Monthly Archives: March 2019

22nd March, 2019 History of Hull’s Cemeteries, 4.

To return, for a moment, to the Castle Street disused burial ground, Hull (closed for burials 1861, s.p.b.s), and to further the theme of the partnership between cemeteries and parks, it was minuted (Corporation, Miscellaneous Committees – Burial) in October 1887 that gardeners were to be appointed to ‘disused burial grounds in the borough’ and, with special reference to the Castle Street site, ‘so as to make it a more agreeable place of resort for the inhabitants’. Four years later (November 1891) the Committee decided to buy ten dozen young trees for planting in burial grounds and to build a greenhouse at the Castle Street site. Whether this was to be open to the public or just for gardeners to propagate plants for the flower beds is not clear.

In 1889 it was decided that the Castle Street burial ground should be kept open to the public until dusk during the summer months while the following year it was decided that the site should be closed to the public at 4pm on Saturdays (the Committee members were occasionally petitioned by members of the public and some organisations keen to maintain the principles of Sabbath Observance, also this was a time of pressure on employers to erode the six-day working week by reducing working hours on Saturdays).

This disused burial ground had a defined perimeter and an entrance gate(s) that could be closed and locked. The picture above shows a surviving section of its western brick wall now ivy-clad, a surviving headstone peeping through the undergrowth and a surviving ‘young tree’ of the 1890s.

Often bad weather must have deterred visitors from disused burial grounds, in 1892 it was decided to close the Castle Street site on Sundays over winter. Also illegible headstones were, at this time, removed to the side of the site.

(To be continued).

17th March, 2019. History of Hull’s Cemeteries, 3.

The picture above is taken from Neave, D. Lost Churches and Chapels of Hull (1991, 51) and shows a drawing by F.S. Smith of the Georgian church of St. Mary’s Church, Sculcoates built around 1759. The churchyard shown could well have been a quiet ‘place of resort’. The church building was demolished early in the Great War, although as was the case often with church demolitions the tower was left intact for a number of years, but the graveyard remains (now in a shabby condition) and was by the late 19th century a ‘disused burial ground’ in the care of Hull Corporation’s Cemetery Committee. Sculcoates had been a medieval village/parish to the north of Hull and it was only after the building of the ‘New Dock’ (Queen’s Gardens) that new streets to the north of the Dock spread into Sculcoates parish. It was in 1855 that the churchyards of St. Mary’s Sculcoates, Holy Trinity, Hull, St. Mary Lowgate, Hull and St. Peter’s, Drypool (east of the River Hull) were closed as was Trippett St. detached burial ground (s.p.b.) with Castle St. detached burial ground (s.p.b.) being closed six years later. All from then on became disused burial grounds and were managed by the Cemetery Committee as ‘places of resort’.

Cemetery Minutes at Hull History Centre show that in 1881 the ‘annual inspection’ of cemeteries and disused burial grounds in the care of this Municipal Committee involved a visit to; Holy Trinity ‘church ground’, Church Side, St. Mary’s church ground, Lowgate, Drypool church ground, Drypool Square, St. Mark’s church ground, St. Marks Street (see Lost Churches and Chapels of Hull, p. 58), Friends burial ground, Hodgson Street, St. Mary’s burial ground, Trippett, Sculcoates old church ground, Air Street (see above), the Board’s Ground, Hull General Cemetery (s.l.b.) and the ‘Hebrew’s burial ground’, Hessle Road.

(to be continued)

14th March, 2019. History of Hull’s Cemeteries, 2.

An additional point re the last blog’s consideration of the common features of public parks and municipal cemeteries is that in 1904 Kingston upon Hull Urban Sanitary Authority combined the two previously separate committees for Burials and Parks, henceforth known as the Parks and Burials Committee.

The picture above shows the south-west corner of Castle St. disused burial ground (s.p.b.), the steps giving access from the burial ground to the head of Railway Dock. The lamp-post just visible is one of two on the site recorded at the Humber Historic Environment Record, Northumberland Avenue, Hull, the record stating that there are ‘Two lamp-posts at Trinity Burial Ground, Hull’ … ‘rare examples of historic street furniture. Early-mid 19th century – fluted cast iron column, fluted cross-bar (lamplighter’s ladder rest), inverted bowl base set on an octagonal plinth. Fragment of lantern extant on only one’.

Castle St. detached burial ground was opened in 1783 and closed in 1861. Municipal minutes show that from 1870s onwards the Castle St. disused burial ground was taken under the control of the Parks Committee and managed so as to be, like a park, a place of resort for local inhabitants.

This detached burial ground was created because the churchyard immediately around Holy Trinity church had become so crammed with human remains that it would have been impossible to dig graves without unearthing quantities of skeletal remains. This had become a common problem in churchyards across the Land, certainly by the 18th century if not before. The two parish churches of Hull, Holy Trinity and St. Mary, Lowgate, had a particular problem in this respect as their churchyards were small and hemmed-in by later buildings. A detached burial ground for St. Mary’s was created north of the church in the Trippett area of the town. Both ‘full’ churchyards were henceforth overseen by the Parks Committee to provide places of resort for local people. Initially both Trippett and Castle St. detached burial grounds were sited outside the town’s built-up area, this was to change as the town expanded.

