Posts Tagged ‘hull’

Photo: Mirrorpix
In 1968, Hull fishermen’s wives and mothers successfully fought the dangerous conditions perpetuated by trawler owners. They refused to take no for an answer.

It’s good to be strong, but sometimes the tough guys don’t know when to complain, don’t know when complaining can prevent the premature deaths of family and friends that leave children fatherless and devastate communities.

That’s when women have to take charge. And as a group of women showed in Hull, UK, in 1968, angry wives and mothers can be tougher than men.

Lucy Beaumont writes at iNews, “In January 1968, several Hull trawlers set off to the icy, dangerous waters of the Arctic in their quest for the biggest catch.

“They headed straight into one of the worst storms in living memory. Within three weeks, three of the ships had sunk and 58 men had lost their lives. For their families back home in the Hessle Road area of Hull, the news was devastating. It was known as the Triple Trawler Tragedy. Out of this tragedy came something incredible. Hull women – wives, mums, sisters, daughters – rose up to protest against the dangerous working conditions.

“They wanted a safer fishing industry and they were prepared to do anything to get it. They marched, they spoke out and they went straight to the top demanding change. During their campaign they were verbally and physically attacked – one woman was even punched in the face. They made headlines around the world and managed to change British law after getting over 10,000 signatures in support and not giving up until the authorities listened to them. …

“The [so-called] headscarf heroes should always be remembered. The women of Hessle Road were so strong. They had to be because they could lose their husband, their father or their son at any time. They had to cope with it and carry on looking after the family – and that’s exactly what they did. The women’s campaign was one of the biggest and most successful civil action campaigns of the twentieth century and coming from Hull, I’m so proud of those women.”

Beaumont’s personal connection to the story sometimes overwhelmed her as she worked on a BBC documentary about the women. “My grandad is from a family of men and women born and bred in the fishing community on Hessle Road. His granny lost two sons at sea. John was only 19 when he was washed overboard and Herbert died from pneumonia. She had poppies on their photos and swore that she heard John calling for her at the time. It was later confirmed that he had perished.” More here.

The life of a fisherman continues to be one requiring toughness from all the women and men who go to sea. There are a few more protections today than there were in 1968, but no one controls the weather. With global warming reportedly causing more storms, the dangers are actually likely to increase.

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Photo: Danny Lawson/PA
The Royal Ballet gala is part of the programme celebrating Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture. 

Years ago, I read an article in which some famous theater person opined that, with money for the arts always tight, only major centers should be funded, not small theaters and arts programs out in the boondocks. I believed then and still believe that was the wrong way to go. Everyone deserves arts. And who’s to say where genius can be found?

Which is why I liked this story from the UK about the post-industrial city of Hull, where an impressive ballet school has been training talent for years.

Anita Singh, writes at the Telegraph, “A backstreet in Hull might seem a world away from the bright lights of the Royal Opera House. But one unassuming dance school in a converted church has discovered more ballet stars than any other in the UK.

“The Skelton Hooper School of Dance has sent what is believed to be a record 24 pupils to the Royal Ballet School, including the current head of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare.

“As a tribute to the city’s dance heritage, O’Hare is taking his company to Hull for the first time in 30 years. He will stage a gala performance starring Xander Parish, star soloist with Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet and another former pupil. …

“ ‘For me, Hull-born, bringing the Royal Ballet up to Hull for this special opening performance is fantastic,’ said O’Hare. … O’Hare and his brother, Michael, who is now senior ballet master with Birmingham Royal Ballet, studied at Skelton Hooper. …

“The school was founded by the late Vera Skelton and is now run by her daughter, Vanessa Hooper. ‘My mother trained most of the teachers we have. She was quite extraordinary — the first person to get someone into the Royal Ballet from the provinces,’ said Hooper, who charges just £3.75 a lesson. …

“Hooper said there is something special about the city. ‘Hull’s a difficult place to get to. You’ve got to go there out of curiosity,’ she said. ‘We’ve had to build our own little world on the periphery.’ ”

More here.

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My mother liked to buy from people who sold door-to-door. There aren’t many door-to-door salespeople who get a welcome these days. Maybe Brownies with Girl Scout cookies or Cub Scouts with popcorn, but not many others. I haven’t seen an Avon lady in decades.

My mother bought from a “huckster,” a vegetable salesman in an old school bus painted blue. And of course, there was the Fuller Brush Man.

