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Thursday 19 February 2015

Fact 60. Girl from Hull was first UK Eurovision entry.

The UK did not enter the very first Eurovision song contest that was held at Lugano in Switzerland in 1956. They did however participate the the following year when it was held in Frankfurt with ten entrants. The UK tune was sung by Patricia Bredin from Hull. She still holds several remarkable records from then. Not only was it the first UK entrant but it was the first entrant sung in English and it is said to still be the shortest song entered at only 1 minute and 52 seconds long. Patti as she was known scored 6 points with 2 from Switzerland and one each from Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium. The winner was the Netherlands with 31 points. The UK were 7th. The UK missed the next year but have participated ever since.

The song was called 'All', music by Reynell Wreford and lyrics by Alan Stanks.

It seems that the song 'All' was chosen following a contest held by the BBC.

Patricia said that she was surprised at the event as other entrants had an entourage of make and hair and costume people and she was just her self and loads of BBC executives!

Patricia Bredin was not really known as a recorded singer, in fact I can only find one other record from 1959 with the songs 'Til the right time comes' and 'I live to love you', but she did sing in musical theatre. She was born in Hull in 1934 and first came to attention when she appeared in a musical 'Free as Air' in 1957 which may have been when she was 'spotted' for what became the Eurovision Song Contest. By 1959 she had appeared in British films. The first was 'Left, Right and Centre' with another Hull born actor Ian Carmichael (see Fact 16.) Also 'The Bridal Path' with Bill Travers and 'Make mine a Million'. This film was with Arthur Askey, Sid James and Bernard Cribbins and she appeared as herself. These parts lead her to be voted one of the promising new stars along with Peter Sellers and Hayley Mills.

Patricia Brendin, 1957.

In 1960 she had a leading part in 'The Treasures of Monte Cristo' and again with Sid James in 'Desert Mice' where she played an ENSA singer in the desert during WWII. In 1962 she appeared on Broadway when she took over the part in Camelot from Julie Andrews. Then in 1963 she made what I think may have been her last film 'To have and to Hold', a murder mystery.

In 1963 she married the Welsh singer Ivor Emmanuel. He was well know for playing Private Owen in the 1964 film 'Zulu'. It  was he who sand 'Men of Harlech' to rouse the troops. Unfortunately the marriage didn't last and they broke up after two years with not children. Emmanuel went on to appear and host many programmes on Welsh language television and on the stage.

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Ivor Emmanuel as Private Owen in the film 'Zulu'.

Patricia Bredin seemed to find love when she married a Canadian businessman Charles MacCulloch in 1979. MacCulloch's was a real rags to riches story. Born in Nova Scotia his first job was as a rock crusher. He went through evening school and eventually earned a degree in Architectural Design. With this he started a building and construction company. By 1937 became the largest shipper of  sawn timber in the Canadian East. The emphasis of his business had shifted by 1956 and was concentrated on buildings supplies and real estate. He managed to buy 100000 acres of timberland around metropolitan Halifax and started a commercial development company. becoming a multimillionaire. They were married in 1979 but tragedy was to strike on their honeymoon on a cruise in the South Pacific when he had a massive heart attack and died aged 67.

Patricia Bredin-MacCulloch, as was now known retired to the family estate and ran the cattle there for a decade and later wrote a book about that period. He was a member of several arts bodies and charities in East Canada and in his youth was a keen sportsman.

Her book about her time on the farm after the death of her husband.

A few years ago she was coaxed out of retirement aged 73 to help funds for the Scotia Arts Festival were she sang some show tunes to great acclaim. She also donated the piano used at the event. 

Local newspaper article about her fund raising appearance.

A real unsung hero of Hull with many 'firsts' in the Eurovision Song Contest to her name.

Friday 13 February 2015

Fact 59. First dock to the east was Victoria Dock.

The last of the town docks which followed the old line of the city walls, was Junction Dock that opened in 1825. Trade continued to increase and soon after there was a need for more dock space. By 1838 an independent dock company had come up with a plan to build a dock to the east of the River Hull.They got as far as promoting a bill through Parliament in 1838. The current dock company got interested and the new company withdrew when they also drew up proposals. In 1839 James Walker was engaged to draw up plans and a bill started through Parliament. The plan was to use the dock mainly for the timber trade as this was clogging up the rest of the dock estate and would have more room in a new dock. In 1840 the bill was withdrawn again due to local opposition. By 1844 the dissenters had fallen by the way side and the bill was passed.  At the same time the plan to build Railway dock that extended off Humber dock to the west was passed.

