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The Growth of Hessle Road - 1945 onwards

Hessle Road; with its docks, railways and numerous industries, was a natural target for the World War 2 enemy bombers and the area suffered much and experienced a large loss of life. The densely populated Scarborough Street area was one of the worst hit areas subjected, as it was, to one of the heaviest raids on the city. Details of the effect of the war on the city and citizens of Hull, and on the Hull fishing fleets, are documented elsewhere on this web site. The character of Hessle road, however, remained largely intact and it was finally the City's planners who were to eventually tear the heart out of the Hessle Road community.

The 1954 directory describes a Hessle Road much as it was in 1939, with all of the larger shops still trading and all of the pub's and cinemas still in place. Interestingly, twelve cafés and tea rooms are listed, including Arthur's Oyster and Tea Bar (near South Boulevard) and the Rainbow Room (near Coltman Street) a café with a billiard room.

One industry clearly in decline reflects the improving economic situation. In 1954 only three pawnbrokers remained, all of whom were doubling-up their trade with a second business. William Leighton's Pawnbroking business had added carpet dealing to his business plan and, until 2001 a Leighton's Carpets shop remained on Hessle Road. Interestingly, Issadore Turner added a Gent's Outfitters to his pawn business. This must have worked very well as it is a well known fact that the wives of Hessle Road would frequently pawn their husband's suits the minute he set sail for the fishing grounds!

The building of new council estates in the 50's and 60's allowed the large-scale demolition of the old, cramped, Hessle Road slums and it didn't take too long for the vast majority of the area to be flattened. One strange sight from Dairycoates Flyover after the demolition of the surrounding streets was a single street lamp, which remained illuminated in the middle of a totally flattened landscape. This lamp, which was located in what once was Brighton Street, burned every night for almost two years, a solitary beacon to what once was a thriving community.

The flatted areas to the south have been replaced by industrial developments, while to the north, new housing developments have sprung up, particularly around the Great Thornton Street and St. Georges Road areas. The only streets which remain more or less intact are; Boulevard North, Coltman Street, Tyne Street and, until very recently, Rugby Street to the south.

All of the Hessle Road churches, except the City Temple, have been demolished. The first to go was St. James church which was demolished in 1958 as the surrounding streets were pulled down. Tramcars were replaced by the trolleybus (service 70) in 1945 and the modern motorbus (service 73) around 1960. A large number of the Road's public houses have survived. Amongst those demolished are; Rose Tavern, Lilly Hotel, Rifle Tavern, Sheffield Arms and the Locomotive Hotel - ironically demolished when the Hessle Road railway flyover was build in 1961/62.

Towards the city centre, the development of the South Orbital Road, Clive Sullivan Way, Daltry Street Flyover and Rawlings Way resulted in all of original buildings on the on the north side demolished, along with much of the south side. Madley Street itself has been cut into by the flyover and the infamous Madley Street baths opened in 1885, being demolished. Despite all of these changes, the main core of the street, from Coltman Street to Liverpool Street, remains a popular shopping centre with new developments opening all of the time. 2002, for example, saw the development of a new ASDA supermarket at the foot of the Dairycoates flyover, demolishing the old Liverpool Street Coachworks and the remains of almost everything which remained between Liverpool and Havelock Streets.

The story continues . . . . . .

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A very special thanks to Hull Local Studies Library for their help with our research projects.