Thursday, 31 July 2014

This old house is falling down

This Victorian relic at the corner of Wellington Street and Queen Street is set to be pulled down as it is structurally unsound and can't be fixed. This rather dull building's sole claim to fame, if that is the word, is that it was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick who also designed Leeds Town Hall and the Grand Hotel in Scarborough. I suppose this was just a bit of practice. There were rumours that it would be rebuilt but frankly I can't see why it should be however these are strange times in the city of infinite culture.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Deep Brown Mud

Here's the local penguin farm and fish tank reflected in some glorious mud with yours truly in the shadows.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Artlink seems to have been going for as long as I've been living in these parts. It's a sort of community arts thing with a gallery in what was part of the methodist church on Princes Avenue. I'm not much taken with the idea of community art (the two words just don't sit together for me) and I have not set foot in the place. I did read recently they got some money from whoever doles out the stuff these days so they'll be happy for the time being and nicely set up for the culture fest that arrives in two and half years time.

Art work with arty symbols
Arty gates

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hull Rickshaw

Seems to be the year for novel ways of  getting around the city and seeing the sights. I told you about the land train a few weeks back now we have a rickshaw to carry you about by foot power. The guy in the shades, Neil Worner, is in charge of this little project, he used to drive a white van now he pedals passengers around town and the Avenues area. It sounds like a nice idea but I expect if you're stuck in the tailback behind him you might have other ideas. I've seen a promo video he made and can only say that shy and introverted are not words that spring to mind. You wanna see? It's here.
Just noticed the England flag, must have taken this during the World Cup, you remember the World Cup? Me neither.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lockington Memorial

I took this sometime ago but today seems the most appropriate day to post it. The Lockington rail crash on this day in 1986 left eight rail passengers and the passenger of a car dead and a lot of questions to be answered about the installation of automatic open crossings with no barriers. This memorial in Driffield's North End Park was paid for by public donations and erected twenty-four years after the accident.

You can read the official report into the accident here.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Monumental Memorial Madness

Way back in 1935 this thing (well, it is an ugly, phallic monstrosity when all said and done) was rightly considered to be a nuisance and a hazard to traffic and so Hull City Council spent £1,500 moving it from the end of Whitefriargate to the eastern end of Queens Gardens ( see here ). There it stands out of everyone's way, a focal point, if you like, for the view along the gardens. And there you might think it would stay but you would have reckoned without the all pervading madness that has overcome the City of Culture. The recently announced city facelift that I mentioned some days back includes, if  funds from the National Lottery can be found, a plan to put this darn thing back where it was. I am put in mind of the rearrangement of deckchairs on the Titanic ... oh, the cost, I forgot to mention the cost, well multiply the old cost by a thousand and you have it.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


Taken by Margot K Juby
It's been hot and stuffy and I can't be bothered with anything to with Hull or anywhere else for that  matter. So here's an abutilon that I grew from seed this year.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Laura Norder

With crime rising in Humberside for the first time in ten years and the police aiming to make £30 million savings over the next few years with the loss of 800 jobs it is, perhaps, little wonder that public confidence in Humberside Police is the lowest in the country. You may think there are five police officers in this picture but in fact there is only one. Police community support officers dress like coppers and stroll around like coppers but no-one takes 'em seriously. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sewer Lane

Perhaps not the most attractively named of Hull's streets, Sewer Lane is, however, one of the oldest. It forms the southern end of what used to called Old Beverley Street which is now Manor Street, Land of Green Ginger, Trinity House Lane and Fish Street. Remains of a water course running alongside the lane have been found by those who like to dig up the past. An almshouse for fourteen poor women, Crowle's Hospital, was founded here in the 1660's and remained until demolished at the start of the 20th century. The lane is now blocked to the north by Castle Street and has a mix of offices and social housing with views on to the marina.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Kardomah Set V2.0

I get you might want to make a buck or two out of the fortunate surroundings you find yourself in, and I'm not going to knock any artistic venture that pops up here and there. But this is Hull 2014 and well, pretending that the City of Culture thing doesn't hang around the neck of everything that happens here, why the allusion to Dylan Thomas and the Kardomah set? Did the estate agent who owns this building and clearly can't sell it on to any commercial concern and who once offered to buy the Humber Bridge, think he could get away with this sleight of hand? And those 'artists' who frequent this place; are they getting a cut of the profits? Thought not.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

County Court

I've never really looked at this entrance before. It's on Alfred Gelder Street and is part of the Guildhall. It's no longer in use as the County Court has moved on to pastures new. What intrigued me is the little pile of Edwardian baroque nonsense above the door (you might like to click on the image to enlarge it). Amongst the usual symbols of power, a lion head, sword, axe, keys, royal sceptre and the scrolls of law there are numerous overflowing cornucopias of poppy heads. Now, aren't poppies symbols of sleep and death? Is this some ironic comment on the process of civil litigation? Or could it be that whoever paid for this was in the opium trade? Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Oh what a lovely war

