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Monday 26 May 2014

Fact 20. Hull was the first place to give mass Polio vaccinations.

Polio is short for poliomyelitis which is spread by nasal and oral transmission and infected feces. The infection spreads to the digestive tract and in 98% of cases there is just a slight viral illness. Sometimes, 1 to 2% of cases, it passes into the blood stream and there it attacks the nervous system. This causes paralysis and in many cases this results in withered limbs and was common to see people with leg irons on to give support whilst walking. Sometimes the paralysis affected the lungs and chest and the patient could die if not assisted in their breathing. This is where the 'iron lung' came in.

Iron lungs in use in Boston USA in 1955.

In 1955 a Doctor Salk had developed a vaccination that injected a dead virus. This required several re-vaccinations to give good protection. By 1961 Doctor Sabin had developed a live vaccine that could be given orally but this wasn't taken up on a large scale due to worries of using a live virus vaccine. In the UK the problem was 30,000 disabled between 1947 and 1958.

In September 1961 an explosive outbreak of Polio hit Hull. It was thought at the time that it may have come via the city's docks. by 6th September there were 21 suspected cases and the injected vaccine did not seem to be holding the line. The Council Medical Officer for Health Dr. Alexander Hutchison contacted the government Ministry of Health to seek permission to use the new Sabin oral vaccine to stem the outbreak. By 12th October permission had been granted by which time there were 23 confirmed cases and 42 suspected. They gave them selves 5 days to set everything up and there were 300 volunteers to help.
Dr A. Hutchison with a new batch of the vaccine at William Wright Dock cold store with Mr F. Kilburn and Councillors Hobden and Shepherd.

The vaccination centres were set up in 40 schools and 11 other places such as clinics, church halls hospitals and Hammond's Department Store. They all worked very quickly and were ready a day ahead of schedule and all was ready to open at 1700 on the fourth day. This news was broadcast and sent out in the Hull Daily Mail and there were queues formed by early afternoon.

Queues outside Hammond's Department store October 1961.

The vaccination was given by putting two drops of the vaccine on a sugar lump or in a teaspoon of syrup for infants. The sugar lumps were provided free by Tate and Lyle. The campaign was a great success and in two weeks 358,000 were given the vaccination. That is 55,000 more than the population of the city at the time.

This was the first time that the Sabin vaccine had been used in Western Europe for a mass vaccination to halt an outbreak. The success of the vaccine could not be statistically tested as the coverage of the vaccination was so good there was no appreciable sample that hadn't been vaccinated. The 'epidemic' had passed after two weeks leaving 85 having suffered the results of polio. This use of the oral vaccination led to the use through out the country and has almost eliminated polio today in the UK. Hull leading the way for the rest of the Nation.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Fact 19. Hull City, Kings of Europe!

Hull City were founded in 1904 but not early enough to register with the Football league so they only played friendlies for their first season. They entered the 2nd Division league structure in 1905/06 with teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Barnsley and Bradford City. They ended up 5th in their first season.

The newly formed club players.

Hull City and Grimsby Town were the only two clubs in the Leagues that were allowed to play matches on Christmas Day due to the needs of their fishing fleets. This stopped in 1970's as the industry

Many masted scene looking out over Hull Fish Dock (Albert Dock) where much of the local fishing fleet is lying. Dated August 15th, 1978.
Very busy Fish Dock in Hull.

They remained in Div. 2 until after WWI when they were relegated to Div III. In 1930 they had a great cup run beating the eventual 2nd Div. Champions Blackpool and 3rd Div. Champions Plymouth Argyle then Manchester City and Newcastle United after a replay played at home where they won 1-0. In the semi final who should they meet but Arsenal. I am writing this the day after Hull City's heroic defeat in the FA Cup final to Arsenal 3-2! They played the first game at Elland Road, Leeds, and drew 2-2. The replay was in Birmingham and Hull lost 1-0.

Hull City 1930 squad.

Hull City's fortunes did not blossom in the after WWII years and the clubs European record was not good, or actually almost none existent! In fact in 1997/98 season they were two places from the bottom of the whole footbal leagues almost in Non League football and so had the distinction of being the largest city in Europe that had never played in their top tier national league.

How ever in the mid 1950's Hull City stunned the national and international sporting press by a magnificent victory in Europe.

Vasas was the leading Hungarian Club and this was in the days before the Communist take over and the era of Hungary's defeat of England 6-3 with Puskas being a world star. Vasas had a pre-season tour for 25 years where they went to various countries and played the top clubs there. This year they were coming to England to play Tottenham Hotspurs, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanders the top teams of the time. They scored 7 goals against Spurs and 6 past Wednesday. Wolves, who had at the time never been beaten by a Continental club and with a huge list of injuries cried off. Hull City, at the bottom of Division 2 said they would take the fixture on. There was much mocking in the press of the time but the main secret was that Hull City was one of the few clubs with floodlights at the time and this was a requirement to ensure the gate was big enough to meet the costs. The Vasas management visited the city and the ground and declared the match on. Nobody gave The Tigers a chance and at the end of the match the score was 3-0. To Hull City!! If they had been beaten by that score they would have done well but to beat Vasas by any score was a massive achievement. 13889 witnessed it so it must be true.

Vasas 1955.

