Film ID: YFA 16 Video of YFA 16 Hull Victory Celebrations (1945) HULL VICTORY CELEBRATIONS 1945 Visitor TabsDescription Made by Debenham & Co, Beverley, this film records the City of Hull’s Victory in Europe Celebrations, May 1945; it includes extensive footage of all servicemen and women who participated in the victory processions and salute at Victoria Square. Also featured are the Mayor and Mayoress, visiting the children’s ward at the city hospital. The film is accompanied by a commentary. Title – Lord Mayors and Sheriffs of Kingston upon Hull during the War. Title – Lord Mayors 1938-39 William Pashby 1939-40 Henry Melville Harrison 1940-41 Sydney Herbert Smith, M.A. 1941-42 John Guy Hewett 1942-43 Joseph Leopold Schultz 1943-44 Frederick Roland Fryer 1944-45 John Dewick Lambert Nicholson Sheriffs 1938-39 Wallace Rockett 1939-40 Benno Pearlman 1940-41 Robert Greenwood Tarran 1941-42 Godfrey Robinson 1942-43 George Stanley Atkinson 1943-44 Harold Ivens Loten 1944-45 Kenneth Percival Title - City and County of Kingston upon Hull, Victory in Europe Celebrations May 1945 Title – The City and County of Kingston upon Hull founded in 1160 by the Monks of Meaux, and granted the right of a Mayor, in 1331 Now the Third Port in the United Kingdom, hails the Great Victory of 1945 with peals of bells from her 17th Century churches. Title – Commentary Written by Thomas Geraghty Spoken by Alvar Lidell Filmed by Debenham & Co., Beverley Recording: Imperial Sound Studios The film opens with shots of some of the exteriors of the city’s buildings. They are decorated with flags and bunting for the victory celebrations. Following this, different families are shown listening to Winston Churchill announce Victory in Europe. They listen from the sofas and armchairs of their living rooms, and exterior scenes then show soldiers at a hospital garden in Hull listening to the news. Many of the soldiers are wounded, and one of them blows a horn in celebration. Title - … exactly one and half hours later. The Chairman of Victory Celebrations Committee introduces the Lord Mayor and Sheriff to the large crowd gathered in Victoria Square. The crowd cheers as he makes a speech, and following that, they break out into dance. Title - … in the evening the young people dance in East Park. Mostly teenage girls dance in East Park. There is a large crowd gathered there as well to watch the celebrations which last until sunset. Title – Thanksgiving. A Thanksgiving service takes place at Holy Trinity Church. The service is presided over by the Archbishop of York and includes interior scenes taken during the church service. Intercut with the footage of the Archbishop’s sermon is footage of the damaged caused by the Blitz. He notes that Hull was the most bombed provincial state, not only in Britain, but also in the Empire, second only to Malta. Title – The “Victory” Parade of the Services passes through the streets of Hull. Taken from a point of view shot of the car’s driver, the crowds gathered can be seen cheering as the car passes. Outside the Guild Hall, all those participating in the procession have gathered and wait in formation. The parade begins, and they pass the Mayor and other dignitaries for the salute. There is extensive footage of all those regiments and divisions who participate in the parade. The commentary introduces other war agencies that make up the parade including Nurses, Royal Navy, Wrens, Royal Observer Corps, and Civil Defence. Title – Children’s Huge Fancy Dress Parade The city police marching band leads the children’s parade made up of 3000 children in fancy dress. The procession passes large crowds of people as well as the Mayor and Mayoress of Hull. The commentary tells of how mothers used discarded material to make the costumes in the difficult times of war rationing. Title – Band of Hesslewood (Seamen’s) Orphanage Home The procession includes the Newland’s Orphanage Band and students from Maris College. All the floats and costumes are skilfully made and decorated for the occasion. Title – The ‘Sick’ are not forgotten The Mayor and Mayoress visit the City Hospital where children wave flags in the decorated wards. Presents and toys are handed out to the children in the wards, and more children play with the nurses outside the hospital. An exterior view shows a local sanatorium which cares for many people suffering with tuberculosis. Some patients sit out in the sunshine whilst others sit in decorated wards. Title – “Victoria” Hospital for Sick Children The Sheriff of Hull visits the Victoria Children’s Hospital. Nurses stand by each of the beds and cribs, and many of the children wave flags during the visit. The film