The Government's announcement in 2012 that it was to spend millions on celebrating, oh sorry, commemorating, the centenary of the slaughter of the First World War must have brought tears of joy to meeja types. With just over a week till the start date no doubt they'll be gearing themselves up for a feeding frenzy. All rather sickening really.  Bookshops' shelves groan with the latest WW1 tasteful tomes as publishers seek to cash in. Not to be outdone, in fact, way out in the vanguard as would be of keeper of the nations memories, the BBC is touting this little touring circus designed to "reflect on the dramatic impact the war had on families and communities", nice work if you can get it. And when this bean feast is over we will, to paraphrase Lloyd George, have to go through it again in 25 years and at three times the cost.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Queen's Gardens: Back to the Future

I mentioned a few days ago that the collective insanity known as Hull City Council had proposed a series of makeovers for the city centre, at the time I said that I thought they weren't too bad. Well I think I spoke in haste because on closer examination some of the proposals are borderline bonkers. Take, for example, the proposal to reinstate Queen's Gardens as it was planned in the 1920's. Let's be clear this would be an act of pure vandalism. Queen's Gardens is now a place of mature trees and tranquil ponds with pleasing fountains. In the 30's the place looked like a desert with immature trees, boring planted borders and no ponds (see here and here). Is the Council really proposing to remove mature trees and fill in ponds? To top off this lunacy there's the creamy delish proposal to build a retractable stage over the duck pond at the far end, this is to stage 'events' and lies alongside yet another proposed stage to commemorate Mick Ronson, a guitarist with the eminently forgettable Spiders from Mars or so I'm told (this presumably would stage non-events). Very 1920's I must say! So there you have it, vandalism mixed with tawdry tackiness, about par for HCC.
Queen's Gardens is one of the few places in Hull that doesn't need fixing, so kindly leave it alone.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.
Weekend Reflections can be found here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Memorial Gate

This little oddity, an alley gate as a memorial, on Mayfield has me puzzled. Somebody out there will know something about it I'm sure.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Pauline Gift's Shop

If you peer closely you can still make out the name Pauline gently fading with the passing years. That would be Pauline Gift, who died two years ago. She ran this shop on Princes Avenue for over 20 years and other shops before that. You see I have a problem with this; when she died they kind of made out she was some sort of eccentric legend, they even made a play about her. Now she seemed pretty ordinary to me, shuffling her stock on a bicycle down Prinny Ave seemed normal to me anyways, she was just a nice lady. And this will always be Pauline's Gift Shop.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Film Set

Back in May the streets of the town were taken over and transformed in the streets of 1945 London. The reason was the filming of some  no doubt truly dreadful film about the antics of our own dear queen on VE day/night,  Girl's Night Out is the name of this cinematic delight. Anyhow parts of the town received WW2 makeover with anti-blast tapes stuck to windows. Now whether these windows near Holy Trinity Church were part of the show and were simply forgotten or somebody was simply joining in the zeitgeist I don't know but they were like this long after the show had packed up and left town.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Barber's Shop Trio

Something I noticed the other day is just how many barbers there are on Spring Bank, must be about half a dozen. Now I've not set foot in a barber shop for over twenty five, nearer thirty, years so I can give no appraisal of their services. Anyhow in no particular order and for no particular reason here are a bunch of three. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Fool, money, soon parted ....

There's this pay-per-view telescope down by the riverside and I've never seen anyone using it. So I thought I'd give it a go and put in my 20p. Well I guess I should have known better. It doesn't work. Now I know why no-one uses it ...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Tenfoot of Trouble

Amid claims that the Avenues area is becoming like "a New York ghetto" a row is simmering about plans to put gates on the tenfoots*. A fine fellow with no concept of the absurd is seeking to have these passage ways declared restricted byways which would mean that they have be open to anyone and indeed cars would not be able to use them as an ancient bylaw insists that only people on foot or on horseback can use them. I love these little local difficulties they provide whole minutes fun on a dull day. Meanwhile the graffitistas and fly-tippers do their worst. This garbage (or is it trash?) lurks off Westbourne Avenue. My apologies to any New York ghettos who feel offended.

*A tenfoot for those of you who don't come from these parts is an alley way between and behind houses that allows access to the rear of properties. They are about ten feet wide in case you were wondering.

The old weekend in black & white has come round again; it's here.

Friday, 11 July 2014


Not, as you might think, a picture of the last thing some unfortunate Lilliputian saw as Gulliver bestrode the earth like a colossus but a mere advertisement for the services of a quack, oh sorry, no, erm, a chiropractor. This one on Wednesday Market in Beverley. Despite there being little or no evidence that joint snappers do any good at all and may even do considerable harm, they seem to be thriving in Beverley as there's another one on Railway Street with this charming fellow in the window.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sharp Street Roll of Honour

Two years after being removed to make way for the demolition of Goodfellows supermarket the Roll of Honour has been restored. Actually it was restored in March but I've only just noticed it. There's a plaque to show a bishop blessed it, the Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire (the what now?) and a host of Council knobs turned up to be seen to be there. The supermarket was pulled down to make way for much needed new housing but since I posted about it not a single brick has been laid nor even the ground broken up, nothing, ... the mills of planning grind slowly, they grind exceeding small, with impatience we're still waiting, no doubt they'll grind us all.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Standing room only

Plans have been published for a £25 million revamp of the city centre. On the whole they don't look too bad, a few gripes here and there about minor details but, there is one major fault that screams out from the picture shown. There are practically no seats, nowhere to sit and admire the grand works. Seems this no seats policy is part of a worrying trend.
Back in December 2012 I posted about plans to develop an outdoor cafĂ© area near the War Memorial on Ferensway.  Well it's up and running and looking every bit as tatty as I imagined. The price paid for all those cuppucinni al fresco is that there are now no seats for members of the public to rest their weary backsides on. Even the seats by the memorial have been removed. If you want to sit down near here you've got to be a paying customer. 

