Go To Heading:
The Area in Earlier Times.
Two thousand years ago, the land now known as the Garden Village Area would have been swampy ground or mudflats adjoining the Humber Estuary. It did not become habitable until flood banks were built. The village of Southcoates was established, probably around 800 A.D., and flood banks along the Humber frontage probably date from that time. When William the Conqueror gained control of England, many people north of the Humber still had allegiance to Scandinavia and supported the claims of Swein Estrithson, King of Denmark, to the English throne. After Swein was defeated at York, William's continued brutal 'Harrying of the North' devastated Holderness, and the Manor of Southcoates was described as waste in the 1086 Domesday Survey.
In mediaeval days, Southcoates Summergangs was where the Garden Village Area now is. This was poorly drained pasture land and could only be used in summer. The monks of Meaux had grazing for 400 sheep and the nuns of Swine had similar pasturage for 500 sheep and all other cattle except pigs. Drainage of the Summergangs was improved when the Summergangs Dyke was dug along its northern boundary.
From early times there had been a track running across the Summergangs from Bilton to Hull and this was made into Holderness Road early in the 14th century. In 1643, early in the Civil War, the sluice gates on the Summergangs Dyke were opened and low-lying parts of Drypool, Southcoates and Stoneferry were flooded. This protected Hull from attack from the east but caused great hardship to the villagers.
Southcoates Summergangs was a common and, when it was enclosed in 1748, Charles Poole of Hull, who was the Lay Proprietor of the Parish of Drypool cum Southcoates, and William Constable of Burton Constable agreed on how the land was to be divided up. A strip of land was left on both sides of Holderness Road for the villagers to graze their animals and the land where the Garden Village now is was allotted to William Constable. The land was marked out by drainage ditches and some elm trees were planted in the boundary. A farm was built on William Constable's land in a position, which is now near the junction of Elm Avenue and Lilac Avenue. A lane, lined with elms, was constructed from Holderness Road to the farm. A house was built on land fronting Holderness Road to the north east of the farm lane. Little is known about this house, but it was probably built for William Constable by the architect John Carr of York. This house became known as Porles House. It seems to have been acquired by Thomas Hall and, after it was demolished, a house known as Summergangs House was built. A sale bill of 1785 describes it as 'new built', commanding a beautiful expansive view of the Humber'. At that time there were fields between the house and the estuary.
Back To Top
Summergangs House became the property of John Kirby Picard, an attorney who became Deputy Recorder of Hull. His father, John Picard, was the first to introduce the manufacture of white lead into England. J.K. Picard inherited the lead works and became very wealthy. Around 1800, Picard modernised Summergangs House by adding a semi circular porch and iron balconies to the front. Picard's motto, 'Esse quam videri' (Be, rather than seem), and his family crest, a lion sejant, were placed above the entrance to Summergangs House. Picard's son, John Kirby Picard junior, was an officer in the Horse Guards at the Battle of Waterloo and there is a painting of him by James Ramsay in the Ferens Art Gallery. He is sitting on the base of the statue of George III, which his father had erected in the grounds of Summergangs House and, instead of Stoneferry mills, there are some hills in the background which the artist had added for interest. Picard was very proud of his 6ft 3ins bronzed statue of George III, attired in Roman costume, and, in 1809, he invited the public to Summergangs Hall to view it.
In the early years of the 19th century, copper coins were in short supply. The Hull Lead Works issued 2 million copper coin tokens, which could be returned to be exchanged for current money of the realm. Picard at the time frequented London clubs and at one of these meetings exhibited his tokens. Picard's coins, with Wellington's victories on them, came to the notice of the Prince Regent (later George IV) and Picard was invited to Court to exhibit his tokens. He was drawn into the whirl of gambling and dissipation, which then prevailed, and lost huge sums of money. As a result, he had to sell Summergangs Hall and other property to pay his debts. It seems that he lived in Dansom Lane or Pemberton Street for a time but he died in 1843, three days after he was appointed to a vacant room in the Hull Charterhouse and before he had taken residence there.
Summergangs Hall was bought by John Broadley in 1814 and, in 1823, became a private mental home run on the lines of the Retreat at York but this institution moved to Cottingham into what is now Hull University's Needler Hall. Summergangs Hall was put up for sale but it was in a poor state, possibly as a result of Picard's alterations.
Back To Top
Summergangs Hall became the property of the brothers B.M. and W.E. Jalland in 1838. The old house was pulled down and the present house in an Elizabethan style, was built and named Holderness House. It was built to designs by James Clephan of London by the builders, Messrs Hutchinson of Hull. Holderness House has stone vaulted cellars and the entrance has stairs up to the ground floor. The Holderness Road end of the farm lane was incorporated into the Holderness House grounds and another access road made for the farm, although this doubling of the size of the grounds might have been done by a previous owner. The Holderness House grounds then extended over what are now Jalland Street, Village Road and Laburnum Avenue and extended back almost to where Maple Grove now is. A lodge (this was the one mentioned in Blashill's 'Evidences Relating to East Hull' although it had been demolished long before the book was published in 1903) was built on Holderness Road near where Jalland Street now is and, from here, the drive turned right to run parallel to Holderness Road and then turned left to go along the elm-lined avenue. Eventually the drive left the avenue and swung round to the right towards the Holderness House stone stairway. There were many statues in the grounds and might have been those in the grounds of Summergangs Hall. On the 1888-89 Ordnance Survey Map, twelve statues and a sun- dial are shown.
The far end of the elm-lined avenue, which ran along where the bottom of the gardens of 42 to 80 Village road now are, was in the 19th century a shady walk in the Holderness House grounds. At the end of the avenue were two iron gates, which had been brought from Newark Castle and were, perhaps, 800 years old according to Sheehan's 'History of Hull'. The gates were set in two stone arches. These stone arches were donated to the Hull Corporation and removed to East Park but, on 27th November 1906, the Corporation's East Park Sub-Committee inspected the remains of the ancient stone archway presented to the Corporation by Mrs. Jalland and it was resolved that owing to the expense that would be incurred, the Sub-Committee consider it undesirable to erect the remains of a gateway as originally proposed; and that the Superintendent be authorised to make such use of the remains in connection with rocks at the Park as he may consider desirable.
Boswell Middleton Jalland was Mayor of Hull in 1836 and 1846 and he was a leading local Liberal. His brother, William Empson Jalland, was Sheriff of Hull in 1842. James Clay, the Hull M.P., often visited Holderness House. Liberal Party events were held in the grounds of Holderness House in the 1840s and people strolled along the elm-lined avenue. Boswell Jalland was called the Adonis of Holderness House and he remained a bachelor until he attended the Liberal Party Conference at Brighton when he was 61. He married Emily Williams, 22 years old and the only daughter of Mr. John Williams of Penlee, Devon, at Brighton on 10th April 1851. When he returned to Hull after the conference with his young wife, local Tories had a lot to say.
Boswell and Emily Jalland had four children, born in 1852, 1853, 1855 and 1861, named Emily, Boswell George, Walter Clay and Gerald William. Boswell Jalland was 71 when his youngest son was born. It would seem that B.M. Jalland acquired his brother's share in the Holderness House estate in 1868 and was then the sole owner. Mr B.M. Jalland died on 29th September 1880 aged 90 but his widow continued to live at Holderness House for many years. Boswell Jalland had left the Holderness House Estate in trust for his children with his wife as trustee and life tenant.
The Holderness Road lodge was demolished in the mid 1880s and part of the Holderness House grounds was sold for the building of Jalland Street, some shops and Chestnut Villas (now 365-371 Holderness Road), where Joseph Rank and Alfred Gelder occupied opposite ends of the block at the time of the 1891 census. At 1 Chestnut Villas, now Annisons & Boddy's undertakers, seven people were recorded in the 1891 census. They were the architect, W, Alfred Gelder, his wife and niece, three children and two domestic servants. At 4 Chestnut Villas, now 371 Holderness Road, thirteen people were listed in the census. They were the miller, Joseph Rank, his wife and her sister, six children, a school governess, a sick nurse, a nursemaid and a servant. Some of them were there as Mrs. Rank had given birth to a baby a month earlier. The two-year old child, Joseph A. Rank, became famous later in life as J. Arthur Rank, the film magnate and head of the Rank Organisation, eventually becoming Lord Rank.
At Holderness House, there were eight residents recorded in the 1891 census. Mrs. Emily Jalland was aged 62. Her unmarried sons, Walter Clay and Gerald William were aged 35 and 30. They were all described as living on their own means. There were also four servants and a footman. Like Queen Victoria, Mrs. Jalland always wore black as a widow and the lifestyle at Holderness House must have been very subdued compared with what it had been like in the 1850s.
Around 1900, when Boswell George Jalland was living at Lambwath Hall, Sutton, and his sister, Emily, had married a Mr. Webster, Holderness House was regarded by some as the seat of Walter Clay Jalland but his mother, as the trustee, really controlled the Estate. For over twenty years, Holderness House had no lodge, and the grounds became overgrown. When small boys went into the grounds to collect conkers, Mrs. Jalland used to chase them away herself. In 1906, the Jalland Trustees applied to the Corporation to construct a road on the north-west side of Holderness Road parallel to Jalland Street. This was agreed to but the road was not immediately constructed. Some land was put up for sale.
Back To Top
The Early Days of the Garden Village
The 130 acre Holderness House Estate of farmland, behind the Holderness House grounds, was sold to Sir James Reckitt's Garden Village Company in 1907. About a third of this land was on the west side of the Hull to Hornsea railway line. The Garden Village Company also bought some land from a builder, Mr. H.J. Kirkwood. Mrs. Jalland remained at Holderness House after the farmland was sold to the Garden Village Company. At the official opening of the Garden Village on 1st July 1908, Sir James Reckitt said that while he hoped that Mrs. Jalland and her family would continue to live at Holderness House for many years, he hoped that, if they left, the Corporation would buy Holderness House and preserve the grounds for the enjoyment of Hull people. Unless this was done he feared that East Hull's beauty spot would be lost and the land used for building purposes.
Mrs. Emily Jalland died on 24th May 1909 aged 80. She, her husband and their son, Gerald William, are buried in St. James Churchyard, Sutton. A sale was held in 1909 and furniture and antiques in the house realised £5,000. The Jallands were collectors of sculpture and part of their collection contained busts of Cromwell, Queen Anne, Napoleon, Shakespeare and many other famous people. This collection later became part of the Sherborne Collection, which was bequeathed to the City of Hull in 1957.
Holderness House was bought by Mr. T.R. Ferens, a former confidential clerk to Sir James Reckitt who had risen to become a director of Reckitt & Sons Ltd and was now also Liberal M.P. for East Hull. Garden Village folk were delighted that the Holderness House grounds had been spared from building development. Ferens was the President of the Garden Village Horticultural Society and in the forward of the August 1911 Show Programme, W.H.T. wrote, "Whilst not far from the main road, the Garden Village is sufficiently rural and secluded to bestow on its inhabitants all the benefits of 'rus in urbe'. The sylvan beauties of the approach to it have been charmingly preserved by Mr. Ferens' purchase of Holderness House, and his generous maintenance of its fine woodland surroundings. The rooks still build in the trees, and the songbirds make merry music as of old. In retaining the familiar frontage of noble trees - the beauty spot of East Hull - our Member and Mrs. Ferens have placed not only the residents of the village, but the whole community under a deep debt of gratitude." The Holderness House land bought by Ferens included land which is now Acacia Drive, 42 to 80 Village Road and some bungalows near the Holderness Road end of Laburnum Avenue.
Back To Top
The Garden Village (Hull) Limited.
Today many people say that the Garden Village was built by Reckitts. This is not strictly correct as, in 1907, the two main shareholders of Reckitt & Sons Ltd were Francis Reckitt and his younger brother, Sir James. At that time, Francis, 80 years old, had retired from active management and was living in Highgate, London. Francis and Sir James were the chairmen of Reckitt & Sons in alternate years and there was a belief in Hull that there was rivalry between them and that Francis had been annoyed when James had been made a baronet and he had not. This might have been idle gossip among the employees. Francis Reckitt was not involved with the Garden Village. The Garden Village was Sir James Reckitt's idea. He formed the private company, the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd, and eventually put £150,000 of his money into it. Other directors of Reckitt & Sons were invited to join him in this venture and some became minor shareholders. In February 1907, Sir James Reckitt wrote from Swanland Manor to Mr T.R. Ferens M.P., "Whilst I and my family are living in beautiful houses, surrounded by lovely gardens and fine scenery, the workpeople we employ are, many of them, living in squalor, and all of them without gardens in narrow streets and alleys.
"It seems to me the time has come, either alone, or in conjunction with some members of the board, to establish a Garden Village, within a reasonable distance of our Works, so that those who are wishful might have the opportunity of living in a better house, with a garden, for the same rent that they now pay for a house in Hull with the advantages of fresher air, and such Clubs, and out door amusements, as are usually found in rural surroundings. The outlay would gradually be very large, but some revenue would be derived from rents.
"One suitable estate I have in view would cost £70,000 of which £20,000 or £30,000 might be sold off; but there are one or two other smaller properties might be had, but not so advantageous for the purpose.
"Probably the best plan would be to form a Private Company to manage the estate, the Articles and Memorandum would set forth the purposes, and lay down the rules, etc. As I am prepared, if necessary, to subscribe £100,000, the project will no doubt go on, but I would not feel comfortable did I not give you and some others the opportunity of joining in, and getting some pleasure and satisfaction out of it."
