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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fact 16. Television's Lord Peter Wimsey was born in Hull.

Ian Carmichael was born in Hull in June 1920. His father was an optician and was partner in a shop on George Street in Hull that sold jewelry, glass and china wares that started in 1902. The shop branched out into other high quality items and became known as the 'Harrods of Hull'. It remained in the family until it was bought by Woolworth's in 1962. It was later bought from them by the Manager and accountant in 1989 to become a high status shop. Unfortunately the financial timing was bad and they closed down in 1991.

Carmichael's Store on George Street, Hull.

Ian went to school at Scarborough College and hated it. He later went to Bromsgrove School which he liked a little better. His family reluctantly paid for him to attend RADA and he made his stage debut as a robot in 1939 at the People's Palace at Mile End. WWII intervened and he joined the Royal Armoured Corp and saw service in Normandy. He lost the end of a finger when a Valentine tank hatch dropped on him. By the time he left the Army in 1947 he had attained the rank of Major.

Ian Carmichael.

Carmichael appeared in many films after the war such as Betrayal with Clark Gable in 1954 and the Colditz Story 1955. He made many Boulting Bros. films with Peter Sellers and Terry Thomas such as Privates Progress 1956, Brothers in Arms 1957 and I'm All Right Jack 1959.

In the 1960's and 70's he moved into television and was successful with roles as P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster and  Dorothy L. Sawyers Lord Peter Wimsey. He wrote his autobiography 'Will the Real Ian Carmichael...' in 1979.

Ian Carmichael as the definitive Lord Peter Wimsey
Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey.

Ian Carmichael as Bertie Wooster in World of Wooster (1965)
Ian Carmichael as Bertie Wooster.

Carmichael also appeared in Wives and Daughters, Heartbeat and The Royal until a year before his death.

Ian Carmichael receiving his OBE given in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2003.

He died at his home in the Esk Valley in North Yorkshire. He was married for forty years to his first wife who died in 1983 Jean Maclean. They had two daughters Lee and Sally. He married his second wife Kate Fenton, an English novelist and radio producer. He died of natural causes at age 89 in February 2010.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Fact 15. Hull is famous for the 'pattie' and Bob Carvers chip shop.

Hull is home to Bob Carver Fish and Chip shop that started business over 125 years ago in 1888. This is the third Generation in the business and they have all been Bob. There are two further Bob's to come too. The business started with a stall at Hull's open market. It was a temporary stall that used coke stoves and had trestles and benches for the eating, with table cloths. It was a big tent as there were twenty waitresses! They moved from the market to their current location on Trinity House Lane. Since the business started they have been producing the 'pattie'. This is a made of mashed potato, sage and onion and usually deep fried. Bod Carver's how ever coat theirs in bread crumbs before frying. They don't seem to be sold any many other places and are often mistaken for fish cakes but there is definitely no fish in them. Carver's make them by hand.

Trinity House Lane shop with restaurant above.

Carver's have had a stall at the massive annual travelling Hull Fair in October since the the start of the 19th Century. They have occupied the same site on Walton Street since 1947. Since that time they do not produce fish at all at the Fair as they still use the four coke fires for the frying and they just could not keep up with the demand. It is just chips, pattie and mushy peas in any combination. They sell well over 2000 patties a day at the fair.

Hull Fair Daytime 2012 Bob Carvers
Carver's at the fair.

It takes about 12 or 14 hours to set up the stall. The coke fires are started using wood and take about 45 mins to get going properly. It is almost an institution that when at the fair you have to pay a visit to Carver's. The ten people working there are kept very busy during the night shift.

Carver's at night at the Fair.

In a recent poll to find Hull's favourite food the Pattie came second with 39% to the Yorkshire Pudding with 45%.

Bob Carvers Famous Pattie Peas and chips at Hull Fair
Pattie peas and chips at Hull fair.

If you have never tried a pattie it is something that is authentic Hull food. Try asking for them anywhere else in the country and nobody knows what you are talking about. Try telling them they are fish cakes with no fish!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fact 14. Hull is home to God's House..

