Former Boars Nest restaurant in Hull's Princes Avenue was once pork butcher's shop
A mention of the Boars Nest restaurant in the press reminded me of its earlier life as a pork butcher's shop.
The late, much-missed, local historian Chris Ketchell knew of my interest in its proprietors, the Hohenrein family. I still have his note telling me that the Boars Nest restaurant had been opened at 22 Princes Avenue in one of the former Hohenrein butcher's shops.
In 1848, GF Hohenrein, the founding father, had arrived in Hull from Germany at the age of 16.
Obviously a quick learner and a born entrepreneur, after two years employed by another German pork butcher he opened his own business at 7 Waterworks Street: a remarkable achievement for a teenager in a foreign country.
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The shop prospered, local opinion was that "Hohenrein's sausages are the best".
There was keen competition but he proudly described himself on his delivery vans and letterheads as "the pork butcher".
Commercial success enabled another shop to be opened, at 22 Princes Avenue, not far from the family home in Derringham Street and highly convenient for the affluent residents of the Avenues.
Most importantly he became a naturalised British citizen and his family were all British born.
When he died he left a substantial fortune, the business itself passing to his eldest son William.
Unfortunately, William's German wife, Julie, was in poor health and wanted to return to Germany.
This was anathema to William.
He regarded himself as British through and through, he hated to leave "dear old Hull" and he did not like Germany.
His duty, however, compelled him to say goodbye to the only place he knew as home.
The business was now handed over to his younger brother, Charles Henry, who proved to be as successful as his father, not only prospering in Edwardian Hull but also winning prizes abroad for the excellence of his products, proud that no British firm before had gained such international renown.
He married a Hull girl and had a son and two daughters, all, of course, British.
Then came the outbreak of war between Britain and Germany on August 4, 1914.
Charles was in Germany paying a visit to brother William when war was declared, but he was able to return safely to Hull.
Poor William was now left in an appalling position, a British alien in a hostile country.
He and his son Willy were interned. Both during the war and its aftermath they suffered greatly; their money was lost and they were short of food.
Although his German employees were interned, Charles carried on as normally as possible until 1915.
The sinking of the Lusitania and Zeppelin raids on Hull made his position intolerable.
He was warned by an anonymous friend that the Waterworks Street shop would be attacked and he suffered such insults from customers that he had no option but to cease trading until reason prevailed.
In vain, he protested his Britishness. He was a sergeant in the East Riding Yeomanry and he lent his vans to help the British cause.
It was at this point he decided to abandon the Hohenrein name which proved such a heavy burden.
He and his family were now Ross. After the war Charles Ross became a leading Hull businessman.
That was not the end of the story. In the Second World War, William's son, Willy, by then a doctor, was killed in an Allied raid over Germany, a classic case of a family who were always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Some years ago I had visitors – the three children of Charles Ross. A real example of the living past.