Thursday, March 15, 2007

North east coast town history...

You know what it's like when you're on the net - one hyperlink leads to another and before you know it you're staring at something completely unexpected. No, I'm not on about the filthy ladies' garments stuff you look at. I'm talking the Blitz. Quite how I got there I can't remember now but last night I ended up looking at the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour and maps of World War II bomb damage in this fair city and, as you would, I thought I'd check out our street. Was there damage? Yes there was. Quite severe damage, if the map's to be trusted - a direct hit on our abode, no less. Marked by a black triangle, signifying a High Explosive bomb dropped at some point between 7-9 April 1941. But, as I was sitting in it and the house looks the same age as all the rest down the street, I just wrote such historical silliness off as a cartographer's mistake. Until this afternoon, when I thought I'd admire the entire rear of the late-Victorian terraced block we live on. And, lo and behold, our house and properties either side of it appear to have been rebuilt. Which was a bit of a surprise, having not noticed it in the year we've been here. Checked the deeds we have to no avail - just the usual buying and selling action and no document telling me that "yes, it was bombed!" I guess the answer will rest in the library, won't it? That's where I shall head next. Unless, as the poor taste joke would have it, that torso that lives in the house at the end knows.

Listening: Placebo - Covers


Music Man said...

My mother was 13, and a schoolgirl, when the war started. At the end she was working at Smith and Nephews soldering tins. (The tins were used for biscuits for the army.) From the stories she told me when I was a child don't believe the 'Britain can take it' stuff. If her stories are anything like the experiences of a typical civilian in Hull there would be some serious cases of 'post traumatic stress' that were never dealt with.
There was a video produced in the 1980's called (I think) 'Hull At War' that has a reminiscence in it of a bloke arriving in Hull on the morning after one of the May 1941 attacks who describes one of his first sights of seeing a man carrying a young dead girl in his arms as he walked along Holderness Road.
My mother was always fairly bitter about the lack of central government support in re-building Hull after the war. In fact, the St Stephen's development is finally re-developing a bomb site, having built something on what was used as a car park for many years directly opposite Debenhams in Ferensway.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How you spend your time. Amazing maps. Couldn't find our house since it was built in 1966 probably, but shocking.

Have you seen the Blitz issue of the Hull Daily Mail nostalgia occasional, I forget what it's called, shocking. Hull looks a tad like Dresden in some of the shots.

Gareth and I have been talking about a Hull Blitz play for a while. Must be lots of good stories.

Someone told me it's easier to bomb coastal towns - something about the sea giving bearings/definition for the bombers.

I'm up on last night of Toast if you want to pick up your mug. Are you gonna be around?

I hear Gareth's taken over the play - playing all the parts.

Richard Bean

Dave W said...

Hello Mr Bean. As well as the coast and the River Humber being handy navigational aids for the Luftwaffe, they also used to discharge whatever bombs they had left over Hull, apparently, after bombing raids further north, and occasionally just offloaded everything before they even got there cos they couldn't be bothered to fly up to Newcastle or Sunderland. How very thoughtful.

I certainly can be around for the last night of Toast, especially if there's a mug in it for me. And always keen to hear more of Johnny Hansler's Peter Cook impersonations/see a scratch performance of his upcoming Edinburgh show.

Gareth and the play are now one and the same, the set is the Fox & Coney, Barrass is a loaf of bread.