Remembering the millions in search of a new life

PIC: Gary Longbottom
PIC: Gary Longbottom
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While it might sit at the end of a road to nowhere else, as a port city Hull has long been a place for departures and arrivals. It’s population reflects the many different cultures who arrived their by ship from the four corners of the world and Neil Hadlocks sculpture is a tribute to the thousands who passed through it, destined for foreign shores.

The statue of family from Northern Europe about to continue their journey to Liverpool and onto America by ship stands on reclaimed land known as The Bullnose, which was where ships waited until high tide before entering Humber Dock.

From 1830 to 1914, a period when Europe became increasingly mobile, more than 37m people emigrated from their European homes in the search of new opportunities abroad.

Of those, more than three million passed through the Humber (2.2m through Hull and 800,000 through Grimsby)

Hull played a large part in the movement of people from the likes of Sweden, Russia, Norway, Germany, Finland and Denmark.

Many of the migrants who passed through the ports were suffering from very poor health and in the early 19th century as they disembarked and gathered in the city’s main railway station there were fears that they could cause a significant risk of infection.

After 1866, following outbreaks of cholera in most European ports, Eastern Railway, agreed to transport those migrants arriving at Hull by rail to Paragon Station, rather than allowing them to pass through the town on foot. Those arriving via the dock remained on board ship until shortly before their train out of town was due to depart.

The company also built a waiting room for migrants near Hull Paragon Station in 1871, which enabled the emigrants to meet ticket agents, wash, use the toilet and take shelter from the weather. Most came and went within 24 hours. Since 2003, the waiting room has found a new use as the Tigers Lair public house, a favourite haunt of Hull City supporters.

Tech details: Nikon D3s camera with a 24-70 mm lens with an exposure of 1/2500th sec at f 8 with ISO of 200