14th May, 2020 Sculcoates 19.

Unlike 20th century suburbs of Hull, the spring-line settlements at the base of the dip slope of the Yorkshire Wolds and those on the fringes of Holderness such as Sutton and Bilton, Sculcoates has no ‘centre’ by which it can be defined. Even when still a rural parish the settlement was ribbon or straggling in shape, although the church was probably then seen as a focal point. During the Great War the site of the church changed (s.p.b.s) and the surviving church is a roadside feature only. Sculcoates had/has no ‘square’ like Hessle or Cottingham and no retail centre like Anlaby or Sutton. The only modern suburb of which the same can be said is Kirk Ella although its medieval church site and building survive (other than this it is hard to think of Kirk Ella and Sculcoates as having any similarities!! Although Sculcoates was once ‘posh’) (s.p.b.s).

The pattern of urbanisation of Sculcoates was, to a large extent, determined by non-residential factors such as ribbon development along Beverley Road (s.p.b.s), the crossing of the parish by two rail-lines (s.p.b.s) and the line north to south of Barmston Drain dug 1799-1800. Also important in this respect was the evolution of industrial sites alongside the meanders of the lower River Hull (s.p.b.s).

Sculcoates today is a diverse area with the problems more immediately apparent than the good points. The once prestigious houses along Beverley Road are now in multiple occupation, this inevitable putting the buildings and their immediate environment at the mercy of uncaring landlords. There are sections where, it would appear, local planners have given up the struggle in terms of maintaining proper shop-fronts. Roads remain the width of narrow lanes and struggling to cope with heavy goods vehicles accessing larger industrial sites. However, this mix of residential and industrial sites adds interest, certainly when compared with repetitive residential areas. The green oases of the disused burial grounds should be valued.

And in the same vein, who is the pleasant looking woman above? Answer Octavia Hill, the 19th century social reformer, incidentally born in Wisbech in the good old Fens. She campaigned for disused burial grounds to be looked after as ‘public living rooms’.