Monthly Archives: April 2020

29th April, 2020 Sculcoates 12 – Point of View 4.

In the last blog (posted yesterday) I forgot to mention two points promised in the previous blog of 25/04.

Workhouses were not so bad – this point was prompted by the consideration of those who died in Sculcoates workhouse and were buried in the second of the two detached burial grounds north of Sculcoates Lane. The point is this, unless they had died suddenly or in early infancy those buried had almost certainly spent some time in the workhouse infirmary getting a level of care reasonable for the time albeit very primitive by modern standards. Given their poverty this would not have been available outside the workhouse. Indeed, given that some basic elements of a welfare state had been voted-in by the pre-Great War Liberal government, medical provision had become the main provision of workhouses, this in turn the reason why workhouses endured in tandem and why many then developed into local hospitals (and later N.H.S. hospitals) – Castle Hill and Scunthorpe Hospitals being the only regional ones where this was not the case.

The second point – a comparison might be made between the pauper graves beside Sculcoates Lane and the inmate graves dating from the time when De La Pole Hospital was an asylum. Its cemetery is located in the northern edge of the site next to a playing field beyond which is Castle Road and then Castle Hill Hospital complex. The cemetery only has a couple of monuments and these to significant members of staff who opted to be buried alongside their once patients, this a moving point in itself. No headstones here for deceased inmates, a plan must have existed, Hull History Centre may have this archive but I’m not sure. Some former inmates may have been buried in their home cemetery if the municipal authority or the family had been prepared to pay. The site is a poignant one.

Anyway, to get back to Sculcoates. The photo above is of a section of the west bank of the River Hull beside Oak Road playing fields, Owing to industrial development it is not possible to get the equivalent picture for the Sculcoates site.

Point of View 4 – One outcome of the present pandemic is that the country has renewed its support for a national (rather than private) health service and, indirectly, a welfare state – and long may they endure.

27th April. 2020 Sculcoates 11. Point of view 4.

As seen from blogs ‘Sculcoates 1 and 2’ (5th and 6th April) Sculcoates, before the building of New Dock (Queen’s Dock), was a rural parish, the village/hamlet being close to the west bank of the River Hull. This would have been a precarious site and a less obvious one than, for example, the spring-line settlements of Hessle, Anlaby, Kirk Ella and Cottingham on the far west edge of the River Hull floodplain. However, excavations in the 1980s revealed compelling evidence that Roman-British scattered settlements existed along the natural levee of the west bank of the River.

Although flooding had the potential to damage property it brought a  benefit. I have a notion that, apart from a threat to life for humans, farm animals, transport animals and pets, flooding may in past centuries have been seen as an acceptable hazard on floodplain locations. Probate inventories often valued domestic property located on the first floor of a house greater than that on the ground floor and anyway stout wooden furniture could be cleaned, unlike today when electrical, gas and digital domestic services can so easily be wrecked as well as soft furnishings.

The ‘benefit’ would have been very important to the rural parish of Sculcoates. Although rural the parish was within walking distance of a densely populated town (Kingston upon Hull) so the rich soils (mix of estuarine and riverine silts) of the parish would have been given over to grassland on which cow-keepers animals grazed or the then equivalent of today’s market gardens. The town, especially Market Place immediately east of Holy Trinity church, now Lowgate, providing a ready market. It has been noted that Sculcoates had been enclosed by the early 17th century (see Sculcoates 1 and 2) so it may have become quite a dispersed settlement. A flood then provided another layer of silt to fertilise the fields and would have enabled farmers to have a dense number of animals per acre grazing the rich grassland.

(to be continued).

Point of View 4 = As a non-scientist I have become convinced that this is the most golden age of scientific discovery; the building blocks of Life being discovered, the extent, nature of and origin of the Universe being discovered and the means whereby planet Earth might be saved or destroyed – all these and much more. Such studies should be fundamental to modern school and further education studies with some of the creative and liberal studies seeming comparatively of little use now.


25th April, 2020 Sculcoates 10, Point of view 3.

