Women who battled for safety after 1960s tragedies honoured

Maurice Swain was lost on the Ross Cleveland in 1968.
Maurice Swain was lost on the Ross Cleveland in 1968.
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The story of how Hessle Road fishwives took their protest from Hull’s docksides to the heart of Government is told in a new book.

The Headscarf Revolutionaries, tells how hundreds of Hessle Road fishwives, led by Lillian Bilocca, Christine Jensen, Mary Denness and Yvonne Blenkinsop, took their calls for safety improvements in the fishing industry to the Government.

Their fight followed the city’s triple trawler disaster of 1968 in which the boats St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland wenre lost in under three weeks. Some 58 men died. Only one man, Harry Eddom, mate of Ross Cleveland, survived.

Prof Martin Goodman, director of the Philip Larkin Centre at the University of Hull, spoke to Dr Brian Lavery, author of The Headscarf Revolutionaries, about the writing of the book at an event in Hull yesterday.

Before the event Hull’s Lord Mayor, Coun Mary Glew, used her final day in office to honour the four women whose 1960s trawler safety campaign saved thousands of lives.

Plaques were unveiled at the city’s Maritime Museum as part of a scheme to mark the centenary of the office of Lord Mayor of Hull and honour the achievements of remarkable Hull 
people.

The two surviving campaigners, Mrs Denness and Mrs Blenkinsop, were invited to attend yesterday’s book launch. Mrs Bilocca and Mrs Jensen, have died but Mrs Bilocca’s daughter, Virginia Bilocca-McKenzie, was due to fly in from New Zealand for the events.