Tag Archives: Hull

Odd One Out – Reflections

It was Venice for all the reasons you came up with.  Well done everyone.  Too easy by far, I am working on something more challenging for next time.

I thought that the cruise ship might have confused some of you…

Reflections

Based on the success of my previous ‘odd one out’ posts here is another.

Which one is it?

A to Z of Statues – A is for Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell, born near Hull in 1621, a seventeenth century English metaphysical poet, satirist and politician (all round clever-dick) who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678 during both the Commonwealth and the Restoration and who was a friend and colleague of the more famous poet John Milton.

Read the full story here…

The Headscarf Revolutionaries

I am a day early on this one but Monday is Washing lines Day,  March 8th is International Women’s Day and it seems rather inappropriate to me that it should be on Washing Day.

There will be lots of posts explaining what it is and the history of it so I thought that I might just post an example…

In early 1968 there was a fishing disaster out of Hull. In the space of three weeks three trawlers were lost, fifty-eight fishermen and crew members died and only one  survived.

Lillian Bilocca, Christine Jensen, Mary Denness and Yvonne Blenkinsop called a meeting which resulted in the formation of the Hessle Road Women’s Committee.

The group became known as the Headscarf Revolutionaries. Bilocca and her women comrades led a direct action campaign to prevent undermanned trawlers from putting to sea, particularly when the ship had no properly qualified radio operator.

Read The Full Story Here…

On This Day – Entertaining Grandchildren

In February 2017 my Grandchildren came to stay for a few days at school half term holiday.

I took them to the Yorkshire seaside town of Hornsea.

I live close to the sea myself, near the resort town of Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire but although it is a popular holiday resort it has to be said that it is just a muddy estuary where the sea is barely visible for long periods of the day.

By contrast, Hornsea ia a real North Sea coast town with a raging sea, barnacled groynes, pounding surf, churning water and a pebble beach clattering away as it was constantly rearranged by the tidal surge.

Read The Full Story Here…

Staycation 2020 – North and South of the Humber

Growing weary of the tedium of the lock-down and with holiday plans to Sicily in tatters we decided to meet with our friends and spend an evening together for a meal in a nearby pub. Kim tracked down an excellent deal of only £50 each for bed, breakfast and evening meal at a well recommended place with a two star AA rosette. Unlikely as it sounds owned by chef Colin McGurran who was a winner one time on ‘Great British Menu’.

It turned out to be a very good deal, placed on the south bank of the Humber Estuary, comfortable rooms, good views and an excellent meal. Kim had posh burger and I had East coast mussels.

The Hope and Anchor (above) is in the unfortunately named hamlet of Ferriby Sluice and is at the point where the River Ancholme drains into the Humber Estuary via a sluice gate and a set of locks. A hundred years or so ago it was a busy marina and a departure and return point for the leisure and packet boats that regularly used the Humber.

Boats have always left Ferriby (the clue is in the name). The Romans stopped here in Lincolnshire at the end of their great road, Ermine Street which linked London and Lincoln before continuing to the Humber and then crossed the river to the north bank to continue into Yorkshire. The Romans were famous for straight roads and the section from Lincoln to the Humber, a distance of thirty-five miles is one of the straightest in England.

Ferries on the Humber continued to be important until the construction of the Humber Bridge in 1981. 

After breakfast we walked for a while along the banks of the River Ancholme butI have to say that it is not an especially thrilling or picturesque sort of place, a carpet of smelly algae on the river (thank goodness for coronavirus masks), a redundant cement works and a marine breakers yard. It does however have a National Historic Ship – The Amy Howson, a sloop that once worked the Humber and the Rivers and tributaries along the way to towns and cities as far apart as Grimsby and Sheffield.

It was rather chilly so we didn’t stay long this morning before driving across the River Ancholme and away along the south bank of the Humber.

This was a day for crossing rivers and driving west we crossed the Trent and then turning north the Ouse, the third and fourth longest rivers in England (after the Severn and the Thames). We were more or less at the point where they converge to form the River Humber. Other rivers contribute as well, principally the Don and the Aire and we crossed those as well.

