughout Hull. Trams allowed people to move quickly, safely and cheaply away from their work place, and this spread new housing and wealth along the main roads into the city. Large houses were built along Hessle Road, Beverley Road, Spring Bank, Holderness Road and Cottingham Road.  

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Communications: Hull's telephone system, which opened in 1880, and purchased by the Council in 1906, became unique in the United Kingdom for having a Council owned telephone system, with its own cream coloured telephone boxes.

Civic Pride: A new City Centre, was planned and built, at the turn of the Century to improve the City's status. Hull attracted more wealth and visitors. Hull gained a new municipal boundary in 1885, and three Parliamentary constituencies, known as Hull East, West and Central. Hull became a County Borough in 1888 and was awarded City status in 1897 and the first Hull citizen became Lord Mayor in 1914. In 1903, the Royal Family visited Hull to open Victoria Square. In 1904 a memorial to the dead of the South African war was erected outside Paragon train station. Hull City Hall was built in 1909 and the Guildhall, on Alfred Gelder Street, as built between 1904 -1916. 

However, despite rapid progress and many improvements, Hull remained extensively poor with only a few pockets of affluence. This was typical of many British cities. In 1914, about 80% of the British people were defined as 'working class' and did not own any property. One percent of Britiain's richest people owned 70% of the wealth. The average weekly wage was only £1.40. Life expectancy for a wealthy man was 55 years. Most people in poorer parts of Cities were lucky to live beyond 30 years old. Women worked, mostly as maids, cooks and servants, and did not have the vote. There were no female Members of Parliament and only half of men could vote. The fishing industry in Hull, which employed large numbers, was a tough life for those who sailed. It was also grindingly hard for the men and women who made nets, gutted fish, washed the quays and worked on the docks. Hull was tied to the sea and when the catch was poor, or trade fell, livelihoods were badly affected. The First World War was particularly hard on Hull. When the war started, Hull's direct trade with Germany fell by 12% and removed job prospects in Hull almost immediately. For many, joining the armed services offered a uniform, regular meals and wages. The 'King's Shilling' given to all those who enlisted, was not just an attractive option, but an only option.

GREAT BRITAIN BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WARBRITAIN BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR

1. Poverty in Great Britain shortly before the First World War. Children photographed barefoot outside their home in a slum area of a British town. 2.Wealth in Britain before the First World War. The annual summer regatta at Henley on the River Thames shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. 3. Racegoers at Royal Ascot before the First World war. 4. A woman mending sacks in the room.

Housing Pictures above include Posterngate, Osbourne Street and Pease Street, courtesy of  Shane Jessop and the Francis Firth Collection.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/jan/04/1914-life-before-war-in-pictures

Statistics from 'A Plague on You Sir!' A Community's Road to Health', compiled by George Patrick DPA, FHA. published in 1981, with the aid of grants from Hull City Council and the Sir Philip Reckitt Educational Trust.

Hull Casualties

Image may contain: textThe 'Kingston Upon Hull Memorial', is a digital data base, which allows the City's Great War casualties to be analysed, in many ways. We know that Hull lost over 7,500 men in the First World War. Another 14,000 were wounded, of which 7,000 were maimed. The number of wounded increased over time, as war wounds deteriorated. The Ministry of Pensions records 20,000 war wounded in Hull in 1924. 

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This casualty rate is approximately 30% of those who enlisted. The war lasted 1,500 days, and on average killed 15 Hull men, every day of the war. Some days were worse than others. For example, 247 Hull men died on the 13th November 1916, when the East Yorkshire's attacked the Somme village of Serre: 123 Hull men died on the 3rd May 1917, when the East Yorkshire Battalions attacked Oppy Wood, near Arras: 91 Hull men, died on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme; and 127 Hull men, died between the 21st and 23rd March 1918, during the first Great German Offensive. These casualties accelerated as the war progressed. The 228 Hull men killed in the last few months of 1914, increased to 936 lost in 1915, 1,999 in 1916, 2,076 in 1917 and 2,158 deaths in 1918. In fact, Britain lost more men in 1918, the year of victory, than in any other year of the war, and more British soldiers were killed in 1918, than in the entire Second World War. 

