|Lillian "Big Lil" Bilocca|
The only memories that I have of Hull from my childhood back in the swinging sixties in the idyllic seaside town of Hartlepool is of dock strikes (seemingly every other week), trawlers being lost at sea and a large woman in a headscarf berating all and sundry up to and including the Prime Minister about safety for trawler men. That woman, whose trademark image of the headscarf and raincoat on the grainy black and white TV of the days was really unforgettable, was Lillian Bilocca, who, along with other equally formidable women from the Hessle Road fishing community, managed to get some modicum of safety on the fishing fleet. Trawlers had to have a radio operator, come to that, trawlers had to have a radio, quite a few didn't. Why did it take a group of women to achieve these things while the men were seemingly invisible? Well that's a story for someone else to tell.
So what's all this mural about then I hear you ask? Well someone's written a book, Headscarf Revolutionaries, about all these goings on and the film rights for the book have been sold so watch out for a Hollywood blockbuster. Then the BBC program, the One Show, got involved and commissioned two fellows from Belfast (where murals like this are two a penny) to come over and paint, well, what you see. It was unveiled, if that's the word, over last weekend. And I have to say I'm impressed and I don't impress easy.