Kingston upon Hull
Area: 71.45 kmē 

Kingston upon Hull, more usually referred to simply as Hull, is a city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is located near the east coast of Northern England, in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the north bank of the Humber estuary and on both sides of the River Hull, which flows into the Humber.

According to the 2001 UK census, Hull had a population of 253,400, a decline of 5.3% since the 1991 UK census. The population figure has subsequently been re-estimated to 249,100 as of July 2005

The original settlement of Wyke, or Wyke-Upon-Hull, was established in 1291 by the then Archbishop of York, John Wyke by force of arms. He annexed the existing town of Myton, a town on the north bank of the River Humber that derived its income from fishing & as a port, in the area now known as Corporation Pier, & the half square mile area of marsh land to its north. [citation needed]

The locals resented this and resolutely refused to call their town Wyke, instead using Hull, the name of the river which runs into the Humber there. The name & title of the city did not officially become "the City & County of Kingston upon Hull" until 1897. [citation needed] The port was used by the abbey for distribution of its wool. The location became strategically important to the English in conflict with the Scottish in the late 13th century. Edward I selected the site for its ideal proximity to his kingdom's adversary. Kingston-Upon-Hull was an advantageous port from which to launch his campaigns, sufficiently deep within the boundaries of England to afford security. The associated royal charter, dated April 1, 1299 remains preserved in Hull's Guildhall Archives.

The charter of 1440, constituted Kingston upon Hull a corporate town and granted that instead of a Mayor and Baliffs there should be a Mayor, Sheriff and twelve Aldermen who should be Justices of the Peace within the town and county.

Hull in 1866.Hull was a major port during the Later Middle Ages and its merchants traded widely to ports in Northern Germany, the Baltics and the Low Countries. Wool, cloth and hides were exported, and timber, wine, furs and dyestuffs imported. Leading merchant, Sir William de la Pole, helped establish a family prominent in government. Bishop John Alcock, founder of Jesus College and patron of the grammar school in Hull, hailed from another Hull mercantile family.

Between the 13th and 16th century, Hull was the second port of England (after London), and a sophisticated metropolitan international city.

Hull maritime history is thought to have been a key factor in the transmission of syphilis: the earliest evidence of syphilis in medieval Europe is at at the site of an Augustinian Friary (destroyed 1539) in Hull.

This friary provided medical care including palliative care and burial rites for "wretched souls". Carbon-dated skeletons from the Friary display bone lesions typical of tertiary venereal syphilis. This casts doubt on the New World origin theory of syphilis.

Examination of the friary site revealed bone lesions on two/thirds of the skeletons examined, including those closest to the altar, a position reserved for richer and most generous patrons of the order. This suggests that the privileged of Hull had had syphilis for a long time.

Carbon dated skeletons of monks who lived in the friary showed bone lesions typical of venereal syphilis. The find in Hull disputes the assertion that syphilis came from the New World through contact of Christopher Columbus's crew with American natives.

Hull grew in prosperity and importance during the 16th and early 17th centuries. This is reflected in the construction of a number of fine, distinctively decorated brick buildings of which Wilberforce House (now a museum dedicated to the life of William Wilberforce) is a rare survival.

In 1642 Hull's governor Sir John Hotham declared for the Parliamentarian cause and later refused Charles I entry into the City and access to its large arsenal. He was declared a traitor and despite a parliamentarian pardon was later executed. (He was actually executed by the parliamentarians, not the royalists, when he tried to change sides.) This series of events was to precipitate the English Civil War since Charles I felt obliged to respond to the 'insult' by besieging the City, an event that played a critical role in triggering open conflict between the Parliamentarian and Royalist causes. For some of the Civil War, and for some of the Interregnum, Robert Overton was governor of Hull.

Hull developed as a British trade port with mainland Europe, Whaling until the mid 19th Century and deep sea fishing until the Anglo-Icelandic Cod War 1975-1976, which resolution led to a major decline in Hull's economic fortune. At one stage it was the "third port" in England, due largely to the success of the Wilson Line of Hull shipping firm, the largest privately owned shipping concern at that time. The significance of this successful firm in Hull is seen by statues in the city centre to the brothers that ran it, it was only when it was sold to John Ellerman in 1915 that it declined and was in correllation with the decline of Hull as a port to rival London and Liverpool. It remains a major port dealing mostly with bulk commodities and commercial road traffic by RORO ferry to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge on mainland Europe. The city remains a UK centre of food processing.

Humber Bridge from the south sideBecause of its docks, its industry, and proximity to continental Europe the city sustained particularly significant damage in bombing raids during the Second World War and much of the city centre was devastated. In fact, Hull was the most severely bombed of any city outside London during WWII. Of a population of approximately 320,000 at the beginning of World War II, approximately 192,000 were made homeless as a result of bomb destruction or damage. It is reported that 90% of all the buildings in Hull were damaged or destroyed. The most severe of the bombing occurred during 1941. Little was known about this destruction by the rest of the country at the time since most of the radio and newspaper reports did not reveal Hull by name but referred to it as a "North-East" town. [citation needed] Most of the centre was rebuilt in the years following the war, but it is only recently that the last of the "temporary" car parks that occupied the spaces of destroyed buildings have been redeveloped.

Hull's administrative status has changed several times. It was a county borough within the East Riding of Yorkshire from 1889 and in 1974 it became a non-metropolitan district of Humberside. When that county was abolished in 1996 it was made a unitary authority. It is now a thriving city with many new developments in the process of completion.