Actually, the Humber isn’t really a river at all because for its entire length of only forty miles or so it is tidal so technically it is an estuary (I only mention this here in case someone challenges me on this important point of detail).

It may be one of the shortest rivers in England but it is also one of the most important as it deals with natural drainage from everything on the east side of the Pennines, the North Midlands and the Yorkshire Moors.

We rather rudely passed through Goole, Britain’s furthest inland port without stopping, I must go back and visit one day, but today we continued to the market town of Howden, a place that I have wanted to visit for some time.

Howden is a small historic market town lying in the Vale of York in the East Riding of Yorkshire, three miles north of the port town of Goole, it regularly features in lists of desirable places to live and is high up on a standard of living index. I liked it immediately and not just for the fact that it has free car parking.

All roads in Howden lead to the attractive Market Place next to the ruins of the sixteenth century Abbey and Minster, one of thirteen in the county of Yorkshire. Here is a curious fact, Howden was granted to the Bishop of Durham by William the Conqueror in 1080 and the town remained an enclave of Durham until 1846.

I imagine the Minster was once a fine building but it lost its status during the Reformation, was vandalised by Parliamentary soldiers in the English Civil War, the roof collapsed in 1696 and over the next hundred years or so the site was looted for its stone for alternative construction projects in and about the town and whilst the Minster lies in ruins the town has a network of streets with very fine Georgian buildings.

The Minster is currently undergoing restoration and we found it closed today which may have been due to the work or alternatively the dreaded coronavirus.

We found the town very agreeable and liked it very much so we walked the streets of the historic centre before stopping for coffee and cake at a town centre tea shop. We left in mid-afternoon and followed a route along the north bank of the estuary before crossing over the Humber Bridge back to North Lincolnshire which completed our quest of crossing all major rivers of the area.

 

Yorkshire – a Cornfield, a Castle and a Church

Skipsea postcard

Skipsea is only a small village in East Yorkshire but there is more to it than just the beach so after we had tidied ourselves up and shaken the sand from our sandals we walked out now towards the village with a promise to the girls of some ice cream.  Funny how a simple incentive like that can convince them to go for a long walk!

We didn’t take the direct route but instead took a coastal path through a cornfield and dangerously close to the severely eroded cliffs.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

After a rather circuitous route we made our way into the village and after some helpful advice from local children found the church and the castle.

The church was closed of course.  I remember when I was a boy on holiday with my family that churches were always open and my Dad would stop and visit them all, but it is a sad state of affairs now and a reflection on modern society that churches are mostly locked to protect themselves against theft and vandalism.

The children were beginning to nag now about when they would get their ice cream so after a quick circumnavigation of the churchyard we carried on to the castle.

Not much of a castle it has to be said, just a huge grassy mound in a farmer’s field because it was demolished over seven hundred years ago on account of having no strategic or military value.  The children were not impressed and neither I suspect was Kim.

Close by was the village shop where the girls got their ice cream and next door was a pub where I got a glass of beer.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

East Riding of Yorkshire, Hornsea

Northumberland Seaside Painting

I live in the north of Lincolnshire.  I like Lincolnshire but I like Yorkshire even more.  Lucky for me then that it is only a thirty mile drive to cross the Humber Bridge and arrive in the East Riding.

School holidays mean visiting grandchildren so to save the house and garden from being trashed I booked a few days away in a holiday home (caravan) in a part of Yorkshire that I have so far never felt inclined to visit.  Tucked away in the south east of the county is a stretch of coastline between the city of Hull and the town of Bridlington and this was our destination.  A holiday park at Skipsea Sands.

East Riding

The UK was enjoying bizarre weather and an unexpected heat-wave as hot air swept up from North Africa and we set off with high expectations of a gloriously sunny week with the promise of record breaking temperatures and as we approached our first destination we were not disappointed.

I first visited Hornsea in February 2017 and I liked it so much that I vowed to return.  This is what I said about it then…

“On arrival I was immediately impressed.  I live near the resort town of Cleethorpes but although it is a popular holiday resort it has to be said that it is just a muddy estuary where the sea is barely visible for long periods of the day but this was real North Sea coast with a raging sea, barnacled groynes, pounding surf, churning water and a pebble beach clattering away as it was constantly rearranged by the tidal surge.”

