Moving the Wilberforce Monument in 1935

wilberforce monument detail

A Motoring Hazard


Discussions about moving the monument began as early as 1932. The council felt that the monument was becoming a motoring hazard for traffic between Whitefriargate and Queen Square. After many discussions it was decided by the Queens Dock Committee that the monument should be moved to the eastern end of the newly laid out Queens Gardens.

Wilberforce Monument and scaffolding, Hull
In the council minutes of 25th January 1935, the Queens Dock Committee recommends that the council accept Councillor Tarren's offer to have his company move the monument to its new location.

Councillor Robert Greenwood Tarran was a prominent figure in the community. He was the owner of Tarran Industries Ltd who were building material supplier to Hull Housing and Town Planning Committee and he later served as Sheriff of Hull.

The minutes don't explicitly state that Councillor Tarran offered to move the monument for free but it is recommended that the gas, electricity and water committees provide their services for free due to Councillor Tarran's 'generous offer'. The official acceptance of Councillor Tarran's offer was minuted on 7th February 1935.

Moving the Monument


It took four months in total to move the monument from Monument Bridge to the Eastern end of Queens Gardens with work beginning in April 1935. During the replacing of the foundation stone at Queen's Gardens a small deed box was put in a specially prepared cavity. The contents of the deed box are:-

Mr Robson and Wilberforce Monument time capsulePhotographs and maps showing the old and new locations;
Description of removal reasons and methods used to move the monument, typed on vellum;
Page from Hull Times dated May 18th 1935;
Notes and booklets about Tarran Industries;
A Jubilee Crown piece (coin);
Wilberforce House Medal 1906;
Examples of coins from 1935;
A copy of the Hull Daily Mail.

An article in the Hull Daily Mail dated 15th April 1935 shows Councillor Tarran, the Lord Mayor and his niece at the top of the column before it is moved.

Members of the public were allowed to go up the scaffolding to enjoy the view of Hull for a two shilling fee (20p in today's money), both in its original location and its new location. The money raised went to the Mother Humber Fund which gave the poor children of the city a holiday camp. The charity still exists today, but is called The Mother Humber Memorial Fund and is dedicated to the relief of hardship or distress.

Moved and Rededicated


On the 19th September 1935 Queens Gardens were opened by Herbert Morrison and the Wilberforce Monument was rededicated by Mrs Arnold Reckitt, Wilberforce's great granddaughter.

The estimated cost of moving the monument was 1,500 pounds which is approximately 70,000 pounds in today's money.