Even after the war, men continued to die from war wounds and disease. For example, 207 Hull servicemen died in 1919, and Hull cemeteries are littered with CWGC graves that show that these deaths continued into the early 1920's.  

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Another ongoing peril was unexploded sea mines which continued to take the lives of Hull fisherman, long after the war had ended. For example, the Hull trawler ‘Gitano’, struck a mine on the 23rd December 1918, and was sunk with all hands . The Hull trawler ’Scotland’, struck a mine on the 13th March 1919, killing seven Hull men. Two days later the steam ship ‘Durban’ exploded‘, killing another eight Hull sailors. The ‘Isle of Man’ (Hull) exploded on the 14th December 1919, killing a further seven Hull fishermen. The steam ship ‘Barbados’ exploded on the 5th November 1920, taking ten Hull men. These included the two Weaver brothers killed on the same day. Many of these seaman had survived the war, only to be its victims after. 

Hull men from East Yorkshire, served across all armed forces, and are buried throughout the world. Many have no known grave. 

Hull men fought from the very start of the war, until its end. They served in the all major battles - the Marne, Gallipoli, Jutland, the Somme, Arras and Image result for hull ww1 deaths imagesPaschendale. They fought in the Middle East and East Africa, on land, sea and air. The war at sea was the longest war and probably the most harshest. Hull sailors fought countless battles, daily, minewsweeping, fishing and delivering vital war materials. The Hull Memorial shows at least 1,175 Hull sailors, died at sea. Hundreds of Hull men were decorated for bravery and at least 2 Victoria Crosses were won in the Great War.Memorials to the missing at Thiepval, on the Somme, lists at least 612 Hull men, the Menin Gate at Ypres records another 385, and the Tyne Cot memorial, records 223 Hull men. The casualties were mainly Privates, Non Commissioned Officers or from other lower ranks. There are less than 250 Officers listed on the 'Hull Memorial', which records 8,869 names of 'local' men killed in the First World War.The majority of deaths in the First World War were young men. Nearly 70% of Hull casualties, were aged 30 years old and under.

Extended families suffered immense loss. There were over a hundred families in Hull that lost two or more from the same family and at least ten families that lost three sons. Two families are known to have lost four sons. When other relatives are added, such as fathers, husbands, unlces, brothers in laws, cousins and fiancees, the losses in some Hull families were immense and truely tragic. They include nearly 1,500 Teenagers, 77 'boys' aged 17 years old, 11 'lads' aged 15, and at least three, 14 year olds, who died on active service.

Communities were also devastated. Ten Streets in Hull, lost more than 50 men or more, during the War. Some of these, were Bean Street (85); Sculcoates Lane (59); Waterloo Street (75); St. Paul's Street (50); Barnsley Street (59); Walker Street (52), Spyvee Street (51); and hundreds of men died from Hessle Road, Holderness Road, Beverley Road and Wincolmlee areas.

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It is difficult to quantify the social and demographic impact of this great loss of men on the city. Newspapers at the time hint of the suffering, with stories of suicides  and families left heirless, penniless, orphaned, and homeless. In order to maintain spirits and social order, newspapers released casualty figures sparingly and usually many months after they happened. Patterns of behaviour also changed, with people marrying across classes, taking on different types of employmemt and becoming more militant and questioning of authority. Crime increased after the war and became more brutal and organised during the tough economic times ahead. Large numbers of wounded and disabled people adapted to a society, where there was only a limited welfare state to support them. The scale of casualties and sense of loss, were strongly felt by all those who survived the Great War. 

Every man recorded on the 'Kingston Upon Hull Memorial', has their own unique story. Many of these stories are intertwined with the history of Hull. Naming those that died emphasizes their existence as individuals and the enormity of Hull’s loss. The potential of all these men was lost to the world, but they are now remembered together, here on this website.It was reflected in people's need to errect hundreds of war memorials, particularly as many of those killed, had no known grave. The social trauma of bereavement, would haunt generations for decades, resulting in a large peace movement and reluctance to fight further wars. The numbers of casualties are still difficult to understand. Can you imagine in our modern world of social media today, tuning into the evening news, to learn that nearly 60,000 British soldiers had been killed and wounded in a single day? This was the reality on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, a battle which continued for another four months!

