In 1666 the king's brother, the Duke of York - afterwards James II. - visited Hull, with his duchess and several of the nobility, and was received with much ceremony. He was presented with a curious purse, containing 50 guineas, and entertained for three days by the mayor and corporation, at a cost of £170.
On the 3rd January, 1669, died the famous George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, who had held the office of High Steward of Hull since 1661, and he was succeeded in that office by Lord Bellasis, the then Governor of Hull, who held the appointment until 1673, when on the Test Act passing, he, being a Catholic, refused to take the oath required by that Act,* and resigned the office, with all his other honours and commands. The king appointed his natural son, the Duke of Monmouth, to succeed Bellasis, both as Governor and High Steward of Hull.
* This Act required every public officer to receive the Sacrament in the Church of England, and to make a declaration renouncing the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.
In 1681, the wall connecting the North Blockhouse with the castle was removed, and the citadel formed. These new fortifications were finished in 1700, and cost upwards of £100,000. The citadel was near the present South Bridge, and occupied the whole of the triangular piece of land formed by the rivers Hull and Humber, and the Victoria Dock. The angle at the north bastion included the old castle, and the South Blockhouse stood at the western bastion. The citadel was surrounded by a moat or fosse, by which it was completely insulated, and was, in its time, a place of great strength, and one of the chief strongholds of the north. The citadel was demolished in 1863.
On the discovery of the Rye-house plot, in 1682, the Duke of Monmouth was deprived of the offices of Governor and High Steward of Hull, which were bestowed upon the Earl of Plymouth. He was welcomed with great state, and was also made Recorder of Hull. This is the only instance of the three offices being held by one person.
In 1686, Judges Allybone and Powell held the assizes at Hull, and on the day following their arrival, being Sunday, the former requested the sheriff (Richard Ellis), and his officers, to attend him to the Catholic chapel. This they did, as far as the door, but they could not be prevailed upon to enter with him, and to be present at the service.(For a historic contrast, see under date, June, 1887. Post.)
The Earl of Plymouth died 3rd November, 1688, and Lord Langdale succeeded him as Governor and Recorder, and Lord Dover as High Steward of Hull. In the following September, the corporation elected Francis de la Champ as mayor, but the king objected to the election, and commanded them to continue Mr. Hoare, the late mayor, another year, and the corporation reluctantly obeyed. Five weeks later the Prince of Orange landed 15,000 troops on the Devonshire coast. Lord Langdale having expected that the Prince would enter the Humber, had caused great quantities of warlike stores and provisions to be brought into Hull, for the purpose of sustaining a siege. The, inhabitants - many of whom remembered but too well the horrors of the two former sieges - were thrown into a state of consternation. Their apprehensions were, however, removed, when it became known that William had landed at Torbay. Most of the Catholics in the neighbourhood fled from the rage of the country people to the protection of Lords Langdale and Montgomery - who were both of that faith - at Hull. The town and citadel of Hull remained in the possession of the Catholic party until the 3rd of December, when it was rumoured that a plot had been formed by the governor and his adherents to secure all the Protestant officers. Under this apprehension, Fort-Major Barratt, Captains Copley and Haurner, and other officers, consulted with the magistrates, and it was decided to call privately to arms such of the soldiers as were attached to the Protestant cause, and to secure the governor and the principal persons of his party. The measures were concerted with such secrecy, that Lord Langdale was seized at his lodgings. Nearly at the time, Lord Montgomery was secured by Captain Fitzherbert, and Major Mahony, by the Fort Major. The inferior Catholic officers were also secured, and the next morning, Captain Copley, with 100 men, marched out to relieve the guard, who were still ignorant of what had transpired in the night, and, without difficulty, seized such of the Catholic officers and soldiers as were found there. The town forts and citadel were next secured, and the anniversary of this bloodless event was long celebrated at Hull by the name of "The Town Taking day." The room to which tradition points as that in which this plot was concocted, is the magnificent old oak-pannelled room known as "The Plotting Chamber," which still exists in "Ye White Harte" hostelry, in Silver Street, which is supposed to have then been the residence of the principal plotter De la Champ, who, no doubt, entered into it in revenge for the king's action on his election to the mayoralty.
