Sporting polymath and footballing half back Benjamin Saunders Frost was born in Hull to a father with the same name. His father hailed from Liverpool and established a fruit wholsale business in Hull prior to Ben’s birth – a first child also christened Benjamin Saunders Frost was born a year earlier in 1876 but died within a few weeks. Ben grew up off Beverley Road and attended Hull Grammar School where he met other people who were interested in forming a football scene in Hull – Frost had notable connections with the Hay, Andrews and Mackrill families, who were all influential in establishing association football in the City in last few years of the 19th century and early years of the 20th century. By 1891 the Frost family was living in a grand home and shop on Beverley Road – which by the early 21st century was home to Al Pacinos Pizza – and by 1894 he was playing junior football in local leagues. Between 1895 and 1899 he played for St Pauls, then at the start of the 1899/00 season he switched to play for Harlequin.
In January 1900 he joined Beverley Church Institute, one of the East Riding’s more influential early football clubs, but by March 1901 he had volunteered for military service in the Boer War, serving in the Imperial Yeomanry. Returning from service in September 1902 after being discharged from the forecs on medical grounds, Frost joined Hessle FC, a club he captained between 1903 and 1905, and also played one game in 1903 for an early incarnation of Hull City AFC. When the present Hull City AFC was formed in 1904, Ben’s brother Walter played in one friendly game against Middlesbrough in October 1904 but Ben himself remained with Hessle.
When Hull City were elected to the Football League in 1905/06 season Ben, as part of the local footballing scene for over ten years, was drawn into the fold and he played regularly for City’s Reserves. This led to his debut in October 1905 when he was pressed into first team action in the FA Cup against Denaby United, a tie played the same day as a Division Two match against Manchester United. Frost remained associated with Hull City for the rest of the 1905/06 season and started a solitary League game in April 1906.
Ben ended his association with the Tigers during the 1906 close season and by 1907 he had switched his interest in competitive water polo, as well as continuing to play local cricket and rugby. His father drowned at home in 1907 and Ben took over the family fruiterer business, moving to a neat terraced house on Queens Road at the top end of Princes Avenue in West Hull. After serving the Army Services Corps in London for two years during World War One, Frost continued to work in the fruit wholesaling business for the rest of his days and lived in the Chanterlands Avenue and Princes Avenue area – he died in March 1952 at his Westbourne Avenue home.
Many thanks to the Hull City History website for information about Ben and his sketched image – https://www.hull-city-history.org.uk/ben-saunders-frost.php.
Date/Place of Birth: 17 March 1877, Hull
Hull City First Game: 28 October 1905, Denaby United A (FA Cup Second Qualifying Round), 28 years, 225 days old
Hull City Final Game: 17 April 1906, Barnsley A (Division Two), 29 years, 31 days old
St Pauls (1895-1899), Harlequin (1899-1900), Beverley Church Institute (1900-1901), Hessle (1902-1905), Hull City (1905-1906)
Hull City Record
Career: 2 apps, 0 goalsBen Frost