10th March, 2019. History of Hull’s Cemeteries.

The picture above shows a brick-built table tomb in Hull’s Castle Street cemetery/disused burial ground, this area soon to be radically altered by road-works connected with the upgrading of the local road system.

It is occasionally asked why consider cemeteries in the same category as public parks and recreation grounds? The answer is as follows. To an extent Public Parks and Cemeteries had the same terms of reference; landscaping to create an appealing environment, a green area composed of trees, shrubs and, maybe, flower beds to establish a place detached from the built environment. Allied to this objective was the need to provide public seating (usually benches) as a facility for those there of necessity (funerals or visiting specific graves) and for those using the site as a place of resort. On a practical level a common feature in both parks and cemeteries was the building of a cemetery-man’s/park manager’s house, these usually well designed and appointed compared with speculative housing that the officials might otherwise have had to live in. Further cemetery buildings were the chapels of rest and, maybe, a ‘dead-house’ (see article on burials and the creation of Barton Cemetery in the Articles and Publications section of this website) whereas in public parks other buildings were added later such as ‘pavilions’ and greenhouses.

Clearly there were differing objectives in the planning and lay-out of public parks and cemeteries, the latter to be a quiet place of resort the former more a place of entertainment and resort.

Less obviously, but no less important, was the fact that both places of resort had an educational function, parks to impart horticultural knowledge, cemeteries to convey information about the deceased, or at least some of them, via information on the headstones.

Both places of resort had far reaching socio-political functions, cemeteries as a public health facility compared with the previous chaotic situation in churchyards while parks might be seen in the same context as well generating a feeling in the public of well-being rather than one of resentment and public unrest.

8th March, 2019. History of Hull’s Public Parks .

Going back, for a moment, to a point made in the last blog re the ‘mound’ at East Park, a minute of March 1905 stated that soil for the mound was being carted from  the’Town Hall Extension’. This refers, I think, to the westward extension of the City Hall to create what was originally the Victoria Galleries, Hull’s art gallery before the Ferens Gallery was opened in the 1920s (see Pevsner N. and Neave D. Buildings of England, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, (2005, 518).

The picture above is a grainy image from One Hundred and Twenty One … 1910 (s.p.b.s) of the ‘Kyber Pass’, a mix of man-made stone structures exampling another element of early public parks – historical reconstructions/artefacts. Travis Elborough (s.p..b.s) starts off his chapter 5 by this statement ‘There are few sights in England that can equal the absurd charm of the imitation Kyber Pass in Hull’s East Park’ (p.149), and, with this being written in 2016, he was able to record its, and the Park’s, recent refurbishment. He also records (p.150) that East Park was opened on Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 21st June 1887, this opening being preceded by a parade that the Hull Daily Mail considered to be a disgrace to the Town and the Queen (p. 150). This official opening is strangely lacking any record in the minutes of the relevant Municipal committee!

Later, in 1893, the minutes record that part of a Roman villa pavement ‘discovered near Lincoln’ which a councillor had ‘succeeded in obtaining’ was to be fixed in East Park (where, and how, it was to be displayed and its outcome I have yet to discover).

In 1907 Sir Albert Rollit, the owner of Humber Ironworks offered the Corporation a surviving stone watch-tower from the site of the old Citadel for relocation to East Park. This was done and it survives in the refurbished ‘Kyber Pass’.

5th March, 2019, History of Hull’s Public Parks 8.

The picture above is taken from One Hundred and Twenty-One Views of Hull and District c.1910 (s.p.b.s) and shows the ‘Mound, East Park’. This feature was almost certainly not natural but a result of the top-soil dug out to create the large serpentine lake. It seems to have been made into a sort of playground and viewing area with ornate flower beds below. A mound still exists south-west of the lake, this presumably the same feature today.

In the early days of East Park Corporation Farm (s.p.b.) remained part of the site. In February 1889 it was recorded that ‘upon the building plots being sold (s.p.b.) a greenhouse could be moved near to the farm buildings’. Later that year there was a reference to the annual rental for ‘house, outbuildings, greenhouse and garden at East Park’.

A minute of November 1889 reflects the differing attitudes to ecology then and now in stating that the newts in East Park pond were to be destroyed.

Today’s lake at East Park is very large and remains a principal feature of the Park and its facilities. Originally there may have been more than one water body as in 1890 it was agreed that a boathouse be built for the East Hull Model Yacht Club beside the ‘Yacht pond’ (a mention about early model boat clubs in public parks was made in one of the History of Public Parks blogs).

That same year the ‘refreshment pavilion’ at East Park was tenanted.

Supporting evidence for some of the features mentioned in the Minutes could be got by cross-referencing with the early detailed Ordnance Survey maps, in particular the 6 inch and 25 inch (first edition). As I have been focusing on wading through the various committee Minutes this is a task I have yet to do.

(to be continued).