The Garden Village Company was formed and the Articles of Association limited the dividend to 3%, after providing for a sinking fund calculated on a 60 years basis. The original directors were: Sir James Reckitt (Chairman), Mr. T.R. Ferens, M.P., Sir James' son, Mr. Philip B. Reckitt, J.P., and Alderman W.M. Stickney C.E. The Company's solicitors were Thomas Priestman & Sons, the architects were Runton & Barry A.A.R.I.B.A. and the company secretary was J.A. Carlill, C.A. Mr. Albert L. Reckitt later became a director and, after Walter M. Stickney, an East Riding alderman, died in 1911, aged 64, his son, Walter H. Stickney, a land agent, took his place (W.M. Stickney & Sons was a firm of estate agents in the Land of Green Ginger, Hull). There were thus many links with Reckitt & Sons Ltd and the Garden Village Company's board meetings were held in Reckitt's Dansom Lane boardroom but it should be stressed that the Garden Village Company and Reckitt & Sons Ltd were separate independent companies.
Mr. Percy T. Runton had been articled to Sir W. Alfred Gelder and was a founder member of the Garden City and Town Planning Association. Mr. William E. Barry came from a Scarborough family of architects and had worked for George and Peto for three years. In 1908, Runton & Barry's address was Victoria Chambers, Bowlalley Lane, Hull, but, in 1913, their address was Kingston Chambers, Land of Green Ginger, Hull. By then, they were designing the Anlaby Park Estate as well as building the Garden Village.
Although the Garden Village was originally intended for employees of Reckitt & Sons, Sir James Reckitt was also chairman of Priestman Brothers. Many Priestman employees became Garden Village tenants and there were also many tenants with no connection with Reckitts or Priestmans. When Reckitt employees were asked to apply for a house, the response at first was disappointing. The Garden Village was a building site, there was no pub and the rents were a little more than they were paying for their small terrace houses. Some might not have liked the idea of living near their foreman. In time, this attitude changed and eventually Reckitt employees were keen to become Garden Village tenants, especially in the 1920s when the rents, controlled at 1914 prices with a small percentage increase, represented a smaller proportion of their wages. The demand for houses outstripped the supply and, in 1923-4, Reckitt & Sons built 92 houses for employees in James Reckitt Avenue, between Laburnum Avenue and Summergangs Road. The rents for these houses were more than the rents of Garden Village houses of the same size but they had an upstairs bathroom and a copper heated by gas instead of by a coal fire. Although these houses became known as Garden Village extension, they were owned by Reckitt & Sons and not by the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd.
Back To Top
The Building of the Garden Village
The Garden Village was designed and built by Runton & Barry. Everything was entrusted to them and they surveyed the land, designed the estate, negotiated with the Hull Corporation, built the roads and houses, bought the materials and employed about 250 building workers. Runton & Barry owned a steamroller when the roads were being made. On the rent books, the agent's name was Mr. P.T. Runton. Mr. Percy Runton appears to have been the senior partner and managed the business side but W.E. Barry probably did more of the architectural work. Of course, although everything seems to have been left to be done by Runton & Barry, Mr P.T. Runton attended the monthly meetings of the Garden Village Company's board, who had overall control. The first estate manager was Mr. L. Sharpe but, in 1922, Mr. Harry Filburn, who had worked for the Barrys at Scarborough and subsequently for Runton & Barry, took over as the estate manager and collected the rents at the Estate Office. Harry Filburn continued to live at 8 Maple Grove.
When Sir James Reckitt bought 130 acres of the Holderness House estate from Mrs. Jalland, the surplus land, which he intended to sell off, was bought outright and the land where the Garden Village was to be built was bought subject to a vendor's mortgage. After Mrs. Jalland died, the vendor's mortgage of £43,000 was paid off and, on 26th May 1910, the Garden Village Company took out a £77,000 3½% loan with the Public Works Loan Board under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts. £36,340 was advanced at the time and the remainder of the loan was to be paid in instalments as the houses were built. On 27th May 1914, £75,000 of Garden Village 3% Debenture Stock was issued, secured by a mortgage on the Garden Village Estate, and the loan from the Public Works Loan Board was paid off. Reckitt & Sons Ltd were large holders of this debenture stock.
Back To Top
The Sewer Agreement
Before work could start on building houses, sewers had to be laid. In 1907, the Garden Village Company made an agreement with owners of land to the north- east. At that time, Lee Street had been built about half way between Holderness Road and the present Swinburne Street. Entirely at its own expense, the Garden Village Company extended the sewer along Lee Street and under the present Swinburne Street to go under the present wide back road towards the Oval. The owners of the Westcott Street and Lee Street land were then able to build more houses using the sewer paid for by the Garden Village Company.
Back To Top
The Railway Agreement
The Garden Village Company also made an agreement with the North Eastern Railway Company. On 13th November, 1862, the Hull & Hornsea Railway Company had made an agreement with Boswell Middleton Jalland and William Empson Jalland, the joint owners of the Holderness House Estate. The railway company bought 2 acres, 1 rood, 20 perches of land for £1,000, the land being part of four fields known as Langcroft Close, Great Ings Close, Little Ings Close and Sutton Close.
The railway company undertook to construct three level crossings entirely at its own expense within six months of being requested to do so by the Jallands or their successors. Each level crossing was to have a 30 foot roadway, footpaths on both sides and gates for the protection of persons, horses and carriages. Any of the level crossings would only be made after the Jallands had erected a bridge to connect with it over the Lambwath Stream and when the adjoining land was to be laid out as building ground. A small area of two fields between the railway line and the Lambwath Stream was to be included in the land sold to the railway company. The Jallands or their successors were to be allowed to build a bridge, to connect with the level crossing, into each of these two fields without paying the railway company for building on the north bank of the Lambwath Stream.
When the Garden Village Company bought the Holderness House Estate, they took the benefit of the railway agreement. The Garden Village Company decided on the position of the level crossing where Chamberlain Road was later built and, in consideration for the payment of £2,000, released the railway company from the obligation to construct the other two level crossings.
The railway company had an obligation under the Hull & Hornsea Railway Act 1862 to maintain an agricultural crossing on the railway line. The railway company agreed to erect and maintain a footbridge further up the line on the Garden Village Company's agreement that the agricultural crossing be permanently closed.
Back To Top
The Special Garden Village Bye-law
Laws regarding the width of streets were suspended in connection with the new estate, and a new bye-law drafted, subject to certain conditions, limiting the number of houses to the acre to a maximum of twelve, also the distance between buildings on each side of all roads be not less than 54 feet. Houses were given larger front gardens as a result of narrow roads and footpaths being constructed. Although it was understood that streets might be constructed in a less expensive way than was usual in Hull, the Corporation stated that it would not take over the maintenance of any such streets. Trees were planted at the side of the carriageways before the tarmac footpaths were made. Runton & Barry said that tarmacadam footpaths eliminated the dust problem but Mr A.E. White, the Borough Engineer, preferred yorkstone pavers.
Back To Top
When the Estate Office (now 71 Village Road but then this street was called Chestnut Crescent) was built in 1908, this area was known as Garden Village Entrance. The Garden Village Company had constructed a road through the former Holderness House grounds to meet Holderness Road. Originally Runton & Barry had wanted this to be a 40 foot highway with a tarmacadam carriageway and asphalt footpaths. Mr. A.E. White, the Borough Engineer, did not like asphalt footpaths but was prepared to accept a road with tarmacadam used for both carriageway and footpaths provided that only detached or semi-detached houses were built. Eventually, a 50 foot road with two grass verges and tarmacadam footpaths was agreed to. When it was constructed, stone pavers were used for the footpaths. It seems that the Borough Engineer got his own way in the end. The street name, Chestnut Crescent, was possibly Mrs. Jalland's choice. The straight part of Chestnut Crescent was not at first regarded as being part of the Garden Village and it seems that the Garden Village Company intended to sell building plots there for private houses.
In 1910, Sir James Reckitt requested that the street name be changed to Village Road. This was granted at a meeting of the Corporation's Works Committee on 27 April 1910. A little earlier, on 19 February 1910, Mr. T.R. Ferens M.P. had written to the Mayor of Hull stating, "On the left hand side of the entrance to the Chestnut Avenue, Holderness Road, leading to the Garden Village, there is a clump of fine trees covering an area of 742 square yards, as set out on the enclosed plan. I have bought this land conditionally, with the object of preventing the destruction of the trees and providing a quiet retreat and resting-place, especially for elderly people when taking their exercise along Holderness Road.
"If the Corporation will take over the land for this purpose and throw it open to the road, level it up and provide it with seats, I shall be glad to convey it to the Town. The only condition which the vendors attached to the land is that foot accesses are to be gained to the side gates to the land on the west side across the open space.
I am, Dear Mr. Mayor,
Yours very sincerely,
Thos. R. Ferens."
This gift was accepted by the Corporation and, although the original trees are not there today, there are still some fine trees on this site.
The Garden Village Company built what are now numbered 1, 3 and 67, 69 Village Road in 1910 and 5 to 11 in 1912. These houses were built on land which was not included in the mortgage to the Public Works Loan Board and so they were not required to be houses for the working classes.
The Garden Village Company also acquired the land in the Holderness House grounds, which was made into the Holderness Road end of Laburnum Avenue after the part of the stable block which would have jutted out into the road was demolished. Runton & Barry submitted a plan to renew the drains of Holderness House on 12th August 1909. This showed the proposed Holderness Road end of Laburnum Avenue with a grass verge to the footpaths like Chestnut Crescent. Both Chestnut Crescent and Laburnum Avenue had building plots marked out on this plan and this shows that the proposal to build a church at the Holderness Road end of Laburnum Avenue had not yet arisen. The Holderness Road end of Laburnum Avenue was later constructed without grass verges, possibly to reduce costs.
Runton & Barry carried out a lot of work for Mr. T.R. Ferens on Holderness House and its grounds. Two new lodges and a peach house were built. The main lodge on Holderness Road was built around 1911 with bricks to match Holderness House but many standard Garden Village building components were used. North Lodge, now 104 Laburnum Avenue, built in 1913, is half-timbered. Mrs. Ferens suffered from arthritis and so a lift was installed near the main entrance of Holderness House. The Holderness House fence, using oak on the Holderness Road frontage and pine boards down the Village Road and Laburnum Avenue sides, was designed by Runton & Barry and erected by their workers around 1910. It was still there 90 years later but was in a dilapidated state. The oak fence fronting Holderness Road was replaced with iron railings in 2001 but the dilapidated pine boards at the Village Road and Laburnum Avenue sides were still there in 2004.
At the official opening of the Garden Village on 1st July 1908, Sir James Reckitt spoke from the balcony of 7 The Oval and said that the objects of this Garden Village were to provide a house and a good garden, in fact a better house if possible, and a garden attached, for the same rent as is now paid for inferior houses with no garden at all, and he believed that by the methods we are adopting in this erection, we shall be able to carry this out. During the ceremony, Sir James Reckitt's granddaughter, Barbara Reckitt (6 years old) presented flowers to the Mayoress of Hull and, not to be left out, her sister Elizabeth (4 years) presented a bouquet to her mother, Mrs. Philip Reckitt.
The Garden Village Company had started building the houses at 7, 8 the Oval; the first brick of this building being laid by Sir James Reckitt on 1st November 1907. The plans of this building were approved by the Corporation three days later on 4th November 1907! Building continued in a northerly direction along the Oval and Maytree Avenue. 1-99 and 2-62 Laburnum Avenue and 2-14 Lilac Avenue were then built. At the time of the official opening about 100 houses had been built. In his speech, Sir James Reckitt said that half of the houses were occupied by people with no connection with Reckitt & Sons. It seems that Sir James Reckitt had been disappointed by the poor response from his workers but when the general public had been invited to apply for houses, there had been three applicants for each house.
Back To Top
The Road to Sutton
In his speech, Sir James Reckitt mentioned a new road, which was to be the quickest route to Sutton. The original idea was that this road was to be built and paid for by the Hull Corporation and so the land where James Reckitt Avenue was later built was not then regarded as part of the proposed housing estate and it had not been included in the land to which the special bye-law applied. Hull Corporation then backed out of building the new road. At a meeting of the Works Committee in 1908, it was said that the construction of James Reckitt Avenue would cost at least £12,000 and it would end in a cul-de-sac in the countryside. The Corporation would have no power to continue it to Sutton and it would benefit the landowners far more than the Corporation. As a consequence of the Corporation deciding not to make the 65 ft. road, the Garden Village Company wished to extend the area of the proposed estate and, in 1909, the Corporation asked the Garden Village Company to amend the plan to show the continuation of the existing streets and the Local Government Board would then be informed, with a view to their approving the application of the special bye-law to the extended area. Possibly, James Reckitt Avenue might have been the land mentioned in Sir James Reckitt's speech, which might be sold to a company or society to promote private ownership but he might have been referring to Village Road or the Garden Village Company's land where Lamorna Avenue was later built. As James Reckitt Avenue was originally not going to be part of the estate, Laburnum Avenue started at Lilac Avenue when it was constructed in 1907. The section between Lilac Avenue and James Reckitt Avenue was made about three years later.
Back To Top
Early Work and Clearing the Site
Before the Garden Village was built, cows were kept at the three old farms on the Jallands Estate. In the 1891 census, Thomas Rawson, who had a wife and six young children, and Richard Smith, a widower with four older children, were both described as cowkeepers. In the census, John Walker who lived with his wife and five young children at Thistleton Farm, on land which became Reckitt's Recreation Ground, was also described as a cowkeeper. Nearby, at No. 4 Thistleton Cottages, Police Constable James H. Grant lived with his wife and five young children in 1891. The Jallands' tenant dairymen often moved to other farms. Aaron Wharram was a cowkeeper on the Jallands Estate just before the Garden Village was built. Old farm buildings on the Garden Village Company's site were demolished but the old elms on the lane leading to Pickards Farm were retained.
A man who had worked at one of the farms was given a job by the Garden Village Company planting trees and privet hedges and it was said that he had green fingers as none of the trees he planted died. Privet hedges were planted on all sides of the garden and the Garden Village Company turfed and laid out the front garden before a house was occupied. A tenant at 41 Laburnum Avenue had been used to keeping pigs and he asked permission to keep them at his new house. Runton & Barry submitted plans to the City Council on 30 December 1908 and a pig-sty was built half way down the long garden. Another plan for a pig-sty was later submitted to the Corporation by Mr. J. Thacker of 1 Laburnum Avenue and this was approved on 23 November 1917. Mr. Thacker was a foreman employed by the Garden Village Company. With pigs being kept in the Garden Village, it must have genuinely seemed like 'rus in urbe'.
