The History Of Pelican Park

In 1925 a Hull-based cement manufacturing company called Earle’s Cement purchased the recreation ground known as Pelican Park. It was originally 15 acres in size and included a cricket pitch, tennis courts and football pitches. It also included an area for allotments for use by the employees and their families.

This was followed two years later by the opening of a pavilion. The pavilion contained 4 changing rooms, 2 sets of toilets with showers, storage rooms, a kitchen area and a community room. In the 1950’s, a covered veranda was also built.

Earle’s Cement

For 157 years the firm of G&T Earle was in existence in Hull. It served as a significant employer, providing work for several hundred people and by the end of the 19th century it had become one of the premier cement manufacturers in the country.

Although it amalgamated in 1912 with other cement companies to form the British Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd., it retained its identity through the marketing of its Pelican brand cement up until 1966 when it subsequently became the Blue Circle Group, which is now part of the Lafarge Cement Company.

In 1921 Earle’s Cement founded their welfare department and Ronald C. Burton was appointed as the welfare supervisor. He was born in Cherry Burton, which is near to the City of Hull. He was a keen cricket enthusiast and he managed the department until his retirement in 1959. The department was a novel idea in the industry and one of the early achievements was the promotion of closer contact between work and office staff members. This was primarily on the sports field in cricket, football, tennis, bowls etc. and it was reinforced by social functions, dances and amateur dramatics. Earle’s Cement also held a family fun day each year.

In 1930 a new organisation by the name of the Hull Works’ Sports Association was formed. This involved teams from various companies from around the City of Hull competing against each other at cricket, tennis and bowls. The first president of the association was George Earle of Earle’s Cement. This was the start of which over the years has fostered many sporting activities which still continue today.

The Earle Family

George Earle Sr. moved to Hull from York at around the end of the 18th century and he set up business as a stone mason and architect in Osborne Street. He had three sons: George, Thomas and John.

John went into business partnership with his father when he came of age. In 1809 his two older brothers founded the firm George and Thomas Earle Russia Merchants, selling various Russian-imported goods. They then established a cement company in 1821, just west of Neptune Street.

By 1866 the pressure of an expanding business required premises far greater than the 3 acres at Earle Street. It was decided to sell the site and develop a new workplace on a 10-acre site in the Wilmington area of East Hull. This was the production site until it closed down in 1970. The administration offices, laboratories and engineering departments continued working there until 1975 when a new office block was opened in Portland Street near to the city centre.
On 1st of November 1985, an announcement was made that Blue Circle House in Portland Street Hull would close, thus ending the association with Hull of G&T Earle and it successors after 157 years. The land was eventually sold to the Hull City Council who has continued to maintain the site to the best of their ability.