It was different today of course as the midday temperature soared through the thirties, the sea was calm and warm and the beach was as busy as Benidorm in July.

fish-and-chip-shops-whitby

We started the visit with fish and chips because there is nowhere like Yorkshire for fish and chips, cooked properly in beef dripping and crisp crunchy batter, a real treat.  I lived for a few months in Richmond in North Yorkshire and would quite happily eat fish and chips every day.

Next we went to the beach.  I wasn’t so keen on this as the children.  I have just bought a new car and I didn’t want it filled with sand that is difficult to vacuum up but I had to give in of course and accept the consequences.

The beach was busy and a few yards away were a family of louts who were ignoring the summer beaches dog-ban rule with a scruffy animal that was causing mayhem.  I just hate dogs.

After half an hour or so they packed up and left but didn’t bother to take their litter with them, several beer cans and empty crisp packets and just wandered off with their obnoxious beast.  Kim was outraged and went across to where they were sitting and picked up all of the mess that they had left behind.  I was impressed by that.

Hornsea Litter Picker

And so with sandy feet and muddy clothes we left the beach but then ran into the moron beach littering family.  Kim couldn’t help herself and walked across to them and handed them the bag of cans and bottles.  I knew that this wasn’t a good idea.  The youth (obviously unemployable and living on benefits) was a tattoed yob (paid for by people like us who pay taxes) who clearly couldn’t be reasoned with or could see no wrong in his actions and responded with a tirade of abuse which shocked the passers-by.  I pulled Kim away but he followed and continued with his foul mouthed response until we were out safely of ear-shot.

Anti-Social behaviour and littering is a real problem in the UK as people seem to think that it is acceptable to dispose of rubbish in any public place and I find that so distressing.

After we had walked the length of the seafront we returned to the car park and continued our journey to out holiday home (caravan) destination at Skipsea Sands.  Caravan allocation is a bit of a lottery, sometimes you get a good one and sometimes you don’t.  This time we struck lucky with a van on the edge of the park overlooking a field of golden corn and the blue sea beyond.  It was quite perfect.

I have visited these caravan parks before and I am certain that the company keeps a database of clients and how they leave the accommodation when they leave.  I try to leave it in really good order and I am convinced that this results in an upgrade for the next visit.

As the girls moved in and chose their bedrooms Kim and I sat on the balcony and watched the monochrome kaleidoscope of grass as the breeze choreographed shifting patterns in the field of golden wheat.  We opened a bottle of wine and congratulated ourselves on our good fortune.

Skipsea Cornfield

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

Entrance Ticket – P&O Cabin Key, Hull to Rotterdam

002 (2)

Once on board we wandered around the maze of narrow corridors on deck ten searching among five hundred and forty-six identical looking cabins until we finally found our inner berth shoebox and after we had negotiated sleeping arrangements in a fair and democratic way I bagged the bottom bunk and let Jonathan practice using the flimsy aluminium ladder to get on top.

One of the rules of the crossing is that passengers cannot take alcohol on board the boat – not because P&O have anything against alcohol it is just that they would rather prefer it if you buy it on board at one of their bars rather than from a supermarket in Hull so without any smuggled on beer or wine there wasn’t a great deal to hang around for in the cabin so we made our way to the Sky lounge and the Sunset bar at the very top of the ship to see the sunset that was dipping down over the River Humber to the west.

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Read the Full story…

The Fishing Murals of Hull

5397489_adab349eFishing Mural Hull

The city of Hull was the 2017 UK Capital of Culture which came as rather a surprise to a lot of people but not to me as it was in competition with the city of Coventry which is a truly dreadful place!

As part of the celebrations the City came up with an idea to bring in tourists – wall paintings to commemorate the fishing heritage of Hull.

One day in May I crossed the River Humber and went to see them.

