History of the Irish in Hull


Wednesday, September 14 at 3.00.
Wrecking Ball Arts Centre,

Immigration has shaped the face of Britain for centuries. This talk by Rob Bell explores the story of Irish settlers in Hull
throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The potato famine of the 1840s saw many Irish flee their homeland seeking opportunity elsewhere. By 1861, 600,000 people, or 3 per cent of the English population, had been born in Ireland. They found work as navigators, or navvies as they became known, building canals and then railways or in service. In time, many settled in places like London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Hull had a significant Irish community throughout the 19th century. At various times, the Chief of Police and Editor of the Hull Advertiser were Irish with a strong impact on civic leaders today. The Sisters of Mercy came from Dublin to found what became St Mary’s College.

There was an Olympic wrestling champion and even a Hull City player whobecame the manager of FC Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. Many Irish married local men and women. Today an estimated 40 per cent of English people have Irish ancestry.

Here in Hull, many Civic today leaders have Irish roots and St Mary’s College remains a strong shaper of young lives to this day.

Booking Details

No booking required


Stairs only access to first floor

COVID-19 Considerations

This event will run in line with local & national government guidelines at the time of the festival.

Additional Information

Contact for the day:John Netherwood

Organised by

John Netherwood