1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hull (Yorkshire)

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HULL (officially Kingston-upon-Hull), a city and county of a city, municipal, county and parliamentary borough, and seaport in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, at the junction of the river Hull with the Humber, 22 m. from the open sea, and 181 m. N. of London. Pop. (1891) 200,472; (1901) 240,259. Its full name, not in general use, is Kingston-upon-Hull. It is served by the North Eastern, Great Central and Hull & Barnsley railways, the principal station being Paragon Street. The town stands on a level plain so low as to render embankments necessary to prevent inundation. The older portion is completely enclosed by the Hull and Humber on the E. and S. and by docks on the N. and W. Here are narrow streets typical of the medieval mercantile town, though modern improvements have destroyed some of them; and there are a few ancient houses. In Holy Trinity church Hull possesses one of the largest English parish churches, having an extreme length of 272 ft. It is cruciform and has a massive central tower. This and the transepts and choir are of Decorated work of various dates. The choir is largely constructed of brick, and thus affords an unusually early example of the use of this material in English ecclesiastical architecture. The nave is Perpendicular, a fine example of the style. William Mason the poet (1725–1797) was the son of a rector of the parish. The church of St Mary, Lowgate, was founded in the 14th century, but is almost wholly a reconstruction. Modern churches are numerous, but of no remarkable architectural merit. Among public buildings the town-hall, in Lowgate, ranks first. It was completed in 1866, but was subsequently extended and in great part rebuilt; it is in Italian renaissance style, having a richly adorned façade. The exchange, in the same street, was also completed in 1866, in a less ornate Italian style. There are also theatres, a chamber of commerce, corn exchange, market-hall, custom-house, and the dock offices, a handsome Italian building. The principal intellectual institution is the Royal Institution, a fine classical building opened by Albert, prince consort, in 1854, and containing a museum and large library. It accommodates the Literary and Philosophical Society. The grammar school was founded in 1486. One of its masters was Joseph Milner (1744–1797), author of a history of the Church; and among its students were Andrew Marvell the poet (1621–1678) and William Wilberforce the philanthropist (1759–1833), who is commemorated by a column and statue near the dock offices, and by the preservation of the house of his birth in High Street. This house belongs to the corporation and was opened in 1906 as the Wilberforce and Historical Museum. There are also to be mentioned the Hull and East Riding College, Hymer’s College, comprising classical, modern and junior departments, the Trinity House marine school (1716), the Humber industrial school ship “Southampton,” and technical and art schools. Charities and benevolent foundations are numerous. Trinity House is a charity for seamen of the merchant service; the building (1753) was founded by the Trinity House Gild instituted in 1369, and contains a noteworthy collection of paintings and a museum. The Charterhouse belongs to a foundation for the support of the old and feeble, established by Sir Michael de la Pole, afterwards earl of Suffolk, in 1384. The infirmary was founded in 1782. Of the three parks, Pearson Park was presented by a mayor of that name in 1860, and contains statues of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. A botanic garden was opened in 1880.

The original harbour occupied that part of the river Hull which faced the old town, but in 1774 an act was passed for forming a dock on the site of the old fortifications on the right bank of the Hull. This afterwards became known as Queen’s dock, and with Prince’s and Humber docks completes the circle round the old town. The small railway dock opens from Humber dock. East of the Hull lie the Victoria dock and extensive timber ponds, and west of the Humber dock basin, parallel to the Humber, is Albert dock. Others are the Alexandra, St Andrew’s and fish docks. The total area of the docks is about 186 acres, and the owning companies are the North Eastern and the Hull & Barnsley railways. The ports of Hull and Goole (q.v.) have been administratively combined since 1888, the conservancy of the river being under the Humber Conservancy Board. Hull is one of the principal shipping ports for the manufactures of Yorkshire and Lancashire, and has direct communication with the coal-fields of the West Riding. Large quantities of grain are imported from Russia, America, &c., and of timber from Norway and Sweden. Iron, fish, butter and fruit are among other principal imports. The port was an early seat of the whale fisheries. Of passenger steamship services from Hull the principal are those to the Norwegian ports, which are greatly frequented during the summer; these, with others to the ports of Sweden, &c., are in the hands of the large shipping firm of Thomas Wilson & Co. A ferry serves New Holland, on the Lincolnshire shore (Great Central railway). The principal industries of Hull are iron-founding, shipbuilding and engineering, and the manufacture of chemicals, oil-cake, colours, cement, paper, starch, soap and cotton goods; and there are tanneries and breweries.

The parliamentary borough returns three members, an increase from two members in 1885. Hull became the seat of a suffragan bishop in the diocese of York in 1891. This was a revival, as the office was in existence from 1534 till the death of Edward VI. The county borough was created in 1888. The city is governed by a mayor, 16 aldermen and 48 councillors. Area, 8989 acres.

The first mention of Hull occurs under the name of Wyke-upon-Hull in a charter of 1160 by which Maud, daughter of Hugh Camin, granted it to the monks of Meaux, who in 1278 received licence to hold a market here every Thursday and a fair on the vigil, day and morrow of Holy Trinity and twelve following days. Shortly afterwards Edward I., seeing its value as a port, obtained the town from the monks in exchange for other lands in Lincolnshire and changed its name to Kingston-upon-Hull. To induce people to settle here he gave the town a charter in 1299. This granted two weekly markets on Tuesday and Friday and a fair on the eve of St Augustine lasting thirty days; it made the town a free borough and provided that the king would send his justices to deliver the prison when necessary. He sent commissioners in 1303 to inquire how and where the roads to the “new town of Kingston-upon-Hull” could best be made, and in 1321 Edward II. granted the burgesses licence to enclose the town with a ditch and “a wall of stone and lime.” In the 14th century the burgesses of Hull disputed the right of the archbishop of York to prisage of wine and other liberties in Hull, which they said belonged to the king. The archbishop claimed under charters of King Æthelstand and Henry III. The dispute, after lasting several years, was at length decided in favour of the king. In 1381 Edward III., while inspecting former charters, granted that the burgesses might hold the borough with fairs, markets and free customs at a fee-farm of £70, and that every year they might choose a mayor and four bailiffs. The king in 1440 granted the burgesses Hessle, North Ferriby and other places in order that they might obtain a supply of fresh water. The charter also granted that the above places with the town itself should become the county of the town of Kingston-upon-Hull. Henry VIII. visited the town in 1541, and ordered that a castle and other places of defence should be built, and Edward VI. in 1552 granted the manor to the burgesses. The town was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth in 1576 and a new charter was granted by James II. in 1688. During the civil wars Hull, although the majority of the inhabitants were royalists, was garrisoned by the parliamentarians, and Charles I. was refused admission by the governor Sir John Hotham. In 1643 it stood a siege of six weeks, but the new governor Ferdinando Fairfax, 2nd Baron Fairfax, obliged the Royalist army to retreat by opening the sluices and placing the surrounding country under water. Hull was represented in the parliament of 1295 and has sent members ever since, save that in 1384 the burgesses were exempted from returning any member on account of the expenses which they were incurring through fortifying their town. Besides the fairs granted to the burgesses by Edward I., two others were granted by Charles II. in 1664 to Henry Hildiard who owned property in the town.

See T. Gent, Annales Regioduni Hullini (York, 1735, reprinted 1869); G. Hadley, History of the Town and County of Kingston-upon-Hull (Hull, 1788); C. Frost, Notices relative to the Early History of the Town and Port of Hull (London, 1827); J. J. Sheaham, General and Concise History of Kingston-upon-Hull (London and Beverley, 1864).