In 1845 construction started and the plan was almost the same as those of James Walker. There was to be a large entrance of 60' from the Humber and a smaller one 45' from the River Hull. Each entrance was to have a half tide basin. Having half tide basin means that although ships can only enter from the river at higher states of the tide vessels can be assembled in the basin and move in and out of the dock at most states of the tide so having craft assembled means that many more can transit the lock when the levels are correct. J.B. Hartley was engaged as the engineer. The foundation stone was laid on 5th November 1845.

Heritage Cartography - Victorian Town and Village Maps
This map of 1853 shows the Town Docks, with Railway Dock completed, along with the original Victoria Dock. The Citadel Fortress can still be seen to the west of the new lock.

The dock was formally opened 3rd July 1850 at a cost of £300000. It was named Victoria Dock in honour of the Queen. The dock itself was 12.8 acres and the half tide basins were 3 and 1 acre. The depth of water held in the dock was between 27.5 and 22 feet at spring and neap tides. It soon became apparent that storage space was required and a timber pond was soon built  to the east of the Humber entrance. Timber was stored wet here to prevent it warping. By 1863 the dock was extended to the east a further 8 acres and another timber pond added further to the east again. No.1 timber pond was extended out into the Humber on reclaimed land and by 1875 No.1 was 14 acres and No.2 8 acres.

In 1864 the Citadel was sold to the Dock Company and demolished to make way for more timber storage on hard standing. Part of the site was taken by Martin Samuelson and Co. for ship building. This later became the Humber Iron Works. The point of land now has the Deep Submarium built on it and is still known as Sammy's Point. To the east C and W Earle had started a shipbuilding operation in 1851. Their first ship, the 'Dido' was launched in 1853 and they went on to build over 700 hundred ships here. (See Fact 46.)

Insurance Plan of Hull (Yorkshire) Vol. I and II
An insurance plan of 1893 shows the extent of the dock and timber ponds. It can also be seen that the railway was linked with the dock. On the Humber bank can be seen various berths cut in to the bank that were the building yards. In 1865 South Bridge, or Ha'penny Bridge opened just north of Sammy's Point. It was built to give access for the dock workers. It closed in 1934 and was demolished in 1944 but can be seen on the plan above.

Victoria dock worked other cargoes than timber and in this photo from 1910 can be seen a steel structure that was a coal loading rig that tipped railway wagons of coal into ships from the Yorkshire coalfields. Another cargo was the import of live cattle and to the west of the Humber lock were abattoirs and cold storage for the purpose, along with holding pens etc.

11049B2    Victoria Dock, Hull. Prisoners of war stacking sugar in the big sugar dumps on the dock during the 1939-45 war.
Hull Docks were really busy during WWII and this photo from the Hull Daily Mail archives shows sugar that was stored on Victoria Dock. Prisoners of war were used on the dock. The main cargo worked at the dock was timber and this can be seen on the railway wagons. It was transported as rough cut deals in all sizes. T and loaded on to the boogies for moving to storage areas on the dock.he planks had to be man handled.

11049B14  The Victoria Dock, taken in October 1960. Described the dock as having it's best season since the war, ships are being re-routed to other docks as the dock is so busy.
In this photo from 1960 the timber is still being carried loose. In the foreground can be seen the boogies waiting their cargo. Each could carry 7 tonnes. Also can bee see trailers with tyres and a bundle of deals coming out of the ships hold slung under the ship's derrick.

Victoria Dock
All of Hull's docks were frequented by barges and lighters that were loaded to carry cargo up the River Hull to other yards, or up the Trent and Ouse and through the canal system to the final destinations.

In 1964 the entrance to the dock from the River Hull was closed up and the area remodeled. As the size of vessels grew and timber became packaged and dried prior to transport and trade generally fell the dock was found surplus to requirements and finally closed 1st February 1970, 125 after construction had started. In 1988 a housing £63 million scheme was commenced to create an urban village on the dock after filling most of it in. There were thoughts of a marina in the half tide basin from the Humber and a rotating lock gate was installed. Nothing ever came of this and I don't think it has ever been used in anger. There is a trial around the village that shows points of interest that remain including the citadel and dock remains. The village is now complete with school, pub church and shops with a popular promenade alongside the Humber. Sammy's Point is the location of the ever popular Deep Aquarium.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Fact 58. The first bank in Yorkshire was in Hull.

