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Monday 29 September 2014

Fact 39. William de la Pole was the first Mayor of Hull.

William de la Pole was born some where between 1290 and 1295 at the trading port of Ravenser. This was on a previous manifestation of Spurn Point and was a very busy place where lots of money was made. It is thought that his Father was a merchant there and he was the middle of three brothers. The eldest Richard, then William and the youngest John. At an early age the two elder brothers established them seleves as traders in their own right. In about 1310 they moved to Hull to continue trading. This may have been due to the erosion of the spit where Ravenser was built and the eventual loss of the town to the sea. William did toy with idea of making Hedon his base as it had a small port and was a safe harbour only about 6 miles from Hull.

By 1317 the brothers had become well established in Hull and both were Deputies of the Royal Chief Butler which meant they were well connected and in 1321 to 1324 they were both Chamberlains of Hull. This meant that they had been selected by royalty to collect the taxes and dues in the town and also for distributing them. This meant that they had great local power too. Much of the monastic lands in Yorkshire were producing wool and soon William began trading in this most valuable of commodities and soon became very wealthy. Du over Gasconye to his connections he began to loan money to King Edward II to finance his war against the French. Loans of £1000 and £1800 were recorded in 1325. He also financed the rebuilding of Hull;'s fortifications. He also loaned money to Edward III for his war against the Scottish. Loans of £6000 and £18000. He was rewarded with the manor of Myton in 1330, and made the firt mayor of Hull from 1331 to 1335 and represented Hull at the various parliaments through the 1330's. For some reason the business partnership with his eldest brother was dissolved in 1331. He was also procuring  supplies and ships for the King and the Scottish War. Hull was well place for this as it was close enough to be accessible to the 'front' but far enough away so as not to be at risk of  capture.

                     King Edward II                                                     King Edward III

The King set up the English Wool Company to maximise the tax that could be made from it to finance the Royal wallet and de la Pole was also involved. In 1338/9 William lent the King a further £10000. As can be imagined this was a massive amount of money at the time and gave him great power over the King. He managed to buy the Seigniory of Holderness for £22650 from the King which caused a little resentment. In 1339 he settled a debt for the King where he had used the Crown as collateral! So it could be said that William de la Pole saved the Crown of England. This is maybe why in the same year he was made Knight Banneret and Baron of the Exchequer. This meant that he was the senior judge in fiancial matters and would have given him even more power.

In 1340 the English Wool Company failed and William and Richard de la Pole and others were arrested. William was imprisoned at Devizes Castle and his lands seized. The charges were dropped in 1344, but before this William had already once more set to fund the Kings wars by the foundation of a new company.  All went well until a brief halt in the warring in 1350 when the charges were resurrected and William had to renounce all claims to the Manor of Burstwick and Holderness. He later felt it expedient to cancel all debts owed by the King  in return for a pardon.

In 1350m he had founded a Hospital in Hull called the Maison Dieu. He also obtained a licence to build a religious house but died before it was completed. His son Michael ensure that it was completed and it  became the Charter House and still exists today. He died in June 1366. It is thought that he is buried in Holy Trinity Church in Hull in the 'de la Pole Tomb'. However it is unlikely that it is William or Richard as details of the clothes etc show that it dates from 15 to 20 years after William, the later to die, passed away. It is thought that it could be another wealthy wool merchant who died in 1390 called Richard de Selby.

Detail of the tomb.

The canopied tomb in situe.

He has a statue on Nelson Street near the Pier. The wording on the plinth reads

 'Sir William de la Pole, Knight Banneret, First Mayor of Hull 1332 to 1335, An eminent and munificent benefactor, Lord of Myton and Holderness, Baron of the Exchequer, Founder of Charter House Hull, Ancestor of  the Noble Family of Suffolk, He died 22 -Jun-1366.'

The statue sculpted by a Hull sculptor William D. Keyworth in 1879 is in the Gothic Revival style that probable wouldn't go down very well today. It was first placed at the junction of Jameson Street and King Edward  Street before being moved to it's current position in 1920. I wonder why it was made so long after the death of the subject? William de la Pole is perhaps remembered best by the older members of the community as the name of the large 73 Acre farm mental hospital on the outskirts of Hull which was opened in 1883. It was actually named after the farm rather than the person but what connection the farm had to the de la Pole's is not known. The asylums chapel is now the crematorium.
Statue of Sir William-de-la-Pole
The W.D Keyworth statue of William de la Pole on Nelson Street.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Fact.38. Hull saw 2.2 million trans-migrants.

