Paul Rusling's Family
The Ruslings have lived in the Hull area for over a hundred years. Paul's father was David Rusling, although his family always called him by his middle name Joe. David (or Joe!) was the youngest of eleven children, and was born in 1920 in Kings Bench Street, just off the Boulevard. That was the hub of Hull's Hessle Road, and just a hundred yards from the Airlie Birds (Hull RLFC) rugby stadium. David's own Dad, George William Rusling, was a well known fish merchant for many years but sold the business in the 1930s.
David's Mum had died when she was very young and he doesn't remember her at all, being brought up by his many sisters, but mainly Winnie and Hilda. Winnie married Bill Hatton, and Hilda married Edgar Harber, a well known trawler skipper.
David served in the Merchant Navy from being 14 years old and came home one weekend when he was about 15 to be told he was getting married the next day. It was to a girl named Edna, who he doesn't remember even going out with, but the wedding was all arranged by his sisters Hilda and Winnie it seems. Anyway, David and Edna Rusling, produced four children - Paul's elder half sister Vicky also turned out to be an author too!
After the war Dad eventually came ashore as he soon had four young children by Edna. Sadly the marriage didn't last and they were divorced .
When David met Barbara
David was often to be found at the weekly dance at the Hull City Hall, where he met Barbara around Christmas 1952.
Barbara Alice Simpson was young administrator at the Redifusion offices on Beverley Road, she was quite a catch, with a bob of lovely blonde hair and a cheeky smile. Her main hobby (Amateur Dramatics) probably gave her quite some confidence and I'm told she had quite a posh voice, so a lad from Hessle Road with strong fishing links, will have had quite a challenge on to hook her.
My Dad will have won her over with his constant smile, incessant flow of silly jokes, tales of 'derring do' from around the globe during his years afloat and obvious good looks. (I have inherited quite a few of his traits, or so I'm told!). The only problem was, Barbara lived four miles out of town in a tiny village called Dunswell - so walking her home will have been quite a test of his intentions!
Well, it was towards the end of 1953 that their romance bore fruit and that's when Paul Rusling put in an appearance, not in the local maternity home, but 30 miles away in Bridlington. David was working away on a contract to paint the Spa Theatre in Bridlington and Barbara had joined him for a week or two. It was quite warm in Bridlington that week and she was down on the beach for a walk when the embrionic Paul Rusling decided now was the time for his grand entrance into their lives.
Barbara was taken to the nearest hotel to await the ambulance to take her to hospital, but I didn't wait, and so was born in the Alexandra Hotel in Bridlington.
The tale of
My Dad spent the war years in various ships, and even managing to survive three sinkings. He saw the Battle of the River Plate off Montevideo and seems to have spent some of his time ashore in New York selling spare pairs of false teeth to Americans. They seem to have got the idea that these were Winston Churchill's spare pair of teeth.
I suppose provenance wasn't something one worried about in the war, especially if it was a souvenir linked to the chap who was probably the most famous Englishman, in the USA at least! (But Paul's Dad did KNOW a 'Winnie' of course, she was his sister, so maybe they were her teeth?).
I've been back to take a look and there isn't a blue plaque. In fact there is not even an Alexandra Hotel any longer as it was torn down in the 1970s to be replaced by Leisureworld, the council's huge swimming pool. A suitable memorial though, and at least I have one memento of being born in the Alexandra Hotel; my parents gave me a middle name - ALEXANDER.
A couple of years later my sister Lynne was born, in slightly more conventional surroundings, and she was given a middle name too after the place of her birth - BEVERLEY. She was born in the Westwood Hospital, which finally closed in 2014.
Mum and Dad seem to have dropped their idea of giving middle names after wherever we were born for subsequent siblings. Interesting to note that David and Victoria Beckham took the idea up in 1999 when they named their son Brooklyn, after where he was conceived. The Rusling family home in Fitzroy Street was called Brooklyn too!
Robert & Elsie Simpson
Paul's maternal grandparents were very instrumental in Paul's family's lives. He lived at his Grandparents home when about 1 or 2 and again throughout a lot of his school years and for a while attended the local village school in Dunswell.