Back To Top
Reckitt's Recreation Ground
A footpath was made to Simpson's Lane (now Woodhall Street) from the footbridge so that workers would have a more direct route to Reckitt's Stoneferry works. The Garden Village Company sold 16 acres of land at the side of this footpath to Reckitt & Sons in 1907 to make a recreation ground for their employees. Thistleton Farm and a terrace of four houses called Thistleton Cottages on this land were demolished. The recreation ground was designed by Runton & Barry and trees on the site were retained. The building work was done by Runton & Barry and the original entrance was from Simpson's Lane as Chamberlain Road was not there at that time. The recreation ground was later greatly enlarged and alterations made but some of the original Runton & Barry buildings are still there.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Houses
The earliest built Garden Village houses are the most interesting. All the houses in the Oval were individually designed. When tenants were granted a tenancy, individual requirements were often taken into account by the architects when the house was built. There were two classes of houses. The first class houses, intended for Reckitt's senior staff and middle class families, had rents payable monthly in advance but the rates were paid separately to the City Council. Tenants of the second class houses paid rent, inclusive of rates, monthly in advance. When a tenancy of a newly built house was granted, the tenant was asked to choose the colour of the distemper to be used on the walls. If the tenant wished the back garden path to be in any particular position, this was considered. It was stated that the Garden Village Company was prepared to build glass-houses, summer-houses or garden sheds at cost and fix the tenant's gas fittings, etc., at a reasonable charge.
Some of the second-class houses were very large and, externally, in many cases it was not possible to tell whether a house was first or second class. The first class houses had a bathroom and both an outdoor and an upstairs toilet while the second-class houses had a bath in the scullery with a lift-up table-top and just the one toilet outdoors. With not having a bathroom, this enabled some of the second-class houses to have four bedrooms. All the houses had a black stove in the kitchen, which heated the oven and the hot water supply. There were four large detached second-class houses with a bath in the scullery and these might have been intended for foremen.
The houses had gas lighting as, at that time, electricity was not laid on in the Garden Village. Some houses had a telephone. The first class houses had larger halls and the main rooms had a cornice under the ceiling. All the doors in this class had brass door-knobs and there was a bell-push at the front and back doors and in the main rooms. The bell system was battery operated and, when someone rang the bell, a panel on the kitchen wall indicated which room or door needed attention. The second-class houses had brass knobs on the downstairs doors but the bedroom doors had a lift up latch like a barn door. The gardens of the larger second-class houses were equally as large as many of the first-class gardens.
The house rents were very reasonable. In 1912, the rent of the semi-detached house, 10 Maple Grove, was £1 13s. 9d. per month (7s. 9d. per week) and the tenant paid rates to the Corporation. This middle-class house with seven chimney pots had on the ground floor a hall, a sitting room, a living room, a large kitchen containing a coal-fired cooking range and sink, a pantry, a small room containing a coal-fired copper and coal-house, and an outdoor water closet. Upstairs were three large bedrooms, each with a fire-place, and a bathroom containing a bath with lion's claw feet, a hand-basin and a toilet. The tenant, Mr. J.T. Peill, was an insurance manager.
At this time, the home of Mr. Fred Dent, 12 Lilac Avenue, had a monthly rental of £1 4s. 11d. (5s.9d. per week) inclusive of rates. This semi-detached house, with four chimney pots, had on the ground floor a living room containing a coal-fired cooking range, a scullery with a bath, coal-fired copper and sink, a pantry and an outdoor W.C., coal-house and toolhouse. Upstairs were two large bedrooms with fire-places and one small bedroom.
Mr. Dent's rent book shows that he paid no rent in January 1913 and owed this money for the following 12 years or so. He paid off the arrears at 4 shillings per week during the last six months of his tenancy. This seems to show that the Garden Village Company were lenient landlords. Mr. Dent's monthly rental increased to £1 10s. 8d. in September 1920 and to £1 12s. 7d. in September 1921. When the Corporation rates went up or down, the rent inclusive of rates often remained the same! Mr Dent moved to a larger house in Maytree Avenue and was given a new rent book.
Some of the earlier houses had leaded lights in the front and side windows and plain glass windows at the rear. Later houses were built with timber glazing bars in all the windows. These window frames were made of pitch pine and the sturdy mullions helped to support the brickwork above. These small window-panes take a lot of cleaning and, in recent years, many of these window frames have been replaced with flimsy modern window frames. As the houses had a fire-place in almost every room, the houses have many pots on the chimney stacks. Some of the earlier houses have chimney-stacks with a small roof of plain tiles below the pots. All the chimney-stacks have some decorative brickwork. Some buildings have more chimney pots than fire-places. Some of these have a ventilator in the side of the dummy chimney-stack. The earlier built blocks of three houses have two matching chimney-stacks, each with eight pots, but one of the stacks has four dummy pots.
Most of the houses are roughcast. It seems that small stones were mixed in with the cement before it was applied, in layers, to the walls. Many of the houses have a few rows of exposed brickwork at the bottom of the walls and are roughcast above. Some of the houses have exposed brickwork up to first floor level and are roughcast above this. A few houses are not roughcast and the exterior walls are of common bricks with facing bricks around the windows and door openings. The semi-detached pair of houses, 77 and 79 Village Road, is half-timbered while 67 and 69 Village Road are rendered but not roughcast. A few houses have walls partly tile hung. Some houses have sloping buttresses at ground floor level, reminiscent of some of the designs of C.F.A. Voysey, whose 'arts and crafts' style influenced many at that time.
Runton & Barry did not usually site two buildings of the same design together although there are some exceptions to this. Sometimes alternate buildings were set back different distances from the footpath. Often, one semi-detached pair of houses would have a roof with gabled ends and the next would have a hipped roof. Some houses have a catslide roof with a bedroom or bathroom dormer on it. Small plain tiles were used on the roofs and the pitch was generally 45 degrees. Some 45 degree roofs flatten out a little near the bottom where the pitch is less than 45 degrees. Small plain hip tiles were used down the hips and small plain valley tiles were used down the valleys. Half-round ridge tiles were used and, on a hipped roof, the end ridge tile had a rounded end. The tiling of the roofs was very neatly done. On many Garden Village houses, the roofs and chimney-stacks are a dominant feature.
The cast iron gutters have a lip on them and were supported by brackets fastened to the boards over the projecting rafters. These brackets have a decorative coil on the top. The fall pipes were iron and the rainwater header boxes often had an 'arts and crafts' design, such as an apple, on them.
When the road for Beech Avenue was made, it had been intended that the houses be semi-detached but, when the houses were built, funds were running low and some backing on to Durham Street were built in blocks of three and four. Because of this, a ten-foot had to be made and this left the houses on this side of Beech Avenue with very short rear gardens.
Back To Top
Public Works Loan Board Houses
The later Garden Village houses, built with money from the Public Works Loan Board, do not compare with the earlier houses although they were better than many Hull houses being built at that time. In James Reckitt Avenue, many houses were built in blocks of six. Unlike the earlier houses, a block of three houses was built with one stack with eight chimney pots and a narrower chimney-stack with four pots. The Garden Village Company had experienced difficulties after the loan was taken from the Public Works Loan Board. To comply with the special bye-law, houses should not exceed 12 to the acre but the Public Works Loan Board was insisting on a higher density. Eventually, Hull Corporation gave consent for these later houses to be built at a higher density after Runton & Barry had told the Corporation in 1911 that, if consent was not given, the work would have to stop and 250 men would have to be laid off.
Back To Top
The Club House
The Club House in Elm Avenue was the gift of Albert Leopold Reckitt, in memory of his father, George Reckitt. This was built, in 1909, in a Georgian style similar to the Shopping Centre built a little later. It has since been much altered, both internally and externally, even since it was made a listed building. There is now a boxing ring where the billiard room used to be. Originally, the Club House contained a large billiard-room, a reading room, a gymnasium, a club room and a lounge.
The Club was run by a Council of nine, elected by the members, three retiring each year and three more being elected for the next three years. There was a General Secretary and Sectional Secretaries running the various sections which included: Horticultural Society; Library and Reading Room; Ladies' Section; Billiards, Bagatelle, Whist; and Bowls, Quoits. The subscription was five shillings per annum payable half-yearly and, in 1913, there were more than 200 members. The library of about a thousand books had been presented by Frederic Isaac Reckitt and his wife, with some additions by Sir James Reckitt.
To establish the Social Club, Albert L. Reckitt gave 250 £10 Ordinary Reckitt shares to the Garden Village Company on the understanding that the money should be spent on the erection of a Social Club for the use of tenants and owners of houses and land on the Company's estate and others. Some of the conditions were:
The Club shall be open on all days of the week and shall be for the use of men alone or men and women as the Company shall think best but no billiards or other games are to be played on Sunday.
The Company shall, subject as hereinafter mentioned, maintain and repair the said premises and pay all outgoings in connection therewith and they shall be at liberty to make such charges for the use of the Club as they think fit and to provide if they think it advisable that such contributions shall be sufficient to pay for such maintenance and repairs.
The Company shall be at liberty to grant leases or tenancy agreements or otherwise or provide with some independent body or Committee of Management or persons for the maintenance and management of the said Social Club upon such terms either on payment of a rent or otherwise as they in their absolute discretion shall think fit providing that the Company should always retain the power of resuming control.
The condition that no games were to be played on a Sunday probably did not seem unreasonable to Garden Village residents. Many were strict sabbatarians at that time and some mothers would not allow their daughters to knit on a Sunday. As there was a ladies section in 1911, the Garden Village Company must have given permission for women to use the club.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Shopping Centre
The Garden Village Shopping Centre was built in 1909 in a 'Wrennaisance' style according to Pevsner's 'Buildings of England'. It was built around three sides of a courtyard. Plans in the 14th October 1910 issue of 'The Building News' show four large flats and twelve small shops; a confectioner, a greengrocer, a grocers occupying two shops, a baker, a butcher, an ironmonger, a bootmaker, a drapers in two shops, a chemist and a post office, but these plans differed from what had been built. The plans for six shops and six flats had been approved on 26th July 1909 and the Shopping Centre was built with six shops and six flats. The shops had a connecting door into the flat and the shop and the flat could be let separately or together. The flats had doors at ground level as well as the door into the shop. Upstairs, the flat was quite large and it had a door onto the first floor balcony, which runs around the Shopping Centre. The two flats facing Cherry Tree Avenue had four bedrooms. The other four had three bedrooms. The two flats nearest to Beech Avenue had the kitchen on the ground floor. The artistic drawings in the October 1910 'Building News' seem to be an earlier design, which was later amended.
A central arched entrance to the Shopping Centre, from Cherry Tree Avenue, has pedimental gables and a domed clock turret above. The original clock struck the hours and there were two weights in the two-storey high weight case, one to be wound up for the clock hands and one for the striking mechanism.
The Shopping Centre opened in 1910 and, at the time of the August 1911 Garden Village Horticultural Show, all six shops had advertisements in the programme. The shops were:
No. 1, W. Longbottom, a baker, confectioner and tobacconist with a cafe with some tables on the balcony. Next, William Cussons Ltd, grocers. Then, Partington's, a butchers shop which also sold fish. To the right of the archway, Hammonds Ltd, the well known department store had a hardware shop here. Next, Hammonds' drapery shop. Finally, Charles Bennett, a post office which was also a pharmacy, stationer and newsagent and sold fertilizers, table waters, lemonade and ginger beer. Charles Bennett sold 24 copyright postcard views of the Garden Village, one penny each. Today these old postcards sell at high prices.
Because of competition from Holderness Road shops, the shops in the Shopping Centre were not very successful and many traders did not stay very long. The rents were reasonable but the Corporation rates were high. William Cussons Ltd stayed for a long time but there were many changes of tenant at most of the other shops. In Kelly's 1919 Directory, the Shopping Centre traders are listed as: Lewis Morton, confectioner; William Cussons Ltd, grocers; Hammonds Ltd, house furnishers; and Charles Blashill, chemist. In the 1921 Directory, three of the traders are the same as in 1919 but Charles Blashill, chemist is replaced by John Ramsey, newsagent. Sydney Boyce MPS ran a chemists shop and post office at what was later numbered 6 from around 1925. He also wound the Shopping Centre clock.
In 1931, the Garden Village Company wrote to Hull Corporation stating that there was a desire from the public that the clock at the Shopping Centre should be lighted up at night, and asked whether a free supply of electricity could be provided for this purpose. The City Engineer had investigated, and reported that prior to 1914 the clock had been lit by gas. Electric lighting could be fitted at a cost of £10 and maintenance costs would be about five shillings and sixpence per week. The Streets and Workshops Sub-Committee decided that it was unable to accede to the request.
Back To Top
The Village Hall
The Village Hall was the gift of Sir James Reckitt and was a real Village Hall in the sense that it was available for all reasonable purposes. When it was opened in November 1910 by Sir James Reckitt, a photograph album of Garden Village buildings, containing an illuminated address, was presented to him by the Garden Village residents. This album is now in Reckitt's museum at Dansom Lane together with the silver trowel used by Sir James Reckitt when he laid the first brick. The Village Hall, a large brick and half-timbered building, was sited where there are now bungalows in the Oval, Elm Avenue and Maytree Avenue. A large organ on the stage was donated by Lady Reckitt and there was a balcony at the rear of the Hall. The Village Hall accommodated 400.
