Hull in the 1920s

Explore Hull through the eyes of local photographer Claude William Jamson

By Hull History Centre

The city centre of 1920s Hull was very different from today. Major shopping centres like Princes Quay, St Stephens and Prospect Centre were decades away, and Queen’s Gardens was still Queen's Dock. The bombing suffered by Hull in the Second World War significantly altered the architectural landscape, with landmarks such as the Prudential Building being completely destroyed.

Monument Bridge (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Monument Bridge

This photograph was taken from the Whitefriargate side of the bridge, looking towards the back of the Dock Offices (now the Maritime Museum). The Wilberforce statue is visible on the left.

Monument Bridge today.

King Edward Street (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

King Edward Street

This photo was taken looking towards City Square from the junction with Jameson Street. It includes the De La Pole statue which was removed in 1922. 

By the 1920s, Hull had long been a major port for trading and fishing. These industries suffered much disruption during the First World War and continued to suffer some difficulties in the 1920s. Despite this, the fishing industry expanded considerably during the inter-war years.

Fish Docks St Andrew's (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Fish Dock, St Andrew's

St Andrew’s was opened in 1883, and was originally intended for the coal trade. Instead, it was used entirely by the fishing industry until the dock closed in 1975. 

King George Docks (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

King George Dock

King George Dock was opened by King George V in June 1914. It was built as a competitor to the Great Central dock in Immingham. 

Victoria Docks (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Victoria Dock

Victoria Dock was opened in 1850, the first dock to be built on the east side of the River Hull. This photo shows St Peter's Church which stood near Drypool Basin.

The dock closed in 1970 and is now a housing development. This shows the area near where St Peter's Church stood.

Hull’s parks have been central to the city’s cultural and leisure offerings since the first public park opened in 1862. The beginning of the 20th century saw the opening of new parks and the expansion of older parks to provide greater and more varied leisure facilities.

Pearson Park (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Pearson Park

Pearson Park was the first public park in Hull, opened in 1862. Many of the trees were acquired from the recently closed Hull Zoological Gardens. The land was gifted by Zachariah Pearson. 

The pond is still part of the park today.

East Park (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

East Park

East Park was opened in 1887 to serve the eastern part of the city. A boating lake was added in 1913, and a double arched bridge was erected in 1925.  

Following the First World War, a major slum clearance and rehousing scheme was carried out, and new housing estates were built in the suburbs. New roads were built, including Ferensway, which opened in 1931. Other major roads, such as Spring Bank and Holderness Road, continued to serve as the main arteries into Hull and as significant shopping districts outside the city centre.

Spring Bank (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Spring Bank

This photo shows Spring Bank looking towards the city centre, taken near the junction with Princes Avenue. The old railway level crossing can be seen in the foreground. 

Spring Bank today.

Holderness Road (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Holderness Road

The Savoy Cinema on the right was the location of the last bombing of Hull during the Second World War, when 12 people were killed and 22 injured. Many of them were leaving the cinema at the end of a film showing. 

The Savoy closed in 1960, and the site is now a Boyes store.

Lakeside Grove Gipsyville Estate (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre


Gipsyville began life as a housing and factory development at the start of the 1900s. During the post-war rehousing scheme of the 1920s, over 1000 houses were added to the estate. 

Civic pride has always been a key part of Hull’s city identity. Civic institutions and architecture greatly benefited from Hull’s position as a major trading and manufacturing centre during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Royal Infirmary (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

Royal Infirmary

Established in George Street in 1782, the infirmary moved to Prospect Street in 1784 and was renamed Hull Royal Infirmary in 1884. The hospital moved to Anlaby Road in the 1950s. 

The hospital site is now Prospect Shopping Centre.

Municipal Buildings (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre


The Guildhall (left) was finished in 1907 and replaced the old Town Hall. It was built to include law courts, a council chamber and offices, and still functions as Hull City Council’s headquarters. 

University College (c.1920s) by Doncaster Rotophoto CompanyHull History Centre

University College

The University College of Hull was opened in 1927 following a generous donation by T. R. Ferens and with support from the city corporation. The college was granted a royal charter in 1954, becoming the 14th university in England. 

The building is still part of the University of Hull campus.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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