Step into the Hull of Sir John Hotham

Published: Wednesday 5th July 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Following the success of The Hypocrite at Hull Truck Theatre, you can now discover more about Sir John Hotham at Hull History Centre.

Hotham was a baronet, politician and Member of Parliament during the seventeenth century. As the governor of Hull, he refused King Charles I entry to the city at Beverley Gate, a bold move that sparked the English Civil War.

Hull History Centre, behind Hull New Theatre, is currently hosting an exhibition called Plots, Intrigue and Treason. Through dozens of information boards and other media, it charts the outbreak of hostilities between King and Parliament.

There’s so much to learn at this exhibition, including how propaganda was used back in the 1600s. Following the explosion of mass printing, both sides of the fray printed pamphlets and distributed them widely to the people. These not only broadcast their views and policies, but also shamelessly discredited their enemies.

As for Hotham himself, the exhibition looks into whether or not he truly was the ultimate traitor. After all, many other high-ranking Parliamentarians switched sides during the Civil War to support the Royalists. It was simply Hotham’s social standing and famous actions that have made him stand out from the others over the last few centuries.

As well as tons of information that can be accessed via the exhibition boards, you can view original documents, pamphlets and family trees in the resource area. Here you’ll also find an amazing diorama that depicts Hotham denying Charles entry, a scene far removed from today’s bustling spot at the head of Whitefriargate.


“We want everyone to understand more about the man and the events around him,” says Simon Wilson, University Archivist. “The Hypocrite was an excellent show, but there’s so much more to the story.”

Hull History Centre is a very accessible place and regularly hosts events of all types. For example, talks and Q&As will take place alongside showings organised by Hull Independent Cinema Project.

Meanwhile, children can build a castle out of blocks and recreate their own historical scenarios, or enjoy some educational picture books.


Another fun addition is the papier mâché sculpture of Sir John Hotham, which people are encouraged to take a selfie with. You can then tag in Hull History Centre on Facebook and Twitter.


Even the biggest local history buff will surely learn something at this eye-opening exhibition. For example, did you know that ships were ordered to stay in the Humber before being allowed to dock? This was to ensure that the crew wasn’t bringing plague from faraway lands.

Additionally, you may not realise that the poet Andrew Marvell was one of the most prominent preachers in the city. He lived a Puritan lifestyle and was very outspoken during the English Civil War.

You can view Plots, Intrigue and Treason at Hull History Centre until 22 September. Entry is free and we guarantee you’ll leave with a little more knowledge of how our city changed the UK’s political landscape all those years ago.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

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Published: Wednesday 5th July 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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