Mr. William Dent Priestman, who was a tenant at 1 Village Road (originally 1 Chestnut Crescent and now 81 Village Road), was the warden. Religious services on Sunday evenings began on 8th January 1911 and the arrangements for preachers were made by a committee of local evangelical clergy and ministers. In 1913, it was decided to form a Council composed of villagers interested in the Village Hall. Mr. W.D. Priestman was appointed as Chairman. The Council eventually had the oversight of all the activities connected with the Village Hall and the Institute. It was a democratic body, consisting of 16 members, elected annually by ballot at the Annual Meeting and held its meetings on the first Thursday in each month.
In 1917, the work of the ministerial committee came to an end and it was decided to appoint a resident Garden Village Pastor. Mr. Mark H. Lawson was appointed and he had many years of experience as a Home Missionary of the Society of Friends. Mark Lawson lived at what was then 14 Village Road but is now numbered 67. Unfortunately, Mark Lawson was taken ill in 1919 and died at the age of 47. Pastor C.H. Siddle then took up this work in September 1919 and was a popular Pastor for many years. Pastor Siddle lived at 40 Beech Avenue. Under Mr. Siddle's leadership, the Church in the Village Hall flourished. In the 1930s, the Sunday School had an average attendance of 220. A Boys' Brigade Company (the 11th Hull) was started in 1922. There were also Life Boys, Girl Guides and Brownie Companies.
There were many organisations using the Village Hall. The Band of Hope held fortnightly meetings. A Division and Cadet Section of the Sons of Temperance was formed. A Dramatic Society was started and gave several plays. Concerts, Whist Drives, Dances and Public Meetings were held in the Village Hall.
Back To Top
The Oval, or Village Green, had iron railings around it and it was laid out for tennis, bowls and croquet at a nominal charge per house, for those who wished to join. Tenants of both first and second-class houses played tennis on the Oval.
Behind the Club House, there is a large grassed area, now known as the Triangle. This was laid out as a Children's Playground with swings and sand pits etc. A hut and later the Institute, used as annexes for the Village Hall, were built on the Playground behind the Club House. During the 1939-45 war, the Institute was used as accommodation for the WAAFs who were the crew for the barrage balloon sited in the middle of the Triangle. But for the war, the Children's Playground might still have been there.
Back To Top
At the northern end of Laburnum Avenue, a block of eight almshouses was built in 1910. The 'L' shaped block looks onto a grassed area with a sundial. These homes were built after the gift of Reckitt & Sons shares, nominally worth £1,000, by Miss Juliet Reckitt, daughter of George Reckitt, and were reserved for aged employees of Reckitt & Sons Ltd, or residents of the Village. At first, the houses were allotted rent-free to the occupiers. In 1912, the Frederic I. Reckitt Homes were opened towards the southern end of Laburnum Avenue. These twelve bungalows were donated by Frederic I. Reckitt in memory of his late wife. Places in the Frederic I. Reckitt Homes were allotted by the Garden Village Company's Board. At first, the residents received a stipend of five shillings a week.
The Sir James Reckitt Village Haven was built in Village Road in 1924. These twelve bungalows were the last gift of Sir James Reckitt, who died on 18th March 1924, aged 90. The architect was F. Runton Waller who had taken over the offices of Percy T. Runton. This set of almshouses was built to a higher standard than the other two, and these bungalows were built with a bathroom instead of a bath in the scullery. The architectural style is so similar to the earlier almshouses that it suggests that F. Runton Waller helped to design the earlier almshouses while employed by Runton & Barry. A conveyance dated 7 August 1924 transferred the Village Haven from the Garden Village Company to the trustees of the Sir James Reckitt Charity, who assumed responsibility for the Village Haven but not the other sets of almshouses.
Back To Top
Reckitt's Girls Hostel
On 10th July 1912, the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd leased some land, at the western corner of the Village, to Reckitt & Sons Ltd for a Girls Hostel to be built. This building, like everything else then built in the Garden Village, was designed and built by Runton & Barry. There was accommodation for 24 girls in the Hostel and each had a separate room with a wash basin. There were two bathrooms and a large and very pleasant dining-room which was also used as a common-room. A Matron kept the girls in order and the charges to the girls did not cover Reckitt & Sons' costs of running the Hostel.
Back To Top
The End of the Architectural Partnership
Mr W.E. Barry left the firm of Runton and Barry in 1915. By then, most of the Garden Village had been built. Mr. P.T. Runton continued practising as an architect from Kingston Chambers, Land of Green Ginger, until about 1920. It seems that Mr P.T. Runton then moved to Bradford to work for the Woolen Association. Mr F. Runton Waller succeeded Mr Percy T. Runton in his offices at Kingston Chambers, Land of Green Ginger. Percy T. Runton died in Wharfedale in 1947, aged 72.
Back To Top
Miss Gwen Winpenny was the Principal of the Garden Village School. It started, between the wars, in one room at the Club House but, as numbers built up to about 100 pupils, two rooms were used, one for junior boys and girls and one for senior girls. It appears that the boys went to other private schools when they were old enough. Marie Kirman, a pupil from 1921 to 1929, said that Miss Winpenny was a quite portly lady and she was well liked by the pupils. Children changed into sandshoes in the corridor and hung their coats on numbered pegs. The mornings started with a hymn and a prayer at 9 a.m. When the children left school at 3.30 p.m., each was given a kiss on the cheek. There were other teachers on some days. Miss Nan taught needlework on Tuesdays and Mr T.D. Foster came on Wednesday afternoons. On Thursday mornings the children went by tram for swimming lessons at Beverley Road Baths. Miss Winpenny dried the girls’ hair before they returned to school on the Beverley Road and Holderness Road trams.
Back To Top
When The Roads Were Private
In the early years of the Garden Village, relations between the Garden Village Company and the Corporation were often rather strained. When the Garden Village Company asked for gas street lamps to be erected in completed streets, the Borough Engineer calculated that, as the houses were widely spaced, the rateable value did not justify all the street lamps being paid for by the Corporation and some had to be erected at the Garden Village Company's expense. There was also dissatisfaction with the Corporation not contributing towards the cost of constructing James Reckitt Avenue, a 65 feet wide highway intended as the future main road to Sutton. An agreement had been signed on 4 May 1912 whereby the Corporation would make a contribution towards the cost of this wide road, which was part of the North East Hull and Sutton Town Planning Scheme. When the Garden Village Section of James Reckitt Avenue was constructed, the Corporation refused to pay as the section between the Garden Village and Dansom Lane had not yet been built. Also, as Sutton at that time was not part of Hull, the Corporation had no authority to construct James Reckitt Avenue beyond the Borough boundary and they considered that the road would only benefit the landowners.
The Garden Village was built with tarmac footpaths with trees planted in them. The Borough Engineer did not approve of this and when the Garden Village Company applied for the roads to be adopted, this was refused. Sir James Reckitt was very annoyed by this and, as a result, iron railings were erected around the Garden Village. Iron railings crossed the road at both ends of James Reckitt Avenue (only the Garden Village section had been built at that time) and across Laburnum Avenue near the Frederic Reckitt Homes. There were iron railings between Maple Grove houses and the Holderness House Paddock, alongside Elstronwick Avenue houses and across the end of Durham Street, and between the Laburnum Avenue ten-foot and the farm at the end of Westcott Street. A pile of railway sleepers blocked access across the railway line where Chamberlain Road was later built. People kept bending the iron bars apart at the end of Durham Street and where Marlowe Street was later built. The Garden Village Company's workers kept bending the bars straight again but eventually had to admit defeat. These unofficial pedestrian routes continued for many years and the route into Marlowe Street is here today.
The enclosure of the roads continued for some years and it prevented the development of Chamberlain Road and the extension of James Reckitt Avenue, which had been intended as the main road to Sutton. The City Council were keen to construct Chamberlain Road and extend James Reckitt Avenue to Ings Road as this was to be part of their North East Ring Road from Stoneferry to Holderness Road, where they had plans to construct Maybury Road. Eventually, agreement was reached and the Garden Village Company paid the Corporation £2,325, this being the consideration for the Corporation taking over and declaring as public highways the streets, backroads and footpaths of the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd. The City Council adopted all the Garden Village roads and back-roads on 20th March 1923.
Back To Top
After The Adoption of the Roads
The iron railings across the roads were removed and it was possible for James Reckitt Avenue to be extended. The Garden Village part of James Reckitt Avenue had been numbered from Laburnum Avenue running towards Chestnut Grove. James Reckitt Avenue was re-numbered to run from Dansom Lane towards Sutton. The North Eastern Railway Company did not immediately construct the Chamberlain Road level crossing and this delay annoyed the Corporation's Works Committee.
After the roads were adopted, there was a dispute about whether the adoption had included the triangular shrub bed at the junction of James Reckitt Avenue and Laburnum Avenue. Eventually, the City Council agreed to maintain this shrub bed although it was still the property of the Garden Village Company.
In the 1920s, a schools recreation ground was built where there had been a farm growing rhubarb at the end of Westcott Street. When children from Mersey Street School walked to this recreation ground they went through the Garden Village and then squeezed through the bent apart bars in the iron railings onto some land where Marlowe Street was later built. In June 1925, Mr C. Timmons, the headmaster of Mersey Street Senior School told the City Council of his concern that this footpath into Westcott Street might be lost as building work was taking place in Marlowe Street. The Council consulted with the builder, Mr G.T. Spruit, and he agreed to concrete the footpath provided that the Corporation agreed to maintain the footpath after he had made it up.
In 1927-28, discussions were taking place regarding extending Swinburne Street into the Garden Village. Some Swinburne Street houses would have lost their front gardens. Hull Corporation investigated this but, as two owners of land refused to sell, it was not possible to carry out the scheme.
Relations between the Hull Corporation and the Garden Village Company improved and, in 1929, the Corporation paid the Garden Village Company a lump sum of £3,726, this being a payment of £3,700 towards the cost of constructing James Reckitt Avenue plus 25 guineas towards the solicitors' costs. The City boundary was to be extended to include Sutton on 1st April 1930 and the Corporation would then be able to extend James Reckitt Avenue.
In 1929, T. Priestman, Sons & Slack, the Garden Village Company's solicitors, wrote to the Town Clerk regarding the triangular island at the junction of James Reckitt Avenue and Laburnum Avenue. The letter stated that in view of the pleasant relations existing between the Corporation and the Company, and having regard to the fact that the safety of the public was in question, they had agreed to relinquish any interest, which they had in the piece of land. Alterations were then made to the junction of Laburnum Avenue and James Reckitt Avenue.
In 1929, Hull Corporation made an agreement with the Garden Village Company to build a men's urinal on the Oval. A loan of £275 from the Ministry of Health paid for this. It is assumed that the urinal was built as there was insufficient toilet accommodation in the Village Hall.
The junction of Laburnum Avenue and Holderness Road had a small radius curve as both the Holderness House Grounds and the grounds of St. Columba's Church had square corners. The Corporation wished to improve this junction and, in 1931, the City Engineer had estimated that the work would cost £50 and the land would cost about £50. The Valuation Officer was asked to negotiate with the Church and the Holderness House trustees to buy some land at the corner of their sites so that the kerb radius could be increased. The Holderness House trustees agreed to give the land to the Corporation on condition that the Corporation reinstated the fence and paid all legal charges. Canon E.A. Berry, the Vicar of Drypool, agreed to sell the Corporation the necessary land (16 square yards) at 30 shillings per square yard, the Corporation to reinstate the fence and pay all legal charges.
Laburnum Avenue was not very well lit as the gas lights were widely spaced. In 1932, the Corporation fixed 8 additional gas lights in Laburnum Avenue and re-located another 11. When it was a private road, there had been very little traffic on Laburnum Avenue. After the roads were adopted, Laburnum Avenue became a through road and road traffic gradually increased.
Back To Top
Privately Built Houses
In 1922, the Garden Village Company sold what is now 1 Village Road to the tenant, Dr. John Lupton Holt MRCS LRCP. Around 1923, Village Road was re-numbered with number 1 at the Holderness Road end. In 1923, private houses started being built in Village Road and Laburnum Avenue. The Garden Village Company sold building plots to various builders. 137 Laburnum Avenue and 41 Village Road are large detached private houses built in 1923 and 1924. 'Iona', 137 Laburnum Avenue was built and occupied by Richard Scaife Tebb, whose firm of chemists was R.S. & H.T. Tebb. 'Eskdake', 41 Village Road was built and occupied by John James Spilman, a dispensing chemist, and his wife, Maria. Other houses in Village Road were constructed by the building firms, L.H. Beal, and G.T. Spruit. Mr. J.J. Spilman of 41 Village Road was elected a councillor for Stoneferry Ward in 1932 and joined Councillor Mrs. A.B. Slimming of 15 Maple Grove, who had been elected for the new Stoneferry Ward, which included the Garden Village, in 1930.
In 1923, the Garden Village Company sold the Laburnum Avenue land between 'Iona' and the Frederic Reckitt Homes to the Right Hon. T.R. Ferens and four British Legion houses, designed by the Legion's architects, A. Lloyd Thomas and Major Douglas Wood, were built there in 1929. These were, possibly, the gift of T.R. Ferens. After the death of T.R. Ferens, his trustees sold plots in the remainder of this Laburnum Avenue land for further houses to be built.
Back To Top
The Statue of Alderman James Stuart
In 1923, T.R, Ferens paid for the erection of a statue on the land he had given to the Town at the Holderness Road end of Village Road. It was sculpted by W. Aumonier & Sons of London and is now a listed building. James Stuart was the founder of Stuart & Gregson, a firm of seed crushers, which was one of the 17 firms which combined to make British Oil & Cake Mills Ltd. James Stuart had been President of the East Hull Liberal Association and, as a councillor, he had been very active in improving education in Hull. At the time of the Hull Dock Strike in 1893, Alderman Stuart was the Chairman of the Watch Committee. He tried to get Mr. C.H. Wilson and the other employers to take a more conciliatory line with the strikers but had no success. There was violence by both the strikers and the police despite the union leaders and the Watch Committee trying to keep things peaceful. It seems that James Stuart took this badly and resigned from local politics shortly after. He was made an Honorary Freeman of Kingston upon Hull in 1894 in recognition of his service to the Town. He died in 1922. T.R. Ferens described James Stuart as the kindest of men, with great honesty of purpose, "truly concerned with the welfare and love of people".
