Research – Paul Heaton

Paul Heaton is a singer and songwriter, who has performed in bands such as The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, before performing as both a solo artist, and as part of a duo with Jacqui Abbott.

Originally from Bromborough on the Wirral Peninsula, his family located to Sheffield, and then to Surrey, where he started to perform in his first band, Tools Down.  After leaving school, he travelled around Europe, before settling in Hull in the early 1980’s.

It was during his time in Hull, that he formed The Housemartins in 1983 as the lead singer and Stan Cullimore on Guitar.

Throughout the bands active period, 1985-1988, there were various other members of the group, including Chris Lang, Ted Key, and Norman Cook, the latter going on to have chart success as a solo artist, performing as Fat Boy Slim.

After the breakup of The Housemartins, two band members, Paul Heaton, and David Hemingway got together with Dave Rotheray and David Stead to form the Beautiful South in 1988. They had 34 singles, and 15 albums, before splitting up in 2007.

During his time with the bands, he released albums under his own name, and also his alternative persona “Biscuit Boy”, but not achieving the commercial success of before.

Heaton is known for his political views, either in his lyrics, or as an activist, with lyrics including subjects sich as feminism, globalisation and climate change.


Research – Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson was born in Hull in 1903, a year that also saw the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers.

She was a pioneer in the aviation industry, and was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia.

Educated at Boulevard Municipal Secondary School and the University of Sheffield, where she graduated with a degree in economics.


After leaving Sheffield, she moved to London, where she worked as a secretary, and it was here where she joined the London Aeroplane Club, gaining a pilot’s licence in 1929.  In addition to this, she also obtained a ground engineer’s licence.


Having gained the relevant licences, she bought a second hand aeroplane, a De Havilland Gipsy Moth, which she named “Jason”.  And it was in this aeroplane that she left Croydon Airport in 1930, flying 11,000 miles from England to Darwin, Australia.

For this feat, she received a CBE from the then King, George V, and also received the Harmon Trophy, given to the world’s outstanding aviator.

Following this, Johnson continued with other flying activities, including flying, in 1931, from London to Moscow in a single day.  From there, Johnson, and her co-pilot, Jack Humphreys continued east towards Japan.

Throughout the 1930’s, Johnson continued to set aviation records, including London to Cape Town, and Pendine Sands in South Wales, across to America, although the latter ended abruptly, when the De Havilland Dragon ran out of fuel, and crash landed in Connecticut.

During that time Amy Johnson met her future husband, Jim Mollison, and they married in 1932.  With her new husband, Johnson completed a journey from Britain to India in record time.  The marriage lasted for 6 years, before a separation, and eventual divorce.

In 1940, during the Second World War, Johnson joined the Air Transport Auxiliary, and her role was to transport RAF aircraft around the country, and she rose through the ranks, eventually becoming First Officer.

It was during one of these transport flights that Amy Johnson had to bail out of her aircraft.  Flying from Prestwick, Scotland, to RAF Kidlington, Oxfordshire, she went off course in adverse weather, and eventually ran out of fuel.  Her aircraft crash landed into the Thames Estuary.


Her body was spotted in the water, but was swept away, and her body was never found.  As a member of ATA who has no known grave, she is remembered at the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, Surrey

Research – Peter Levy

Peter Levy

Peter Levy

Although not originally from Hull, Peter Levy is a name and voice well recognised across the area.

Born in Kent, and educated in Cornwall, Levy started out as an actor, with small roles in series and soap operas in the 1960’s and 1970’s, taking parts in series such as Coronation Street, Z-Cars, and Dixon of Dock Green.

He moved from on-screen to behind a microphone, when a new radio station launched in Bradford in 1975.  Pennine Radio, now known as the Pulse of West Yorkshire was his first radio role, before moving to across to the west coast, when a job became vacant at Radio City, Liverpool in 1979.

He returned to Radio Aire in Leeds, and then transferred to the BBC, where he hosted the lunchtime show on BBC Radio Leeds.  At this point, he started to cover the breakfast news bulletins on BBC Breakfast, where the network show goes to “opt out” for a short bulletin, twice per hour.