Bob and Elsie Simpson were east Hull folk, who lived on Buckingham Street and Severn Street, off Holderness Road. At the outbreak of World War II, they bought an unfinished bungalow "out in the country". Dunswell, just north of Hull. It had no plaster on the walls and no windows but they made it home - it was called SYMFIELD, after their family names.
While Grandad Bob continued to work in Hull. He was in a reserved occupation working as a riveter and shipwright by day, and at night he did two nights a week working the huge lime arc lights at the theatre in Hull. After the show finished he did several nights a week on the rooftops doing firewatching, so not much spare time during the war!
Paul's Mother Saved from a watery grave.
Grandma looked after the home at Dunswell. Paul's mother Barbara was only 9 years old when the war began. Her memories of WWII included watching the RAF and Luftwaffe pilots in dog fights over the fields from Dunswell school playground, and at night watching the city of Hull burning in the distance. At one stage our relatioves in canada invited them to send Barbara and her brother George to canada, but Grandma had a bad feeling about the voyage, so they never sailed on the Almeda Star. She was lost with all hands near Rockall on her way to Canada!)
My Dad's father was George and he came to live with the family for a while. He was very old then, in the early 60s, but still insisted on going to every Hull FC game at The Bolulevard. He caught pneumonia after falling down on the Threepenny Stand and died. His wife had died when Paul's Dad was only about 2 in the early 1920s.
Paul is really proud of his family, two great kids who are very balanced, hard-working and super-intelligent. It's really gratifying to see them growing up so well, so happy and a credit to the Rusling family!
Dawn got a great degree from St Andrews and then did her bar exams at the College of Law in York.
After graduating solicitors must do a 'training' apprenticehip and she was accepted by Rollits, a well known firm in the East Riding with offices in Hull and in York. She later moved to another local firm, Graham & Rosen in Parliament Street in Hull.
After getting married, Dawn moved to Edinburgh and an international firm called Pincent Mason, and after a year or so was headhunted once again by a leading Scottish firm, MacRoberts.
Dawn has since passed more exams to be 'called to the bar' in both English and Scottish courts, which is an unusual achievement. It makes her ebven more in demand.
Ben also got a superb degree from Newcastle University and then did a Masters degree at Hull in International Logistics and Business Administration. Even before he completed his Masters, he joined a national wine distribution company in Manchester.
Ben then moved to do the same job at an internationally known soft drink manufacturer in Manchester too - it helped him keep his part time work hosting corporate match days at Old Trafford (he and Dawn have been ardent Manchester United supporters since Dawn was about ten!). Ben has now moved his logistics skills to the UK's largest milk distributor and processor.
A Rusling Wedding!
Dawn married Vince McPherson at All Saints Church in Brantingham in 2012. More details on a separate page about what was the proudest day of Paul's life.
In Summer 2015 Dawn and Vince presented Paul and Anne with their first Grandchild. She is Verity Mary Anne, a lovely 8lb14oz little girl who arrived on Paul & Anne's Wedding Anniversary. Perfect timing Dawn, Vince and Verity!
Proud father Paul with his family at Ziggy's in St Andrews (picture taken at 10:24 pm, (by Vinny MacPherson)
Even prouder: -
Dad Paul with his daughter Dawn
after her graduation
at St Andrew's
Dawn and Ben
(aged 19 and 11)
set off for a Man U. game at Old Trafford
Ben, Dawn and Anne at Dawn's graduation in St Andrews
(and Ken Barlow, who was there for his grand-daughter Verity's graduation)
Dawn and Paul having a happy time
at the Triton Inn, Brantingham
Anne & Paul with their granddaughter,
Verity on the day she was born.
Anne in the garden at Packman Lane, with Vince, Sharon, Stephanie and Dave.
Bridlington hasn't really changed much over the years at all; the site of the Alexandra Hotel became Leisureworld in the 1980s and in 2016 has been completely rebuilt, as seen on the right, but the beautiful golden sands of the North Bay beach still remains, swept by the tide twice a day.
Bridlington harbour is still a useful port of refuge and the home of Bridlington's fishing fleet which now is the largest landing port for lobster in the UK, with much of its catch exported to Europe and beyond.