closes with a soldier who is on leave and visiting his sick child at the hospital. The commentary notes that he can at least take solace in the fact that his child now only has to fight sickness and no longer face two enemies, one being the Germans. Title - National Thanksgiving SUNDAY. There is a shot of a church. The Lord Mayor and other dignitaries exit. Next there is a brass band procession through a city street in Hull. The commentary states that the Lord Mayor, Sheriff of Hull, and other dignitaries are present to preside over the march. Those taking part in the procession include the Brethren of the Ancient Trinity House, representatives of the armed services, professors of the University College, the Head Masters of various schools, St. John Ambulance volunteers, hospital nurses, and members of the WVS. Title - Throughout the city Victory sports and tea parties were held. Children's tea parties on trestle tables take place in the streets, and bunting decorates the area. The commentary states that rations have been saved up for this special occasion. The children also participate in foot races in the streets. The children's parents are crowded around in the background. Later, there is a fancy dress parade for young children. Title - The Memorial for the Citizens who lost their lives in the greatest War in our history. Services are held for the people of Hull that were killed during the war, and there is a Remembrance Day service attended by Clergy, servicemen and citizens. The attendees sing hymns, and many wreaths are laid on the Cenotaph. Title - They shall not grow old As we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn, At the going down of the sun And in the morning We will remember them. Title - The End Filmed by Debenham & Co. Beverley Context This is one of a number of films that the YFA has that were made by Debenhams and Co. of Beverley. Another film made by Debenhams of Hull, from a few years earlier in 1941, is King George And Queen Visit Hull. The Context for this film has more information on Debenhams and their founder Ernest Symmons. It is also one of number of films that show the celebrations that followed the end of World War Two. Other places where the celebrations were filmed include, Bradford, Sheffield, Pontefract and Harrogate. The film brings together not only the pageant, but also a snapshot of caring institutions in Hull in 1945. The film has something of the feel of British Pathe newsreels of the time, although, judging by their online Archive, they only once covered V E Day outside London. In other respects too it appears to differ from their practice: almost all the British Pathe films of that time concern the war. The voiceover may sound familiar also to those of an older generation, although he too adopts a more jaunty tone to that of the regular voiceover for British Pathe at that time, Bob Walker (later Danvers-Walker). The Oxford English Dictionary provides one definition of a pageant as being, ‘a procession or parade with elaborate spectacular display; a showy parade.’ Originally it was a play in a medieval mystery cycle or an act or scene in such a play – Robert Withington traces it back to the London Lord Mayor’s Show in the thirteenth century. What the processional form shares with the stage form of the pageant is the telling of a story, the use of historical characters and its often ceremonial function. In Britain the large variety of processional occasions, such as carnivals, share these features, which are also evident in this film – in the U.S. a pageant is almost always used for a beauty contest. The large range of historical costumes, and the uniforms of World War Two service men and women, worn by the children, suggests that the procession is serving a dual function of placing the war into a historical narrative, and binding the community together in this story. The pageant is most probably shot in Ferensway – older viewers may well recognise the buildings. Hull got very heavily bombed during the Second World War, the second most bombed city in Britain after London. It has been estimated that in total over 90% of the city was damaged by bombing – for more on this see the Context for King and Queen Visit Hull. As a result the city centre was dramatically redeveloped and some of the buildings seen in the film did not survive – see Gavin Stamp in References. Not only buildings but also many institutions have passed away since 1945, including most of those seen in the film. The film shows the band of the Hesslewood Orphanage Home, which was another Hull home for orphaned children of sailors. The other is the Hull Seamen's and General Orphan Society