Every city have those famous faces and characters that bring a city to life. Meet those people from Hull that have made a difference.
We all know the history of the city and its more famous sons and daughters, try this walk of fame to discover those lesser known faces in the city that make it the wonderful city it is.
Born into a seafaring family in nearby Saltshouse Lane and played around North Walls cobbled streets and alleys. After leaving school, he was a messenger boy cycling around Hull’s Old Town docks to shipping offices. During the 1960’s, he hitch-hiked abroad taking photographs. In the early 1970’s, he decided to become ‘a tourism in his own town’ to focus upon the fishing families of Hessle Road and held several exhibitions of his images. The 1980’s he began writing books about the community and became a film-maker in the 1990’s. He returned from academic life at Hull University in 2021 and is currently involved with the Hull History Centre
A local singer keeping our oral tradition alive in Hull and beyond, working with school groups, five Senses and The History Troupe productions. He belongs to Spare Hands Maritime Group and the rabble-rousing Hillbilly Troupe. Mick hosts regular sessions in the Minerva and Vintage Bars, and on stages ay Maritime and Folk Festivals. For a dozen years Micks band, Punch the Horse, specialised in Irish Music. He learnt many of the songs while labouring on motorways and power stations as a young man. His values, and beliefs in trade unionism also influence his choice of songs
A bestselling writer whose novels have won Best magazine’s Book of the Year 2019, shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Award 2019, and longlisted for the Polari Prize. Her debut, how to be Brave, was a Guardian Reader’s Pick, Maria in the Moon was a Sunday Express must read, and Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. Her first play was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2021, and her short stories have been published in numerous magazines as well as winning the Aesthetica Prize and the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose.
Karen Inman (Nee Briggs)
Born in hull on 11th April 1963. Karen won numerous World and European Championship medals in Judo. She is considered one of the UK’s most successful competitive judoka. She represented Great Britain in the 1992 Summer Olympics. In her career Karen has won gold in 4 world championships, five European championships and the 1990 commonwealth games. In July 2013 the University of Hull made Karen and honorary doctor of the university. Karen was inducted into the IJK Hall of Fame in August 2015.
The Headscarf Revolutionaries
Yvonne Marie Blenkinsop 1938
Lillian Bilocca 1929 – 1988
Mary Denness – 1937 – 2017
Christine Smallbone (Later Jensen) MBE 1939 – 2001
Following the sinking of three trawlers from hull and the loss of 58 lives in early 1968, the women campaigned for better safety measures. They petitioned government and in just a couple of weeks made the world’s most dangerous occupation much safer. This was one of the most successful acts of civil disobedience of the 20th century. The story has become legendary in Hull as have the four remarkable women. They have become known as the Headscarf Revolutionaries and their story has been told all over the world thanks to the book of the same name.
In December 2018, the fiftieth anniversary year, the last surviving member of the Headscarf revolutionaries Mrs Yvonne Marie Blenkinsop was given the freedom of the city of hull in a ceremony at the guildhall after a successful campaign by Ian Cuthbert (founder of Headscarf Pride on social media) and Diana Johnson MP. Yvonne was also invited to switch on Hull’s Christmas lights which she was delighted to do. Yvonne was then invited by Diana to visit Westminster and the House of Commons 50 years after her first historic visit. Yvonne went to London by first class train on 22nd May 2019 and was honoured at Prime Ministers Questions with speeches by Jeremy Corbyn, John Bercow and Theresa May, Following PMQ’s Yvonne and her guests had lunch at the Strangers Restaurant.
If you would like to find out more about the Headscarf Revolutionaries try the book of the same title by author Brian W Lavery and you can follow him on Twitter here
A multi-award-winning writer, best known locally for her play fish ‘n’ Leather written for non-professional actors and performed within the community of Hessle Road where Gill was born. She has written for T.V., film, radio drama and theatre. Gill is proud mother of Comedian Lucy Beaumont.
A hugely talented stand-up comedy actress and writer. She is the writer and star of BBC radio 4’s To Hull and Back and was nominated for the Foster’s Newcomer Award with her debut Edinburgh Show, We Can Twerk It Out, which was described by Chortle as ‘irresistibly endearing’. Prior to this, she was winner of The BBC New Comedy Award and the Chortle Award for Best Newcomer. Lucy Star’s in and wrote the new sitcom of the fictional view her marriage Meet the Richardson’s (Dave). She has also appeared on numerous entertainment show; Arts night (BBC2), Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier, Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled (Dave), QI (BBC2), Drunk History (Comedy Central), Johnathan Ross Show (ITV), The One Show (BBC!), Cats Does Countdown (C4), What’s Going To Kill US (C5), Live At The Electric (BBC Three) and featured in a Maltesers advertising campaign.