From this time no public event of any magnitude or importance occurred at Hull - except the formation of the Hull Dock Co., which is noticed later on - until towards the close of the 18th century. In 1766 the Marquis of Rockingham was appointed High Sheriff of Hull, in which office he rendered great service to the town. He took charge, in the House of Lords, of the Bill under which docks were established at Hull, and, as the advocate of the place, he secured from the Crown a grant of the site of the ancient walls of the town for dock purposes. In 1778, on the threatened invasion of England by the united powers of France and Spain, he visited Hull, and offered, at his own expense, to erect a battery for the defence of the town; but the corporation, having entered into a subscription for a similar purpose, declined his offer. He died whilst filling the office of Prime Minister, in 1782, and was succeeded as High Steward of Hull by the fifth Duke of Leeds (then Marquis of Carmarthen) in 1786.
Tickell published his "History of Hull" in 1796, and at p. 660 he observes "that this once-famous fortress, considered, formerly, as the strength and safeguard of the north (the walls and fortifications of which, joined to the flatness of the situation and great command of the river above it, have rendered it a place considered as almost impregnable ever since the time of Edward II.), is now an open town. To promote the convenience of the inhabitants as a commercial port, the ditches have been filled up, the walls and ramparts levelled, so that the next generation, and even many of the present one, will probably be at a loss to point out to the inquisitive enquirers the place on which these strong and formidable bulwarks stood, of which the pick and spade has not left so much as a wreck behind."
In 1779 Earl Fitzwilliam was appointed High Steward of Hull, on the death of the Duke of Leeds, and he continued to hold the office until his death, in 1833.
In 1813 great rejoicings were made here over the success at the battle of Leipsic, which were repeated in the following year at the end of the "Campaign for the Liberties of Europe." The proceedings, on both occasions, were marked by the ringing of bells, the firing of salutes, bonfires, and other marks of popular demonstration.
About the middle of the year 1831, the celebrated agitator, James Ackland, came to reside at Hull, and soon distinguished himself; and for three years kept the townspeople in a state of turmoil. He attacked every individual member of the corporation. The bakers were charged with adulteration. The Court of Requests, the Barton Ferry, the Trinity House, and all the other local charities were severely handled, and he subsequently commenced a crusade against the market tolls. To such an extent did this man's agitations extend, that no less than 800 special constables were sworn in to keep the peace. He was the hero of "a hundred fights" in the Law Courts, and was frequently in prison for libel. On one occasion he was met by 20,000 persons, who paraded the town with bands and banners. After varying fortunes he left the town. His stormy life was ended in 1876, at the age of 72. In his time he played many parts, his rolés including those of player, author, editor, methodist preacher, reporter, election agent, prisoner, and it is even said beggar.
On October 15th, 1833, Sir John Ross and his companions arrived in Hull after his second voyage in search of the North-West Passage. Sir John and his gallant crew were given up for lost, when they were discovered by the Hull whaler "Isabella " - a vessel he had himself commanded some years previously. On the death, in 1833, of Earl Fitzwilliam, the corporation nominated the celebrated Duke of Wellington as High Steward of Hull, but great excitement prevailing in the town on the subject of municipal reform, the burgesses presented a petition to the king against the appointment of the duke, and in favour of the Earl of Durham, in consequence of which the duke declined to take the office, and no appointment was made until 1836, when the Earl of Durham was appointed, and held the office until 1840. In April, 1836, the celebrated Daniel O'Connell visited Hull, his entry into the town being marked with much ceremony, and a grand banquet was given in his honour at the Public Rooms. In the following year, an awful catastrophe occurred here. A steam-packet, called the "Union," lying at the South End Pier, was blown up. The vessel was crowded with passengers, and 13 lives were lost, whilst a large number of persons were seriously injured.
In this year (1837), the majority of H.R.H. the Princess Victoria, and her subsequent proclamation as queen, was celebrated with great eclat, which was, however, surpassed by the festivities in honour of her coronation in the following year.
The first railway connected with this town was the Hull and Selby line, which was opened on the 1st July, 1840. This line now forms part of the great net work of iron roads owned by the North-Eastern Railway Company. This company's line, from Hull to Bridlington, was opened in 1846, and the ceremony was remarkable for the meeting together for the first time of the corporations of Hull and York at a grand dinner at the Public Rooms, presided over by George Hudson, the "Railway King," then in the zenith of his prosperity. In the following year the Paragon railway station was commenced, and it was then thought to be unreasonably large and extravagant. But the "Railway King" judged otherwise, and time has proved the correctness of his judgment. This fine station covers an area of two-and-a-half acres.