In the late 19th and early 20th Century there was mass migration from Scandinavia, mainly Denmark, Finland. Germany, Norway and Sweden, and Russia. The reasons were many but included economic reasons as depression and failed harvests forced people to look for a better life and pogroms against ethnic groups, especially the Jewish people. Hamburg had been the main port for immigrants leaving for the 'New World' mainly USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia but with the development of the Wilson Shipping line with links with Scandinavian ports and Hull they captured a large part of the trade of steerage passengers. Before 1836 there had been about 1000 a year pass through Hull but following this the pace picked up immensely.

Humber Dock is the enclosed dock in the middle of the photo. 

The passengers were trans-migrants, that is they were passing through Hull on an onward journey to else where. They boarded Wilson's steamers and landed in Hull. From there they were placed on trains and moved on to Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Southampton where they were boarded on ships bound for their final country of destination. When the trade first started the trans-migrants were landed at the Steam Packet Wharf that was in Humber Dock and in Victoria Dock. From there they would have to walk through the town to the station. One of the first ticket agents was Richard Cortis who had offices in the Minerva Hotel that was handy for Humber Dock. This was dangerous as there was a risk of the spread of diseases and the travellers became pry to racketeers. The Hull Sanitary board wanted to stop this so they were kept aboard the ships for up to four days. This led to many complaints from the Sanitary Board to Wilson Line due to the filth conditions aboard. Berths in steerage could be 6' x 6' in tiers of two or three and four people to a berth!

Humber Dock Entrance with the Minerva Hotel on the right.

After 1877 the migrants were usually in Hull only for around 24hrs. Many of the Jewish travellers may have been able to board at Harry Lazurus' Hotel in Postern Gate where they could be fed and looked after before moving onward. A waiting room was built by the North Easter Railway Company, designed by Norbert Prosser, in 1871. Here they could meet the ticket agents and wash and use the toilet. In 1881 the waiting room was doubled in size with a separate waiting room for women and children. The Rail company had a separate platform for the migrants away from the others and accessed directly from the waiting room. Sometimes the trains would be up to 17 carriages. The last four would be for baggage and all pulled by one engine. Due to their length they had precedence on the tracks over others due to their length. Their usual route was via Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge. They often left Hull at around 1100 on Monday and arrived in Liverpool at 1400-1500.

Later the rail tracks were laid to the dock side so the passengers could board direct from the ships. A second platform for immigrants was built at Alexandra dock when that was opened for shipping in after 1881. After 1914 the trans-migration almost ceased due to the WWI.

There are some reminders of these times with the the waiting room still there and several plaques around the city.

Immigrant Waiting Room by Paragon Station built 1871 and extended 1881.

Open platform on the left was right next to the waiting room and was separate from the normal traffic.

Plaque found in the station buildings.

In 2001 a sculpture by Neil Hadlock was donated by Sea Trek Foundation of America. The bronze sculpture depicts a family of immigrants that have just left  their ship and waiting for their train at Paragon Station.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Fact. 37. Hull's third dock was Junction Dock.

When Humber Dock was built the Act of Parliament allowed for a third dock to be built when trade reached a certain level. A new Act was passed in 1824 and the increased amount of trade was reached in 1825. Construction commenced in 1826.

In the centre of the picture is the tall Wilberforce Monument. There are also the three domes of the Dock Offices, now the nautical museum. Beyond the ships on the right is the lock into Queens Dock. The bridge over the lock was called Monument bridge.

Prince's Dock
Taken from the lock through to Humber Dock.
A similar view with Humber keels in the dock.

The construction roughly followed the old walls of the town and so created an island of the Old Town as there were docks on two side and then the River Hull and the Humber. The dock was designed by James Walker and the resident engineer was John Timperley. The cost was £18600. The dock was built 197m long, 124 wide with an 11m wide lock at each end and a movable bridge over each lock.

In 1855 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the city. At this time The Dock was renamed Queens Dock and Junction Dock was altered to Princes Dock. The dock was in use for 139 years until 1969 when it became redundant.

Princes Dock after it was closed in 1969.

In 1991 Princes Quay shopping centre was open to the public. It is built on stilts above the waters of the dock and has three decks and over eighty shop units. Since 1996 the waters surrounding the centre are used to stage and international canoe polo tournament. A local team have been champions three times.

Princes Quay shopping centre.

2013 International Canoe Polo tournament in Hull.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Fact.35. Sir Titus Salt assisted Hull's Sailors Orphans .

In 1837 the Sailors Orphan Institute in Waterhouse Lane gave clothing  and offered education to orphans of those lost at sea  and on the River Humber from the city and surroundings.