Visit Lucy’s website
Follow Lucy on Twitter
Georgina Sparkle Garton
To date appeared in advertisements for the NHS and local company KCOM, provided voice overs for various overs for various projects, win wards for short films and also features in the film The Last Trip, featuring Hull Trawler men their last adventure. Georgina is looking forward to future projects and watching the city develop and grow. Georgina has played some prolific roles such as Musical Hall hero Maria Lloyd, toured with a one woman show featuring Gracie Fields songs, but, perhaps one of her most notable roles was playing Hull legend Lil Bilocca in a story about her life. Another recognisable character Georgina has played is the magical, Mother Christmas, who co-hosted the Hull City light switch on, in 2019. Born and raised in Hull, Georgina pained a diploma in performing arts at Wyke college and awarded a place at the prestigious Guildford school of acting. Georgina travelled in UK and Spain performing in shows teams and bands as a lead localist before retuning hone to Hull.
Born in Ferriby 28th September 1969, Hull Grammar School lad, Chorister at Hull Minster, St. Johns Ambulance volunteer, Registered nurse at Hull Royal Infirmary (A&E). Came out in 2002. Stand-up comedian Edinburg Fringe 2004. Known mostly for being The Gold Man (living Statue), a Pride organiser, voice over artist, stage host for events, The Fat Controller, teaching important stuff like first aid and bringing the party with his wind-up Russian music box. Co-founder and Co-Chair of the UK Pride Organisers Network and Regional Director (UK and Ireland) Interpride. Proudest moments include the birth of his daughter Aleisha, becoming a member of The Order of St John and bringing Hull the title of first UK Pride in 2017. He continues to make the world a more inclusive place one rainbow flag at a time.
Founded Positive HullCIC from Jens Pick-me-up in 2017 during UK city of culture to combat loneliness and isolation. This period of transformation growth for Jen came after 18months of significant loss and by publicly sharing her recovery she won the hearts of the local community and inspired many to keep going despite adversity. By promoting positivity and self-care. Jen is mentor, advocate, and councillor to Hull’s disillusioned and disengaged and she has also trained 25 facilitators to do the same. Pairing mental health and art Posithive is the latest positive Hull CIC project co-founded with Susan Feve artist and aims to teach the art of flipping negatives
Self-made equality activist, positivity coach , networker, Grassroots, inspirational Psychology, teacher and Mum.
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Born 21st May 1961 in east Hull. Educated at St Bede’s primary, St. Richard’s Junior High, and Marist College. Attended Warwick University, 1979 – 82 and gained a BA (Hons) in Politic and Sociology. In 1988 after attending a course at Hull University a certificate in heritage interpretation and in April of 1988 I became a self-employed as a Tour Guide – a job I still love doing.
Born in Bridlington in 1954. Mid to late 70’s he worked in Hull, H Chr Herman Ltd, Danish bacon wholesaler importers and distributors, and Wm Jacksons / Grandways supermarkets, (mainly Holderness Road.) 1979 – Studied art foundation course at Hull College of Art, Malton St, off Witham.
Graduation film from National Film School @see You At Wembley, Frankie Walsh’, shot in and around Hull in 2986, about Hull City fan’s wedding clashing with an unexpected cup semi-final, won Student Oscar.
Is a regular presenter of Look North for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire from the Studio in Hull since 2002. His on-screen rapport with weatherman Paul Hudson has made him a popular figure.
Sam was born in Beverley, but quickly shipped back to Hull, where she attended Sydney Smith School, Wyke College and the University of Hull. She started her journalism career more than 209 years ago on the Hull Daily Mail after spotting an ad for trainee sub -editor in the Hull Daily Mail; She held various roles at the Press Association in Howden before ending up editing, and then owning, the world’s oldest naturist magazine, H&E. Yes, that’s naked people, not bords and bees. She also writes for BusinessWorks magazine and The Hull Story. Her alter ego is the folk singer and musicians Sam Martyn, singing solo and with Beggar’s Bridge and Fiddlers Elbow. She’s lately been involved with Reg Meuross’s nationally touring song-cycle 12 Silk Handkerchiefs, with Brian Lavery and Mick McGarry, and she’s also a trustee of the charity Folk in Hull.
is a writer, theatre director and producer whose plays and books have portrayed the working lives and history of Hull’s people. They include ‘ The Northern Trawl’ and ‘ Turning the Tide’ about the city’s deep sea fishing industry, large cast community plays ‘Vital Spark’ and ‘No Surrender’ performed at Hull City Hall, and ‘Every Time it Rains’ about the Hull floods of 2007. He is the co-writer and director of Turn and Face the Strange’ about Hull born Mick Ronson, guitarist with David Bowie. He has written and presented for BBC Radio 4 and was producer for the innovative BBC digital story telling project ‘Telling Lives’. He was the writer of Made in Hull the opening event for Hull 2017 City of Culture. Rupert was artistic director of Remould Theatre Company whose office and rehearsal base in the 1980’s was in what is now the Backpackers Hostel on Lowgate.