Hull City Hall Recruitment Office

Image may contain: 21 people, outdoorIt was mostly at the City Hall that Hull formed its own four ‘Pal’ Battalions, known as the 10th, 11th, 12th & 13th Service Battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment. These formed part of the 92nd Infantry Brigade, in the 31st Army Division. Recruitment began at 10am on the 1st September, 1914. Each Battalion contained 1,050 men. Some of these battalions such as 11th East Yorkshires were raised within 3 days. Hull also raised a 5th ‘Bantam’ Battalion made up of ‘small men, with big hearts’ and this became know as Lord Robert’s or ‘Bobs Battalion’ These 5 Battalions were more than may other Cities which had larger population.                    

 

No automatic alt text available.With the onset of war, each of these (except the 5th Battalion) recruited, firstly up to full strength and then recruited a second line unit to replace the first when it went on active service. The 4th Battalion actually raised a third line battalion. Competition was particularly fierce to join the Hull cyclists, who with their 'knee britches and black bugle buttons' were seen as a rather noticeable unit to belong to.

Army life meant regular pay (one shilling a day for privates) as well as proper food and clothing, not to mention barracks that compared favourably with the living conditions experienced by many at the time. Even with an establishment of keen recruits, many would-be volunteers were rejected on medical grounds, suffering from the cumulative effects of poor diet, medicine and housing.

The 10th 'Hull Commercials' Battalion were initially recruited at the Army Office at 22 Pryme Street. However, this became inadequate to cope with the large numbers of volunteers enlisting. Recruitment was therefore moved to Hull City Hall on the 6th September 1914. 

Hull City Hall was a larger, more central location and could provide all the administration associated with recruitment. Between 400 & 500 voluntary clerks attended the City Hall continuously. This included one hundred School Mistresses and lady teachers who on the 15th August 1915 dealt with over 12,000 recruits. The Tramways Committee based at the Hall provided free cars for recruitment and war advertising. For example, the Hull Corporation tram, on route H,  along Holderness Road, was bedecked with recruiting adverts. Volunteers were asked to jump on, for a free ride to enlist at Hull City Hall.

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An Advisory Committee was established by Mr Walter Fred Harris and spent several hours each day at the City Hall advising the Recruitment Officer of applications for exception from military service. The Port Labour Committee chaired by Mr C S Page considered military exemption applications from Dock workers and others.

Hull City Hall was considered by the War Office as one of the most successful and efficient recruitment offices in the country. When the role of recruitment was finally taken over by the Ministry of National Service, Hull was selected as a Training Centre for Officers. The 10th 'Commercial' Battalion made up of Hull Office workers, provided many NCOs' and Officers for other regiments. Many Hull men were recruited for the Royal Flying Corps, and used for the Motor Transport and the Inland Water Services. The total number of men raised within Hull for all services was over 75,000. This was a huge effort for a small City. While there were some reserved occupations, most Hull men of fighting age were enlisted in active service.three and six, Justices of the Peace attended the City Hall every day to take the Oaths of all new recruits.

RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918

Medical Boards staffed by older Doctors examined new recruits and worked double shifts, taking on the patients of younger Doctors and releasing them for the Royal Army Medical Corp. Rota's were formed to ensure that recruitment was continuous and several Boards attended the City Hall every day for the full duration of the War. 

The Call to Arms

Before the declaration of war, the local Territorial battalions, the 4th and 5th East Yorkshires and the Territorial Royal Field Artillery were mobilized and reservists received their call up papers. The Hull Daily Mail recorded that about 100 naval reservists left Hull for the South of England on the 5.05am train to London. The sudden loss of men affected the ability to bring in the harvest and hit the fishing fleet and merchant navy very hard.

