The Mainprize/Wheeler family
On Tuesday, we released a story written by Hilda Mainprize about her family. Hilda’s mother, Nigerian Aina Okolo met, Hull-born seaman George Albert Mainprize in her home town in the late 1950s. She emigrated to the region with her husband and their three children in November 1964. Aina had another child with George when she arrived in Hull and when the pair separated she made further additions to her family with partner Harry Wheeler. Today there are 30 members of her immediate family.
Read the Mainprize/Wheeler story here.
Our latest blog post highlights the sacrifices made by men and women of African descent during World War Two. It gives information about the deaths of four Black servicemen who were linked to East Yorkshire. Two of these men died of illnesses which were contracted during training at Filey, while the other two were killed in flying accidents. Click here for more information.
Our EXHIBITION Countdown!
Tomorrow marks the four-month countdown to our exhibition at the Hull History Centre. To celebrate we are releasing our exhibition poster. See our EVENTS page for further details.
The West Indian Ground Crew
On Tuesday, we released the often-forgotten story of the West Indian recruits based at RAF Hunmanby Moor, Filey. In 1944, approximately 4,000 men from the Caribbean journeyed across the Atlantic to help the war effort. After they disembarked in Britain, they were taken to East Yorkshire to complete their basic training, before being moved to various RAF bases to carry out essential work. Although most of these men were repatriated after the Second World War, a small proportion started a new life in Britain.
Click here to read the story of the West Indian Ground Crew
Click here for information on individual West Indian Recruits
Contemporary Voices: Oral history by David Watson
David Watson was born into a farming family in Jamaica. He came to visit his brother in Croydon and stayed, working initially as a chef before joining the Forces which led him to come to Leconfield as an Army Transport trainee. During his time in the forces, he served in Iraq and Kuwait. Hull has been his base since 2002 having met his wife on a night out at LAs Nightclub and subsequently raising five children here. He describes himself as having taken the long way around to become an electrician, realising his childhood ambition by starting his own electrical business and proving his teachers wrong in doing so.
The Ema Family History
Asuquo ‘Zook’ Ema is of dual Nigerian and English heritage from parents who met at Hull University. His early years were remarkable as he experienced the trauma of being caught up in the Biafran war and losing his father in the confusion. This story informs about the early years of his life as retold by his mother Wendy Ema who brought up her three children alone surviving adversity and profound loss.
*In case you missed it, we released Asuquo ‘Zook’ Ema’s oral history in the first week of April (listen to it HERE).
Lew Leslie’s Blackbird Theatre Group
The third image released as part of our new picture blog series is of Lew Leslie’s Blackbird Theatre Group. The photograph shows the African American troupe laying a wreath at the William Wilberforce monument in February 1937. Click HERE to see the image on our Picture Gallery and read all about this fantastic black and white picture on the blog post HERE
Roland Gift is regarded as one of the most famous Black singers to have lived in Hull. In the 1980s, he exploded onto the music scene as the frontman of the internationally successful band ‘Fine Young Cannibals.’ This story explores Gifts experiences as a teenager growing up in Hull, rise to stardom and return to the city to perform as a singer and actor and was written by our guest writer Thomas Burrows.
Contemporary Voices: Oral history by Val Bibby
Yesterday we released our latest Contemporary voices interview with Val Bibby. Val’s family background is not entirely known to her but she recalls that her great grandfather was from the West Indies and her grandfather was from Sri Lanka. They emigrated to Hull together on the same ship within the merchant navy as cooks. She talks about a difficult childhood peppered with racist abuse that led her to feelings of shame about her ethnic makeup. An opportunity to return into education also paved the way into exploring her own racial makeup and become more comfortable about her family's origins. This experience gave her the confidence to transform her life and make a career change after years of steady employment.
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