Back To Top
Life in the Garden Village
In the period between the wars, residents enjoyed life in the Garden Village. A Garden Village football team played on the Paddock of Holderness House with the permission of Mr. Ferens. Many of the children attended Mersey Street Elementary School. Some attended Mersey Street Primary and Junior Schools and then went to Craven Street Higher Grade School, which provided a higher standard of education for the brighter children. Norman Burrell, the son of a jeweller who lived at 16 The Oval, went to a boarding school. In the school holidays, it seems that the children attending different schools all got on well together. In their spare time, some boys swam in the Foredyke Stream and some played by the Lambwath Stream. In summer time, when it was dry, it was a dare to crawl through the long brick culvert, which had been constructed when a stretch of the Lambwath Stream, across the northern corner of the Garden Village, had James Reckitt Avenue and Laburnum Avenue built over it. They would not have told their mothers!
Back To Top
Although the Garden Village had been intended for employees of Reckitt & Sons Ltd., right from the start more than half of the tenants had no connection with Reckitt's. There were policemen, railwaymen, postmen, and weights and measures inspectors among the tenants. There were also several shopkeepers. Arthur Cecil Skelton, baker, lived in Lilac Avenue; Oswald T. Hall, butcher, lived in Maple Grove; and Walter Ernest Burrell, whose jewellers' shop was in Prospect Street, lived in Maple Grove and later in the Oval. The Garden Village thus did not have an oppressive atmosphere like some other workers' estates where the hierarchical structure of the factory was repeated in the estate. The Hull Garden Village was very liberal and there was not a rigid class structure. There were many marriages between young people living in different classes of houses.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Estate Workers
The Garden Village Company had its own repair staff. All the houses were regularly re-painted in Garden Village Green, which was specially made for the Company. The repair workshops were sited behind the Juliet Reckitt Homes and they have now been converted into lock-up garages. The plumbers and other property repairers kept the houses in first class condition. The Village Company also had a staff of gardeners. The Head Gardener, Mr. Thomas Lound, lived at 12 Cherry Tree Avenue. The nursery garden, with a potting shed and greenhouse, was sited in Maple Grove, between numbers 8 and 10 and behind numbers 2 to 8. The gardeners turfed and planted shrubs in the front gardens of newly built houses. They maintained the Garden Village shrub beds and cut the grass on the Oval. At first, they maintained the shrubs in the centre part of Elm Avenue, known as the Elm Avenue Walk, but this was conveyed to the City Corporation in 1928 on condition that it be secured as an open space within the meaning of the Open Spaces Acts. All the street trees were then cared for by the City Council. It seems that all the estate workers lived in the Garden Village. Mr. Albert Brant, a gardener and groundsman, lived at 35 Lilac Avenue, overlooking the children's playground. John James Thacker, a foreman, lived at 1 Laburnum Avenue, next to the workshops. Albert Holden, a joiner, lived at 3 Cherry Tree Avenue.
Back To Top
St. Columba's Temporary Church
Rev. J.J. Beddow was the Vicar of Drypool when work on the Garden Village started. More houses were being built in his parish and a new church was needed near these new houses. He secured a site for a new church on Laburnum Avenue near Holderness Road and collected £1,200 towards its building. It seems that he intended the church to be called Emmanuel Church but he resigned in April 1914 and took up other work. Rev. E.A. Berry became Vicar of Drypool and he had other ideas for the name of the church.
St. Columba's temporary church, now the Church Hall, was built in Laburnum Avenue in 1914 on the Garden Village Company's land, the architects being Runton & Barry. The bricks and many other building components are the same as were used on the Garden Village houses. This brick building cost £1,800 and seated 400. The temporary church was dedicated in December 1914 and those present afterwards walked to the Garden Village Hall in Elm Avenue for refreshments. St. Columba's was served by the clergy of the Parish Church, St. Andrew's. The Vicar of Drypool, Rev. E.A. Berry, and one of his curates lived not far from St. Columba's. In 1919, Hull Corporation gave St. Columba's Church Council one year's temporary permission to erect an ex-army hut at the rear of the temporary church. This old hut was still there fifty-five years later.
Back To Top
St. Columba's Church
In 1926, work started on building St. Columba's permanent church to designs by the architects, Lofting & Cooper. The foundation stone was laid by H.R.H. the Princess Royal on 7th October 1926, from the former Cecil Cinema, using remote control. The Church was set back 20 feet from the back of the Holderness Road footpath as that was then the building line. The planned church was not fully built and the west end was shortened. There was a large space between the Church and the Church Hall and it was intended to increase the length of the nave at some future date. The church site was transferred from the Garden Village Company to the Drypool Parish Church Council and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England by a Conveyance dated 17th November 1926. It seems that, in those days, solicitors took some time to do the paperwork after a sale had been agreed.
St. Columba's Church was consecrated by Archbishop William Temple on 12th January 1929 and he was the celebrant at the Communion Service the next day. The temporary Church then became the Church Hall. Canon E.A. Berry, the Vicar of Drypool, lived nearby in the Drypool Vicarage at the corner of Lee Street (now the Pink Panther Residential Care Home) but St. Andrew's, on the corner of Abbey Street, was the Parish Church. St. Columba's was a daughter church of St. Andrew's. Canon Berry had another daughter church built in Southcoates Avenue. St. Aidan's opened in 1935 and, at that time, the Parish of Drypool extended in the Preston Road Estate up to the Holderness Drain. Canon Berry had three churches to care for but he usually had a staff of two or three curates and a deaconess.
Before the passing of the 1937 Sunday Trading Act, some East Hull shopkeepers opened illegally on Sundays, but not for long. Canon Berry used to visit these shops and, if he could not persuade the owner not to open on Sundays, he reported the shopkeeper to the City Corporation and a prosecution took place.
Back To Top
The Garden Village under Philip Reckitt's chairmanship
After Sir James Reckitt died in 1924, his son, Philip, became chairman of the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd. It seems that he inherited his father's shares in the Company. When Sir Harold Reckitt died in December 1930 at the age of 62, he had no sons and the title went to his brother, Philip.
Mr. T.R. Ferens died in May 1930 and was greatly mourned by the City of Hull. Mr. Ferens left Holderness House in trust as a Home of Rest for ten or more poor gentlewomen. He left as an endowment £50,000, the income from which was to be applied, in that order, to maintaining the property, paying rates, taxes and wages, purchasing food and, at the trustees' discretion, providing stipends for the residents. It is interesting that Mr. T.R. Ferens regarded maintaining the property as the first priority for the trustees.
Mr Ferens was cremated and his ashes were buried alongside those of his wife in the grounds of Holderness House. The grounds and the Paddock continued to be used for garden parties etc. by local churches and charities. The years between the wars were happy times for Garden Village residents.
The maisonettes, 2-16 Chamberlain Road, were designed by Gelder & Kitchen in 1932. These are disappointing as they are not as attractive as the buildings designed by Runton & Barry. Also they do not seem up-to-date as they were built with a bath in the scullery while the earlier Sir James Reckitt Village Haven and the Reckitt & Sons houses in James Reckitt Avenue had been built with bathrooms.
Horth & Andrew took over as the Garden Village Company's architects in the 1930s. Before the war, Horth & Andrew carried out a lot of work on four-bedroom houses in Laburnum Avenue, converting small bedrooms into bathrooms. These houses then had three large bedrooms.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Branch Library
In June 1921, discussions were taking place about the small library in the Club House being taken over by the Corporation as a Branch Library. At the meeting of the Corporation's Public Libraries Committee on 6th June 1921, the Chief Librarian, Mr. W.H. Bagguley, reported, "In pursuance of the Committee's instructions of the last meeting, I visited the Garden Village Club premises, inspected the library, interviewed the secretary, and now beg to report as follows:
"The Club, centrally situated, is a detached building, designed for its purpose. It includes the library and some other rooms used for games and conversazioni, one of them being let in the daytime to a private kindergarten school. The various facilities are restricted to the families of subscribing members, of whom there are at present about 230. The village comprises 604 houses, and the total population is estimated at 2,400. The library is on the ground floor of the Club, and measures about 20 feet by 15 feet. Its stock of books, roughly 1,000 volumes, is contained in three glazed bookcases, which would be handed over with the books. The room is capable of accommodating additional bookcases and a total stock of possibly 3,000 volumes. It is open for use on one evening only per week at present. A rent of £30 per annum is asked for the room, and the Club would bear the expense of cleaning, lighting and heating. The Club Council have appointed a small sub-committee to go into details with the Committee if the matter is pursued.
"In the event of the proposal being taken up, the use of the library would then be available to all ticket-holders in the Hull public libraries. In practice it would be used mainly by residents in the immediate district, and could not be restricted entirely to the use of the Garden Village. As a branch public library, I should recommend that its stocks be increased to at least 3.000 volumes, and that it should be open for use on five evenings a week under the charge of a girl assistant. A rough estimate of the costs on these modest lines would be: Rent £30, Services £40, Books and Binding £30, Sundries £20. Total £120.
"The initial cost of the extra shelving, books and equipment necessary to start the scheme as outlined should not exceed £250. I suggest that a small sub-committee might be appointed to confer with the Club representatives and report further on these matters."
It was later agreed that the Corporation was to pay the Club £25 per annum rent for three years. Miss Phyllis Earle was to be appointed as part-time assistant-in-charge at a salary of £50 per annum and the stock of books was to be doubled to 2,000 and eventually increased to 3,000. On 3 October 1921, it was reported to the Public Libraries Committee that Miss Phyllis Earle had been assisting in the work of preparation. The stock of 1,000 volumes had already been augmented to the extent of a similar number from the Central stock and recent purchases. A small issue desk and further shelving was needed.
At the meeting of the Public Libraries Committee on 7 November 1921, a letter from the Garden Village Company's solicitors, T. Priestman & Sons, was read. This stated that the Club Committee had no power to deal with the matter.
The Garden Village Company will be prepared to deal with the Public Libraries Committee on much the same lines as soon as they have thrashed out the matter with the Club Committee.
A letter had also been received from the secretary of the Garden Village Company. This stated that the Company was prepared to let a shop, now empty, for 5, 7 or 10 years at, say, £1 rental, the Public Libraries Committee to pay rates, heating, lighting, cleaning and all other expenses. The Libraries sub-committee had previously inspected the former Hammond's ironmongery shop next to the archway and, as it measured 26 feet by 18 feet, it was more suitable than the room in the Club House. They recommended that the Committee accept the Garden Village Company's generous offer.
Some delay then took place and, presumably, the library in the Club House continued to open on one evening a week but it is not known whether the extra books were removed by the Public Libraries Department. Eventually the shop was leased and work took place to install the shelving and it was decided that the opening hours be 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. daily except Wednesdays. The Branch Library at 4 The Shopping Centre opened informally on 9th October 1922 and, in the first 17 days, issued 3,322 books, a daily average of almost 200. On average, 57 books were issued for each hour that the library was open during this period.
At the meeting of the Public Libraries Committee on 6 November 1922, it was reported that the Garden Village Branch Library's small stock of books was unduly depleted. Twice as many books were being issued as had been expected and the one girl assistant had not been able to cope single-handed. An ex-assistant living near had been engaged for an hour or so daily to give assistance. The Public Libraries Committee approved of the Chief Librarian's actions.
During the 1925-26 financial year the Corporation's expenditure on the Garden Village Branch Library was £404. The stock of books was 4,167 and 43,634 books were issued during the 1925-26 financial year. For each pound of expenditure on the Garden Village Branch Library, 108 books were issued.
Hammond's shop at 5 The Shopping Centre closed in 1927. The Garden Village Company offered this larger shop to the Public Libraries Committee but the rent was to be £20 per annum and the rates were assessed at £22. After the premises had been inspected, the Committee decided to accept the Garden Village Company's offer. On 14th May, 1928, the Chief Librarian reported that it had been necessary to close the Garden Village branch for three days this week to finish the contractor's work and to move the stock. The Garden Village Library would re-open in its new premises on Friday, 18th May 1928.
In a booklet written in 1931, Mr. W.H. Bagguley, the Chief Librarian, regarded the Garden Village Library as a temporary branch. In 1931, the temporary Garden Village branch contained 6,500 books and its annual issue was 52,000. In every year since it had opened, both the stock and the annual issue had increased. After the Garden Village was sold to the Bradford Property Trust in 1950, rent increases were demanded each time the lease expired. The Garden Village Library was 'unique' in that it was the only Hull library in rented property. In 2004, it was said that the lease with Midas Homes expired in 2006 and the City Council was unlikely to renew it as an increase was expected.
The Garden Village Library closed on 30th April 2005 and the replacement library in The Mount Customer Services Centre, on Holderness Road, opened a few weeks later. Many Garden Village residents said that they much preferred the more friendly Garden Village Library. Later, a mobile library visited the Garden Village on alternate Monday afternoons and, later, it also came on alternate Thursday evenings. Planning and Listed Building Consent was given to Queensway Properties to convert the library into two flats.
Back To Top
Hull Corporation had its own Electricity Department and power station. At a meeting of the Corporation's Electricity Committee on 21 February 1924, it was reported that the total length of Garden Village streets, from the point of view of electricity mains, was 4½ miles and it would cost £14,037 to install underground mains to supply all the houses. If overhead mains were installed, the cost would be £4,000 cheaper but extra wayleases would be required because of the large number of trees.
It was recommended that electricity be supplied to the central area of the Garden Village: Elm Avenue, Maytree Avenue, Lime Tree Avenue, Cherry Tree Avenue, Beech Avenue, Maple Grove, the Oval and part of Lilac Avenue. It was thought that supplying electricity to about 250 houses, the Shopping Centre and public buildings would form a nucleus from which other extensions could take place. When a survey of 232 houses was done, 40 desired electricity to be installed and 46 showed a favourable interest. It seems that the tenants had to pay for the cost of having their houses wired up for electric lighting.