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While Hull was the major recruitment centre for the East Yorkshire Regiment, it was also a major port and a large percentage of the population was already recruited by the Merchant Navy, the fishing Fleet, the Royal Navy and the Humber Estuary and Coastal Defences. As well as the demands of the sea, there were other units in existence which further drained the supply of Hull men. In the East Riding there was a Yeomanry regiment, two territorial battalions, a Royal Garrison Artillery battery, a Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps and a Field Company of the Royal Engineers. The 17th Northumberland Fusiliers which was a Pals Battalion for Railwaymen working on the Hull and Barnsley Railway Line was also recruited in Hull and accommodated in two large warehouses on King George Dock.Image may contain: 7 people

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Within the first six month of the war, over 20,000 men from Hull had enlisted, and by the end of the war some 75,000 had served in His Majesty's Services. Newspapers reported on many patriotic families. These included Mr T G Marshall, at 96 St Georges Road, who had 18 family members, including 4 sons, serving. The Frays at 72 Flinton Street, had enlisted eight family members. Mrs Watts at 265 Alliance Avenue, had six sons and a nephew serving. Mrs Parker at 67 Bean Street, also had six sons serving. Mr and Mrs Whittle's, five sons, at 54 Rosmead Street, all enlisted. Twenty two men from Maple Street, joined up in the first weeks of the war. Those who enlisted, joined for a variety of reasons – some out of a sense of duty and patriotism, some for a change and adventure, others for money. However, all answered the call, to do a practical job, with little idea of what lay before them.No automatic alt text available.Day 22

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Hull Civilians killed in WW1 Air Raids

Hull Civilian Deaths in WW1 due to German Air Raids (Names, Age in brackets and Address where killed)

June 1915

Maurice Richardson (11)             - 50 South Parade. Son of Maurice Richardson, a soldier.

Violet Richardson (8)                  – 50 South Parade - Daughter of Maurice Richardson.

Tom Stamford (46)                       - 5 Blanket Row. Died of injuiries received in Queen Street

Ellen Temple (50)                         - 20 St James Square, St James Street

Elizabeth Picard Foreman (39)   – 37 Walker Street. Died of shock.

Sarah Ann Scott (86)                   – The Poplars, Durham Street

Johanna Harman (67)                  – 93 Arundel Street

Jane Hill (45)                                - 12 East Street. Wife of George Hill below.

George Hill (48)                           - 12 East Street. Merchant's Labouer.

Eliza Slade (54)                            - 4 Walter's Terrace, Waller Street

Florence White (30)                    - 3 Waller Street. Wife of Dock Labourer & her son.

George Issac White (3)               - 3 Waller Street. Youndg son of Florence White above.

Alfred Mathews (60)                   - 11 Waller Street. Boilermaker.

William Walker (62)                     - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street. Tanner's Labourer.

Alice Priscilla Walker (30)          - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street. Child of above.

Millicent Walker (17)                  - 2 St Thomas Terrace, Campbell Street. Daughter of above.

Norman Mullins (10)                   – 39 Blanket Row. Died of injuries received in Queen Street.

George Mullins (15)                   – 39 Blanket Row. Died of injuries received in Queen Street.

William Watson (67)                    - 21 Edwin's Place, Porter Street. A Tramcar Painter.

Annie Watson (58)                      - 21 Edwin's Place, Porter Street. Wife of William above.

Georgina Cunningham (27)      – 22 Edwin's Place, Porter Street. Wife of Walter, a coal heaver.

Emma Pickering (68)                    - Sarah's Terrace, Porter Street. Wife of George, a Policeman.

Edwin Jordan (10)                      - 11 East Street. Son of a Boilermaker.

Hannah Mitchell (42)                  – 5 Alexandra terrace, Woodhouse Street

March 1916  

Edward Cook (38)                         – 33 Lukes Street. General Labour. Killed by shock.

John Longstaff (71)                      – 6 William's Place, Upper Union Street. Retired Train Driver.

Lotte Ingamells (28)                       - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street. One of 3 sisters killed.

Ethel Mary Ingamells (33)              - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street. Sister of above.

Martha Rebecca Ingamells (35)     - 8 The Avenue, Linnaeus Street. Sister of above.

Edward Slip (45)                           - 23 Queen Street. Refreshment House Keeper - Queen Street

Edward Ledner (89)                      – Trinity House Almshouse, Carr Lane. Retired Seaman.

Robert Cattle                                  - Little Humber Street. Fish Fryer.

Frank Cattle (8)                              - Little Humber Street. Son of Robert Cattle above.

James William Collinson (63)       – 14 Johns Place, Regent Street. Dock Labourer.

George Henry Youell (40)              – 4 Post Office Entry, High Street. Dry Dock Labourer.

