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News > Archives & History > A remarkable story, the Hull family at Bishops.

A remarkable story, the Hull family at Bishops.

'Information concerning this illustrious family was supplied by Mrs Phyllis Currie (daughter of George Hull) and Mrs Alison Eustace (g.daughter of George Hull)'. - Peter le Mesurier, former archivist.
Three of the Hull brothers - T.D.R. Tom Hull, W.B. Billy Hull (top row); seated, G.H. George Hull.
Three of the Hull brothers - T.D.R. Tom Hull, W.B. Billy Hull (top row); seated, G.H. George Hull.
The Hull Family - A story of a family inextricably intertwined with Bishops' history.

Two recent events caused me to jot down a few notes about the Hull family at Bishops, and surely it is a topic for an article that has to be written.

Firstly, Nicky Bicket (F, 1973 and secretary of the UK ODU branch) sent me an article about an OD who was tragically killed in an air crash in England on 17/18 May 1956.  This is George Laurence 'Laurie' Bazzett Hull (at Bishops from 1924-30). 

Then there was a letter I came across written to me - dated 24 July 1992 - from Mrs Phyllis Currie of Johannesburg, the sister of Laurie and daughter of George Henry Hull (at Bishops from 1889 - 1894), asking if the school would like to receive a collection of books.

The letter was asking if Bishops would be happy to accept the donation from her family of her father's seventeen prizes that he was awarded whilst at Bishops.  As I was full-time teaching I handed the letter to Peter le Mesurier the Archivist at the time.  The Museum was still in the Old Squash Courts.  Peter got onto it and soon the books arrived.  Today they form part of the beautiful collection of leather bound volumes.  We are very honoured to have them and extremely grateful to Mrs Currie for arranging for the books to be delivered to Bishops.  Phyllis Currie's brother Laurence was an OD who was killed in a night-flying operation in a Mosquito, in England, in 1946.  The kind donation included the efforts of Mrs Alison Eustace, the daughter of Laurence's twin sister and Grand-Daughter of George Henry. 

The close links of the Hulls with many other Bishops families and friends of Bishops is a topic for another articile as is a fuller article of the Hulls at Bishops, which we have already said.  

Originally, there were the three brothers, Henry Hull (who played a significant for the ODs and school), Charles Edward Hull and Thomas Sparkle Hull.  They came to Bishops at the time of Canon Ogilvie coming from St George's Grammar School, as Bishops' Principal (1860).

Thomas Sparkle Hull had six children of which the four boys attended Bishops and the two gilrls ended up teaching at Bishops.  Henry's son, Charles Lee Hull, also went to Bishops (1900 - 1903), followed by a very successful career.  There is no mention of Charles Edward's sons at Bishops.  

The following were the sons of Thomas Sparkle Hull (not sure if he actually went to Bishops), they all attended Bishops:   

George Henry (1886-93), Edward Ansdell (was at St Saviour's and left Bishops in 1885), William (1893-1896) and Thomas (1891-95).

George Henry's daughter Mary taught at Bishops from 1887 - 1912.   There was another child, Agnes, and one is not sure if this might be 'Fanny' who according to the obit in the school magazine (for George Henry), 'was also formerly a member of the Bishops Staff'.  

The Hulls were very gifted and talented students at Bishops.  Their record clearly shows this in the obits in the College magazines.  

What also requires a lot more research and this is certainly something the Archives would like to do at some stage, is the history of Bishops when the 'Junior' school was at Feldhausen (The Grove) when it amalgamated with St Saviour's Grammar School under Canon Brooke to become the Diocesan College School; the senior boys (above Gr 10) went to the Diocesan College at Woodlands. 

At the end of 1886 there were 79 at the School in Claremont and 56 at the College at Rondebosch (nine undergraduates and 47 senior boys) - 135 altogether.  School House was subsequently built with the laying of the foundation stone in 1900, in anticipation of the amalgamation of the Diocesan College School at Feldhausen and the Diocesan College.  

It is therefore not surprising that one would want to know more about the story of the Hulls at Bishops when Mrs Currie writes: 'The Hulls have been connected with the School from its early beginnings at Feldhausen". 

Not just because many Hulls attended Bishops, but also for what John Gardener's 'Bishops 150' has to say: 'Mary Hull taught at Feldhausen, and then at the Prep section at Woodlands.  She was a class teacher at first but later taught only music.  She died in January 1955'. 

To read more about the tragic accident involving one of the sons of George Henry, Wing Commander George Laurence Bazzett Hull DFC, who crashed when piloting the De Havilland DH 98 Mosquito T MARK III (in Leicestershire on 17 May 1946) - go to

Donald MacIntyre in 'A Century of Bishops' writes that George Ogilvie was a good musician ... with a fine tenor voice.  But there was no organ in the Chapel, which in those days was off the Founders Quad (where the Grade FH 8 dorm is today).  He therefore decided to borrow an harmonium from the mother of a day-boy.  She was a Mrs Hull.  It is not sure if she were the wife of one of the original Hulls that came to Bishops in the 1860s - it can only be speculated.  But what is reported in MacIntyre is that one Sunday morning as the organist commenced playing, 'most awful and heart-rendering sounds came from the instrument'.   A cat and her kittens had hidden themselves under the pedals.  On another occasion, on a damp evening, there was a procession up the aisle - of seven frogs, who went along croaking.  MacIntyre wonders if the organist might have played Handel's 'hopping of frogs'?

The long and eventful history of the Hull family at Bishops is significant and not without its tragedy.    

We are grateful to members of the Hull, Currie and Eustace families who sought a home for the Hull volumes, Peter le Mesurier for archiving the story of the Hulls, Nicky Bicket of the London ODs for keeping us up to speed about the school's rich history, and any other persons who contributed to keeping their memory alive who we have not mentioned.     

Paul Murray
[email protected]
From the Archives at Bishops


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