Recently, Linda Matchan at the Boston Globe wrote about a Massachusetts-based Fuller Brush Man who is still making sales after 40 years.

Al Cohen, she says, has been at it second-longest of the three remaining Fuller Brush Men in Massachusetts — “40 years with the Fuller Brush Co., which was launched 110 years ago by Alfred C. Fuller in his sister’s Somerville basement. He’s done it by selling one Angle Broom and Wooly Bully Hand Duster at a time.

“ ‘Toward the end of summer, he appears. And we’re elated,’ said Melissa Zeller, a longtime Cohen customer who lives in the South End and has a summer home in Hull. …

“On a recent morning, he worked Hull’s Allerton Hill neighborhood. He’d brought a replacement mop head for one customer and hand soap for an older woman who’d been buying it for years.

“ ‘How you been?’ he greeted the customer, who was slow to answer the door.

‘ ‘Very sick,’ she said. ‘I had two heart attacks and I lost Tom.’

“The day was hot and it was slow going. … Then things got better. Maureen Keiller and Patrick Miehe bought a broom after Cohen assured them it was ‘laboratory tested to last over a million sweeps.’ Afterward, George and Helen Kelley ordered several items, though it was a challenging sell at first.

“ ‘I don’t think I’ll pay $25 for a broom,’ said Helen, 82. ‘It’ll last,’ said Cohen. ‘How long will I last?’ she said.

“For that matter, how long will Al Cohen keep at it?

“ ‘It keeps me going,’ he said. ‘And if I stopped, it would almost be a letdown for some of my customers. Some of them depend on me.’ ”

More here.

Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Al Cohen, 64, estimates that he still has about 1,000 regular customers for his Fuller cleaning products.

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As the New Yorker magazine was wont to label quirky British news items, “There’ll always be an England.”

Today’s tidbit is from the BBC, courtesy of my web-surfing spouse. Will Gompertz writes about the fierce competition to be crowned Cultural City of 2017.

Hull won. There seems to be a bit of bad blood among the losers.

“Hull has been named the UK’s next City of Culture, beating Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay to the right to hold the title in 2017. Hull, known for being the home of poet Philip Larkin, the Ferens gallery and the Truck theatre, will follow the 2013 City of Culture, Londonderry.

“The UK government chooses a new destination every four years, with the aim of helping tourism and the economy. Hull council leader Stephen Brady said winning was ‘a real game-changer.’ …

“TV producer Phil Redmond, who chaired the City of Culture panel, said Hull was the unanimous choice because it put forward ‘the most compelling case based on its theme as “a city coming out of the shadows.” ‘ …

“Swansea’s city council said losing to Hull was a ‘bitter disappointment.’ In an apparent swipe at the winners, council leader David Phillips said the residents of Hull ‘had to have something to look forward to.’ He added his team wouldn’t give up, as ‘there were too many good ideas in the bid, we’re not going to let them slip through our fingers.’

“Leicester’s Mayor Peter Soulsby expressed similar sentiments, saying: ‘We don’t need to wait until 2017 to show ourselves off. We are going to do it now.’

“In Dundee, bid director Stuart Murdoch simply said the city was ‘broken-hearted.’


Almost makes you want to visit the losers to make them feel better.

Photo: http://www.bbc.co.uk
The Hull Truck theatre company’s £14.5m new home, 2009.

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I have been on a few whale watches over the years. It is unbelievably thrilling to see those magnificent creatures rise up out of the ocean — and scary to think of threats to their continued existence. (I have heard that too many whale watches, though well-intentioned, are becoming a threat, too.)

Among the efforts being made to protect whales, there’s one that ordinary boaters can do: Go slow.

Colin A. Young writes in the Boston Globe about two sightings of North Atlantic right whales over the weekend. “Authorities are warning boaters to keep an eye out for the endangered marine mammals.

“On Friday, three whales were spotted off Scituate. On Sunday, three of the whales were observed off Nantasket Beach in Hull. Officials were not sure if it was the same set of animals.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries service established a ‘voluntary vessel speed restriction zone’ in waters off the Boston area. Mariners are urged to either avoid the area or keep their speed lower than 10 knots while traveling through the zone. The restricted zone is in effect until April 27.” More here.

Defenders of Wildlife offers information on North Atlantic right whales here.

Photograph: Brian Skerry, National Geographic

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