Well Hull City have survived in the Premier League this season and really acquitted themselves well in their 3-2 defeat. However even their defeat means that they will be competing in the Europa League next season. I think that those Continental clubs need not snigger when they draw City but just remember that history has a habit of repeating itself, and Hull is  now definitely on the map. Hull City, or Tigers, what ever you call them, they have done the city proud.

Curtis Davis, Captain of Hull City, celebrates after he scores to put them 2-0 up against Arsenal in the final. It just wasn't to be though.

The above photographs reveal the changes in sartorial elegance in football however they pictures seem to have evaded the eras of short shorts and long hair.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Fact 18. There is one of the Seven Seas on High Street.

By the end of the 19th Century Hull had become the largest seed crushing area in the country. The business was undertaken by brokers travelling about office to office that was inefficient and time consuming. It was decided that an exchange was needed for the improvement of business. A commission was given to B.S. Jacobs of Bowl Alley Lane, Hull. The building was Renaissance Revival style with Tudor style mullioned windows and a mahogany paneled entrance hall and trading floor. At the gable top is the Hull City emblem of three crowns and above the lower left window is a date of 1899. However the building was not open for trading until 1901. The 1899 could well be from when the Pacific Club was formed. I think the traders had to belong the club to make use of the trading floor.

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Facade on High Street of the Pacific Exchange and Club.

The front section and entrance hall were completed first and it wasn't until 1909 that the building was extended through to the River Hull at the back. In the end the building contained trading hall, corn trade riverside board room, four floors of kitchens, offices, toilets and stores.

The Exchange was called the Pacific it seems purely because London had the Baltic and Liverpool had the Atlantic Exchanges! Millers, seed crushers, merchants and brokers packed the trading floor, up to a hundred at a time. Traders on the floor wore their hats and none traders had to remove them. When telephones were introduced offers would come from London to 15 trunk phone boxes on one wall along with two others for local calls.

The trading floor when the building was owned by the Police and Crime Commissioners in Hull.

In WWII the Ministry of Food took over the trading and movement of food and also for nine years after as rationing persisted. Afterwards it was used by the merchants and traders as a luncheon club. By the late 1970's it was sold and became a variety of clubs. It also became a sports/squash club with the court on the trading floor. In 1993 it was Grade II listed. It then became the Humberside Police Authority Headquarters which then  changed to the Police and Crime Commissioners. Recently it has been up for sale. The Hull City Council have recently bought the building for £368000 and to fit it out as offices. The building is usually open to the public when Hull has the Heritage Open Days which are usually in September.

Monday 5 May 2014

Fact 17. Hymers College nearly didn't get built due to a technicality.

John Hymers was born on Ormesby in North Yorkshire in 1803. He went to local school and then Sedburgh and then Cambridge University where he came out a mathematicians. After graduating he became a very conscientious tutor and also wrote mathematics text books. He became a deacon in 1833 and was elected to the Royal Society 1838. In 1852 he was introduced to the Rectory of Brandsburton in East Yorkshire. He remained unmarried and was the rector of Brandsburton for 35 years until his death. 

John Hymers 1803 - 1877

When he died he left a bequest in his will to the Mayor and Corporation "for the training of intelligence in whatever social rank of life it may be found among the vast and varied population of the Town." Unfortunately some part of the will had a fault in the wording so the bequest became invalid. Luckily his brother decided that he would try to honour his brothers wishes and raised £50,000 to establish a school.

The school was built on the site of the Botanic Gardens that had moved there in 1877 from their site in Linnaeus Street where it had been founded long before any public park in Hull. The gardens finally closed in 1889. The winning bid to construct the school was won by local builders Houlton's and was their first big contract. There bid was for £11500 which was £3 and £4 above the second and third placed bids. The school was supposed to have been finished for January 1891 but two severe winters caused massive delays along with strikes by stone masons and bricklayers. An extension was granted and the the school building eventually opened in 1893 as a school for boys.

Original Hymers School.

The first Head Master was Mr. Charles Gore and from the beginning there were bursaries and scholarships for those that couldn't afford the fees. In 1946 the school became a direct grant school and many pupils were paid for by the Government. In 1971 the direct grant system ended and the governors decided not to become a comprehensive school but went down the route of becoming an independent school, as it is today. At this time the Government paid for 25 pupils. This fund was scrapped in 1997 and the school again has bursaries and scholarships available.

Hymers College
The original school is extended.

Hymers School between the Wars.

Girls were admitted in 1970's and 1980's and the College became fully coeducational in 1988. In 1990's the school had 1600 pupils.

The school has had many additions to the buildings. The most recent being a new theatre.

The school has the best results in the Hull area and has a very good reputation for rugby and music. It also has a Masonic Lodge.

Some of the famous people educated at the school was John Fancy who was one of the first pilots to be captured in WWII. He was captured in May 1940. He escaped sixteen time and dug eight tunnels. He got as far as being in a boat off the Baltic coast before recapture once. He finally arrived back in the UK in April 1945 after a flight that should have taken four hours!

Other known people from Hymers College are three rugby players, Tom Biggs, Tom Whittaker and Rob Vickerman, Simon Hoggart a well known journalist who has just recently died, Damian Johnson sports broadcaster and professional swimmers, tennis players, footballers actors and other writers/journalists.

My Dad went to Hymers but didn't distinguish himself as he failed his school certificate as he only managed 2% in his French examination!