Eighty year old Jack huck has spent most of his life around rats. He used to be the local rat catcher before retiring 15 years ago. Jack, who now lives at
the Oval, Pocklington, started rat catching as a hobby but it soon became a full time job. He said "I was interested in catching rats as soon as I could
talk." Accompanied by his Jack Russell Terrier, he has practically worked his way around almost every farm in the East Riding. Many people in Pocklington
send Jack letters addressed to the 'Rat Man'.
Jack started his job in the 1920's and carried out contract work for farmers, and for the Rural District Council which employed him for many years. In 1933
he got married and with his wife nell, lived for many years in Chapmangate, Pocklington, next door to the Majestic Picture House, but his house was
demolished 12 years ago to make way for flats.
"I once received a call from Walter Roe, who was the foreman at Lawtons Farm at Yapham Road. He said he had seen a rat in the barn so I went up there to take
a look. We both went into the barn and began to search. It soon ended when Walter turned all colours and gave a loud cry that the rat was up his trousers."
"I was once called to do a job at the late Charlie Blake's farm at Barmby Moor. He complained that there were rats living in his pig houses. For this
particular job I took my ferrets to help me. I often took them when I was assigned to big jobs and of course my dog Mick came too. I sent the ferrets down
the drain holes and they came back without any rats. I then heard Mr Blake outside with the dog: he had no luck either.So where were they hiding? I finally saw the rats between two of the pig sleepers and pulled them out one by one by their legs. The dog was on standby and got every one of them. Another job
"As well as rat catching, I also caught moles. I got rid of every mole on the Garrowby Estate. The old Earl of Halifax was a real gentleman and he always
said I did a good job."
Jack has many a story to tell and he could have written a book about the funny times he has experienced over the years. But here are just a few tales from
the best rat catcher in East Yorkshire.
Jack meeting at the Pocklington Allotments
"I started rat catching in my teens as a hobby. Lads used to knock me up every Sunday morning, eager to come out with me and catch rats. I said I would let
them come on condition that my only dog could come out with us. Too many dogs would have been chaos. Mickey was a good dog and he used to lead us to the Balk, where there was a sugar beet field thick with rats. We used to sit in the hedgerow and wait for them. Two brothers were always keen to come and join us
in the search but they were scared stiff of even touching a dead rat. They always stood in the middle of the road away from the action."
23 Grape Lane, Pocklington
Thomas B. Huck, Male, Age 48, Head of household, Married, Years married (10), Farm Labourer General, Born Harpham, Yorkshire
Sarah E. Huck, Female, Age 38, Wife, Married, Years married (10), born Pocklington
James W. Buttle, Male, Age 13, son, born Pocklington
Lilly A. Huck, Female, Age 8, Daughter, born Pocklington
Charlie B. Huck, Male, Age 6, Son, born Pocklington
Jane E. Huck, Female, Age 4, Daughter, born Pocklington
John Huck, Male, Age 2, Son, born Pocklington.