Did you know that Hull was amongst the most targeted and severely bomb damaged cities in the UK during WW2? For some strange reason, many history books and programmes recalling tales of the Blitz seem to forget to mention this, focusing more on cities such as London and Coventry. In actual fact, a far larger proportion of Hull was either completely destroyed or damaged than any other city in the UK (at 95%) during the German air raids. Hull is starting to rebuild now and is looking better and better with each passing year, considerably so after being chosen for The City of Culture in 2017. Prior to WW2, Hull was a stunningly beautiful city awash with striking architecture and grade listed buildings. Unfortunately, with 95% of the city in ruins, the people of Hull had no choice but to replace these once beautiful buildings with something that would be cheap and quick to build. If you search before and after images of Hull, some areas are unrecognisable, like something from a Jane Austen romantic novel or England’s Regency Era.
Pictured is a before and after photo of Hammonds. Before the Hull Blitz, this was renowned as a high-class venue with popular restaurant and domed ballroom. The deadly German air raids in May 1941 gutted the building, despite all the turmoil they rebuilt within weeks (with British fighting spirit) and continued business for the rest of the war. Shortly after the war, plans were drawn up for a new building and the new store reopened in 1952, but dare I say with less class and character than the awe-inspiring Hammonds the 1930s enjoyed.