Sunday, 31 August 2014

The point of delivery

The NHS has undergone many twists and turns over the years. There are many who say it is being sold off for private profit, well that maybe, there are other better places for that argument. Here, however, a private hospital has been sold to the NHS to safeguard the care and treatment of patients. This used to be the Nuffield Hospital on Westbourne Avenue until 2008 when the NHS took it over. 
Looking into the history of the building I find a Mr E H Garbett, a manager of the Hull Dock Company lived here in the 1890's, the house was then called Barcombe House. He was a member of the Primrose League, an organisation set up to promote Conservative Party policies and values, back in the days when Gladstone was PM. I wonder what he would make of his former home being part of a health service, free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need, not ability to pay; one whose founder, Nye Bevan, called "pure Socialism".
I cannot post about this building and fail to mention that this was the place where Philip Larkin died. There is, inevitably, a plaque on the wall outside, a kind of memento mori to all who enter. Cheerful, innit?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

High Windows

Squeezed into a narrow plot between a railway line, an old Jewish cemetery and a cut-through dedicated for some strange reason to Saint Ninian lie three or four of these new eco-buildings. No Queen Anne revival style here more your overgrown insulated tea chest. The windows are three stories and give nice reflections but I cannot imagine how dreary the view must be from within . The interiors are extremely spacious with triple height voids(!), how do I know? The architects tell us so and invite us to have a good look round here. I know this should be paradise but what, exactly, do you do with all that space and all that sun-comprehending glass?

Weekend reflections are here.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Like a beast with his horn ...

Unicorns do not exist, 
they only think they do. 
Unicorns do not exist, 
they've better things to do.

This unicorn is neither pink nor invisible nor yet a unicorn. It is one of those tree carvings carried out in the Avenues on trees that have either died or been deemed to be damaging property and killed off. Sadly it seems no-one has taken any care of  it and it is riddled with woodworm holes and will, no doubt, cease to exist in the the not too distant future unless some virgin with a large tin of Borax comes along and tames it.

By the by if anyone knows the source of the verse, please do tell. I can't find any attribution on the web.

The Weekend in Black and White may exist here.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Salisbury Street

Read any description of the Avenues area of Hull and sooner or later you'll come across mention of George Gilbert Scott Jr and his Queen Anne revival style residences on Salisbury Street. Now when it comes to the Gilbert Scotts of this world it's Sir George père (Albert memorial, Midland Hotel at St Pancras station etc) and Sir Giles petit-fils (Liverpool Cathedral and red telephone boxes) that are remembered in the architectural world. George junior's works in the Queen Anne revival style have been overlooked for the most part, perhaps not without reason. These buildings on Salisbury Street with their concrete and brick construction are mind numbingly symmetrical and twee. They have some interesting external decoration but they're not really my cup of tea. They are Grade 2 listed buildings and have I suppose some historical interest in architectural terms.
Last year some brave soul proposed to build a block of flats in the gardens behind two of these buildings. Fat chance! Cue a whole brigade of angry locals and the Hull Civic Society (see here from page 9) all fired up and the Council (which a few years ago subsidised the renovation of these buildings), of course, refused it. 

I wouldn't want you to go away thinking all of Salisbury Street is like this. There are, thankfully,  only eight of these buildings the rest of the street is more typical Victorian middle class terrace, with garrets for house servants, of course.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Catalpa bignonioides

I came across this tree a fortnight ago and it was covered in these pretty flowers that I've never seen the likes of before. Now I know my record on tree identification is exactly tiptop, the infamous jacaranda that turned out to be a foxglove tree sticks in my mind. Nevertheless I'm pretty confident that this is a Catalpa tree because its other name is Indian Bean tree and today it's covered in hundreds of what look just like French runner beans. It's also sometimes called the cigar tree because you can smoke these pods for some mild effects, so I'm told. It comes originally from South-eastern USA. Quite how this specimen got to be hiding in plain sight on Clough Road I can't imagine.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Building for books

The University's Brynmor Jones library is having a bit of work done to it so there's a less than academic air about the place at the moment. No doubt it'll all be settled by the end of next month when the little darlings return from their long vacations. I'm sure some of them will want to use this place, though I know of one student who got a First in English and only ever went in here once.

Seems to grown a new bit at the side and a new entrance if I'm not mistaken

Monday, 25 August 2014

Art deco? What art deco?