Charlotte Naylor (30)                     – 32 Collier Street. Killed with her 4 children.

Ruby Naylor(8)                               – 32 Collier Street. Daughter of Charlotte Naylor above

Annie Naylor (6)                            – 32 Collier Street. Daughter of Charlotte Naylor above

Edward Naylor (4)                         – 32 Collier Street. Son of Charlotte Naylor above.

Jeffery Naylor (2)                          – 32 Collier Street. Son of Charlotte Naylor above.

James Pattison (68)                      – 33 Regent Street. Chimney Sweep.

John Smith (30)                            – 2 Queens Alley, Blackfriargate. Dock labourer.

August 1916

The Rev, Arthur Wilcockson (86)  - 32 Granville Street. Calvanist Minister. Died of shock.

Mary Louise Bearpark (44)            - 35 Selby Street. Died with her daughter below.

Emmie Bearpark (14)                     - 35 Selby Street. Daughter of Mary Bearpark above.

John Charles Broadley (3)             - 4 Roland Avenue, Arthur Street. Son of a bricklayer.

Rose Alma Hall (31)                        - 61 Selby Street. Killed with her two daughters.

Elizabeth Hall (9)                            - 61 Selby Street. Daughter of Rose Alma Hall above

Mary Hall (7)                                   - 61 Selby Street. Daughter of Rose Alma Hall above.

Charles Lingard (64)                     - 61 Walliker Street

Emma Louise Evers (46)               - 25 Brunswick Avenue, Walliker Street

Esther Stobbart (31)                   – 13 Henry's Terrace, Wassand Street. Wife of FJ - 3rd EYR.

Died of Shock

William Jones (80)                     – The Almshouses, Posterngate

Jane Booth (51)                          – 2 Alma Street

Sarah Masterman (58)                – 9 Humber Avenue, Scarborough Street

William Clarkson (62)                 – 2 Adderbury Grove

Jesse Mathews                            – 11 Cotton Terrace, Barnsley Street

Hull Housing & "Homes Fit for Heroes"

During the First World War, Hull was a much smaller and densley populated City,  than it is today. Most people lived in the City Centre or were crammed around the fish docks of Hessle Road and the warehouses of Wincolmlee. In 1914, Hull's population was around 300,000 people, a much larger number than now. North of the 'Avenues' was open fields. Spring Bank ended at Walton Street and along Willerby Road was open country side. Along Holderness Road, there was not much housing beyond Portobello Street. The present day housing estates of Bransholme, Orchard Park, Greatfield, Longhill, Bilton and Ings Road were then just farms. Over 80% of the 66,090 houses in Hull were classified as 'working class' type, with a rent not exceeding £26 per year. Only 28,400 homes were regarded as satisfactory, with adequate light and air circulation and having a yard or garden at the rear with a secondary means of access. Some 21,800 properties, mostly 'terrace' type housing were unsatisfactory, built at a high density of 60 houses per acre, compared with an average of 7 houses to the acre for the City as a whole. Image result for slum houses hullThey included 2,800 'slum houses' which were old, damp, poorly built and situated in congested districts. Tenants invariably shared a single tap and outside toilets, which were situated together in a communal courtyard. Over 98% of Hull people rented their homes rather than owned them. The homes were largely poor and basic, with little choice, but the rents were cheap. People preferred to live near their place of work and not commute long distances. With no Welfare state and few Council houses, people preferred to live in tightly knit communities, where they could support each other or have access to shops and facilities. For the few and wealthy, home ownership outside the city centre, was the most desired and affordable option. Newspapers in 1914, advertise a 3 bed house for sale in Anlaby Park for £415 - £435, and 4 bed houses for between £529 - £550. After the war, a typical 3 bed, semi-detatched house, sold for between £540 - £740. 

Only 1% of Edwardians owned property. Most worked in dark, noisy factories, cut hay in fields, toiled down dirty and dangerous mines; had bones bent by rickets and lungs racked by tuberculosis. Life expectancy then was 49 years for a man and 53 years for a woman, compared with 79 and 82 years today. They lived in back to back tenements or jerry-built terraces, wore cloth caps or bonnets (rather than boaters, bowlers and toppers) and many had never taken a holiday - beyond a day trip to the seaside - in their entire lives.

