Memories of Winteringham - by Hilda Kell (nee Routh)
Kindly copied from the original by Judith Chant
I was born in Winteringham. My father was a local builder and joiner serving that community. Sadly I know little
about my mother; she lived at West Butterwick before marrying my father. I was their fifth child, born in 1913.
Unfortunately my mother died after the last baby was born, her seventh child. I was then three years old. Soon
we were all to be separated and taken on by my different aunts. I was the only one to leave Winteringham and go to another home in Hull.
One of my first memories is the absolute terror of suddenly being taken from a tiny village, across the Humber to a busy city, where the road suddenly lifted up before me. It was of
course the old Monument Bridge, so called because at that time the Wilberforce monument was positioned there.
The Routh children:
Back: John, Nellie
Front: Norman, Arthur, Stanley
So now after the fields and space, and playing with my
brothers in Grandad's three acre orchard, I am living on the Holderness Road in Hull.
The highlight of the year came when I returned to Winteringham for the summer holiday. Grandma insisted
that I should return for a week or two into the family again. Our grandparents had adopted my eldest brother, John, and the next to youngest boy, Stanley. Grandad had a
boatyard on the bank of the river, and made keels for the river traffic. What an ideal way to spend a holiday! My brothers taught me to play cricket and helped in the
orchard; we ate so much fruit straight from the tree or plant! Sometimes we rode the large farm horses, but it was extremely difficult to hang on as our legs were not
yet long enough to encompass their huge bodies.
Before going to bed Grandma would put a red plush cloth with bobbles all around on the table with the family
Bible. We took it in turns to choose the hymn and read a short passage from the Bible, usually from one of the
Psalms. I well recollect when she asked us what sin we had committed that day. After our confessions we prayed for forgiveness, gave everyone a kiss and went off happily to bed.
We all attended a Methodist Sunday School. Grandad was the Superintendent of the Sunday School in Winteringham for 50 years. We had to attend the service in the Chapel both morning and evening. Strangely I
quite enjoyed them, and can still recall some of the old gentlemen and the subject of their sermons. Some of the
congregation would shout out "Hallelujah" from time to time, and "Praise the Lord", and we found it rather difficult not to giggle.
Once when I arrived for my holiday about three days before Winteringham school broke up, and felt very lost and
lonely without my brothers and cousins, so I wandered into the churchyard which was almost adjacent to the
school. After tending my mother's grave, and reading the not very comforting inscription "In the midst of life we
are in death", I set about tending the other graves, decorating them with wild flowers.
Norman was getting to be quite a tease, and fond of playing tricks by now. He named his shaggy dog "Guess"
so that if anyone unfortunately asked him the name of his dog, he enjoyed their efforts to do just that until they realised the joke.
One Sunday evening when we all attended the church service he whispered to me that he was going to have
some fun, All went well until the minister started to preach, and then Norman produced a Merrill's custard powder
tin from his pocket and started to release cabbage white butterflies one by one until they were all around the
place; a wonderful distraction for any minister. I'm sure Norman will always remember the ten commandments- he had to write them out ten times.
John was, for a time, organ- blower, pumping air into the organ to make it play. He hated the way some of the old
men used to drawl out the "Amen" so slowly after every hymn, so he often cut short his pumping so the organist was unable to play the final "So be it".
My cousin Enid and I were now together quite often. (Enid and Ellen Burkill were daughters of Auntie Maud and
Uncle Isaac, who adopted my youngest brother, Arthur and lived in what is now School Lane, opposite the new
school that my father built). We were both very interested in Botany so we went into the fields around finding wild
flowers to press and put into books and label. We were very happy to find rare species, and my interest in
flowers has continued, though sadly I can't remember all the names now. We once visited Broughton Lily Woods
. I hope they still exist. The perfume from the lily of the valley was just wonderful, and to see the ground carpeted
with them is something I shall never forget. I have a strange feeling that I vaguely remember hearing that the
woods have been decimated and the land used for housing. Thank goodness some wild violets still remain in the wayside verges and under the hedges. I still love to see lily of the valley and violets'
When John was fourteen, (in 1925) Grandad died, and I remember so vividly the funeral in April. The weather was
warm and the countryside was beautiful. Grandad's coffin was placed on a newly painted wagon drawn by a well
-groomed , heavy carthorse with black ribbons in the bridle. There were many people following the hearse up the
hill and more than thirty grandchildren walking sedately along. The service took place in the Methodist Chapel
(which was full and overflowing), then to the nearby churchyard for the burial. Long after this I used to feel guilty because I so enjoyed my Grandfather's funeral. Now I know he would be pleased that I did.
John and Stanley continued at South View with Grandma and Auntie Nellie. Auntie Nellie never married. Like so
many young ladies then she considered her duty was to stay and help look after Grandma and the boys.
In the orchard:
Middle: John, Nellie with Arthur on her knee, Hilda,
Front sitting on ground: Stanley
For Stanley Routh’s memories of Winteringham, please click here.
For More Routh information and further photographs, please click here.