The underground mains were laid and electricity was installed in houses where the tenant wished to have it. Initially in Maple Grove, a cable was laid under the footpath only at the south side. When some houses on the north side of Maple Grove had electricity installed, the supply cable had to cross the road. Surprisingly, 75 years later, these houses were still getting their electricity from the mains at the other side of the road.
Some Laburnum Avenue residents then showed an interest in having electricity and houses were circularised in January 1925. Only 39 were in favour of having electricity but the Electricity Committee decided that, if another 14 residents took the supply, the Electricity Engineer was authorised to proceed with laying mains down Laburnum Avenue.
In 1924, Reckitt & Sons Ltd started building houses just outside the Garden Village in James Reckitt Avenue. When they were asked in 1925 if they would like an electricity supply to these houses, they replied declining the offer for the time being.
Back To Top
Holderness Road Trams
The Hull Street Car Company's Holderness Road service from Saville Street to Durham Street started in April 1875. Trams were pulled by two horses. The depot and stables, in what is now Jesmond Gardens, were used as a warehouse by Brookes Hardware in recent years. The route was extended to the Crown Inn in 1887 and some more premises were built opposite there. The horse tram company was bought by the Hull Corporation and the City's Holderness Road electric tramway to the Crown Inn opened on 10th April 1990. This service 'H' was extended along the centre of the dual carriageway to Aberdeen Street on 27th March 1903 and a new tram depot was opened nearby on what is now the entrance to Morrison's supermarket, The Holderness Road tram route was extended to Ings Road on 7th September 1925.
In the early days of the Garden Village, the Holderness Road trams were the only form of public transport to the City Centre. Later there was a choice of using a bus but the Holderness Road trams remained popular and they continued running until a few months after the 1939-45 war started.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Buses
In 1914, residents of James Reckitt Avenue had quite a long way to walk to catch a tram. Around 1920, the Blue Bus Company, run by ex-servicemen, started a bus service from the Town to the Garden Village. The route was via Holderness Road, Craven Street and Newbridge Road.
This bus service was not a financial success and the Blue Bus Company was in financial difficulties by 1923. The City Transport Manager planned to start bus services to the Garden Village via Dansom Lane on 28th March 1923, shortly after the roads were adopted, anticipating that the Blue Bus Company would go out of business. Councillors who supported the British Legion were keen to support the ex-servicemen running the Blue Bus Company. At the request of the Tramways Committee, negotiations took place with the Blue Bus Company and, on 23rd April 1923, an offer of £975 was made for the Blue Bus Company, including their three buses, which were a Ford, a Commer and a Traffic. This offer was accepted, the Company was taken over on 4th May 1923, and the eight ex-servicemen who ran it were given jobs with the Corporation to continue to run the same bus route. This service was known as the Garden Village buses and the terminus was extended to the City boundary on James Reckitt Avenue near where Gillshill Road was to be built. The Corporation then decided that pensioner fares and the children's fare of 1/2d. during school hours applied to the Garden Village buses. Official bus stops were sited in Newbridge Road. A return fare of 2d. was introduced for travel between the James Reckitt Avenue terminus and Morrill Street.
The Garden Village buses had solid tyres and houses in Craven Street and Newbridge Road used to vibrate when these buses passed. In 1928, the City Transport General Manager received a letter from Mr. Carlill, the secretary of the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd, drawing attention to the desirability of the Garden Village bus route being via James Reckitt Avenue instead of Lilac Avenue as many complaints of ceilings being damaged had been received and there was a danger to pedestrians and other traffic owing to the trees, the narrowness of Lilac Avenue and the buses taking sharp turnings. It seems that the solid tyred Garden Village buses continued to use Lilac Avenue.
The City boundary was extended on 1st April 1930 and Sutton then became part of Hull. The Corporation's Transport Manager recommended that the Garden Village Bus Service be extended along Gillshill Road into Sutton, forming a loop in Sutton, and returning along the same route. One extra bus was to be put on the route.
It would seem that there was some problem after the route was extended to Sutton as, at the Tramways Committee meeting on 15th April 1930, Southcoates Ward Councillor Till raised the question of the Garden Village bus service and whether anything could be done to improve it. At a meeting of the Transport Staff Sub-Committee on 20th May 1930, Alderman Stark of Southcoates Ward raised a question in regard to the provision of shelters on the Garden Village Bus Route. In June 1930, the secretary of the Southcoates Ward Labour Association wrote asking the Transport Committee to consider the advisability of running a 10 minute bus service from Paragon Station to Garden Village, also to increase the number of buses linking up Garden Village with Sutton. The Garden Village Bus Route via Newbridge Road ended in 1930 and the number 45 service to the Preston Road Estate then used Newbridge Road with a much more frequent service.
Back To Top
Garden Village Buses via Dansom Lane
In 1923, the Corporation introduced two bus services to the Garden Village. Both services left the Town via Alfred Gelder Street, Drypool Bridge and Clarence Street and continued along Dansom Lane. The number 33 went via Endymion Street, New Buckingham Street and Lilac Avenue, while the number 39 left James Reckitt Avenue at Chestnut Grove, went along Lilac Avenue to Laburnum Avenue and then continued along James Reckitt Avenue to the terminus at the City boundary near where Gillshill Road was to be built.
After the City's boundary was extended in 1930, the number 33 was re-numbered 40 and the route was extended to a terminus on James Reckitt Avenue near Ings Road. The number 39 service was extended along Gillshill Road to a terminus near Tweendykes Road in 1930 and was re-numbered 33 and some of these buses went further to Sutton Annexe (now Princess Royal Hospital) at visiting times from 2nd November 1931.
Back To Top
Holderness Road Trolley Buses
The Holderness Road trams were withdrawn on 17 February 1940 and the number 64 trolleybus service started the next day. Later, a number 68 trolley service which did not go the full distance was run at peak times. After some air raids in the 1939-45 war, the trolleybus services were disrupted as, to avoid unexploded bombs, they could not make a detour as the petrol buses could. Also, the trolleybuses could not run if the trolley wires were down when the building they had been fixed to had been bombed but the wires were quickly repaired and the trolleybuses resumed services.
In the early 1950s, there were long queues at the trolleybus stops when Hull City fans were going to a match. The number 64 trolleybus service was withdrawn on 21st September 1963. There were then several bus services on Holderness Road going to the outlying estates.
Back To Top
Post War Bus Services
In 1987, work was being carried out widening Stoneferry Road and, because of delays there, many more Bransholme buses were re-routed via Lilac Avenue. Many Lilac Avenue residents complained about the excessive number of buses passing their houses and, much to the disgust of some James Reckitt Avenue residents, bus services using Lilac Avenue were re-routed along James Reckitt Avenue in September 1990. In recent years, there have been many re-numbered and re-routed bus services using Holderness Road and James Reckitt Avenue.
A number 35 and 36 Royale bus service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays was started by the City Council in April 1988 but did not last very long as it was poorly used. This was a circular route. The 35 left the coach station and went via Hessle Road, St. Georges Road, Albert Avenue, Chanterlands Avenue, Park Avenue, Newland Avenue, Clough road, Stoneferry Road, Chamberlain Road, Lilac Avenue, Elm Avenue, Village Road, Holderness Road and Drypool Bridge to the Coach Station. The 36 used the same route in the opposite direction. By September 1988, these buses were running on Thursdays and Fridays only and the services were withdrawn in April 1989.
The section of Mount Pleasant between Holderness Road and Stoneferry Road opened in October 1988 and the buses which had used Dansom Lane then used Holderness Road and Mount Pleasant. At first, there were long delays at the Holderness Road traffic lights at peak times for southbound Mount Pleasant traffic and the number 9 and 15 buses often took five minutes when travelling along Mount Pleasant towards Holderness Road.
The number of passengers on the buses was falling as more and more Hull people acquired cars. Hull Corporation Transport tried to maintain frequent services and low fares but the undertaking was becoming unprofitable. The Conservative Government did not like bus services being subsidised from the rates and decreed that Local Authorities could not run transport services. Hull Corporation Transport was given to the workers. After a while, the workers sold out to Stagecoach and that company reduced the frequency of services and increased fares. A number 70 minibus Stagecoach service started using Laburnum Avenue on 15th December 1997. This was a subsidised service between Maybury Road and Summergroves Way via the City Centre. Buses running in both directions turn off down Laburnum Avenue and go down Chamberlain Road to the Stoneferry Road roundabout and then return via Chamberlain Road and Laburnum Avenue to continue their journey along Holderness Road. At first, this service was Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only but it now runs Monday to Saturday as number 50 going to Hull Royal Infirmary.
Back To Top
The War Years
During the 1914-18 war, no bombs dropped in the Garden Village. Zeppelins passed overhead but the nearest street affected by bombing was Waller Street, which was on Holderness Road near the present Mount Pleasant. Many young men volunteered for the armed forces and, in 1914, a Corporation tram, bedecked with recruiting adverts, was running along Holderness Road. Volunteers were asked to jump on for a free ride to the City Hall to enlist. There were many casualties in the Great War and conscription was introduced in 1916. The war memorial at Reckitt's in Dansom Lane records that 153 employees were killed. Some of these young men would have been Garden Village residents.
Life was hard during the 1914-18 war. Dependants of servicemen only received small allowances. Owing to shipping losses by U boats, many things were in short supply. Local people were very upset because Hull had no anti-aircraft guns and, when Zeppelins came over, they could drop bombs unhindered. Towards the end of the war, National Kitchens were introduced. These were usually in shops and distributed food to poor people. Many servicemen were injured and, after the war, there were many men in Hull who had lost an arm or a leg.
When the second world war started in 1939, the Nation was more prepared. Gas-masks had been issued. Conscription was introduced at once. Identity Cards were issued and food rationing started. Air-raid sirens were installed on the roofs of schools and other public buildings and a policeman was stationed there to switch them on when informed by phone of a red alert. During the war, the sirens in Hull sounded on 815 occasions and there were 82 air raids when high explosive or incendiary bombs dropped within the Hull boundary.
Schoolchildren were evacuated to safer parts of the country in September 1939 but many returned to Hull after about six months as there had been no bombing. Unlike the first world war, Hull was well defended with anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons and searchlights. Not very far from the Garden Village, there was a battery of 4.5 inch anti-aircraft guns on a school playing field in Reeds Lane, off Southcoates Avenue. There was a well-organised Civil Defence force with air-raid wardens, rescue teams and fire-watchers equipped with stirrup pumps. An Auxiliary Fire Service augmented the local Fire Brigade. A large static water tank was constructed on the Holderness House Paddock so that fire engines would be able to get water if the mains supply had been bombed. As the Reckitt's Girls Hostel had thick walls and concrete floors, it was taken over by the Civil Defence and used as a control centre.
Air-raid shelters were supplied to houses. The earlier ones were 'Anderson' shelters made of curved corrugated iron and these were usually installed with the floor about two feet below ground level. Later, brick shelters were supplied with a reinforced concrete flat roof. The City was blacked out at night. Lamp posts had white rings painted around them so that people would not bump into them in the dark. People were getting used to a life of shortages and rationing of food and clothing when the bombing raids started.
The Garden Village was badly damaged in air raids. It was not bad at first. On 26th June 1940, a small bomb landed on the ten-foot between 1 Lilac Avenue and 202 James Reckitt Avenue but the crater was filled in and concreted over the next day. About 25 nearby houses were slightly damaged. There was great damage in the Garden Village in the May Blitz on the nights of 7 & 8 May, 1941. Some people were killed and many were injured. Many houses had broken windows and dislodged tiles on the roof. The streets were covered with shrapnel and nose cones from anti-aircraft shells. 18-20, 22-24, and 17-19 Elm Avenue were destroyed, together with 107-109(flats) and 139-141 James Reckitt Avenue. The Village Hall was rendered unusable and the Club House was badly damaged.
The next bad air-raid was on the night of 18th July 1941. 70 Beech Avenue and 2 Chestnut Grove, 37,39,41,43,45,47 Lilac Avenue, 94,96 and 63 Lilac Avenue, 20,22 and 33,35,37,39 Lime Tree Avenue, 83,85,87,89 James Reckitt Avenue and 8,9,10,11,12,13,14 and 15 Derwent Street were destroyed. In this raid, it is said that an 'Anderson' shelter was blown right across James Reckitt Avenue and through the roof of the Civil Defence centre (now Pashby House). This was the raid when about three-quarters of Reckitt's Dansom Lane Works were destroyed and the bombs in the Garden Village might have been intended for Reckitt's.
There was another raid on 18th August 1941 and the house and shop 1 The Shopping Centre, 52 Beech Avenue, and 1 Cherry Tree Avenue and 6 Lime Tree Avenue were destroyed.
A large number of houses were damaged in these raids and numerous building workers were drafted into Hull from other cities. When damaged roofs were repaired, old tiles were re-used and new tiles were often fixed in the shape of a victory 'V'. Broken windows were repaired with what glass was available and distorted glass of greenhouse quality was often used. When glass became unavailable, translucent waterproof cloth was fixed over broken windows.
St. Columba's Church was destroyed in the next to last air raid of the war. Bombs dropped in the early hours of 14th July 1943 and the Church and some nearby shops were completely destroyed. The Church Hall, in Laburnum Avenue, was not badly damaged and services were held there until September 1960. Canon E. Arthur Berry, the Vicar of Drypool, claimed that Drypool was the most bombed parish of the most bombed town in England. He remained in Hull throughout the war and left the parish in 1947.
