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 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.


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."


 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 -


Hull in the First World War

The Outbreak of War in Hull

On Tuesday, 4th August 1914, at 11pm, Great Britain declared war on Germany. It was a gloriously, sunny, Bank Holiday and holiday makers were disappointed that the trains on the North East railway lines had been cancelled for troop transport. The news was greeted by an outbreak of excitment and patriotism. Crowds gathered outside the Hull Daily Mail offices, in Whitefriargate, to hear the news. When Germany refused the ultimatum to withdraw from Belgium, a cheer and patriotic singing broke out. The next day saw hysteria in the shops with panic food buying and hoarding. There was a sudden scarcity of sugar and fruit as the Wilson Line ships were detained in the ports of Hamburg. Prices rose and supplies fell, until order was restored. Hull was full of troops called up and on the move. The Territorial Army was mobilised to defend Britain, while the Regulars were sent to France. The 4th and 5th (Cyclist) Battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment marched to the coast and dug in, ready for invasion. The Royal Field Artillery from Wenlock barracks were recalled to Hull from Dundee. Some 300-400 reservists of the regular army left Paragon station for Chatham and other depots. The Posterngate shipping office was busy with Royal Navy Reserve, 'hard looking, wirey men', responding to the call, to sign on. Guards were placed on factories and power supplies to prevent sabotage, hospitals were prepared to accept casualties, and appeals for volunteers went out. The docks were full of vessels, as Hull's 400 fishing trawlers headed for the safety of home. Hull's Fish Dock was full of a flotilla of ships from the Red Cross and Hellyer's fleets. Amidst of all this activity, the Government passed the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) on 8th August 1914. This gave it far reaching powers over people. Land and property could be seized for military use, suspected spies could be arrested and imprisoned. Strict censorship of the Press was enforced. In effect, the country was placed under martial law. Tradesman surrendered their horses at the Carr Lane livery stables and motor vehicles were commandeered by army officers in Hull. Sir Mark Sykes, Hull's Central MP, mobilised 1000 Yorkshire farm waggoners from his estates, which caused a blow to farmers and the local harvest. Father Le Clerc, Chaplain of Endsleigh convent, left Hull to join the 13th French Regiment. Lady Nunburnholme, appealed for volunteers to join First Aid classes and nursing courses, at her VAD, Head Quarters, in Peel Street, Springbank.

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The Belgium Refugees

The German invasion of neutral Belgium and the stories of their attrocities towards the Belgiums was a powerful weapon in uniting Britain's support for the war and in recruitment. On 9th September 1914 Hull established it's War Refugee Committee to assist refugees until the end of the war. It's HQ was based at Bowalley Lane and it had 500  volunteer helpers, 400 of which were women. This was a registered war charity that relied entirely on voluntary aid. The committe's work was twofold. First, to offer hospitality to Belgium residents in their area and secondly to give relief to those disembarking at their ports. This included giving temporary relief with accommodation, food and clothes and for more permanent cases rent free lodgings and allowances for food, clothes and heating. For those who could work, jobs were sought for them. On the whole the refugees were found to be sober, industrious and gracious and many became self supporting during their stay in Britain. The Hull War Refugee Committe for Belgium , in its final report, stated that 1,249 refugees were asisted of whih 612 were entertained and 637 were given some temporary material aid. In total, the Committee had received £10, 386 in voluntary subscriptions, donations and collections. This was used to assist and maintain refugees and aid their repatriations.

Support Services

'Soldiers Clubs' were raised in Hull to help serving men. A Soldiers Club with reading room was located at Beverley Road baths on Stepney Lane and run by Major A J Atkinson and his wife.No automatic alt text available.

'Soldiers & Sailors Wives Club' was formed on Mason Street by Mrs Hubert Johnson, the wife of the Lord Mayor. It was devoted to provide relaxation for the wife's of servicemen away from home. 

Paragon Railway Station housed a popular 'Rest Station and canteen' well used by departing troops. It was set up in September 1914 and staffed throughout the war by Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD). 