 Poor Housing was one of the major health problems facing the City. In 1914, over 90% of Hull people rented their homes from private landlords and the standard of accommodation was squalid. Many houses were errected with speed on ill-prepared sites to meet the urgent demand for accommodation from a rapidly increasing population. There was almost no accommodation specifically for the elderly, or adapted housing for the disabled and very few homes solely for women. Over 80% of the estimated 66,090 houses in Hull, were of the 'working class' type, that is, they were let at a rent, not exceeding £26 per year. A typical "sham" four roomed house, consisting of a living room, scullery, two bedrooms and bath, but without hot water, was rented in 1914, at five shillings and sixpence per week clear. 

 There were some 21,800 'Terrace' type houses deemed unsatisfactory. Many of them were in the older working class neighbourhoods, and were four or five roomed houses, built in terraces. They led off from the main streets, with between ten to thirty houses in each terrace. They were built at a density of about 60 houses to the acre, compared with an average of 7 to the acre, for the City as a whole. The structural conditions within this group of houses varied considerably. Many had rear external walls, of only four and half inches thickness, whilst a very large number were congested at the rear and had no secondary means of access. There were also about, 2,800 slum houses which were old, poor in structure, had similarly thin walls, and mostly were without a damp-proof course. They were situated generally in narrow 'courts', in congested districts and were without adequate light and ventilation. The only water tap was usually located in the area of the court and was shared by all the court inhabitants. The sanitary conveniences were also located within the court area and in many cases had to be shared by the occupants of more than one house. There were about 500 houses in Hull which backed on to factories, and therefore had no through ventilation. By 1919, it was estimated that a total of 5,000 new houses were required to meet the arrears which had accumulated during the war years. A further 2,578 were needed  to rehouse people living in unhealthy areas and another 200, to rehouse those living in individually unfit houses, in different parts of the City. There were a large number of insanitary cellar dwellings and kitchens. Filth and dirt, was rife and not only infected living conditions, but transmitted illnesses, far beyond their location, through the agency of flies, water supplies and defective drainage. The collection of dry refuse by Hull Corporation did not begin until 1901 and the building of indoor water closets did not start until 1903. By 1912, only 9,881 or 15% of Hull homes had inside toilets. Many houses lacked a rear entrance and occupants had to carry their 'night soil' out through the dwelling. By the outbreak of war, there were approximately 300 registered Lodging Houses. These included the Dockers' Home in Trippett Street, which could accommodate 77 men, in separate 'cubicles', and the Salvation Army Lodging House, in Chapel Lane, with bedrooms for up  to 130 men. The largest lodging house was Victoria Mansions, in Great Passage Street, which provided separate 'cubicles' for 494 working men and had a restaurant and barber's shop within the building. Some 597 canal boats were also registered as family accommodation. Over 740 homes were recorded as keeping up to 2,850 pigs. The many docks and ships moored in the City Centre at Queens Gardens, meant many Hull houses were plagued by rats and vermin. Few properties had electricity and the smoke from domestic chimneys, factories and coal fired ships polluted the atmosphere. The lack of natural sunlight produced a serious vitamin 'D' defficiency in the general population. While Hull had an overcrowded City Centre, the worst living conditions were to be found in Hull's dock area. Many working class families were crammed into poorly built court houses, often 12 people to a house and different families sharing the same room. These 'homes' were old, damp, with insufficient light and ventilation, without back ways and crowded together. 

They were uncomfortably hot in summer, bitterly cold in winter and had no direct water supply. Toilets were inadequate and had to be shared by households in the same street. Rubbish stagnated in unpaved streets. The Eastern Daily News published a report in 1883, which compared the streets off Hessle Road, with the 'foulest slums in Constantinople'. It reported houses "had no furniture and everywhere animals and humans lived together, with sewage flowing from outdoor privies and forming pools in the street."

