More reflections on my home town

Town_DocksParagon_arcadeBack in Hull for the funeral of my father. After the funeral I took some air and wandered around to pick out some of the City’s architectural delights such as the Town Docks Museum (left). Located in between two docks (one filled in and turned into a park, the other retained with an unattractive shopping centre built over the top). But not all retail space is ugly in the city. Paragon Arcade (right) is attractive as any that one might find in Paris. And it is not the only one.

Opposite the Town Docks Museum is the City Hall (concert hall, below left). I can trace the advent of my own hearing problems – tinnitus – to a concert by Souxsie and the Banshees at this venue in 1980. Not many bands came to Hull, probably because City_Hallthe acoustics are pretty awful. Or Hull is just unfashionable.

Hull is also exemplary in public toilets. I know this does not sound complimentary, but three of the City’s public facilities are extraordinary. One sat under Lowgate – only for men – used to have goldfish in the toilet glass cisterns. Or is that apocryphal? The second key set are under Queentoilets Victoria Square flanked by the Town Docks Museum, the Ferens Art Gallery and the City Hall. One route in and one route out. Fascinating as a child.

And finally, are those sat in the middle of the road at Victoria Pier, the one-time terminus for the Humber Ferry prior to the building of the Humber Bridge. I can only talk about the men’s. The urinals are huge. They seem to envelop the user with white porcelain. The attendants decorate the space with flowers whilst keeping them spotlessly clean.

The DeepJust along the road from the toilets is one piece of modern architecture that houses the city’s aquarium, the Deep (left). Built on Sammy’s point, where the River Hull meets the Humber, in 2001. The architect was Sir Terry Farrell, and was constructed by Mero-Schmidlin (UK) PLC. It is as striking as any building in the city.

When I lived in the city, I was obsessed with the bridges across the River Hull. For anyone living in the east of the city, the triplets, Drypool (1961), North (1932) and Sutton Road (1939), Scott Street swing (1901 and no longer functioning), Sculcoates (1874) and Stoneferry (now replaced) bridges guaranteed the uncertainty for any commuter at high tide. When the bridges were open, half an hour could pass easily before the traffic could again move. Always exciting. Myton Bridge (1981) followed carrying the A1033 that linked the motorway to the docks. And for cyclists and pedestrians, there was always the abandoned Wilmington railway bridge (1907). Despite the Withernsea railway beingMuseums decommissioned in the 1968, the bridge remained; maintained and operated. Then two footbridges emerged. The first – the Millennium – links the west and east sides adjacent to the Deep. The second, Scale Lane, finished in 2013, links the west and east sides for easy access to the museums (view of museums from bridge, right). This bridge is unique in that pedestrians can stay on it when it swings to allow ships to pass.

I’ll post up some pictures of those bridges after my next visit.

Here is a link that may be of interest: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/the-northerner/2014/apr/10/hull-books-snobbery-nordic-noir-david-mark

 

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