Ada Valinda Walsh, aka Sister Agnes Walsh (later Sister Clare Walsh)
A Nun and humanitarian from Hull, joined as a nun at St Vincent’s convent in 1916 – hid a whole Jewish family in Cadouin, occupied France in 1944 before smuggling them to safety under the noses of the Nazis, named in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem and on the List of the Righteous Among the Nations and posthumous recipients of the British Hero of the Holocaust Medal.
John ‘Jack’ Harrison VC MC
Hull FC club record holder for over a century, try scorer and winner of the 1914 Challenge Cup final, scored club record 52 tries in the 1914/15 seasons, teacher who left his essential profession to volunteer for the army on 4th November 1915 and was commissioned as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the East Yorkshire regiment in 1916 – winner of Military Cross at the Somme 25th February 1917 and first current rugby league player to be awarded the Victoria Cross for action in the 2nd Battle of Oppy Wood 3rd May 1917
Adrian Thompson MBE
A fantastic local artist and fundraiser who has painted beautiful works depicting the maritime history of Hull. Through his paintings he has raised money for charity events in the wider area including Liverpool, London and Portsmouth, The charities benefiting from the sale Adrian’s artworks are: The Project Vernon who raise money for a monument honouring the Royal Navy bomb disposal divers and minesweepers. Guide Dogs for the Blind, Lost Trawlerman’s Charity, Blind Institute, RNLI, Street Angels and Hull Bullnose Heritage Group. Adrian has raised many thousands of pounds for those charities and it was because of this he was awarded the MBE on the New Year’s Honours List in 2020
BBC Radio Humberside’s most successful and one of the most popular broadcasters. He has been the voice of Hull City football every Saturday for years and given some very memorable commentary. His passion for football commentary shows at every game and every fan remembers Burnsy’s reaction to Hull City’s promotion to the premier league. Burnsy presents the mid-morning show 10am – 2pm Monday to Friday. This brilliant phone in show packed with conversation and great music and has won the radio academy award for best local program in three occasions
Born in Hull’s Hessle road in 1970. He is a full-time professional documentary photographer documenting the working class of Hull. He has worked everywhere from hull to Africa and contributed pictures to Getty Images
Born in Hull, Carrie is and acoustic guitarist and singer/songwriter. She fronted bands in the 90’s before casting her music aside in order to raise her children, her guitar went untouched for some two decades until a chance meeting with guitar virtuoso Gordon Giltrap changed her life. Close mentoring from Gordon saw her take a huge leap forward, attracting endorsements from Vintage Guitars, G7th Capos and Martin Strings. Her last two albums included guests Elliott Randell, Oliver Wakeman, Daniel Cassidy (brother of the later Eva Cassidy) and ex Bad Company guitarist Dave Colwell.
Dr Brian Lavery
A Scottish writer, journalist and academic who adopted hull as his home.
He is also author of well-known books about the city’s deep-sea fishing including – The Headscarf Revolutionaries (Barbican Press 2015) – the story of the successful sea safety campaign which followed the 1968 Triple Trawler Disaster – and The Luckiest Thirteen (Barbican Press 2017) which tells the 1966 Christmas Day explosion which sank the stern trawler St Finbarr. Dr Lavery arrived from his native Glasgow in 1089. He worked on local papers, then ran a national press and features agency and later held various senior roles in print journalism. He has edited three weekly papers, news edited two large regional dailies and held various senior roles in national and international publications.
Emma Hardy MP
Born and brought up in the East Riding – a few miles from the seat of Hessle and West Hull that she now represents in Parliament. Before becoming an MP, Emma was a primary school teacher for over ten years.
She left teaching in 2015 to become a full-time organiser for the National Union of Teachers and served as Deputy general Secretary of the Socialist Education Association before being elected to Parliament. Following her election in 2017, and subsequent re-election in 2019, Emma has risen in the Labour Party and sits on many All-Party Parliamentary Groups and the Treasury Select Committee. Teaching and education are at the forefront of Emma’s agenda and she is constantly fighting to ensure all of our young people receive he education provision and support they need.