was established at Spring Bank in 1865. The YFA has many films of the latter, some of which can be seen online. The Hesslewood Orphanage Home was greatly helped by large donations from the Wilson family, who owned a very successful and world renowned shipping company – see the Context for Seaway to Europe (1972). They also granted the land for it to move to Hesslewood Hall in 1921, a large country house which could accommodate more children. However, fund raising was a continual problem, and the orphanage closed in 1985 (records of the Society are held at Hull City Archives). See the Context for Seamen's Reunion (1936) and A Family Affair (1960), for more background on sailor’s orphans. Marist College too no longer exists, merging with St Mary's High School in 1988. It was founded in 1925 as one of many schools of the Maris Brothers Catholic religious order which originated in France in 1817. So too with Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, which closed in 1967. A number of hospitals for sick children were founded in the nineteenth century, beginning with the one at Great Ormond Street which was founded by Dr Charles West in 1952 – having the seemingly redundant adjective ‘Sick’ in the name was not unusual in hospitals from this period. It was established in Storey Street, near the Boulevard in Hull, in 1873 before moving to Park Street in 1891. It is described by Bulmer's Gazetteer in 1892 as, ‘a handsome structure, in the Gothic style of architecture - of the early French character - executed in red bricks and Ancaster stone dressings.’ The patients in the Sanatorium can be seen in the film sat outside in their beds, which might call for some explanation. This goes back to the late 1840s when a botany student from Silesia, Hermann Brehmer, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) – formerly called ‘consumption’. He took himself off to the Himalayas to study and returned cured, believing that being outdoors helped in his recovery. He subsequently learnt medicine and opened the first sanatorium in Görbersdorf (then part of Prussia, and since 1945 in Poland). The idea spread and many sanatoriums were built, designed to isolate the sick, allow for the taking of plenty of fresh air and ensure a proper diet – Thomas Mann provides a vivid portrait of just such a sanatorium in The Magic Mountain. Note that sanatorium is sometimes spelt in the older form of sanitarium – denoting health resorts in general – but the newer spelling is usually used specifically for TB hospitals. Originally a hospital for infectious diseases was built in Hedon Road, Hull, in 1885, before moving to new buildings in 1928 on the grounds of a manor house called Cottingham Castle, in Cottingham, a village on the outskirts of Hull. Both the City Hospital and the Sanatorium were located separately at the same site in Castle Hill (the Sanatorium having three wards on the east side) They have since been joined together as Castle Hill Hospital. Despite recent major redevelopment, the building that can be seen in the film as ‘City Hospital’ remains in use serving as offices. In fact it was during the Second World War that the first steps were taken towards a chemotherapy treatment and developments in drugs, and in 1956 it was shown that being treated at home was just as effective as being treated in a sanatorium, without it being passed on to family members. During the 1950s, when there were 50,000 cases of TB each year in Britain,the BCG vaccine was introduced in schools – reducing the numbers to an average of just 7,000 per year over the last 15 years (although worldwide it remains a major disease killing an estimated two million; a figure that according to WHO could drastically increase). References Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, Translated by John E. Woods, Knopf Doubleday Publishing, 1995. Gavin Stamp, Britain’s Lost Cities, Aurum Press, London, 2007. Robert Withington, English Pageantry, An Historical Outline, Oxford University Press, 1920 Hull Seamen's and General Orphan Society at Hull Museums Bulmer's Gazetteer History of Hull at T. Bulmer, History, topography, and directory of East Yorkshire (with Hull) [Bulmer's directory of East Yorkshire], Mr Pye Books, 1985 (1892) – this can be found in Hull Local Studies, or online K. J. Allison (editor), A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1 - The City of Kingston upon Hull, Institute of Historical Research, Oxford,1969. This can be viewed online The Sanatorium Age Further Information J.D. Hicks, Our Orphans: the story of the Hull Seamen's and General Orphanage, 1853-1979, Lockington Publishing Company, North Ferriby, 1983.