A Robert Pease was a merchant in Hull and doing well. He had the important role of Chamberlain for Hull. It was his job to collect the taxes and revenues due to the corporation. He was actually fined for refusing the job of Sheriff! His first wife Ann died leaving him with two children  Robert and Ann and after the restoration of Charles II he fled to Amsterdam, maybe due to religious persecution as Robert was a Puritan. In the Netherlands Robert the younger did well and married another refugee from the UK, Esther Clifford, in 1670. The Cliffords were an important family there and had a very influential bank. Robert Pease junior did well and prospered as a merchant. They had six children three boys and three girls. The Eldest of the boys had an estate purchased for him in Ireland. The second son William remained in Amsterdam and ran the family affairs there. The youngest Joseph was dispatched to England to make his fortune and to extend the base of the family. His father wanted him to become naturalised English so that he could properly own any business that he created. He had several contacts to help him and the message that he should always keep God at the fore front of his thoughts and work  for the betterment of the Pease family. As Robert held a patent for the extraction of oil from seed the idea was to build up a oil seed crushing mill. The competition was too fierce in London so he moved on to Gainsborough which at one time had been the home of the Clifford family. He didn't stay there long before moving on to Hull in 1709. He soon secured a prime spot on High Street where all the influential merchants lived. He had a house built facing the road and the land went down to the River Hull where he built a dock for handling ships and warehouse to store the seed he was importing.

Joseph Pease. born in Amsterdan 1688 and died 1778 after outliving his second wife by fifty years.

In time with the backing of the Clifford family in Amsterdam he built up a large trading business. He was well known for being able to obtain credit and to coax loans from his relations and friends. However his banking relations were exasperated that he always paid the money back promptly and did not finance his business very long on credit. Due to this he was thought of as entirely reliable. His business initially was oil seed milling and he obtained seed from the Baltic via contacts of the Clifford family and from Ireland where his elder brother lived and worked. A mill was built on the corner of Low Gate and Salthouse Lane in 1740. The two big warehouse to receive the grain for processing were built in 1745 and the second in 1760. They are both still standing and were converted to flats in 1981. The empire soon branched out into whaling, milling, shipping, lead, paint and whiting manufacture, insurance underwriting and banking. Joseph married Mary Turner in 1717 and they had four children, Robert, Joseph Hester and Mary, before she died in 1728.

The old Pease warehouse seen from the east bank of the River Hull with Drypool bridge to the right and Ranks's mill behind the camera. The five story building was gutted by fire and so is now called  Phoenix House and the the one with the large red doors is called Pease Court. Both have been converted to apartments.

Due to the difficulty with transporting cash around the country from London due to time delay and the possibility of highway robbery a system of local banking was set up. The first bank in Yorkshire, and one of the few outside London at the time, was set up on the ground floor of the Pease family home on High Street. Obviously the experience of the Clifford family would help him set it up. The bank started in 1754 set up by Joseph and his son Robert. It can be seen later on the pictures of bank notes that other members of the family were also drawn into the business too. As the banks were very local it meant that their notes were not easily cashed out side of that place. This meant that there were very many failures of the institutions when trading conditions changed. However Pease's Old Bank as the enterprise was known lasted for 140 years. It was then taken over by the York Union Bank in 1894. In 1902 it was again taken over by Barclays and Co which in 1917 became the Barclays Bank we know today so it never failed.

The home of the Pease family was demolished in 1950 but the warehouse by the river remain. A blue plaque can be seen on the front wall remaining of a building on the left and a more grand entrance to the right. One of these may all be that remains of the original house. (or not).

The blue plaque that can be seen on the wall of the building above.

Image result for hull bank notes

Some of the bank and promissory notes issued by Pease's Old Bank in later years.

Joseph died in 1778 and in his estate he left £80000 and a business empire worth a further £500,000. Of Joseph's four children Joseph junior died in infancy and Hester had no children. The eldest Robert did not get married but had a child with Margret Copeland and the son was also called Robert Copeland Pease. The father Robert died before his father Joseph. Mary did get married to a Manchester cotton trading businessman called Robert Robinson and they had three sons. One was also called Joseph. (It gets more confusing all the time!) Both this Joseph's parents died leaving him an orphan in 1775/76. Following his grand father Joseph's wished this Joseph changed his name and took the arms of Pease and he became Joseph Robinson Pease. We was then able to inherit his Grandfathers estate. Robert Copeland Pease (illegitimate grandson) did inherit some property but this was likely to have been his fathers.

Joseph seniors son Robert leased Hesslewood Hall to the west of Hull and this was left to Joseph Robinson Pease in 1778. He later obtained the freehold and extended the building and utilised the chalk quarry on the foreshore for his businesses in 1788.

Hesslewood Hall.