This is the second post for my Women of Hull Research:
Lillian “Big Lil” Billocca:
Lillian was born in 1929 in Wassand Street, Hessle Road to her father who was a fisher man. Not much is known about her except for the fact that she stayed in the fishing business when she married a fisherman and had children who also went into this business as well.
Lillian became famous after the tragedy of February 1968, when the St. Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland sank with their crews, were she began to protest on having safer trawlers and safer procedures for them as well. Her talks earned her a meeting with Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Number 10 Downing Street. Her campaign was supported by all the families of Hessle Road and her campaign brought many changes to the Fishing Industry such as Radios been a mandatory feature in any ship, so if another incident like the triple trawler occurred they response couldn’t not only be quicker but much more effective.
A plaque was placed on the wall of St Barnabus Court and near the end of the fishermen’s memorial in Hull’s Boulevard.
Madame Clapham was born in Cheltenham in 1865 (Originally known as Emily MacVitie) and moved to Scarbrough to take up an Apprenticeship in Dressmaking at Marshall and Snelgrove. When she began her Apprenticeship she start by picking up pins and supplies for the other Dressmakers and eventually made her way up gaining a thorough understanding of the industry in the process.
Emily move into Hull after her marriage to Haigh Clapham and opened up a shop in Number 1 Kingston Square with her Husband. The shop was designed to draw in the upper class of society with it’s regal appearance by the 1890’s the name Madame Clapham was see as the finest Dressmaker in all of Hull.
Due to her successful business with the upper class madame Clapham was able to compete with famous fashion houses in London and Paris easily and had a wide range of celebraties visiting her for her dresses such as Queen Maud of Norway.
In 1952 Madame Clapham passed away and in 1967 her niece Kirk Ella took over.