In 1862 the first orphanage was rented in Castle Row to look after that couldn't be cared for in their own home. Then in 1867 this was supplemented by the purchase of Thanet House in Park Street. The purchase was made possible by a major donation from Sir Titus Salt from Saltaire. He was aware of the perils of the work done by seamen to bring him raw materials of cotton etc and also of exporting his finished goods for sale all over the world. He gave almost the total £4500 that were needed.

File:Hull College, Park Street - - 635528.jpg
The original building was the centre part in the above photograph, with the sculpture above. It catered for 100 children. With later extensions either side the numbers went up to 150 and then 220.

The sculpture was also paid for by Sir Titus salt and shows Charity surrounded by orphans and with various nautical themes. Sir Titus Salt's arms are also displayed.

By 1893 the property was becoming not fit for purpose so six acres on Cottingham Road were purchased and by 1897 the orphanage had opened there. They became known as Newland Homes as this was what the plot of land was called. Options on more land were also held.

Then idea was to build 'cottage homes' more similar to a normal home rather than massive institutions with large dormitories. The model village had 12 houses on site along with a school and a sanatorium.

It can be seen that the houses were arranged around a green.

Newland Homes - Francis Reckitt Home, 1902 [C DSSF]
This must be an early photograph as one of the homes is still under construction. The homes were run by a house 'Mother' and assistants. It can be seen that boys and girls were present and they were in uniform.

The twelve homes were named after benefactors, Hannah Pickard, Blackstone Brown, Francis Reckitt, William Richardson, Titus Salt, Dr. Lee and St. Andrews being some of them.

Child care moved towards full adoption and fostering and assistance in their own homes and so the last child left the homes in 2003. The estate had been used by the council to provide residential care for abused children. The site was sold for student accommodation in 2009.

How ever the work continues and the name is now The Sailors' Children's Society and is based at HQS Wellington moored on the Embankment in London. The Patron is HRH The Princess Royal.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Fact 34. Capt. Bligh's HMS Bounty was built in Hull.

Blaydes North End Shipyard on the River Hull was the birth place of HMS Bounty. They also had a yard at Hessle Cliffe where the Humber Bridge now reaches the North Bank. The builders constructed merchant and Royal Naval ships. HMS Bounty actually started life a merchant vessel named 'Bethia'. She was built in 1782 and was used in the Baltic timber trade. She had three masts and of about 400 tons and had 15 crew.

In 1787 she was bought by the Admiralty where she was taken to Deptford on the Thames to be converted for an expedition to the South Seas. The plan was to obtain Bread Fruit plants there and keep them alive back to the UK and the Caribbean. The plan was to use the fruit as a cheap food to feed the slaves working on the plantations there. The alterations including increasing the accommodation to house 40. The officers quarters were cut to provide an arboretum for the saplings on the quarter deck. She actually sailed with 46 crew.

The 1962 replica of HMS Bounty ex 'Bethia'.

This may help to explain what transpired later in the voyage. The voyage to Tahiti took 10 months and the difficulties of 46 living in a space designed for 15 would have told on all. Then to arrive in Tahiti that would have seemed like paradise to them and spend 5 months living ashore to collect 1015 breadfruit trees would have made it a real disciplinary problem when having to become cooped up aboard again for a perilous trip back to the UK. The Officer in Charge, Captain Bligh, would have resorted to the well worn trick of maintaining strict discipline. After their hedonistic lifestyle in Tahiti the crew would be very loath to succumb to this. Three deserted before the Bounty sailed. They were caught, but instead of the proper punishment of hanging they were flogged. They eventually sailed and with the trees aboard space was even more limited than previously.

Friction between the Officers and crew led to Mutiny and eventually led to 17 sided with Fletcher Christian and 22 with Bligh. Two others were passive, either way. Captain Bligh was placed in the 23' crew launch. As there was only room for 18 in the boat some remained with the 'Bounty'. Bligh's fantastic voyage of 3600 miles in 47 days was a fantastic achievement.

The mutiny from HMS Bounty. a couple of breadfruit trees can be seen on the deck of the ship.

He was court martialed but found not guilty. He eventually returned to Tahiti and completed his mission. Despite that it was a useless task as the slaves would not entertain eating the breadfruit.

Capt. Bligh was later connected to the Humber region again where he was tasked with under taking hydrographic surveys of the estuary in 1797, using the skills he had honed on his fantastic voyage.

There have been a couple of replicas built of the 'Bethia'. The first was in 1962 which was used in the film with Marlon Brando as a star. This vessel visited Hull in 2007 and had many visitors to look round it. Unfortunately it was lost off the coast of North Carolina in October 2012. Another replica was built in 1979 for another film and this one is now based in Hong Kong.

The 1979 replica of HMS Bounty.

The wreckage of the 1962 replica of HMS Bounty sunk in Hurricane Sandy.