When families were bombed out, accommodation had to be found for them. Many bombed out families in the Garden Village were re-housed in vacant houses in the estate. The Dresser family were bombed out of a semi-detached house in Lime Tree Avenue and were re-housed at 81 Village Road, a large detached house once occupied by Mr. W.D. Priestman. Mrs. Dresser was still there more than 60 years later. There were some unusual cases of war damage. An R.A.F. Oxford plane crash-landed on the privet hedge between 103 and 105 Laburnum Avenue on 13th October 1942; the wings were broken off the plane, and the rear walls of both houses were slightly damaged. The fuselage of the plane looked undamaged, the pilot was unhurt and the flattened privet hedge eventually recovered. When the barrage balloon on the Triangle was being winched in on 7th December 1942, there was a strong wind blowing and the cable slightly damaged 12 Elm Avenue; and 17 Village Road was slightly damaged by an anti-aircraft shell on 9 March 1943. Later in the war, iron railings were removed from houses and it as said that they would be used for the war effort. The iron railings alongside the Laburnum Avenue ten-foot were cut off and also those alongside Elstronwick Avenue and Durham Street. The iron back gates were cut off in the Garden Village and the iron posts of the front gates were removed. The iron railings between Maple Grove houses and the static water tank in the paddock were left and an iron gate to the ten-foot at the side of 11 Village Road seems to have been overlooked as it was still there in the 1970s. Everyone was overjoyed when the war ended in 1945 and huge crowds assembled in Queens Gardens for the victory celebrations.
Back To Top
After the War
There were shortages immediately after the war. Food, clothing and coal were still rationed. Bread rationing was introduced after the war had ended. Building materials were in short supply and rebuilding of bombed properties was not done immediately. Rebuilding was eventually done and it was paid for by the War Damage Commission. Damage to the Club House was repaired but the Village Hall was not rebuilt. When a house, part of a block, was rebuilt, it was built to match the rest of the block at the front but rear single-storey parts, originally with tiled roofs, were rebuilt with flat concrete roofs. From the front, the only thing to show that the house was rebuilt is the different type of iron gutter and supporting brackets. 52 Beech Avenue is an example of a rebuilt house matching the rest of the block from the front. The house and shop, 1 The Shopping Centre, is an outstanding example of a rebuilt property, perfectly matching the rest of the building at the front. A large concrete raft was made over the bomb crater before this shop was rebuilt. Although the foundations differ from the original, there has been no differential settlement.
When the whole of a block, or a pair of semi-detached houses, was rebuilt, it did not perfectly match the original. These houses were designed by the Garden Village Company's architects, Horth & Andrew, and were sited on the original foundations. As building timber was rationed, these houses were built with concrete ground floors and metal window frames. As they were rebuilt without fire-places in the bedrooms, these houses have far fewer chimney pots than the original house. These houses were pebble-dashed instead of being roughcast and, in some cases, the pebble-dashing has not worn very well. These houses have a post war utility appearance and are not as attractive as the original Runton & Barry houses.
Pre-fabricated bungalows were built on the Holderness House Paddock after the static water tank was removed. They were the aluminium type and were said to suffer from condensation. When they were built, the Paddock was still owned by the Holderness House Trustees.
Back To Top
The End of the Garden Village (Hull) Limited
The Garden Village Company continued until 1950. Sir Philip Reckitt had died in 1944 and his two daughters were now the controlling shareholders of the Company. Because of inflation, house maintenance was becoming expensive but the rents were controlled at 1914 prices with a small percentage increase. Sir Philip Reckitt's daughters, Mrs Barbara Pollock and Mrs Elizabeth Holt, were probably influenced by their husbands when they decided to give the tenants the opportunity to buy their houses at low tenanted possession prices. The scheme was initiated by Colonel V.H. Holt and Mr John Wood of Carlill, Ferguson and Burkinshaw under the advice of the estate agents, J.F. Haller & Co. There was a good response and many tenants wished to buy their houses at the assessed tenanted possession prices, which were considerably lower than vacant possession prices.
Whilst the necessary arrangements were being made, the Bradford Property Trust made an offer for the whole of the Garden Village properties, comprising 626 houses, flats and shops. Ultimately their offer was accepted, but only on the condition that they would honour the arrangements for the sale of the houses to tenants who had agreed to buy. This was carried out by the Bradford Property Trust. At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Garden Village (Hull) Ltd on 26th October 1950 it was resolved that the Company be wound up voluntarily and that Mr John Wood, Chartered Accountant, be appointed liquidator. Some tenants had not been able to accept the offer to buy their houses and some had been able to buy but had preferred to remain tenants as the rents were cheap. In later years, when the rents were increased, some of these tenants regretted their decision not to buy. Some resented that their neighbours had become home owners and they had not.
Back To Top
The Bradford Property Trust
On 23rd January 1951, the Bradford Property Trust wrote to the Hull Corporation offering two plots of Garden Village land known as the Oval and the Playground. Subject to suitable restrictions and safeguards as to their future use, they were offered to the Corporation without any cash consideration. The Parks, Recreation Grounds and General Purposes Sub-Committee resolved that the Corporation agree in principle to the taking over of these two plots of land, but before entering into any agreement with the Bradford Property Trust Ltd, the Town Clerk report to the Committee on the conditions relating to the use of the land. At the meeting of the Parks & Burials Committee on 11 April 1951, the Town Clerk reported that there would be no conditions relating to the use of the Oval and the Playground except that the land should be held and maintained for the purposes of the Open Spaces Act 1906. He stated that the Bradford Property Trust also offered the Corporation six additional small plots of land on the same terms and that he had received a request that the Corporation pay the Trust's legal costs in connection with the matter.
It was resolved:-
(a) That the Oval and the Playground be taken over for the above purposes at the nominal price of £1;
(b) that the six additional pieces of land be similarly taken over;
(c) that the question of the treatment of these sites be referred to the Parks, Recreation Grounds and General Purposes Sub-Committee and
(d) that the request of the Trust with regard to legal costs be not acceded to.
One of these small pieces of land was a circular island in the middle of the road at the junction of Lilac Avenue and Maytree Avenue. The Corporation removed this island and tarmacked over it, making a wider junction. Some Maytree Avenue residents felt that the Corporation had not acted in accordance with the spirit of the agreement made with the Bradford Property Trust.
Back To Top
Hull City Police Boys Club
The Club House had been leased to the Hull City Police Boys Club for a peppercorn rent provided that they kept the building in good repair. In 1953, a large extension was built at the back of the Club House. The rear wall of the billiard room was removed and a large gymnasium was added to this room. The former billiard room then became a stage where a boxing ring was placed. When boxing matches were held, rows of seats were placed in the gymnasium.
Back To Top
Archbishop William Temple School
Many Hull Church of England school buildings had been destroyed during the war. St. Peter's Church School, Drypool, had been in use but some had closed before the war. The war damage compensation from these bombed buildings was used to build a new school on the Education Committee's recreation ground in Westcott Street. Archbishop William Temple School opened in 1952 and it was for children aged five to eleven. Although some of the money for its building was compensation from Drypool's St. Peter's School, some came other former church schools in the Hull Deanery and so Archbishop William Temple School was a Deanery school, not controlled by the Parish of Drypool. It became a popular school and was not large enough to accommodate all the children whose parents applied for them to attend. Many children living nearby had to attend other schools. The school only occupied part of the recreation ground site and Mersey Street School continued to use the field for games.
Back To Top
Building materials became less scarce and although the City Corporation concentrated on building council houses, eventually consent was given for some private houses to be built. In the 1950s,the Corporation bought the Acacia Drive land from the Holderness House Trustees and also wished to buy some land between Acacia Drive and Village Road. They wished to extend the Acacia Drive estate when the prefabs were demolished but the Holderness House Trustees sold this land to a builder, Stan Spruit. After some delay in getting planning permission, Stan Spruit built 20 semi-detached houses in Village Road in 1958. These houses were probably the first new private houses to be built in Hull after the war.
The site of the Village Hall remained vacant until 1959. Seven bungalows were built on the site and they were completed in 1960. The Holderness House Trustees sold some land, which had been an orchard, south of North Lodge in Laburnum Avenue. Five privately owned bungalows were built here in 1961 and North Lodge, which was originally in the Holderness House grounds, was now outside the grounds. Two of the shops in the Shopping Centre became vacant and the Bradford Property Trust converted them into flats in 1962 and 1964. The remaining four shops were then a hairdressers, a grocers, the Public Library and a post office which sold newspapers and sweets.
Back To Top
The rebuilding of St. Columba's Church
The bombed church was not rebuilt for many years and three vicars were involved in the rebuilding plans; Canon E.A. Berry, who left in 1947, Canon C.R. Forder, who served until 1955, and Rev. J.W. Roxburgh. Hull Corporation planned to make Holderness Road a dual carriageway and so the building line near the bombed church was set back another 20 feet. Because of this, St. Columba's Church could not be rebuilt the same as it was at the expense of the War Damage Commission. Compensation payments amounted to £58,000 but this was not enough to pay for the new church, designed by Milner & Craze. The people of the Parish raised £15,000 and money was still being collected after building work had started by the firm, Houlton & Grant. Children at Archbishop William Temple School donated money and some, who had given half a crown, went to the site on a Saturday morning and laid a brick. The old church was not completely demolished. Some walls at the Holderness Road end remain to half their height, as do the pillars in the front half of the nave. The foundation stone was laid by the Princess Royal, Princess Mary, in person on 4th October 1958. The building now has two foundation stones laid by the same person, one by remote control and one personally. The mural on the east wall was painted by Robert Hendra and Geoffrey Harper. They were also responsible for the stained glass windows. In the west window, a large figure of St. Columba is shown standing on an island. The seven windows in the side chapel represent; St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. Columba, St. Aidan, the founding of the Church Missionary Society, Bishop Samuel Crowther, and All Saints. The pitch pine pews had originally been installed in St. Clement's Church, Salford and they provided seating for over 400 people in the nave. The organ was a complete rebuild of the organ that used to be in St. James Church. The Hall & Broadfield Organ Company were responsible for the work and they were advised by Mr Eric Bell, a Garden Village resident, who was the organist of St. Mary's, Beverley. At the time, there was expectation that electricity would become cheap as a result of it being produced by nuclear power. Electric under floor heating was installed. This was not a success. It was very expensive and, after a few years, sections of it were not working after wires broke as a result of movement between the slabs of Bison interlocking flooring. However, the Church was well heated when it was first installed. As the Church was not rebuilt on exactly the same site, it was regarded as a new Church and was consecrated by Archbishop Ramsey in September 1960. The Church Hall reverted to being a church hall and the 1919 ex army hut, known as the Dalton Hall, was used by the Sunday School and uniformed organisations. After the electric heating failed, gas heaters were used for a time but later a Pressuraire heater blowing warm air into the Church was installed. The pews were taken out, carpets fitted and comfortable chairs installed when the Church was reordered in 1996. Before the Church was rebuilt in 1960, the grounds extended up to the Holderness Road pavement but the land needed for the dualling of Holderness Road was later sold to the Corporation and is now an amenity garden area. A shelter with a seat in it was erected on the corner. Plans to dual Holderness Road were later scrapped. The shelter on the corner was removed after complaints against the youths who congregated there.
Back To Top
Alterations to Holderness House
The Holderness House Trustees used the money from the sale of pieces of land to build an extension to Holderness House. This was designed by the architect, Bernard Blanchard, in 1965, before Holderness House became a listed building. Some tall chimney pots on Holderness House were removed during the 1960s. Many people were sorry to see these twisty chimney pots go. After Holderness House became a listed building, the Planning Department agreed to the architect's request to remove some tall chimney-stacks on the Holderness Road side without an application for listed building consent being made. The Holderness House fence continued to deteriorate. It seems that the Trustees were more interested in expanding the accommodation than maintaining the existing property.
Back To Top
The Garden Village Conservation Area
The Civic Amenities Act was made in 1967 but many local planning authorities were slow to apply for conservation area designation. The Minister of Housing and Local Government wrote to local authorities and, at a meeting of the Planning Sub-Committee on 5th February 1969, the Town Planning Officer reported that it was necessary to inform the Minister of Housing and Local Government of probable conservation areas and thereafter, if considered necessary, to consider the constitution of a Conservation Area Advisory Committee as suggested by the Minister. The Planning Department then drew up plans showing the boundaries of three probable conservation areas and, at the meeting of the Planning Sub-Committee on 30 April 1969, it was resolved:-
(a) that the Minister of Housing and Local Government be informed that consideration is being given to the designation of three areas as conservation areas namely:
The Garden Village
Parliament Street, Whitefriargate, Trinity House Lane and Posterngate, and
Charterhouse and the Masters House, Charterhouse Lane.
(b) that the Town Planning Officer submit a further report in the matter, and
(c) that the consideration of an Advisory Committee be deferred pending consideration of the report referred to in (b). At this time the Council was controlled by the Labour Party and Alderman Body was the chairman of the Town Planning Committee. It would seem that plans for conservation areas would not have been drawn up if the Minister had not required it.
At the meeting of the Town Planning Committee on 15 May 1969, Alderman Alec-Smith moved an amendment that the whole of the Old Town, the Town Docks, such warehouses in the Town Docks area as are listed as buildings of special architectural or historic interest, and the Queens Gardens should be included in a conservation area. This amendment was lost and the boundaries of the proposed conservation areas were not changed.
Conservative gains in the elections in May 1969 resulted in the Conservatives gaining control of the Council and Alderman Alec-Smith was appointed chairman of the Planning Committee. He was keen on the preservation of buildings and started making plans on how the conservation areas would be enhanced when they were designated. He was keen that an Article 4 Direction be made for the Garden Village so that alterations to windows and the building of porches would require planning consent. There was also talk of the street lights being replaced with a Victorian style but with electric lights in them. Alderman Alec-Smith was very keen that the Old Number 7 warehouse in Castle Street should be preserved but he was out of step with his party on this. He was replaced as the leader of the Council. In May 1970, the Conservatives were still in control of the Council. Alderman Alec-Smith was installed as Lord Mayor and Councillor Powell was appointed chairman of the Planning Committee. An official from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government met the Planning Sub-Committee on 10th June 1970 and then viewed the three proposed conservation areas. It would seem that the Whitefriargate and Charterhouse proposed conservation areas were not considered good enough as, on 15th October 1970, only the Garden Village Conservation Area was designated by the Secretary of State. Nothing was done to formulate plans to enhance the Conservation Area and an Advisory Committee was not formed. It would seem that other council members were not as keen on conservation as Alderman Alec-Smith.