Thanks to marvells of Google Street View or whatever it's called here's what this place looked like before it was cleared to make way for the cafe culture. Clearly we can't have people just sitting around and not paying; what's the fun in that? Mind you it appears that the very thought of sitting down and thinking for a short while is so horrific for some that they would rather give themselves an electric shock so maybe removing the seats eases their stress.... but planners please bear in mind some people do like to sit and admire the view.

Copyright Google, so sue me!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Noctilucent Clouds

I suppose if you don't go to bed early you'll sooner or later start seeing things even rare noctilucent clouds. This was around 3.10am on July 7. Seems there's been a spate of these over Europe this past week, must be something in the air.

Monday, 7 July 2014

One law for them and another one for you

South Street
Well if you parked your car here on these double yellow lines you'd expect the passing traffic warden (now tweely called a Civil Enforcement Officer or CEO in the jargon) to write you out a ticket for illegal parking. But this bright fellow just walks straight past this vehicle. Could it be that Hull City Council can park where it likes and damn the rest of you? Seems that way...

...and the irony of a CCTV van designed to spot wrong doing being parked illegally... but that's Hull City Council for you, a law unto itself; well it does employ the traffic wardens so it would have to fine itself. It's all done by smoke and mirrors.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Jack Kaye Walk

Jack Kaye Walk connects Ella Street and Goddard Avenue. If this bridge or tunnel looks a bit odd for a footpath that's because originally the Cottingham Drain ran through here until it was culverted and turned into a  path. This place used to attract the graffiti artists and that was frowned upon now it's been 'decorated' by a 'community' group and that's OK. Jack Kaye ran a shop on Ella Street that has since been pulled down and is now housing. There's a plaque that reads "Jack Kaye, Epicurean Grocer served the Avenues area 365 days a year from this shop here 1947 to 1998" seems a bit OTT for a corner shop proprietor but maybe he was special.

Friday, 4 July 2014


At the end of Middleton Street this small play area was clearly not the place to be.

The Weekend in Black & White is here.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Percy Cottages

What we have here is the housing equivalent of putting a quart into a pint pot. Instead of just building a straight row of terraced houses our greedy little Victorian builder has missed out every third house and squeezed in another terrace between the rows. So now there are eight houses where one would have been. This was fairly common practice in Hull and elsewhere I guess. These little off shoots were often given  names like Percy Cottages in this case, there's a Minnie's Grove further along and I've seen an Annie's Grove as well, often however they're given somewhat ridiculous names such as Victoria Avenue which is next to old Percy here on Mayfield Street. I once lived in a similar place to this (Willow Grove off Alexandra Road, long ago demolished) and these houses are teeny, damp and squalid, how a family with children was expected to thrive in them I cannot imagine but many generations have and continue so to do. In fairness Mayfield Street is exceptional in that there has been no redevelopment, the neighbouring Middleton Street which was very similar to this has been modernised and these hutches demolished.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

And tell me what street compares with Hutt Street in July?

Running off Spring Bank, Hutt Street is one of those mid 19th century rows of terraced houses built to accommodate the booming population of Hull. The street is named after Sir William Hutt  MP for the city. Looking into Mr Hutt online I find that, yes, it is agreed he was MP from 1832 to 1837 when according to the internet he was defeated by William Wilberforce. Now you've all heard of William Wilberforce haven't you? Abolished slave trade and all that, died in 1833, whoops hold on a minute, died in 1833? How did the dead William defeat the very much alive William four years after dying? I don't know but the said Wilberforce was unseated by petition (not exorcism?) in 1838, maybe they couldn't stand the smell. Surviving this encounter with the spectral Wilberforce Mr Hutt went on to become MP for Gateshead and served under both Palmerston and Russell. Hull has Hutt Street but New Zealand has Hutt City (upper and lower) along with the Hutt river,  not to be outdone South Australia has a Hutt river as well.

At this point I'd like to thank Wikipedia and those who clearly cut and paste from this excellent source for inspiring such trust in the collective effort to make history more interesting.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Callooh! Callay! It's Cottingham Day!

A part of me thinks they hold this in July just celebrate the students having gone home for the Summer but I must banish such thoughts. This isn't just some local day for local people. Everyone's welcome except maybe the riff-raff from Orchard Park. So make a note in your hectic social diary ...

Over at City Daily Photo they are 'Celebrating Summer' for some reason and not without cries of foul from those south of the Equator who are relishing their Winter, lucky them. You can see what 'Celebrating Summer' looks like here.