Ethel Leginska. 13 April 1886 – 26 February 1970
Pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher born in Hull. Ethel studied the piano in Frankfurt and Vienna and toured Australia, Europe, and America at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1925 she conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl. In 1926 she founded the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. She also directed the Boston English Opero Company, Founded the National Women’s Symphony Orchestra in New York in 1932 and served as director of the Chicago Women’s Symphony Orchestra.
A singer, born in Hull on 14th February 1935. Early in her career she performed at the Hull City Hall and other venues in the city with the Hull Operatic Society. In 1957 Patricia was performing at the Savoy Hotel in London when she was discovered by the BBC who invited her to sing in the first ever Eurovision Song Contest that year which was held in Frankfurt. Patricia sang a song called ‘All’ which finished in seventh place. After this Patricia had a successful career on stage in the West End and Broadway and starred in several British films
Born 15th December 1960 on Tadman Street, Hessle Road. Father of three and grandfather of four. Well known poet/storyteller. Author of Hessle Road Calendar 2019/20. Hessle Road poetry book Streets, cleats, sails and tales Sight and sound (images and words) The Gaul, a last night’s memory Supporters of various local charities Member of local and international poetry groups.
Mark Stockdale BEM
A volunteer for the Hull and East Riding Yorkshire Children’s University in 1997. The Charity is to help the local children with out of school activities. Mark loves the idea of helping and enlightening children, taking them out of the classroom and giving them out of the classroom and giving them hands on learning along with plenty of fun. Mark started to do more experiences like leading a full class from a school down to London for the day to show the children the city and to visit the Houses of Parliament. This then developed into doing lots more experiences, Mark used all his holidays from work and any other days off to help as much as he could. In 2017 Mark was awarded the British Empire medal for his services to volunteering for the Children’s University and visited Buckingham Palace to celebrate this. Mark has volunteered for the charity for 25 years now and still loves it as much as he dad that first day.
Born in London but moved to Hull after meeting her husband in the 1990s. He told her stories about the trawling industry as he grew up on Hessle Road and became a deckie learner when he left school. Helen always had an interest in song writing and singing and she combined this with the stories about life at sea and the hardships it involved. Most poignantly losing his shipmates on the Kingston Peridot. Linda met Hazel Ritchings at the White Horse folk club in Beverley. Hazel added a harmony line and they formed a duo called Hissyfit, they have performed at festivals throughout the UK and abroad. Linda and Hazel are very proud that their songs about Hull’s fishing industry are now sung worldwide.
George Norris ‘The Dapper Snapper’
Photographing Hull for over 15 years. His photography captures the true essence of what makes this city tick, from chronicling his family roots in Hull’s rag and bone trade to capturing architectural details which most folk tend to miss. In January 2017 to begin the City of Culture, a spectacular music and light show called ‘Made in Hull’ was beamed onto landmarks in the city centre. Part of the show was famous people from Hull’s faces beamed across the buildings. A number of those portraits were taken by George. This short film explains how George became interested in photography and why he captures the sights in this city.
Leighah Sharon Beadle-Darcy
Leighah’s background is in dance and drama. After experiencing an eating disorder at 20 years old, Leighah recovered and decided to train as a councillor and dance therapist to help other with eating disorders. Leighah went on to further counselling and psychotherapy study and training, later life coaching and personality typology to extend her skills. She has continued to dance throughout all these years.
Sue started working in the arts over 20 years ago working with other artists and she has become a National and international established professional artist. Sue specialised in juxtaposed individual artworks and inspired other local artists to grow and professional at PositHive. Sue’s work has been exhibited at Cristolarts, Hull Minster and many other professional galleries. Before Hull was the UK City of Culture, Sue founded an artist pool association to help inspire and boost new artists in Hull.
Captain Joseph “Mutt” Summers, CBE
(10 March 1904 – 16 March 1954) was born in Hull. During his career, Summers flew many first flights on prototype aircraft, a record of 54 by a test pilot and he also holds the current second place record for 366 general types test piloted. In 1930 he became chief test pilot to the Supermarine Aviation Works and in that capacity flew the first Supermarine Spitfire in 1936. Summers test piloted many fighters and bombers through the 1930s. In June 1936 he flew both the prototype of Barnes Wallis’s geodetic aircraft the Vickers Wellesley bomber and the prototype Wellington bomber, K4049. Through the late 1930s and into the 1940s Summers continued to test pilot numerous aircraft. In preparation for the Dambusters Raid in May 1943, Summers was test pilot for the experimental bouncing bomb dropped from a Vickers Wellington bomber near Portland, Dorset.