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The Orderly Boys


The Orderly Boys of Hull are almost unremembered yet they played such an important part in the life of so many underprivileged youths that they deserve a very special mention. Harry Baxter is the author of a truly exceptional book, ISBN 095354890-2 and the man that turned the Orderly Boys from a dream into a reality.

Orderly Boys of Londe Street  Barracks - A CompanyHarry's book, The Solder and the Orderly Boys offers a real thinking man's view of the poverty of Victorian Hull, soldiering for the Queen, The Indian Raj, the 1914-1918 Holocaust. It spans four reigns and an abdication. It is a really gripping eye-opener of a read, which I stumbled upon by accident in the Anlaby Park library one afternoon.

The Orderly Boys was the brainchild of Mr Bricknell, City Engineer, at the end of the First World War. Mr Bricknell had observed the hopelessness and sadness of boys leaving school from 10 to 12 years old with no hope of gaining either regular work or a decent wage. He developed a scheme whereby 100 boys would be given work from 7:30am to 5pm (with a one hour break for lunch), six days a week. The boys would be issued with a dress and a working uniform, boots and 'a waterproof cape against inclement weather'.

An army-like hierarchical system of discipline with Lance Corporals, Corporals and Sergeants being chosen from the boys, base on merit. The main role of the Orderly Boys was to keep the streets of Hull clean - horses being the main culprits for the un cleanliness. Annual camps and weekly evening pastimes, such as boxing, organised football, band practice, shooting and swimming, provided otherwise unavailable entertainment to the boys.

The only way to discover the full story is to read the book. Buy it or loan it from the library, it matters not. Just please do not miss the chance of a really thrilling read.

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