Drawing on Hull's Past - The F.S. Smith Collection (part 2)

Detail from FS Smith sketch

The Town becomes The City


By around 1800, the Hull's Old Town had become too crowded to take any more building. Therefore, once the old town walls had come down, Hull began to spread beyond beyond the new docks that were built. In Victorian times the town's population increased rapidly and Hull was ranked as Britain's third port. In 1897, the town was granted city status.

F.S. Smith's drawings of street scenes show the great variety of shops and businesses that existed in Victorian Hull . They include the familiar butchers and bakers, but also more unusual ones such as hatters and umbrella makers.

Important buildings such as the old Dock Offices (now the Maritime Museum) and Paragon Railway Station still stand today. Others, like the Royal Institution, which was Hull's original museum, have now gone. Some drawings show the Wilberforce Monument in its original location before it was moved in 1935.

Hull's Surrounding Suburbs


F.S. Smith didn't just draw places within Hull's city centre. He also captured streets and places in the surrounding suburbs of Hull. This revealed a city of great contrasts between rich and poor. Some depict affluent areas with rows of smart Georgian or Victorian residential properties. Other scenes show poorer housing running along the banks of open drains.

Hull's key industries are also represented. Some drawings include mills which crushed seed for oil. There are also a few showing a five-sailed windmill on Dansom Lane. Some show various factories, one of these being a large 'Slate and Marble Works'on Park Road.

The Victorian period saw the creation and opening of several parks in Hull. Many drawings show scenes within West and East Park. They include bandstands, lakes, fountains and statues.

Many schools and churches are featured in the drawings. They are often quite grand buildings. They were a central part of life in Hull. A few show the elaborate Victorian church of St. Stephen with its tall spire. It was located close to Paragon Railway Station and was a useful landmark for visitors arriving in the city. Hull's new Shopping Centre is built close to the site and takes its name from the church.

Outlying Villages and Towns


F.S. Smith also took his sketchbook to places beyond Hull, such as North Ferriby, Skidby, Dunswell and Beverley. He also sketched nearby Paull and coastal areas such as Dane's Dyke and Flambrough Head near Bridlington.

Today's large villages are shown as being very rural and sometimes just consist of a few cottages and a pub with a dirt track roadway. Smith also travelled even further a-field and produced drawings of other places in Yorkshire. He also went to London and drew the Houses of Parliament.