The photo above shows the entrance gate off Sculcoates Lane to the seven acre site of glebe land allocated as the second detached burial ground for the Georgian St Mary’s church, Sculcoates (parish). The site today is very overgrown and as such is a very interesting nature reserve (although not an official one) and a place where many different wild plants and shrubs may be found. It is bordered on the west by a modern housing estate built on the site of the previous Needler’s sweet factory. Hull City Council occasionally clear a few pathways and, although these can be quite narrow they do not result in the loss of much of the undergrowth.

As some headstones include dates into the 1920s I assume this site did not become a disused burial grounds until, perhaps, the late 1920s or 1930s. My research on the whole issue of parks, cemeteries, recreation grounds etc. has not yet reached that time.

One area of this disused burial ground somewhat clear of undergrowth has rows of low gabled headstones with the indented wording facing east (as was normal but by no means universal). On most the wording is too weathered to be legible but where it can be discerned is generally the names of three people, often children and infants as age at death was recorded, not usually from the same family. This was the cemetery for Sculcoates Workhouse, the complex that evolved into Kingston General Hospital and subsequently again Endevour High School (which building survives but is no longer a school!).

For the burial of three separate inmates the first interment would be temporarily covered, the second also and the third permanently covered so long as this third coffin was at least three feet below surface level. Clearly the inmates of a workhouse would not normally be able to afford a family plot although it may have been possible during an epidemic.

(To be continued – workhouses were not so bad + comparison with the cemetery at De La Pole Hospital (as was) in the parish of Cottingham).

Point of View 3 – Given that the issue raised in nos. 1 and 2 seems to be getting little attention I am very impressed with the global charity ‘animal/EQUALITY’ as they have organised an international petition to press for national governments to campaign for the abolition of ‘wet markets’. I am thinking of moving my support for Compassion in World Farming as am not aware of such a stand by them. Check animal/EQUALTY website if interested.

22nd April, 2020 Sculcoates 9 (point of view 2)

The Minute Book for the Burial Committee of Hull Corporation for the year 1883 provides some evidence about the two detached burial grounds on Sculcoates Lane serving the Georgian church of St. Mary’s Sculcoates. They state that the churchyard adjacent to the church was declared full in 1817 (this slightly contradicting Greenwood’s date (s.p.b.) but no great matter) and that in that year three acres of lane south of Sculcoates Lane was acquired as a detached burial ground (s.p.b.). As shown in the photo above, parts of the perimeter brick wall of 1817 survive, this entrance off the Lane would have originally been gated.

This detached burial ground was used up to 1864 the Minutes tell us. This is interesting because not only was the population of Sculcoates parish increasing rapidly in the 19th century (s.p.b.) but also growing public health standards would not allow graveyards to become ‘stuffed-full’ as had been the case centuries before.

In 1864 the vicar of St. Mary’s allocated seven acres of glebe land on the other side of Sculcoates Lane for a second detached burial ground. The reason for this little bit of history in the Minutes was that in 1883 the Hull Town Clerk recommended that this site should be purchased as ‘ one of the cemeteries of the Burial Board of the Borough’. Whether he meant both burial grounds either side of Sculcoates Lane or just the most recent one is not clear to me, anyway the site on the south side of the road had become a disused burial ground so would have been managed by the Board anyway.

A minute of the Burial Board Committee in 1891 included St. Mary’s, Sculcoates in its list of disused burial grounds, presumably this referring to the three acre site south of Sculcoates Lane as some headstones in the seven acre site north of the Lane record dates into the 20th century.

(to be continued)

Point of View 2 – There is compelling evidence that this corona virus ‘jumped species’ (wild animals to humans) in the environment of a Chinese ‘wet market’. It distresses me to describe these barbaric places which can be read about and viewed on the internet by googling ‘wet markets’. In these open-air markets live animals are dismembered and slaughtered with no regard for their feelings, what we regard as pet animals the same, creatures caught in the wild and those factory farmed. This is a huge human culture v. animal rights issue, but on this occasion the result didn’t stay within national borders. It is morally and ethically wrong that such places/practices should exist anywhere on the planet and I saying so we shouldn’t be advised to ‘balance’ possible economic outcomes against taking a stand.