At the elections in May 1971, the Labour Party regained control of the City Council and they showed little interest in the Garden Village Conservation Area. Rupert Alec-Smith was a leading member of the East Riding Georgian Society, which suggested to the Inspector of Historic Buildings in 1971 that Holderness House, the Garden Village Shopping Centre and the Club House be made listed buildings. These were listed grade II in 1972.
Back To Top
The Founding of the Garden Village Society
In August 1971, the City Council published a planning application to build houses and bungalows in Acacia Drive after the demolition of the pre-fabs. Many local people were concerned about this as, although the area had been designated as a conservation area, the plans made no concessions to this and the dwellings were like others being erected by the Council. A post and rail fence was proposed along the Laburnum Avenue frontage. Local people got together, the Garden Village Preservation Society was formed and a petition was sent in to the Council. The plans were amended and some concessions were made. One block of two-storey houses was taken out and replaced with four bungalows, the colour of the bricks and roof tiles was changed and the proposed post and rail fence along the Laburnum Avenue frontage was replaced with a privet hedge. At its first Annual General Meeting in St. Columba's Dalton Hall on 18th May 1972, when 100 people were present, the name of the Society was changed to Garden Village Society as its aims were not solely preservation.
Back To Top
The Land between 8 and 10 Maple Grove
One of the people present at that meeting was Mr W.G. Hodgkinson of 25 Aberdeen Street who was interested in an outline planning application to build on the land between 8 and 10 Maple Grove. This land, formerly the Garden Village nursery garden had been owned by Mr Harry Filburn of 8 Maple Grove. Mr Filburn had recently died and his executors intended to put the house and the land up for sale at an auction with outline planning permission for the development of the land. The meeting discussed this land and it was thought to be not wide enough for a pair of semi-detached houses. Mr Hodgkinson said that he thought a bungalow would look very nice on the land. In representations to the Planning Department, the Garden Village Society stated that only one detached dwelling should be built on the land. Outline planning permission for a detached dwelling was granted. At the auction at Dunnings in Beverley in October 1972, the land between 8 and 10 Maple Grove, and behind 4, 6 and 8, was bought by Mr W.G. Hodgkinson, who paid a high price, outbidding a local doctor and several builders. Mr Hodgkinson used the land for storing collected materials and did not immediately submit detailed plans. His bungalow was not built until about twelve years later. A large concrete base was laid in 1983, shortly before the second planning consent would have elapsed and the bungalow was completed in 1984. Mrs Hodgkinson paid for a modern kitchen to be installed. For about ten years, the bungalow was not occupied and, in 1995, the City Council started procedures to compulsorily purchase it as a vacant property. Mr Hodgkinson then decided to live at the bungalow. Mr I. Harris, a nephew of Mr Hodgkinson, cleared out the bungalow and decorated it. After carpets were laid, Mr Harris and Mr Hodgkinson went to live there. Mr Hodgkinson's wife was in hospital. Mrs Hodgkinson died on 27th June 1995. Her body was brought to the bungalow and, at her funeral on 7th July 1995, she was interred in the back garden by undertakers. Mr Hodgkinson then asked Mr Harris to leave and Mrs Pat Atkinson and her mother came to live in the bungalow. Mr Hodgkinson continued collecting things, especially after the death of Mrs Atkinson's mother. Complaints were made to the Council and Mr Hodgkinson was asked to clear the garden. Mr W.G. Hodgkinson died on 26th December 2003. A large amount of material was then cleared from the front garden, from inside the bungalow and around Mrs Hodgkinson's grave. Mr Hodgkinson's funeral service was held at St. Michael's church, Skidby, on 12th January 2004 and this was followed by his interment at 8A Maple Grove.
Back To Top
The closure of the Garden Village Post Office
The Garden Village Post Office closed in 1986. The Government policy was to reduce the number of sub post offices and concentrate post office business in the Crown Post Offices. Garden Village residents were opposed to the plan to close the Post Office and many sent letters of objection. Mrs Evelyn Grange worked tirelessly collecting signatures for a petition and County Councillor Mrs Sue Sallinger also opposed the closure. These protests were of no avail; the Post Office closed and Mr and Mrs Stevens, who had run it for many years, left the premises. Since the Post Office closed, the shop has been used for other businesses but none have been successful. The closure of the Post Office affected trade at the shop next to the archway at 4 The Shopping Centre and, eventually, it also became vacant. In 1998, the Bradford Property Trust applied for planning permission to change the vacant shops at 4 and 6 The Shopping Centre into flats. This was granted and the work was later carried out after the Shopping centre had been sold to Midas Homes.
Back To Top
The closure of Archbishop William Temple School
Archbishop William Temple School was originally for children aged 5 to 11 and there was just one classroom for each year. In 1968, a schools reorganisation was carried out by the City Council and Junior High Schools for children aged 9 to 12 were formed. Archbishop William Temple School became a Primary School for children aged 5 to 8 and classes were held in the Hall and the entrance to accommodate the increased number of children forming two classes for each year. Requests to the Education Authority to build extra classrooms were refused. The school was oversubscribed and grandmothers often called to register a child as a future pupil on the day of the birth. In 1984, the County Council decided to scrap Junior High Schools and revert to 5 to 11 primary schools and 11 to 16 secondary schools in 1988. A scheme was agreed between the Diocese and the Education Authority for Estcourt Senior High School to become a Church of England Senior High School, Alderman Cogan C of E Junior High School to become a Church of England Primary School and Archbishop William Temple School to become a State Primary School and take the children from Mersey Primary School, which was to close. There was much opposition to this but the plan was approved by the Government. Mersey Street parents objected to the closure of their school and, eventually, this school was given a reprieve, the Mersey Junior High School buildings were demolished, a playing field made and an extension built for the Primary School. A large extension was built at the Westcott Street School so that it could be an open plan school taking an increased number of children. Some temporary classrooms were installed while the building work was being done and the noise and dust would have been considered unacceptable in many work places. In 1988, when the reorganisation took place, few children transferred from Mersey Primary School to Westcott Street, Many parents preferred their child to remain at the Westcott Street School rather than travel further to Alderman Cogan and many Alderman Cogan children came from the catchment areas of Southcoates and Flinton Primary Schools. The Education Committee paid for extensive alterations to the Mersey Street, Westcott Street and Hopewell Road schools but educational standards do not seem to have improved as a result and despite having a Church of England Senior High School, Church of England influence on local education has been reduced as a result of losing Archbishop William Temple School.
Back To Top
The demise of the Foredyke Stream and Lambwath Stream
The City Council obtained an Act of Parliament giving them the power to fill in some open drains. The Great Culvert, where the Foredyke Stream crossed the Holderness Drain, was removed and the Foredyke Stream then flowed into the Holderness Drain. With the extra flow, it became a wider, deeper, stretch of water. The Foredyke Stream and Lambwath Stream near the Garden Village were filled in around 1973. Bricks and pieces of concrete were used and no pipes were laid. It was said that, if this resulted in drainage problems, these would be rectified. Reckitt's Recreation Ground and the land where Dunscombe Park was later built were badly affected by the filling in of the Lambwath Stream and a pipe had to be laid to rectify this. These open drains were an attractive feature of the local landscape and nature lovers were sorry to see them go. With the loss of the open drains, the height of the water table under the Garden Village has varied more seasonally and this seems to have increased the number of houses experiencing subsidence problems.
Back To Top
Street Lighting Improvements
After the 1939-45 war, the gas lights were replaced with electric lights. The lamp standards were curved at the top and were painted green. It would seem that they were never repainted and many started to rust at the bottom. Later, the filament lights in the Conservation Area were replaced with fluorescent lights, which showed up colours much better than the sodium lights used on most roads. Because of neglect of maintenance, the rusting lamp standards had to be replaced. This was done in 1997. The new lamp standards, painted green, were sited differently from the old ones and a higher standard of illumination resulted.
Back To Top
Shopping Centre Clock-Winding
A new clock was installed at the Shopping Centre after the war. It had no striking mechanism. After a few years, the clock stopped and it did not work for about 12 years. In July 1972, the clock was repaired by members of the Garden Village Society and has now been wound weekly by a team of clock-winders for more than 30 years.
Back To Top
7.5 Tonnes Weight Limit
After Mount Pleasant was completed in 1988, some heavy goods vehicles were still using Laburnum Avenue. The Garden Village Society then requested that a 3 ton weight limit be placed on the Garden Village Conservation Area. Eventually, a 7.5 tonnes weight limit was placed on Garden Village roads and many other streets on the north west side of Holderness Road. This weight limit area did not include James Reckitt Avenue, which continued to be used by heavy vehicles. The Garden Village Society asked for James Reckitt Avenue to be included in the weight limit. They were told that the police had objected to this as it would be difficult to enforce. The Garden Village Society persisted and, eventually, the 7.5 tonnes weight limit for James Reckitt Avenue was approved in September 1992. Because the £25,000 annual allocation for traffic orders had been used up, the traffic signs for the James Reckitt Avenue weight limit were not installed until June 1993.
Back To Top
Garden Village Environmental Improvements
A public exhibition was held at the Garden Village Shopping Centre in May 1990. Consultation took place but there was little unanimity about what was to be done. Low ramps with rumble strips were proposed in James Reckitt Avenue, Lilac Avenue, Laburnum Avenue and Village Road but many people criticised them. A public meeting to discuss the Transport and Environmental Proposals was held at the Club House on 7th January 1991. About 200 people were present. County Councillor Don Rose mentioned the possibility of a 20 m.p.h. speed limit in the Garden Village, which would possibly be the first in the Country. Mr G.M. Dunne, the Assistant City Engineer, spoke about proposed ramps and widening of footpaths. Mr M. Waller, the City's arboricultural officer said that felling and replanting of trees would be phased over several years as the County Council made the funds available. A representative from each Avenue was asked for to liaise with the Councils' Working Party. Several people went forward and volunteered to represent their avenue. The proposal to block off the end of little Elm Avenue and put a bay for James Reckitt Avenue buses in it was not popular and the proposal to straighten the junction of Maple Grove and Laburnum Avenue was also criticised. Eventually it was decided that Village Road was the first street for phased felling and replanting and Lilac Avenue was to be the first to have changes made. A two metre width restriction was made, nibs narrowing the carriageway were constructed and the priorities were changed at the junction with Chestnut Grove. Although the residents attending the Lilac Avenue street meeting had agreed to this, it angered some Chestnut Grove residents who felt that they should have been consulted. Eventually, this scheme petered out; felling and replanting was only done in Village Road, Maple Grove and Lilac Avenue, and Lilac Avenue was the only street to have changes made to the carriageway. The Holderness Road ends of Village Road and Laburnum Avenue were narrowed, thus undoing the work done in 1931 to improve the entrance to Laburnum Avenue.
Back To Top
A review of Hull's listed buildings was carried out in 1993. Many Garden Village buildings were added to the list when it was revised in 1994. In addition to Holderness House, the Shopping Centre and the Clubhouse, the list included the Statue of James Stuart J.P.; numbers 1, 3, 67, 69, 71, 77, 79 and 81 Village Road; numbers 1 to 16 The Oval; 44 Elm Avenue; and the Juliet Reckitt Homes, Frederic I. Reckitt Homes and the Holderness House North Lodge, Laburnum Avenue.
Back To Top
Garden Village Almshouses
The three sets of Garden Village almshouses each had their own trustees. In 1991, the trustees of the Sir James Reckitt Charity received consent from the Charities Commission to transfer the Sir James Reckitt Village Haven to the Railway Housing Association. This body received grants from the Government and was able to make improvements to the Village Haven. In 1999, the trustees of the Juliet Reckitt Homes and those of the Frederic I. Reckitt Homes decided to transfer their almshouses to the Pickering and Ferens Housing Association. Improvements were later made to these almshouses; the 8 Juliet Reckitt Homes were altered to make 4 larger bungalows and the same was done to 4 of the Frederick Reckitt Homes. Eight of the Frederick Reckitt Homes were not converted at that time as the residents preferred to have a small dwelling. Two of these were converted into a large bungalow in 2004 and then six of the small bungalows remained.
Back To Top
There was heavy rainfall in June 2007 and the water table rose in the Garden Village. The original Garden Village houses have a timber ground floor with some loose boards under the stairs so that workmen can crawl under the floor. On 15th June, when there was flooding from the Wolds in Kirk Ella and Hessle, many Garden Village residents could smell water under their floor. The water table fell a little but, after more heavy rain, it rose again. On 25th June, the water table rose above ground level. Gardens and the Oval were flooded. The water table remained high until 5 a.m. on 26th June. Then it started to fall and, except for a few pools, the flooding had all gone by 9 a.m. The Garden Village got off lightly compared with some parts of Hull. Some people were only affected by some doors sticking. Some houses had to have the ground floor replaced. The Club House had the most damage. The gymnasium has a low floor level and was flooded. The cellar, containing the gas boiler and gas and electricity meters, was full of water. The damage was so extensive that the Club House was out of action until February 2008.
The Character of the Garden Village
It is now more than fifty years since the Garden Village houses were offered to the tenants and many of the owner-occupied houses have been altered in some way. However, as almost all the buildings in the Garden Village were designed by Runton and Barry and standard building components were used, there is still a marked uniformity of the style of design. Many of the trees, planted when the houses were built, are still doing well. As the Bradford Property Trust rented houses become vacant, they are being sold and the estate is now predominantly owner occupied. There is still much of interest in the Garden Village for students of architecture. The Hull Garden Village was a pioneer housing estate in Hull and it is still a pleasant residential area. It is to be hoped that this will continue.
Back To Top