Harry Hudson Rodmell – Marine Artist
Harry Hudson Rodmell was born 28th May 1896 in Sculcoates, Hull and baptised at St Paul Sculcoates on 26th July 1896.
He was the eldest child of Henry and Emily Rodmell (nee Hudson).
Henry was born in Sutton on Hull and had married Emily Hudson at Wawne in 1894
Henry Rodmell was a butcher who had premises at 15 Sykes Street, Charterhouse Lane, Hull.
By 1899 the family premises was at 37 Brook Street, Brunswick Arcade, Hull.
The 1901 census shows the family living at 4 Brunswick Avenue, Sculcoates, Hull.
Henry is still shown as a Butcher, and there is now a further child Annie May born 1901.
Harry Rodmell attended Miss Walker’s school on the Beverley Road, and later the Craven Street School, where the idea of a career in art was encouraged by Mr Canham, one of the staff there, together with the art master Mr Cooper.
From the age of 6 Harry had demonstrated artistic gifts and somewhat delicate health caused him to spend more time with pencil and paper than might otherwise have been the case.
Ships were a constant attraction and he would often skip games lessons to take his sketch pad down to the docks,
By the 1911 census the Rodmell family had moved to 669 Holderness Road, Sculcoates, Hull and Henry is now shown as a Master Butcher. Harry Hudson Rodmell is now 14yrs old, Annie May is now 10 and there is a further child Kenneth Leonard 8yrs, all at school.
That same year Harry won a scholarship to attend Hull School of Art on Anlaby Road
At some stage, before WW1 the family moved to Hornsea, and first lived at 8 Wilton Road. (Then called 3 Melrose Villa, Wilton Road)
Harry entered wartime service in 1914 and served with the Royal Engineers being demobilised in 1919. He was then engaged by artists’ agent Ronald Massey
His father Henry Rodmell died at Wilton Road Hornsea on 11th may 1923, but was buried in the churchyard at Sutton on Hull, where he had been born, and shortly afterwards, Harry, who was still single, went to live with his married sister and her husband at 6 Newbegin, St Nicholas Mount (now 66 Newbegin)
Throughout the 1920s and 30s Harry received a series of commissions which established him as one of the best poster artists of the period.
Most of his work was for shipping lines, but he also did some work for railway companies, and in 1926 produced his “Lakeland by the Sea” posters for the LNER.
These were painted in a studio in the attic of 66 Newbegin, with a south facing dormer window providing the light.
Just before WW2 Harry joined the Royal Observer Corps. in Hornsea and operated from their F3 post.
He was actually on duty there when war was declared at 11.0am on September 3rd 1939
The 1939 Register shows that he was still then living with his married sister Annie M Willis, her husband, William E Willis, and their child Barbara at what is now 66 Newbegin.
At some stage after that, Harry lived in 2 different house in Cliff Road, Numbers 52 and 68, and continued to paint, so will have had studios at both of them.
Harry remained single until 1943 when he married Dorothy Thelma Fisher.
Dorothy was born 3rd March 1908, so was 12 years younger than Harry.
She had lived with her parents at 7 Carrington Avenue, Hornsea, so may well have met Harry whilst he was living on Cliff Road. Thelma’s father was a District Newspaper representative, so he would probably also have known of Harry before the marriage.
In around 1961 Harry and Thelma moved to “Arnecliff” on Atwick Road, Hornsea where he had a studio in what is now a bedroom with a double aspect window providing the light.
Harry continued to paint there until his death on 3rd March 1984 (Thelma’s birthday) at the age of 87.
Throughout his career Harry Hudson Rodmell produced a tremendous number of commissioned paintings for a large number of shipping lines, shipping agents, and ship-builders, 3 different Railway Companies and several miscellaneous companies.
Whilst his railway posters produced for the London and North Eastern Railway to publicise Hornsea are of course the best known of his works in that area, they were in fact only a very small part of his output.