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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1283041



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: City of Kingston upon Hull

District Type: Unitary Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 13-Oct-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1994

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 387853

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.




II Commemorative monument, standing on the east side of Wilberforce Drive. 1834-8, by W. H. Clark of Leeds; the builders were Messrs Myers and Wilson. Moved here in 1935 from Queen Victoria Square. Ashlar. Massive fluted Doric column with square capital, carrying a corniced drum topped by a standing figure. Cubical pedestal with deep moulded plinth and plain cornice carrying on each side a segmental pediment flanked by acroteria with urns at the corners. The monument stands approximately 110 feet high.

On the sides of the pedestal are inscriptions surrounded by wreaths, reading 'Wilberforce'; 'Negro Slavery Abolished, 1 Aug. MCCCXXXIV'; 'First Stone Laid, 1 August 1834' and 'Erected by Voluntary Subscription'.

HISTORY: William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was born into a prominent Hull family. Elected MP for Hull in 1780, and for Yorkshire in 1784, his political stance was independent from the first. In 1785 he experienced a conversion to evangelical Christianity, and resolved to devote his life to God. He was counselled by the evangelical minister, John Newton, and by his friend, Prime Minister William Pitt, that he could best serve God by remaining in politics. In 1787 he was persuaded by prominent abolitionists to represent their cause in Parliament. Whilst Thomas Clarkson and others gathered evidence against the slave trade and sought to mobilize public opinion, Wilberforce worked ceaselessly in Parliament, introducing bills calling for an end to the slave trade and speaking in their support; in 1788 he secured a select committee to examine evidence on the slave trade. The campaign met with fierce opposition and frequent set-backs before the abolition bill at last received royal assent on 25 March 1807. Slave ownership continued to exist in Britain's colonies, and Wilberforce continued to strive for the abolition of slavery itself, joining with others to form in 1807 the African Institution, and in 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society. He remained in the House of Commons until 1825, by which time Thomas Fowell Buxton had taken on the leadership of the parliamentary campaign. On 26 July 1833 Wilberforce heard that the bill for the emancipation of all slaves in British colonies had passed its final reading, and on 29 July he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a monument by Samuel Joseph was erected in 1840.

The town of Kingston upon Hull was quick to honour Wilberforce. Despite competition from a rival county scheme to commemorate the abolitionist with a school for the blind, voluntary subscriptions provided the funds for the spectacular monument. The foundation stone was laid on 1 August 1834, the day the Abolition Act came into force, and the statue was fixed in place on 12 November 1835.

SOURCES: N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire, York, and the East Riding (1972); Dictionary of National Biography; L. Deverell and G. Watkins, Wilberforce and Hull (2000) J. Oldfield, 'Chords of Freedom' (2007)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The Wilberforce Monument is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A handsome and unusual monument, being an early use of the commemorative column in England * The monument is of particular historical interest, having been erected to commemorate William Wilberforce, England's most celebrated abolitionist, in the town of his birth. This amendment is written in 2007, the bicentenary year of the 1807 Abolition Act.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Deverell, L, Watkins, G, Wilberforce and Hull, (2000)
Oldfield, J, Chords of Freedom, (2007)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - York and the East Riding, (1972)

National Grid Reference: TA 10038 29026


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End of official listing