Hull’s sailors of African descent and the Second World War
On Monday we released a follow-up story to our feature on seamen of African descent in Hull in the twentieth century. Our latest piece focuses on a selection of men who sailed as part of the Merchant Marine during the Second World War. Many of these sailors had survived the first global conflict, however sadly died during the second.
Read the story of Hull sailors in WW2.
Fred Weeks: Flight Engineering Officer
In early 2017, we released a story on the Weeks family. This piece garnered a lot of attention and has led to the project team developing a close relationship with Richard, who has been extremely supportive of our endeavours. Recently through Caroline Gaden, Richard has found out more information about the exploits of his father during the Second World War and has kindly shared this with us for a follow-up piece on Fred which we released yesterday.
Read our blog post on Fred Weeks.
The Wyng family: Venus Ivy Wyng
Last month we were contacted by Stuart Bell, who revealed his father, Barrie was the son of Venus Ivy Wyng and therefore he was her grandson. Barrie gave us further information about the Wyng family and travelled to the opening of our East Riding Treasure House exhibition to share his collection of beautiful photographs with us. As a result, we have been able to produce an additional story on the Wyngs which has a greater focus on Venus Ivy’s branch of the family.
Read our story about Venus Ivy Wyng and her family.
“My Name is Not Uncle Tom!” - Josiah Henson in Britain 1876-1877
Yesterday we released a fantastic blog post about Josiah Henson by guest writer Dr Hannah-Rose Murray. Sadly, although there is no evidence to suggest that Henson travelled to East Yorkshire during his time in Britain, a picture of him in the Wilberforce Museum Collection and his important place in Black history has meant he is a source of interest to our project.
Read Hannah’s post about Josiah Henson.
The Chapman-Wattley family
In March we were contacted by Nadine Hodgson who had seen our blog post on the Russian Outrage. Nadine wrote, "I think that the Black man in the photo may possibly be my grandfather John James Wattley who was born in St Lucia in 1884." Nadine had already explored her family history extensively and as this story unfolded we came to realise that she was able to bring two seemingly unconnected stories together with a common familial thread, that of the Russian Outrage and Leon Riley.
Read the story on the Chapman-Wattley family.
East Riding Treasure House exhibition
Our second exhibition opened at Beverley Treasure House last Saturday when over 30 people attended our ‘first look’ event. It was fantastic to see so many more people come and go throughout the afternoon - especially the families who have engaged with our project.
On Tuesday evening, our Lead Project Researcher Dr Lauren Darwin gave a talk about the experience of men, women and children of African descent in Hull and East Yorkshire at the Treasure House. We would like to thank those who attended.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances tomorrow's study day (Saturday 12 May) is cancelled. We apologise for the inconvenience.
The Our Histories Revealed exhibition runs from 5 May until 30 June at East Riding Treasure House, Beverley. Entry is free, so please come along!
The story of Lorraine Owen (née Gittens)
In February we released a fascinating feature about the Gittens family. Shortly after, we were approached by Lorraine Owen (née Gittens) who gave us further information about her family. During an oral history interview, she spoke about the happiest memories of her childhood and reminisced about each member of her family. This personal and heartfelt piece demonstrates the closeness of the Gittens family and the love they had for one another.
Read Lorraine’s story.
A date for your diary! Tomorrow (Saturday 5 May) is the official opening day of our exhibition at the East Riding Treasure House in Beverley. Read our latest blog post to find out about the events that we are hosting and how you can get involved.
Head to the blog.
On Monday we released Audrey Dewjee’s fantastic story about Alford Gardner, one of the 5,400 West Indian volunteers who joined the RAF as ground crew during the Second World War. Gardner did his basic training at Filey and was stationed there for around six months before being posted to different parts of the country. Although Gardner returned to Jamaica after the war ended, he returned to Britain with his brother on board the famous Empire Windrush and carved out a life for himself in Leeds.
Read Alford Gardner’s story.
Yesterday we released a story about Somalian Mahmood Mattan, who was wrongly convicted for murdering Lily Volpert in Cardiff on 6 March 1952. He was sentenced to hang and was executed six months later, on 3 September. In 1998, after a long campaign by his wife Laura and their three children, Mattan’s conviction was quashed and it was acknowledged that he was not guilty for the crime that had cost him his life.