On the 10th of August, 1849, a terrible form of Asiatic cholera made its appearance in Hull, and the horrors of that time are remembered by many yet living. The terrible scourge lasted three months, and carried off 1,860 persons, being at the rate of one in 43 of the population. In his "Recollections of Hull," the late Rev. James Sibree says the men employed in digging the graves had no respite, but pursued their doleful task both night and day. At first single graves were dug, for the reception of some eight or nine bodies, but the demand for room became so urgent, that double graves were constructed, in which the coffins were piled one upon another, without any earth between them. Only two of these, however, were opened; the sight was so appalling that the men refused to dig any more. The cemetery hearse was in constant requisition to remove the stricken poor from all parts of the town. The cholera plot presented the appearance of a ploughed field, there being no time to make the graves neat. Mr. Sibree records the fact that on one "awful day " - Sunday, September 9th - he himself interred no less than 43 bodies of his fellow citizens. The alarm spread quickly among the surrounding towns and villages, so that the principal places of concourse, on market days, were entirely deserted. The railways brought but few passengers, and those whose business compelled them to come, feared greatly as they entered the woe-begone town. A day of fasting was appointed, and special services were held in the churches "to acknowledge the hand of Almighty God in the present awful visitation, and to implore the removal of the existing calamity." The directors of the Hull General Cemetery Co. erected, by private contributions, a large obelisk to commemorate this mournful visitation. The inscription states that the remains of 700 of the victims are buried near the monument.
From this, the darkest page in the history of Hull, it is pleasant to turn to that which tells of the visit of Queen Victoria, the Prince Consort, and five of the royal children. This event occurred on October 13th, 1854, and her majesty met with a hearty, loyal, and hospitable reception. The royal party arrived at six p.m., and the night was occupied in the presention of addresses, and the royal dinner party. On the following morning, the spacious yard surrounding the station buildings presented a spectacle never equalled in Hull; 10,552 school children with 1,210 teachers, were marched into this yard in three battalions, and ranged on a series of raised steps, forming a vast amphitheatre, round the principal front of the hotel. The corporation, in their robes of office, with several noblemen and gentlemen, also ranged themselves in front of the hotel. Soon after nine o'clock, the queen, the prince consort, with the royal children, came out on the balcony, over the portico, in full view of the vast multitude, who at once commenced singing the national anthem. There was no heart in that vast assembly but was moved with emotion, and her majesty was affected even to tears. The queen and royal party afterwards made a progress through the town, amidst the welcomes and acclamations of many thousands of her subjects from all parts of Yorkshire. Before leaving, the queen knighted the mayor, Sir Henry Cooper, on the Corporation Pier, at the south end. The corporation's expenditure over this visit was £4,032 17s. Od.
In the early part of 1860, the question of a public park for Hull, was earnestly taken up by the then mayor, Mr. Z. C. Pearson, who presented to the town upwards of 27 acres of land, adjoining the Beverley Road, for the purpose of providing a park. The day on which the first tree was planted, Monday, 27th August, 1860, is memorable in the annals of Hull. More than 30,000 strangers came by rail and boat from various places in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The procession, which formed a feature of the day's proceedings, was two miles in length, and occupied three-quarters-of-an-hour in passing. On the following day the festivities were kept up on the park ground, principally for the juvenile portion of the community. On this occasion, Mr. F. W. Wallet, "The Queen's Jester," treated the children of the workhouses, orphans homes, and ragged schools to refreshments of ham, beef, tea, coffee, &c., taking the whole expense upon himself.
On the 10th of March, 1863, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was celebrated with every demonstration of joy and loyalty, and on the 29th of October following, the town was again en féte, when the Earl de Grey and Ripon (now Marquis of Ripon) was installed Lord High Steward of Hull. To render the proceedings still more memorable, the occasion was taken advantage of to unveil a statue of the Queen in Pearson's park, and to launch four fine vessels from the shipyard of Messrs. M. Samuelson & Co., in the presence of the earl, the borough members, the civic dignitaries, and the gentry of the town and neighbourhood. The imposing installation ceremony took place in the Sessions Court, and at its conclusion, a procession was formed and proceeded through the principal streets to the park, where the remainder of the ceremonies took place. The proceedings terminated with a grand banquet at the Public Rooms.
On the 14th of October, 1864, Prince Albert Victor (the late Duke of Clarence), the then infant son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, passed through Hull, in charge of the Countess de Grey and Ripon, and five years later his royal parents visited Hull in state, for the purpose of opening the Albert Dock, and met with a hearty and loyal reception.
