England from the air is a patchwork country, stitched by granite and rock and fields and streets.
Hard against the North Sea is the city of Hull, cradled from that expanse by the River Humber. She reaches into Yorkshire North and Lincolnshire in the South with the city rooted in the crook of her arm.
Follow her out from the land of safety and your eye falls onto the other country; one of glassy navy blues. This is a cold sea, a bitter sea, a connecting northern flow that binds Hull with Europe. It is the strength that grew medieval trade and with it Mother Humber’s lifeblood for generations.
When docks were built for trade and industry Hull became a gateway to the wealth that Europe brings. Wools and textiles were transported out from enormous ship-filled berths, ensuring the survival of all classes.
It was a gift of positioning for Mira Johnson and her couture house in the center of Hull but her advantage turned as the North Sea blew against us in war.
The first had already happened; Zeppelins flying to London turned back. Payloads of incendiary bombs were dropped on the roofs and heads of the citizens of Hull. People lost their homes, business and lives.
In the aftermath of The Great War Hull came to realise that war could be fought from the sky. The people rioted for better protection.
Heard and in preparation for the next, 40,000 air raid shelters were built in the City but between World War 1 and 2 airship technology had advanced. With it the dark, sky line threat of aerial attack was realised.
In the Blitz air raid shelters were scant protection. They came the as-the-crow-flies distance bringing the arrows to bomb Hull.
In 1941 the City lived in terror of the Nazis seconded only by that in London.The toll of dead and injured ruptured lives damaged by bombs.
The Blitz decimated King Edward Street and Prospect Street maiming Old Hull. It took hospitals and churches and pubs and schools and cinemas and factories as well as homes.
The lopsided square of roads encircling Albion Street was hollow at the finish.
The library at the head of the street showed normality by opening its doors, but the people who lived in the brick terraces cowered until swathes were destroyed.
The air raid shelter to protect those who lived and worked nearby was a painful nothing an inadequate and resounding tin hat against a driving onslaught of bombs.
But within this magnet to terror, the House Of Mirelle survived…
© Carrie Henderson 2015