Fifty year ago the Hull trawler fleet was the biggest fishing fleet in the world (see footnote) and deep sea fishing in Arctic waters was amongst the most dangerous work anywhere. A trawlerman was seventeen times more likely to be killed at work than the average British industrial worker including coal miners.

At the beginning of 1968 some of the worst ever winter storms hit the Icelandic fishing grounds. In the space of three weeks three Hull trawlers were lost and a total of fifty-eight crew members died.

Hull Fishing Mural

The St Romanus sailed from Hull on January 10th 1968 without a full and experienced crew, most significantly without a properly qualified radio operator to work the ship’s main transmitter. This left communications to the relatively inexperienced skipper with his much less powerful bridge-mounted radio telephone. The last contact was a radio telephone call on the evening of the day they sailed. Despite hearing nothing the owners did not raise the alarm until January 26th.

A life raft found on January 13th had come from the St Romanus. A search began, but by January 30th the families were told that there was little hope for the vessel and her crew.

The second trawler the Kingston Peridot had also sailed from Hull on January 10th with a crew of twenty and by January 26th she was fishing off north-east Iceland in really bad weather.

The ship radioed another trawler that she was having difficulties with ice build-up and moved east to join them. No further contact was established and on January 29th one of her life rafts was washed ashore. News of her loss reached Hull on January 30th just as hope was fading for the crew of St Romanus.

The third lost trawler, the Ross Cleveland, sailed on January 20th, before the loss of the first two trawlers became known. She was bound for the north coast of Iceland.

Conditions were atrocious and on February 3rd she made for a relatively sheltered inlet on Iceland’s north-west coast. A number of other ships were gathered there to wait out the long and hurricane-force snowy storm. A dangerous amount of ice was forming on the vessels superstructure and radar masts. The captain attempted to move her to a safer position but the ship was overwhelmed by the wind and sea, capsized and sank.

News of the Ross Cleveland sinking reached Hull on February and at first it was believed all aboard had died, but on February 6th Harry Eddom, the mate, washed ashore in a life raft barely still alive, the other two men in the raft had died of exposure.

Lilian Bilocca Wall Mural

The news of the three lost trawlers devastated the whole of the Hull fishing community but a group of women fishermen’s family members decided to do something more than mourn – they would fight to make the industry safer.

Lillian Bilocca, Christine Jensen, Mary Denness and Yvonne Blenkinsop called a meeting which resulted in the formation of the Hessle Road Women’s Committee. The group became known as the Headscarf Revolutionaries. Bilocca and her women comrades led a direct action campaign to prevent undermanned trawlers from putting to sea, particularly when the ship had no properly qualified radio operator.

Bilocca was a working class woman of Hull. She married a Maltese sailor who worked as a trawlerman. Her father, husband and son all worked on the Hull fishing trawlers. She worked on-shore filleting the catch.

They gathered over ten thousand signatures on a petition (that was a lot pre internet and social media) for a fishermen’s charter and sent to the Minister for Fisheries in Harold Wilson’s government.

As well as radio operators the women had other demands including improved weather forecasts, better training for trainee crew, more safety equipment and a mother ship with medical facilities to accompany the fleet.

Eventually Prime Minister Harold Wilson met the women and subsequently government ministers granted all of their demands.

9-lil_bilocca_mural

Lillian received death threats from some of the trawler owners and letters telling her not to interfere in men’s work. She lost her job and was blacklisted and she never found work in the fishing industry again.

In 1990 Hull City Council unveiled a plaque inscribed: “In recognition of the contributions to the fishing industry by the women of Hessle Road, led by Lillian Bilocca, who successfully campaigned for better safety measures following the loss of three Hull trawlers in 1968.”

This brave woman should have been included in the One Hundred Greatest Britons but that was never going to happen, the list only included thirteen women anyway!

This is not Hull, there are no statues of Lillian, it is a statue in the Portuguese city of Póvoa de Varzim but it seems to fit the story quite well.

Fishwives Pavoa de Varzim

Footnote: The port town of Grimsby on the south bank of the Humber makes a similar claim and they are probably both correct because they use different criteria.

This is my account of a day out in Grimsby

Grimsby Fishing Fleet