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Hessle Road - Between The Wars


It between the two World Wars, Hessle Road peaked as a shopping area and the centre of a huge community. The streets were all developed and largely occupied by those involved in the fishing and railway industries. Every conceivable kind of shop lined the main road; tailors, hat-makers, saddlers, fishmongers, tripe-dressers, grocers, butchers and clog makers to name but a few. The 1920s saw the main established companies expanding and buying up the smaller outlets and, by 1939, the Hull Co-operative Society owned five shops on Hessle Road with a large butchery next to the Vauxhall Tavern and a very grand looking grocery of the Corner of Coltman Street. It this same period, many other familiar local names also sprang up; F.W.Woolworths, Boots the Chemist, Mallory Hardware and, everyone's favourite, Boyes became established at 232/4 Hessle Road in 1920. In 1927 Boyes also bought us 230 Hessle Road and the store was extended.

The boom in cinemas during the 1920/30s saw the Eureka opening in 1912 and the Langham in 1929. The Eureka, at the time of writing, now stands an empty shell having been converted to a bingo hall during the 1960's. The enormous Langham, after a huge fire in the 1960's, was split to become a bowling alley and Frank Dee's supermarket and is presently (2003) half bingo hall and half Quik Save supermarket.

A good idea of the layout of the road can be seen in the 1936 Directory. The increasing size of the shops and growth in the number of doctors, post offices, banks and opticians reflecting the changing society. The appearance of the Subway Service Station, between Rugby Street and Subway Street, reflecting the changing times.

Tramcars (D service) were still operating along the road but self-powered buses were being introduced from the 1920s - see The History of KHCT on this web site. There would have been very few cars and the majority of the working population of a very flat Hull would travel too and from work by push bike. Indeed, Hull was soon to become known as 'Bicycle City'.

The large number of Pawnbrokers appearing in the 1930's reflected the economic depression, with no less than eight pawn dealers listed in the 1936 directory.

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