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“The darkest town in England”: Patriotism and anti-German sentiment in Hull, 1914–19

Reeve, Michael


Michael Reeve


This article is primarily concerned with contributing to the burgeoning movement within First World War cultural history to provide rich local case studies, in order to problematise traditional perspectives on the patriotic response to war. It argues that, in Hull, the overwhelming response of local people was a sort of “defensive” or “practical patriotism”. The safety of kith and kin, local culture and “way of life” was foremost in the minds of those attesting to join the colours, rather than the more abstract notion of defending “King and Country”. Though the latter certainly played its role in expressions of anti-German feeling and in attitudes to the war more broadly, it was more often combined with “local specificities” taken from the experience of life in Hull. Even riotous and criminal attacks upon the homes and businesses of naturalised German Hullensians could be oblique expressions of concern for the defence of the city, especially pertinent in a port in close proximity to the North Sea.


Reeve, M. (2017). “The darkest town in England”: Patriotism and anti-German sentiment in Hull, 1914–19. International Journal of Regional and Local History, 12(1), 42-63.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2017
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Jun 27, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 27, 2024
Journal International Journal of Regional and Local History
Print ISSN 2051-4530
Electronic ISSN 2051-4549
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Pages 42-63
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (378 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© The Author, 2017
This Accepted Manuscript is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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