Tough as Sheffield steel - Tributes paid to Dot Hull, Britain's first female demolition worker

Dot worked on site on many demolition jobs across Sheffield for over 25 years
Dot worked on site on many demolition jobs across Sheffield for over 25 years
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Britain’s first female demolition worker tough as Sheffield steel with a ‘heart of gold’ has died aged 77.

Dorothy Hull, known as Dot to loved ones and colleagues, brought glitz and glamour when it came to dirty work of demolition in Sheffield.

Dot Hull on the job posing for The Star believed to be back in the 1960s. Described by her daughter Tina as an 'inspiration' to everyone that knew her. Dot sadly passed away on January 15 surrounded by her family, aged 77.

Dot Hull on the job posing for The Star believed to be back in the 1960s. Described by her daughter Tina as an 'inspiration' to everyone that knew her. Dot sadly passed away on January 15 surrounded by her family, aged 77.

Working in an age when women were expected to cook, clean and look after the children, Dot surpassed many of her male colleagues in her role and gained their respect.

Dot ran ADH Demolitions Ltd as equals with her devoted husband Archie. They was contracted to Sheffield Council along with five other firms when they had the mammoth job of demolishing hundreds of homes and factories between 1962 and 1989 through compulsory purchase orders.

The glamorous demolition worker was featured in The Star on many occasions and pictured in national newspaper throughout her life.

Dot’s only-daughter Tina, 51, said having a mum who was an explosives expert and driving huge lorries was normal for her – but for others it seemed extraordinary.

Dot pictured with her devoted husband Archie in 2016. The pair were equals business

Dot pictured with her devoted husband Archie in 2016. The pair were equals business

“She was a certainly a movie star mum. Kids at school couldn’t believe it when my mum used to pull up in big wagons to pick me up at Daniel Hill Primary on Upperthorpe,” she said.

“Despite the work she did, she never had a hair out of place!

“I can’t describe what an inspiration she was growing up. She was a fantastic role model, she had a heart of gold.

“I could never fill a quarter of my mum’s shoes. She was really something and the greatest mother. I feel really privileged to have been called her daughter.”

Dot thrived in the male dominated world of demolition work and was widely respected by her peers. She was featured in The Star several times and her role attracted national media attention

Dot thrived in the male dominated world of demolition work and was widely respected by her peers. She was featured in The Star several times and her role attracted national media attention

Archie viewed his wife as an equal in the business, and she commanded respect from her fellow male workers.

“She was as tough as any bloke on the job, if not tougher,” Archie told The Star.

“Dot wasn’t afraid of telling one of the lads if they weren’t doing a good job. Everyone viewed her as one of us. Her work on site spoke louder than words.

“I remember one job she was up high about 70 foot with one of the lads and he had stripped the building the wrong way so they couldn’t reach the ledge.

Dot on one of many machines she operated

Dot on one of many machines she operated

“He made the jump and would’ve fallen to his death but Dot caught him before we went down. She pulled all her arm and had trouble with it after. She saved his life.”

Just a year before her passing, determined Dot successfully regained her LGV lorry licence at the age of 76.

“There was no way she was not passing that test,” daughter Tina said.

“She was adamant and so determined to get it back and paid £500.

“She scored 98 per cent on the test, it’s incredible.”

Some of the notable jobs included demolishing Sheffield Abattoir on Cricket Inn Road and the old Royal Hospital on Division Street.

Dot, who lived in Birkendale, near Walkley, before moving to north Derbyshire, died from asbestos-related cancer on Sunday, January 15, surrounded by her family.

She is survived by husband Archie, daughter Tina, and granddaughters Chloe, 14, and Hannah, nine.

The funeral service will take place at St Peter & St Paul church on Market Street, Eckington, at 11.15am on Thursday, February 2.

The service is followed by a cremation at Hutcliffe Wood crematorium in Beauchief at 12.30pm. All are welcome to both.