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Hullwebs History of Hull

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Hull Plagues!

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In 1551 a general malady, the sweating sickness, broke out in Hull. In 1576 the Plague was brought in by some seamen who chose to neglect the somewhat lax quarantine regulations. The outbreak was confined to Blackfriargate (Monkgate to riverside on Town Plan) which was actually walled up to prevent any of its inflicted inhabitants escaping. Only two doors remained unblocked in order to allow food and medicine into the affected area. The precautions had the desired effect and only 100 people fell victim.

In 1635 the plague descended once more on Hull. Unfortunately, this time the whole city was effected and placed in quarantine. The town gates were shut and only guards were allowed to receive provisions at appointed places. All group gatherings were prohibited with churches and schools all closed. The streets were used so little that grass grew between the paving stones and the whole town was a picture of despair.

The pestilence raged for three years and 2,730 persons were known to fall victim; excluding those who fled to the country and died there which, it was believed at the time, almost doubled the number.

As a result the commerce of Hull died out and over 2,00 inhabitants were reduced to poverty. Those who could afford it were taxed very heavily in order to support the poor. Such contributions were insufficient and assistance had to be sought from the whole county of York and even further afield.

The King's preparations for war and the improvements to Hull defences as protection against the Scots meant that economic recovery was rapid.



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