Read Mahmood Mattan’s story.
Black entertainers at the Tivoli
On Monday we released a piece about Black entertainers at the Tivoli Theatre. Through extensive research, we have been able to trace some of the actors, musicians, dancers and comedians who performed at the popular local theatre between its opening in 1912 and closure in 1954. Among the most famous and well received were African American entertainers Layton and Johnstone.
Find out who else performed at the Tivoli Theatre in the full article.
The deaths of sailors of African descent
This week’s blog post explores the dangers of working in the maritime sphere and reveals the names of men of African descent, with a connection to this region, whom tragically perished. Sadly, the sailors identified in this piece typically drowned as a result of war, bad weather or due to tragic accidents.
Read our latest blog post.
Black seamen at Scarborough, 1748-1765
After a two week break over Easter, we returned on Monday with a fascinating, early piece about sailors of African descent in Scarborough by Charles R. Foy, Associate Professor in Early American & Atlantic History at Eastern Illinois University. Through extensive work researching ship musters, Foy has uncovered information on several Black seafarers who had a connection to Scarborough in the mid-eighteenth century and one, Robert Staves who lived in the town during this period.
Find out about the lives of these men in the full article.
Samuel Morgan Smith
Samuel Morgan Smith was a famous African American actor who moved across the Atlantic to pursue his career on stage. He toured across Britain throughout the mid nineteenth century, performing in East Yorkshire in the late 1860s and mid-1870s. In 1875, Samuel Morgan Smith and his wife amused audiences at Goole with their 'Unique Drawing Room Entertainment'.
Read the feature on Samuel Morgan Smith.
Beverley Prevatt Goldstein
On Monday we released a story about Beverley Prevatt Goldstein, a Trinidadian woman who lived in the Hull and East Yorkshire area. Beverley came to Britain with her two sisters to undertake further education in the early 1960s. She excelled at school and in 1968 was one of the first Black women to enrol at Oxford University from a mainstream British school. In 1974, Beverley and her husband moved to Hull, where she worked as a social worker. During her time in this region, Beverley was also a member of the local Harmony group.
Read Beverley’s story.
Easter break and exhibition countdown
This week’s blog post gives information about our forthcoming exhibition at the East Riding Treasure House which will run from 5 May to 30 June 2018. It also contains details on the events that we will be running during our exhibition period, including the speakers for our study day which will be held on Saturday 12 May 2018.
Read our latest blog post.
We're giving you time to catch-up on your reading over the Easter break, so please explore the stories archive, oral histories and more on our revamped website. Our thanks goes to our web manager Thomas Burrows.
Our next release will be 9 April.
On Monday we released a story about the Ghanaian politician and businessman, John Kufuor. Between 2001 and 2009, as the President of Ghana, Kufuor implemented economic and social policies which led to important reforms in his home country. His link to Hull is through the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) which he officially opened in 2006.
Read our feature on John Kufuor.
Carlos Lamintine Trower: The African Blondin
Yesterday we published a blog post by guest writer Ron Howard on the 'The African Blondin' Carlos Trower. Ron contacted us after we released a story on Trower last November and wanted to share his triumphs and struggles of tracing the talented tightrope artist, who was also his Great Grandfather.
Read Ron's blog post.
The Wyng family
In January we released a blog post entitled ‘A West African Chief in Hull’ about Ben Simmons who married Margaret Wyng at St Nicholas Church, Hessle Common in September 1929. As a result of this post, Audrey Dewjee began researching Margaret Wyng to learn more about her wider family.
Margaret’s father James Emmanuel Wyng was an African American seaman from Boston Massachusetts who married Margaret Elizabeth Catchpole in Great Yarmouth in 1897 before settling into Hull at the turn of the century. Margaret together with two of her three siblings made entertainment their chosen careers.
Read the interesting story of the Wyng family.
Cricket, lovely cricket
Yesterday we released a blog post about cricketers of African descent who played at The Circle, Anlaby Road, a ground now more familiarly known as the KCOM stadium home to Hull City and Hull FC. This blog was written by John Rodgers and edited by Adrian Burrows.
Read our cricket blog post.
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