'Peel House' at 150 Spring Bank, was the VAD headquarters, and run by the Lady Mayor. Peel House helped train nurses and locate hospital accommodation for soldiers posted to Hull. It also sent out thousands of parcels of clothing and essentials to troops home and abroad. War Correspondents in France were struck by the way East Yorkshire Units were looked after by people back home. Its most renowned work was sending thousands of food and clothing parcels, plus other necessities to Prisoners of War. This work was extended to captured seaman and interned civilians. Peel House raised public funds to fund their work. The residents of Freehold Street created a bread fund and distributed food to Prisoner of War through Peel House.Image may contain: one or more people, crowd and outdoor


Large numbers of men rushed to enlist in the Army. Recruitment drives were launched, these appealed to men's patriotism and sense of duty.  Local authorities and prominent people took the initiative in recruiting and equipping 'Pal' Battalions, confident in the fact that the war office would take them over. This allowed work-mates and friends to serve together and was hugely popular. 30,000 men had joined by the end of August 1914, and 2 milllion men volunteered by the time conscription came in 1916.  In eleven weeks Hull raised enough men to form four infantary battalions (4,000 men in all). The battalions were given unofficial names, reflecting the mens backgrounds. For example, the 1st Hull Pal Battalion, were known as the 'Commercials' because its recruits were from Hull's commercial and office sector. Other Hull Battalions were made up of local 'Tradesmen', 'Sportsmen', and Railway workers. The motives for joining were varied - a desire to travel, to escape low paid work, for adventure, but above all a genuine idealism and patriotism. This was the base on which the New Armies and Pal's battalions  were formed. Local papers reported on families at war, that had joined the cause. The 'Hull and Lincolnshire Times', of 29th May 1915, reported on James Fray, of 72 Flinton Street, with seven family members enlisted, Sergeant, Herbert Thundercliff, wounded at 48 Beeton Street, with ten family members serving and Mr TG Marshall, of 96 St Georges Road, with five sons serving and another 15 family members enlisted, including nephews and son in laws.

However, in 1915, the flow of volunteers was insufficient to meet the army's needs and public opinion began to turn towards the 'slackers' - those men who had not enlisted. In October, Lord Derby, the Director of Recruitment asked all men, aged 18 to 41 to "attest" - to say they that they would join up when called. Men were divided into married and single groups and young, single men would be called up first, before married men. Arm bands were issued to attested men, to spare them the humiliation of being labelled as 'slackers'. This voluntary recruitment initiative failed to produce the numbers of recruits needed and was replaced with compulsory conscription.  On the 5th January 1916, the Military Service Act deemed all single men between 18 and 41 to have enlisted, a second Act in May, extended this to all men between 18 and 41. Finally, with the crises of 1918, a third Act in April, extended the age limit up to 51. However, few of the older conscripts saw action at the Front - rather they formed a home defence force. No automatic alt text available.

Hull's contribution during the First World War is often underestimated. As a North Eastern, coastal City with a population of approximately 300,000, Hull citizens served extensively across all branches of the British Army, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Home Defence. They also died serving Commonwealth nations, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand where they had emigrated. The outbreak of war in 1914 aroused great enthusiasm in Hull and within the first six months 20,000 local men had enrolled. Hull was also attacked by Zeppelins and it raised its own Pals Battalions. The Great War affected everyone. At home there were wounded soldiers in military hospitals, refugees from Belgium and later on German prisoners of war. There were food and fuel shortages and disruption to schooling. The role of women changed dramatically and they undertook a variety of work undreamed of in peacetime. 

Hull formed its own four 'Pal' Battalions, the 10th, 11th, 12th & 13th service Battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment, which made up the 92nd Infantry Brigade, 31st Division. Due to its coastal locality and economic and social make up, Hull formed its own 'bantam' regiment made up of men of small stature, with "big hearts". Hull formed  its own heavy artillery and Garrison Brigade to defend the Humber estuary. The 17th Northumberland Fusiliers, a Railway Pal's Battalion was also formed at King George's Dock in Hull. 

Due to its maritime history, Hull men also served throughout the world, in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Naval Reserve, Merchant Service and the Hull Fishing Feet. Hull's population fell by about 45,000 during the First World War. 75,000 men served in the war effort. Over 7,500 Hull men were killed and over 14,000 were wounded during the First World War. Many of these lived men in the same streets or terraces, which was to make the casualties keenly felt by the local community. The numbers of wounded increased over time, causing considerable hardship for Hull families. The Hull Lord Mayor, Alderman, Hargreaves, reported on 21st February 1919, that 14,000 Hull men had been wounded in the war of which 7,000 had been maimed. Some 12,000 Hull women had also been dealt with by the local Pensions Committee. On 9th September 1924, the Ministry of Pensions recorded that this had increased to 20,000 disabled ex servicemen from Hull, and they were dealing with 2,500 Hull widows, 200 motherless and fatherless children and 3,000 Hull mothers and other near dependents. Hull City Council established a Great War, Civic Trust, to assist with the large numbers of widows, wounded and orphans left after the War. This ran until 1963 and raised £165,000. 

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 WW1 Victory Parade, Queen Victoria Square, Hull,  1918


 Thank You to "Hull, the Good Old Days" Facebook, for the above photos.