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Hullwebs History of Hull


Julia Turpin

Julia Turpin in her midwife uniformJulia Hammond was born 31 Dec 1859 in Wisbech (Cambs), daughter of Christopher Hammond and Martha Canham, both of Norfolk, and both of whom ended up living in Hull. Julia was the youngest of 10 children, the first 7 being born in Lincolnshire, the last 3 in Norfolk.

By 1871 she had moved to Hull and, in 1875, was married in St. Andrews Church, Kirkella. Her husband, George Turpin was born in 1858 at Faxfleet (Yorks), the son of Mark Turpin and Hannah Simms of Cliffe (Yorks). They were aged 15 and 16 respectively. At the time of marriage, George was a labourer, but later became a railway engine driver. They had a family of 14 children, 8 sons and six daughters, between 1877 and 1899, all but one being born in Hull. Several died in infancy.

George TurpinJulia’s profession was a midwife and she delivered many babies in the Hessle Road area. As late as the 1920s it is said that Grandma Turpin was one of only four qualified midwives in the whole of Hull. She was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and was a familiar figure in her navy blue uniform, riding her sit up and beg bicycle.

As a result of her busy duties, being ‘on rounds’ etc., her older children looked after the younger ones, and consequently had very hard lives.

Contrary to popular belief, she did not become ‘literate’ until after she had had her family.

She was a very keen spiritualist and attended meetings in the Hessle Road area, including her own home in Eastbourne Street. I understand from my own branch of the family, that they had to move from there because of strange happenings in the house (tales related to me by my father and brother, who both experienced things). My two aunts would never go into the house, instead prefering to stand in the street and waiting for whoever it was they had called for.

Julia’s daughter Olive and granddaughter Sylvia followed in her midwifery footsteps and also served in the Hessle Road fishing community. Olive delivered about 3,600 Hessle Roader's before she retired in 1939, and daughter Sylvia Shepherd delivered over 2000 babies until retirement in 1958.

Julie and George remained in Hull, mainly in the Hessle Road area, for the rest of their lives. George died 1929 at 17 Eastbourne St., Hull and Julia in 1937 at 36 King Street, Hull. They are buried in the same grave at the General Cemetery, Hull.

The content of this page has been provided by June Wray, Julia's great Grandaughter, who lives in Adelaide, Australia. You can contact June via Hullwebs UK. June would love to hear your stories of Julia, Sylvia and Olive.

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A very special thanks to Hull Local Studies Library for their help with our research projects.