My 2x great uncle Charles Henry Hunter, who was more commonly known as Charlie, was born on 29th April 1903 in Burton Pidsea, East Yorkshire. He apparently weighed a very heavy 14 lb (1 stone) when he was born! He was one of 13 children (2 of which died when they were very young). They were Lily (1900-1971), Isabella (1901-1965), Charles Henry (1903-1985), Thomas Wright (1904-1984), William (1906-1982), Amy (1907-1981), George (1908-?), Harold (1910-1930), Florence Gertrude (Dolly) (1913-?), John (Jack) (1915-1983), Ronald (1922-1978). The 2 children that died when they were young were probably born between Jack and Ronald, as there is a gap of about 7 years between them. Their parents were Henry and Mary Ann Hunter (nee Wright).
The photo below shows the 6 oldest children. Lily is stood at the back left, Isabella at the back right, Charlie is stood on the middle left, I believe William is stood on the right, and Tom on the bottom right. Lily, being the youngest of the family at the time of this photograph is the baby in the middle of the photo. This photo would have most probably been taken in Burton Pidsea.
In 1911, Charles was living with his mother and 5 of his siblings at 15 Clarance Avenue, Exchange Street, which is in Hull. I am unsure why Henry (Charlie’s father) is not present on this census. What makes it even stranger is that there is an empty line above Mary Ann (Charlie’s mother), where Henry should be. Mary Ann wrote this census record but did not record herself as “Head”, meaning head of household. This suggests that Henry was living there, but did not make it back (from wherever he was) in time before the census had to be handed in. I am also unsure as to why the family are living in Hull, as I believed that they moved directly to Hedon, from Burton Pidsea. Henry’s occupation at the time of this census could have helped solve this mystery, but because there is no sign of him, it makes it even more confusing! Charlie was only 7 years old on the 1911 census and it states that he and his older sister, Lily, were attending school.
After leaving school at the age of 12 years old, Charlie was hired out to work on local farms. He would have attended local Hiring Fairs, where farmers would come along and choose young boys/men to come and work for them. Blenkin’s Farm, which is situated on Quaker Road in Owstwick, East Yorkshire. A girl called Mary Elger lived in Burstwick, which is not far from Owstwick. They would have most probably met in this area.
The photograph below shows Charlie in Bridlington. It was taken in the July of 1926, meaning that he would have been 23 years old.
Charles Henry Hunter married Mary Elger in 1932, at the Register Office in Hull. The couple went on to have 3 children.
The photograph below shows Hedon United AFC and was taken in about 1931/32. Charlie Hunter can be seen on the back row, in the middle.
On 1939 Register, Charlies is recorded as living at 2 King’s Place, George Street in Hedon with his wife Mary and two of their children. This home was owned by Todd’s of Birkholme, Preston Road and they rented the property for £1 a month! Charlie’s occupation was recorded as “Builder’s Labourer, Heavy Worker” and Mary’s as Unpaid Domestic Duties. At this time, Charlie would have been working for F. H. Hall Builders. He was one of the builder’s that helped build Bilton Grange Estate, and he also helped rejuvenate Hull New Theatre. During the Second World War, Charlie and his wife took in lodgers that were supplied by the government, as they had a spare room in their house.
Charlie became a local policeman in Hedon, which meant that he worked for the East Riding Constabulary. The Police Station, then, was located in the main street of Hedon (St. Augustine’s Gate), where the library now is.
In 1940, the Second World War had been causing devastation throughout Europe for 1 year. Charlie was on fire watch one night, whilst his family were in the air raid shelter. Charlie was a big man, and could not easily get into the shelter. Bombs were dropped on Burstwick Road and the blast blew him down the steps and into the shelter!
The photograph below shows a group of men from Hedon on a visit to the Sledmere monolith. Charlie can be seen in the middle of the back row. Stood in front of him, is his younger brother Jack. Geoffrey, Charlie’s son can be seen on the front row, third from the right. The photograph would have been taken in about 1946/1947.
One of Charlie’s younger brothers, Tom, ran a club that was a place for men to go and play snooker. There were two snooker tables, one upstairs and one downstairs. It was called “Hedon Recreation” but was sometimes known as “Clubhouse” and was inside of the building of what is now, Larard’s estate agents. Charlie used to go there every Saturday night for a game of snooker and would bring back a bag of chips, in which he and his family would eat cold, the following day!
The photograph below shows some of the Hunter family and their spouses. Through the ages of the children in the photograph, I have narrowed down the year that this photograph was taken to 1949. It was most probably taken for the 50th wedding anniversary of Henry Hunter and Mary Ann Wright (Charlie’s mother and father, my 2x great grandparents).
In about 1954, Charlie and his family moved to 37 Westlands Drive. They lived in this home for about 14 years, before moving to 11 Baxtergate in Hedon. This house was opposite the home of Charlie’s brother, Thomas Wright Hunter.
Charlie always had an allotment. It was located on the site of what is now the Westlands/Draper’s Lane area. As houses were being built on these fields, the allotments were pushed back to where the football field is now. In the garden of every home Charlie lived in, he had a greenhouse. Tomatoes would be grown in the summer and chrysanthemums, a type of flower in the winter. He would often enter his “chrysanths” into the annual event in the Alison Hall and that was organised by the Hedon Chrysanthemums Society. The photograph below shows Charlie stood in the doorway of the greenhouse in his Baxtergate home.
After leaving the Police force, Charlie worked as a Security Guard at British Industrial Solvents at Salt End. It is now known as BP. The photograph below shows him in uniform. Charlie worked there until he retired at the age of 65, in about 1968.
He became a Lollipop Man in Hedon. He was allocated one of the New Road crossings, which is the one nearest to Ketwell Lane. He worked on this crossing to help the children across the busy main road and safely get to Hedon County Primary School, which is now just Hedon Primary School. Many adults, who were children throughout the time that Charlie worked on the crossing, remember him! This includes my mother and auntie, who used to love that their great uncle was a Lolipop Man and that they saw him every day! This was Charlie’s occupation until the authorities made him give it up. According to one of Charlie’s daughters, he really loved this job and was sad that he had to stop.
On 26th October 1980, Charlie’s wife Mary passed away at age of 75 years old, as a result of Parkinson’s Disease. 5 years later, on 26th August 1985, Charlie sadly passed away at the age of 82 years old. He died as a result of Cancer and was buried in Hedon Town Cemetery with his late wife, Mary.
On my visits to the cemetery, I often visit Charlie and Mary’s grave. I never met or knew Charlie, as he passed away 11 years before I was born. It is only in recent years that I have started to learn about him and research his life. I would have really liked to have met him because to me, he seemed like a genuine man and I would have liked to have had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his life and those who came before him. For these reasons, I always enjoy learning more information about him and seeing photographs.
Thank you very much for reading,