Look North covered the whole of the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire broadcast area in the 1990’s, but the region was split in 2002, so that the West and South Yorkshire received their news from Leeds, and East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire’s bulletins were broadcast from Hull, and Levy moved to the Hull studio in 2002.

He continues to host the weekday evening 6.30 bulletin, and most weekday late bulletins at 10.25pm after the main BBC One evening news bulletin.

Between 2008 and 2014, Levy hosted a lunchtime programme on BBC Radio Humberside, which as also simulcast on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

He has also continued to act on a part time basis, with cameo roles in Last of the Summer Wine, and the remake of Open All Hours, where he played a role called “Lawnmower Man”.



Research – John Prescott

John Prescott was the Member of Parliament for Hull East between 1970 and 2010.

Born in Prestatyn in 1938, he moved to Brinsworth near Rotherham and attended Brinsworth Manor School.  He sat the 11 plus exam in 1949 to try to gain entry to Rotherham Grammar School, but failed.  It was at this point that his family relocated to Upton, Cheshire, where he was educated at Grange Secondary Modern School in Ellesmere Port.

On leaving school, he worked in the Merchant Navy as a steward and waiter for Cunard.  After leaving Cunard, he gained a diploma in economics and politics in 1965 at Ruskin College, before graduating in Economics and Economic History at the University of Hull.

After leaving the University of Hull, he was a full time official of the National Union of Seamen, before being elected to the House of Commons in 1970, beating Norman Lamont.  During the period between 1975 and 1979, he concurrently served as a Member of the European Parliament.

He stood for the deputy leader of the Labour Party twice, beaten by Roy Hattersley in 1988, and Margaret Beckett in 1992, before finally being elected to the post in 1994, following the death of the then leader, John Smith.  During that election, Prescott ran for both Leader and Deputy, beaten by Tony Blair for the top post.

With the Labour victory in 1997, Prescott was given the role of Deputy Prime Minister, with a role as Secretary of State for the Department for Enviroment, Transport and the Regions.


Research – Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson is the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Hull West and Hessle parliamentary constituency, a position he has held since the 1997 General Election.


Originally from Hull, Johnson was orphaned aged 12, when his mother, Lillian Johnson, died.  At this point, his care was provided by his older sister, Linda

He attended Sloane Grammar School after passing the 11 plus exam, leaving at the age of 15, with no qualifications.  After leaving school, he stacked shelves at Tesco, before taking up a role as a postman aged 18.  During his time with the General Post Office, later known as Royal Mail, he joined the Union of Communication Workers, working his way up to branch official, before taking on a full time role in 1987, and became General Secretary in 1992 and helped to in the UCW’s merger with the National Communications Union in 1995.

He joined the Labour Party in 1971, and during his early time with the Labour Party, was a member of the National Executive Committee.

Before the 1997 General Election, the then MP, Stuart Randall stood down, and Johnson was elected as the Labour Candidate for the newly created, but historically safe area of Hull West and Hessle, and he was returned as the MP with a majority of 15,525.

During his political career, Johnson has held various positions within both Government and in opposition.  His roles include Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dawn Primarolo in 1997, before a move to the Department for Trade and Industry.  In the 2003 re-shuffle, he was given the role of Minster for Higher Education at the Department for Education and Skills.  He has also been Education Secretary, Health Secretary, and in 2009, replaced Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary.

He has stood for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, when John Prescott stepped down in 2007, but narrowly missed out to Harriet Harman, in doing so, he gained 49.56% of the vote.  In 2010, when Gordon Brown stepped down, there were rumours in political circles and in the media, that Johnson would be standing for the top job, but he decided against it, and backed eventual winner, Ed Milliband.

After the Conservative victory in the 2010 General Election, Johnson was given the role of Shadow Chancellor, opposite George Osborne.  This has been his last major political role to date, after he resigned citing personal reasons after just under 4 months in the job.

Since then he has worked, in addition to his role as MP, in various media roles, and has published 2 volumes of his memoires, in 2013 and 2014.

Research – Thomas Ferens

Thomas Ferens was born in East Thickley, close to Bishop Auckland, and was, during his life, a politician, philanthropist and industrialist.