There had been a a religious house to the north of the walls of Hull since the time of Edward I (Late 13th Century). In the 14th Century the land belonged to William De La Pole and he built a hospital there around 1350, and its name was Maison Dieu, God's House. De La Pole got a licence from the Pope to build a monastry but died before it was completed. His son Michael completed it in 1377 and it was dedicated to St Michael and housed monks for the Carthusian Order.

Despite doing well with an income £230 it was not dissolved by Henry VIII in 1535, only to fall prey in 1538. The priory was destroyed but the hospital survived as it was already held by the crown due to supposed misdeeds of Edmund De La Pole who had a claim to the throne of Henry VII and tried to bring help from abroad. The hospital was given back to the Hull Corporation in 1553. It became known as the Charterhouse after the Priory.

These buildings were pulled down before the first siege of Hull, in 1642, during the English Civil War and the area used as a battery of two guns to protect the city walls. The inmates moved to Whitefriar Gate with in the walls of the town. The place was rebuilt in 1645 at a cost of £474 and further cells and rooms added in 1663 and 1673. In 1780 the complex was again rebuilt and the current buildings are from these times. It was extended further in 1803.

The Charterhouse from 1780.

The Master's House also from 1780. This buildings are said to have parts of the 1600's buildings incorporated within.

The Charterhouse was damaged on the first raid of the war in Hull and wasn't repaired until 1950.

The Hull poet Andrew Marvel was brought up here as his Father was the Master of the School here.

The 18th Century Chapel within the Charterhouse.

Detail below the entrance porch.

The Charterhose still serves as Alms houses providing accommodation for up to 40 people in one or two bedroom flats, half on the ground floor. Rent is a very reasonable £64/74.

The accommodation at Charthouse.

The Charterhouse is in a very quiet area of the city that is a short walk away from the city centre and is well worth a visit.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Fact 13. The Dock was the largest dock in Britain.

The trading centre of Hull was the Old Harbour, or the mouth of the River Hull. As trade got greater and the vessels got larger it became seriously congested. There was also no place where a legal quay could be made as the the ships discharged directly into private warehouses and so tax couldn't be collected properly. It was decided an enclosed dock was needed. In 1773 the Hull Corporation, Hull Trinity House and several Hull merchants got together to found a 'Dock Company' and it was the first statutory dock company in Britain. The Crown gave them the land which included the area of the northern walls and a Bill was passed in 1774 which allowed them to raise £100,000.

The dock entrance from the River Hull. After the dock was closed it was used as a dry dock.

The dock was designed by Henry Berry from Liverpool and later amended by John Grundy. It was to be 518 long x 75 m wide. The construction began on 19th October 1775 with the first stone being laid by Joseph Outram the Mayor at the time. The Dock was opened in September 1778 and was the largest enclosed dock in Britain. It was just called 'The Dock' as it was the only one. It actually cost £65,000 to build.

A WW1 torpedo boat drawing crowds in Queens Dock.

Queens Dock with the new Dock Offices in the distance and many barges and keels for the movement of cargoes around the docks and up the rivers.

The dock was in use for 150 years. It was finally called Queens Dock following the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1854. That was the first since 1642 and Monarchs don't seem to visit Hull very often. Much the same as other people I suspect! 

Queens Dock, Hull showing Alfred Gelder Street with the statues at the top of the Guild Hall in the middle at the rear.

The Dock was for exporting manufactured goods from Yorkshire, the Midlands and Lancashire that came via the rivers and railways of the regions. Raw materials were brought in from Europe. It also became the centre of the whaling ships between the seasons. Hull was a big whaling port with sailing vessels travelling to Greenland to hunt them.
Aerial view of Queens Dock. with the Guild Hall in the middle of the photograph.

An aerial photograph with the new Dock Offices at the end and the Town Hall at the bottom. It also shows Monument Bridge which connected to Prince's Dock that was built later. The Monument between the two is the Wilberforce Monument that was later moved to the east end of the Queens Gardens.

In 1930 the dock became redundant due to the size of vessels becoming too large and other much larger docks being built around Hull. Hull Corporation bought the dock for £100,000 and started to fill it in. This took four years and then it was laid out as a park area, and is now used as the location for concerts etc.