21st April, 2020 Sculcoates 8. (p.o.v. 1).

Greenwood’s Picture of Hull, 1835 (s.p.b.s) in his section on Sculcoates Georgian church (s.p.b.s) states that ‘near the church is a new burial ground, formed about eight years ago’ (c.1827). He describes this detached burial ground as being three acres in size surrounded by a brick wall and created at a cost of £4000 ‘which was raised by a rate levied on the parishioners’. Clearly by this time the churchyard proper (which survives on the corner of Air St. and Bankside s.p.b.s) had become ‘full’, much of the reason for this being that Hull had burst the confines of its medieval town walls with the building of the New Dock (later Queen’s Dock) and the late Georgian streets such as Albion St. and Percy St. built beyond, this urban sprawl in the parish of Sculcoates. What-is-more these Georgian terraces were built to cater for a relatively wealthy, often mercantile, clientele whose distinction in life demanded commensurate monuments after death.

Greenwood then goes on to state that this new detached burial ground had built in it a ‘small but elegant structure wherein the burial service is performed’ (see Greenwood’s sketch above). Greenwood states that this chapel was built in the ‘pointed style of architecture’ (Early English, originally of the 13th century and much-loved by the devotees of the Gothic Revival movement) and having ‘porches with crocketed pinnacles’ on both sides. Apparently on the interior ceiling was painted a scene ‘representing a group of seraphic and cherubic figures’ (very classical). This building represents a forerunner of the later chapels of rest in municipal cemeteries although they normally had two chapels one for Established church parishioners, one for Nonconformist. Clearly the Sculcoates parish authorities were not then so even-handed.

This detached (and long-since disused) cemetery survives on Sculcoates Lane, sadly the building does not.

(to be continued)

Personal Point of View 1 = Now well into the fourth week of national and international ‘lock-down’ in the face of the global pandemic caused by the spread of Covid-19 virus and with ‘updates’ monopolised by national deaths figures and the logistics of government responses where is the debate about cause? Where did it start and why? If we don’t know the answers to that then the next question is when will the next one come along? Prevention is better than cure.

One country is stating that China was deliberately slow in informing the world about the epidemic and that the World Health Organisation is in their pocket (albeit by a terrible President), but that is almost inevitable given the global power of China, the question remains what in China started it and where. We sort of know the answer to the second of these two questions but what in Wuhan started the epidemic, and what is the global community going to do about it?

(to be continued)


16th April, 2020 Sculcoates 7.

The churchyard monument described by Greenwood (1835 and see previous blogs) appears in his illustration of the Georgian church and churchyard (bottom left, and see the illustration two blogs back) and survives today (see above), although in a crumbling state.

I have never been inside the current St. Mary’s, Sculcoates (1916, although, apparently, not completed until mid 1920s and see previous photo), I think it is sometimes open during national Heritage Week in September and is, according to a sign on the churchyard gate, open two afternoons per week, although because of Covid 19 ‘lockdown’ not so at the moment.

A number of fixtures and fittings from the Georgian church were re-sited in the current church but David Neave – Buildings of England, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (2005, 512) – makes no mention of the elaborate font described by Greenwood (s.p.b.). I wonder what happened to it.

The current St. Mary’s, Sculcoates was designed by the famous Temple Moore but has no tower as was originally intended, this probably an economy as after the Great War there was a serious shortage of building materials resulting in those available being very expensive. Incidentally, the tower of the Georgian church was not demolished with the rest of the church in 1916 but survived to the 1960s, this a story replicated at St. Peter’s church, Drypool (see photo and text Neave, D. Lost churches and chapels of Hull (Hutton Press, 1991, 56-57).

I need to investigate to see if the monument to Dr. Alderson’s wife (s.p.b.) survives in the churchyard of the Georgian church.

(to be continued)