 Disease

 Severe overcrowding and squalid living conditions put Hull's health at great risk. Outbreaks of diseases, such as small pox, typhus fever, diphtheria and tuberculosis were common. Some, like the Cholera epidemic in Hull in the summer of 1849, lasted 3 months and killed 1,860 out of a population approaching 81,000. Of those who died, 1,738 were recorded as belonging to the 'labouring classes' and 40% from the Hessle Road area. By the close of 1871, 23% of Hull children died before the age of one, and 45% died before the age of 12. By 1914, 121 out of the registered 960 Hull births still ended in infant mortality - a rate of 12%. Most children were artificially fed and did not attend infant welfare clinics. They invariably died of diarrhoea, and of 'rickets', a disease characterised by poor nutrition, with a softening and deformation of bones. Infant mortality was largely related to improper feeding, poor education, ignorance, negligence and indifference on the part of their guardians. The outbreak of war in 1914 interfered not only with the development of the school health service in Hull, but also with the expansion of services for infants and the pre-school child.

 

 

Housing and new Homes for Heroes

 

There was a severe shortage of housing in Hull. War time conditions had prevented new house building and allowed only the minimum of essential repairs. As a result, the general standard of housing in 1919, was well below that of 1914. It was estimated that in 1919, a total of 5,000 new houses were required in Hull, to meet the arrears over the period of the war. A further 2,578 were needed to rehouse people living in unhealthy areas, and another 200 to rehouse those living in individually, unfit houses, in different parts of Hull. The 1919 (Addison) Housing Act helped established Hull's first Housing Committee and made the Council the chief provider of new housing. As a start towards meeting this shortage of 7,778 houses, Hull City Council purchased three areas of land on the northern, western and eastern outskirts of the City to errect housing estates. These became known respectively as the Bricknell Avenue, Gipsyville and Preston Road estates and house building began in the 1920's. 

On most estates, Council houses were provided with a generous sized garden to encourage tenants to grow their own vegetables, a privet hedge at the front and an apple tree at the back. The interiors varied, some having a parlour, but all with a scullery and bath.  

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For most new tenants, these new conditions were a huge improvement on their previous slum housing, where they had experienced overcrowding and often were without even basic facilities. The quality of the new housing was generally high. Although some slum clearance took place during the 1920s, much of the emphasis of this period, was to provide new general needs housing, on greenfield sites. The new houses had electricity, inside toilets, fitted baths and front and back gardens. The Council had strict rules for new tenants on housework, house and garden maintenance, children’s behaviour and the keeping of pets.

 

The 1919 Housing Act, made housing a national responsibility, and local authorities were given the task of developing new housing and rented accommodation where it was needed by working people. The 1919 Housing (Addison) Act (named after Dr. Christopher Addison, the Health Minister) was passed initially as a temporary measure. It was to help meet housing need, when private builders could not meet the demand. It was generally assumed that the private sector would resume responsibility for working class housing once the British economy had recovered. The 1919 Act provided 213,000 new Council homes across the country. Although insufficient to meet the National need, it was a marked increase on the 24,000 'social' homes that existed in 1914. 

The most ambitious housing estate, built to reward soldiers and their families after the war was the massive Becontree estate in Dagenham. It was to become the largest council housing estate in the world. Work by the London County Council started on the estate in 1921. Farms were compulsory purchased and by 1932, over 25,000 houses had been built and over 100,000 people had moved to the area. The new houses had gas and electricity, inside toilets, fitted baths and front and back gardens.  The estate expanded over the Essex parishes of Barking, Dagenham and Ilford with nearly 27,000 homes in total creating a virtual new town with dwellings for over 30,000 families.

Private House Building

Godfrey Mitchell, a demobbed Royal Engineer Officer, that had served in France, acquired the Wimpey Home Construction business and built many private homes in Hull during the 1930's. The Woolwich Building Society lent 90% mortgages and allowed people for the first time to buy their homes. After the war, a typical 3 bed semi-detatched house sold for between £540-£740.  Buyers needed a 5% deposit, with repayments at around 26 shillings a week and buyers were given a Government subsidy of £50 as a further incentive. Most of Hull''s new council estates, provided good quality housing for the better off, working classes, but did not provide a solution for the poorer people in society. Rents were relatively high and subletting was forbidden, so naturally the tenants in the best position to pay were selected. High rents sometimes meant difficulty in paying, as more applicants from unskilled occupations were housed.  

 

The Short Lived Planning Legacy of WW1 -http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/analysis/comment-and-opinion/the-short-lived-planning-legacy-of-the-great-war/5042532.article