He was educated privately at Bishop Auckland Grammar School until the age of 13, where he started his working career as a clerk in the Shildon office of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.  6 years later he moved to Stockton working for Head, Wrighton and Co.


In 1868, he moved to Hull, working at Reckitt & Sons as a confidential shorthand clerk to James Reckitt.

During his time at Reckitt & Sons, he worked his way through the career ladder, as Works Manager, Secretary, and in 1880, General Manager.  In 1888, he joined the board of directors, and after the death of James Reckitt, Ferens was named as joint chairman.


Ferens worked tirelessly at Reckitts and also for his adopted city, named as a Justice of the Peace in 1894, and was elected at the Liberal Member of Parliament for Hull East in 1906.  He was awarded the freedom of the city in 1911, and a year later was appointed to the Privy Council by King George V.


During his working life, Thomas Ferens donated 10% of his salary to charity, and as his remuneration increased, he donated a higher percentage of his earnings to charity.

His benevolence in Hull included The Ferens Art Gallery, located in Queen Victoria Square, and the formation of University College Hull, now known as the University of Hull.  His donations also benefitted other areas, including Kingswood School for Boys, Bath, and Farrington Girls School, Chislehurst.

After his death in 1930 at his home, Holderness House, the building and grounds were given to a trust together with an endowment of £50,000 to be used as a rest home for women.

One of the main throughfares within Hull was named after Thomas Ferens. Ferensway runs north from the A63, alongside the train station and the St Stephens shopping centre, until it meets Spring Bank, Freetown Way, and Beverley Road.





Research – William Wilberforce

Wilberforce Monument

Wilberforce Monument


William Wilberforce is one of Hull’s most iconic figures, and is celebrated across the world for his role in the abolition of slavery.

Born on High Street, in what is now classed as Hull’s Old Town in 1759, he completed his schooling at Hull Grammar School and Pocklington School, before moving into Higher Education at St. John’s College, Cambridge where he completed degrees, both Batchelor of Arts in 1781 and Master of Arts in 1788.  During his time at Cambridge, he befriended the future Prime Minister, William Pitt, and Wilberforce entered the world of politics, becoming the Member of Parliament for Kingston Upon Hull in 1780, also serving for the Yorkshire and Bramber constituencies until leaving the House of Commons in 1825.

In the late 1780’s, Wilberforce found religion, and committed to a change of direction in his life, one that was directed by his reading of scriptures from The Bible.

During his life, he worked tirelessly to abolish slavery, and the act that freed slaves in the British Empire passed through the House of Commons, just before his death in July 1833.

A statue of him stands within the grounds of Hull College, located on Wilberforce Drive.

Upon his death, Wilberforce left a widow, Barbara Ann, and 6 children, William, Barbara, Elizabeth, Robert, Samuel, and Henry.   He was buried in Westminster Abbey, alongside his friend and peer, William Pitt.



Research – Famous People of Hull – Findings

Having conducted research into perceptions of famous people of Hull, via Social Media and Vox Pops, I have selected 8 suitable candidates, and I will be conducting research on each of them to make a choice to feature in the video and magazine spread.

By researching into the 8, it will give me a little insight into the lives of each of them, and from that point, I feel confident that I can select a person who people will be interested in hearing more about, both in print and visually.

The 8 candidates are:

  • William Wilberforce
  • Thomas Ferens
  • Alan Johnson
  • John Prescott
  • Peter Levy
  • Amy Johnson
  • Paul Heaton
  • David Whitfield

Research – Famous People of Hull

The assignment for the Creative Futures strand of the second year starts with creating a magazine pullout and 3 minute video about a prominent figure from Hull, either past or present.  As part of the learning outcomes, research is a critical part of the marking structure, and as someone not originally from the city, I have a blank canvas in terms of subject.

I will be asking a cross section of people within Hull who they feel would be a suitable person to feature in my magazine article and 3 minute video.

Using a variety of different surveying methods, I will be consulting over a 1 week period, so that my polling allows for a good sample.  I will be using social media and vox pops to build a shortlist of potential subjects, which I will use to do initial research on, before making a final decision once that research has been completed.