This winter the University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library will be the home of a popular photography exhibition by photographer and historian Dr. Alec Gill MBE. The Hessle Roaders, captures life in Hull’s former Fishing Community during the 1970s and 1980s.
The exhibition was a highlight of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture when three showings of the images broke audience attendance records. At Hull History Centre, for example, it attracted over 8,000 visitors.
Dr. Gill began the work whilst studying his Psychology degree at the University between 1974 and 1977. People have always been central to the study and Alec, who sometimes describes himself as “a psychologist with a camera” aiming to capture everyday life,took over 6,500 negatives that capture the pre-digital world when children played street games, corner shops abounded, and the port had a powerful deep-sea trawling fleet.
In 1971, local historian Alec Gill spent time on Hessle Road capturing its residents with his Rolleicord camera. Hessle Road had a strong, working-class identity, as an area where Hull’s trawlermen and their families lived, in addition to many warehouse and factory workers. It was also the home of the famous trawler safety campaigner, Lillian Bilocca.
In 2017, Alec’s black and white photographs transport us back in time to the period where Hessle Road was the heart of Hull’s fishing community. These snapshots touch upon the everyday lives of the road’s inhabitants, with children playing on the streets, neighbours gossiping in the terraces, dock workers going about their business and Three-Day Millionaires having a ball.
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