In 1873, Hull was honoured by a visit from his Imperial Highness, the Czarowitz (now emperor) of Russia, and though the visit was of a semi-private character, some little preparation was made for his reception. The occasion of his visit was to inspect the yacht, which was being built here for the use of the Czarevna. On the following day, July 5th, the yacht was launched in the presence of the Czarowitz, and christened the Czarevna. Upon the passing of the Hull and Barnsley Railway and Dock Bill in 1880, there were great public rejoicings here, the town was truly en féte, and presented a most festive and picturesque appearance. These rejoicings were repeated upon the cutting of the first sod on the site of the Alexandra Dock, on January 15th, 1881.
During the year 1883-4, Hull was honoured by several royal visitors, viz. : - Prince Henry of Battenberg, the husband of the Princess Beatrice, in November, 1883; the Duke of Cambridge and a distinguished party, in September, 1884; the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, in October, 1884. During the last mentioned visit, their royal highnesses took a prominent part in opening a bazaar, in aid of the Spring Bank Orphanage, and in laying the foundation stones of the new wing, and of the out-patients department of the Infirmary. This was the duke's fourth visit here.
On the 11th of June, 1885, Mrs. Rollit, the wife of Dr. (now Sir) Albert Kaye Rollit, died during the mayoralty of her husband. The death of a reigning mayoress is without precedent in the history of Hull, unless we take into account the deaths of the mayor, his wife, and family by the plague in 1478. Mrs. Rollit was universally respected, and her funeral was marked with signs of general mourning, over 20,000 persons thronging the Hull cemetery and its approaches. On the following Sunday, the Bishop of Ripon came specially to Hull to preach the commemoratory sermon, which he did in St. James's church, in the presence of the Corporation.
In 1887, the Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria was celebrated with much rejoicing. The first item of the celebration took place on Sunday, the 19th of June, when the Mayor, Alderman John Leak - then in his fourth mayoralty - and the Corporation of Hull, with their civic officials, attended solemn high mass at St. Charles' Catholic church, Jarratt Street, in state. The sheriff being absent from the town, did not attend, but sent his mace with his officer. The church, particularly the sanctuary, was beautifully decorated with exotic plants, flowers, &c. Haydn's Imperial Mass was sung, and the sermon was preached by Dr. Burge, the Prior of Ampleforth. A detachment of blue jackets from the Humber guardship, H.M.S. "Rupert," presented arms at the elevation, and their action was afterwards questioned in the House of Commons, but nothing came of it. This attendance is particularly noticeable, as it is believed to have been the first visit in state of any municipal corporation to a Roman Catholic church since the Reformation.
On the following day, the ceremonies commenced at nine o'clock, with a breakfast, given by the mayor, at the Town Hall, to a number of representative gentlemen. This was followed by a Jubilee service at Holy Trinity church, at which the sermon was preached by the Rev. Canon Mc.Cormick. Later in the day, the New Market Hall and the East Park were opened by the mayor. On Wednesday, the 22nd June, the sheriff gave a grand banquet in the Town Hall, and on the following Friday, his worship gave a magnificent reception at the Artillery Barracks, to about 15,000 inhabitants of Hull and district, in celebration of the Jubilee. Many thousands of the inhabitants were treated to teas and entertainments during the week in the various wards of the town, as were the inmates of the workhouses, orphanages, and other public institutions.
In 1887 the municipal hospital was opened by Dr. Thompson, Archbishop of York. This building was designed to accommodate the inmates of the various almshouses in the town, excepting the pensioners of the Trinity House.
In 1888, H.R.H. the late Duke of Clarence visited Hull on the 18th of January, for the purpose of inaugurating a branch of the Discharged Soldiers' Aid Society here, and H.R.H. was again here in March, 1889, when he was splendidly entertained by the sheriff at a grand ball in the Artillery Barracks. This latter year was especially notable for the number of representative bodies which assembled in Hull. In April, there was the annual conference of the delegates of the Licensed Victuallers' Defence League; on Whitmonday (June 10th), the Annual Movable Committee of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, which was attended by 600 delegates from all parts of the United Kingdom. On the 22nd of the same month, the Yorkshire District of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers met in conference at the Town Hall. A month later, the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Freemasons assembled here, and on the 3rd and 4th of August, the annual conference of the Catholic Young Men's Societies of Great Britain took place, and was presided over by Lord Herries, the Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding. In September, the delegates from the Associated Chambers of Commerce, the Primitive Methodist Conference, and the annual meeting of the Congregational Union of Great Britain and Wales assembled here, and these were followed on the 1st of October by the annual meeting of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. The Yorkshire Agricultural Society's Show was also held at Hull in August, 1889, and was visited by 76,557 persons in three days, thus beating all previous records. On the occasions of the above gatherings, the mayor (Dr. Sherburn), and the sheriff (Mr. Arthur Wilson), displayed the most lavish hospitality to the town's guests, thereby gaining golden opinions from all classes of people, both at home and from afar. This year also witnessed, on the 10th December, the opening of a Free Library for the East District, the gift of Mr. James Reckitt, J.P.
