A plaque commemorating an entrepreneur born in the street next to Prospect Centre has been unveiled today by the centenary Lord Mayor of Hull ahead of the City of Culture celebrations.
Mary Glew, had campaigned to put a plaque in Brook Street, to celebrate Gassy Jack’s (also known as John Deighton) achievements, who travelled over to North America in the mid-1800s in search of gold, later setting up his own bar and building community-focused businesses in Vancouver in Canada.
The entrepreneur, who has a Vancouver neighbourhood named after him, was born in Brook Street, which today runs parallel between Prospect Centre and Debenhams.
Mary Glew said: “The plaque is part of a series of plaques to mark the centenary year of the Lord Mayer 2014-2015.
“Although this plaque is one of a hundred, I don’t think a hundred will be enough. There are so many talented people that we will only continue to recognise.
“For me it is all about demonstrating great achievement like John Deighton both internationally and locally.”
Despite having little success in finding gold, his ill health and a number of failed businesses, Deighton continued to invest in his community, providing bars and entertainment for sailors and workers from Vancouver’s sawmills.
Lee Appleton, Centre Manager for Prospect Shopping Centre, said: “Gassy Jack’s story encompasses the mentality of the people of Hull – to continue to do well for your community and to strive for success in the face of adversity.
“It is important that we recognise Hull’s hidden heroes who have done the city proud on an international scale and now Gassy Jack’s birthplace has been confirmed as Brook Street, it is important that we celebrate him.
“Hull has such a rich history and it is important that this is visible to the thousands of people expected to visit us next year.”
The unveiling ceremony was attended by David Osgodby, local poet, who agrees the plaque will be a welcomed addition to the local community offering people the opportunity to discover information about Gassy Jack’s life and his historical relevance to the city.
He said: “Gassy Jack was such an incredible character, but it is a shame his story is relatively unknown to the people of Hull. His story is extraordinary and we striveto make the people of Hull aware of his excellence.”