Hull & East Riding Branch
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Hull & East Riding Branch History

The National Society was formed nearly 190 years ago, Hull-born slave emancipator William Wilberforce, MP, being among its founders. Its objectives then, as now, were to prevent cruelty to animals by all lawful means and promote kindness. Queen Victoria granted Royal patronage in 1840.

The Hull and East Riding branch, an unincorporated charitable organisation, founded in 1903, continues this work as an independent charity. Importantly, as an independent charity, the branch is responsible for raising most of its own running costs.

The animal centre has existed on its current site located on Clough Road after being officially opened by Lady Atkinson on Friday 25th March 1938.

The first manager Mr Sydney Coleman had the very difficult task of overseeing the animal centre and assisting the local community throughout the 2nd World War. Mr Coleman was a dedicated manager for over 25 years and for his bravery was awarded the RSPCA Silver Medal.

Hull was blitzed very badly during the second world and as a consequence many animals required compassionate assistance. When the bombs fell the police would contact Mr Coleman to inform him of the worst hit areas of damage.

Out he would go laden with food for the bombed out victims, including on one occasion 99 pigs on Analaby Road that hadn't been fed for 3 or 4 days.


On three occasions he was buried in rubble and had to be dug out by civil defence workers.

Mr Coleman was called out to aid a wide variety of animals and birds. On one occasion an elderly lady required his assistance to rescue her pet parrot.

He crawled into the bombed out building risking his life to rescue the bird in its cage from under a table. With even greater difficulty he exited the building despite a wall threatening to collapse, to reunite it with its owner. She thanked him profusely.

Five minutes later she returned;

I'm awfully sorry to bother you but would you mind going back to get Polly's food.

The lesson, do not forget next time you enter a bomb damaged building to rescue an animal dont't forget the food!

How Far we have come

Proactive rather than reactive.

The William Wilberforce Animal Education Centre is one of the branches lead projects in preventing cruelty in the future and was launched in 2014.

We have now had the opportunity to deliver our message to over 2000 young people. Never live in the past when the future is so much brighter, and education is the key to preventing cruelty in the future. Learning from the past aids us in remembering how far we have come!

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