In February, 1890, the Freedom of the Borough was conferred upon Sir Albert Kaye Rollit, Knight, LL.D., D.C.L., &c., and in August, the High Court meeting of the Ancient Order of Foresters, the largest friendly society in the world, and the 55th annual meeting of the Ancient Order of Shepherds, were held here; the former meeting being attended by some 700 delegates; and in the following September, the Church Congress assembled here, and the delegates were entertained to a conversazione, at the Town Hall, by the mayor. In September, 1890, the river Hull overflowed, and caused serious floods in Drypool and Sculcoates. 1890-1 was marked by great educational advancement, the foundations of the New Grammar School being laid on the 4th December, 1890, and of the Hymer's College on the 21st of January, 1891, and the central Higher Grade School, in connection with the Hull School Board system, being opened by Sir Albert Kaye Rollit, in the following March. The Freedom of Hull was presented to Mr. Robert Hymers, on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the college, which bears his name.
The late Dr. Magee was publicly received here, by the Mayor of Hull, on the 18th March, 1891, the day following his enthronement as the Archbishop of York. This year also saw the revival of the office of Suffragan Bishop of Hull, which had been dormant since 1579, Dr. Blunt, Archdeacon of York, being enthroned Bishop of Hull, on the 1st of May. On the 22nd of July, the Victoria Hospital for sick children was opened by the Marchioness of Salisbury, the wife of the Premier, who, on the same day, launched H.M.S. "Endymion," from Earle's shipyard. The Marchioness, who was accompanied by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London, the Lord Mayor of York, and other distinguished persons, received a hearty welcome, and was hospitably entertained by the Mayor (Alderman J. T. Woodhouse), and Corporation of Hull. The day was observed as a general holiday, and several triumphal arches were erected in honour of the occasion. The second annual congress of the Dockers' Union was held in Hull on the 22nd of September following, and was marked by the resignation of Mr. Tom Mann, as president of the union. The delegates were received by the Mayor at the Town Hall.
On the morning of the 14th January, 1892, the deaths of H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence and Cardinal Manning became known, there was a profound sensation in the town, and by outward and visible signs the inhabitants gave expression to the feelings which animated them. These signs of mourning culminated on the 20th of January, the day of the prince's funeral. During the afternoon most of the shops were closed, and there was an entire cessation of business for several hours. Flags were half hoisted on the churches and public buildings in the town, muffled peals were rung, the minute gun was fired by H.M.S. "Audacious," and, in fact, never since the death of the Prince Consort, in 1861, had the town presented such a general appearance of mourning. A memorial service was held at Holy Trinity church at three o'clock. A procession, from the Town Hall to the church, was formed in the following order
The Police Band. The Mayor, his Chaplain, and the Town Clerk, preceded by the sword and mace bearers. The Under-Sheriff and mace bearer. Aldermen and Councillors of Hull. Officials of the Corporation. The Member for West Hull. Wardens and Brethren of the Hull Trinity House. Foreign Consuls. The Borough Justices of the Peace, and the Judge of the County Court The Borough Coroner. The Clerk of the Peace. Admiral of the Training Ship. Captain and Officers of the "Audacious." Commandant and Officers of the Artillery Volunteers. Commandant and Officers of the Militia. Commandant and Officers of the Riffe Volunteers. Civil Servants: Collector of Customs, Receiver of Inland Revenue, Surveyor of Taxes, the Postmaster, Board of Trade. The Governor of the Prison. Chairman and Members of the School Board. Governor and Guardians of the Hull Incorporation of the Poor. Chairman and Members of the Sculcoates Union.The service was of a special memorial character, and was conducted by the Rev. Canon McCormick, the vicar. The church was densely crowded, and held but a small portion of the vast multitude who desired to be present. The scene was, indeed, a remarkable one. The serried mass of people, here and there relieved by the bright tints of a civic gown, or military or naval uniform, or the glinting gold braid of a consul, or the simple white of a chorister surplice; the fading light through the beautiful stained glass window, the violet and white drapery of the pulpit and choir stalls; and the fantastic and weird effect produced by the two burners in the midst of so much darkness - as it were a ray of hope in a sea of sorrow - quite harmonised with the spirit of the occasion.