Many of Mr Burton's emporia built all across the country during the early years of the last century were noted for their fine art deco styling and this one at the top of Whitefriargate is a particularly splendid example with black marble and gold painted windows. Shame then that, when the ground floor was renovated some years back, this was all thrown out along with the baby and the bath water. 

PS: Following a comment from Steffe I've had a root around the web and come up with this not very clear picture from 1953. As was the style back then everything was monochrome and cars drove on what are now pavements, how quaint. Anyhow I hope you can make out what the old shop front, on the left, was like. There's a bigger version here.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Over the shoulder shot

Is there some photographic etiquette about these things? The guy with the expensive camera and tripod and all the trimmings seemed to be taking an age to get it just right, whereas yours truly just pops up points the damn thing, checks it's somewhat in focus and click and moves on. Today's image is from yesterday's Vista Festival on Princes Avenue. I'd never heard of it before but it turns out to be a once every two year thing where they close off the road and have poetry readings, singers, pottery stalls, arty stuff, dancing in the street and so on. Not everything was entirely crowd pulling; this poor guy was playing away and no-one seemed to pay him any attention save  a guy with a tripod and a weird guy who just popped up and took a photo and moved on. 

A goodly crowd turned up braving the Bank Holiday Weekend weather of sunshine and heavy showers. 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Oily Reflections

Attempting to cross the entrance to the Marina my progress was halted by a siren sounding like an alarm clock on steroids, a flashing red light and the little gate across the bridge slowly closing. Hmm, the lock gates were being opened so I'd have to use the other bridge. Still, not before a shot of the oily film on the lock water and another of the open gates showing just how narrow they are. Big enough, no doubt, for  shipping in 1809 and for pleasure craft now but bigger docks had to be built down river to take modern cargo ships.

Weekend Reflections are here.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Work in progress

Do you recall the white van man who got bored and added a splash of colour to his van? I can't be sure but I think he got bored with that as well ...

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Breaking eggs

Demolition seems to be the order of the day down Queen Street what with the old Wellington House knockdown and now the clearance for the C4DI scheme by the old dry dock. Good, I say, and about time too.

All that remains of the Hull Art Lab that I posted back in May.

This was a pub called Ruscadors which I have never been in and now never will.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Private Seats

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, before the reinvention of coffee and the banning of smoking indoors, you could take a seat here and rest a while at no expense save to your backside. Now the only seats belong to the self-styled coffee houses that line the quay side selling ridiculous froth at even more ridiculous prices. They are living proof of Say's Law that there is a buyer for every product no matter how bad. So, with the collusion of the Council, they have had the public seats removed and simply taken over this once public space and now no-one can just sit and rest a while without they pay. The result is this line of ugly glass cages, yet another mess. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Seating Arrangement

These seats on Corporation Pier seem to have survived the purge on public seating currently underway in this town. From here you can rest and admire or loathe if you will the view I posted yesterday. Not many customers though (OK none). Perhaps not surprising since there's still a big hole in the pier. Is it really over eight  months since this damage was done? How time flies ...

Monday, 18 August 2014

Distant Bridge

I mentioned yesterday that they'd built a big bridge up the road from the ferry terminus, well 'up the road' is really five miles as the crows flies. Mind you, if you can fly like a crow then you don't really need a bridge ... It's not allowed to be dull in Hull, we have gloom instead.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Windy weather

This old weather vane sits on top of what was once the British Rail Ferry terminus by Corporation Pier. The figure is of Father Time with his scythe and hourglass symbolising no doubt the hours spent waiting for the ferry to arrive, especially since they built a big bridge just up the road.
I'm told, (OK it's in the Daily Mirror so maybe not that reliable) that Summer is officially over and we shall be having nothing but windy cold weather and rain for the foreseeable future, suits me fine.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Annison Building

This building has had a few uses over the years, a livery stable, funeral directors, ex-catalogue and second hand goods store and now it's a pharmacy. It's a listed building, built around 1900 and it's unique selling point, as it were, is that the stables in the interior are upstairs reached by a ramp, it's thought that road widening restricting space necessitated the move upstairs. This survivor from a by-gone age is at the junction of Witham and Great Union Street near the North Bridge. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Local Rag

These are the offices of the Hull Daily Mail, a sprawling block at Blundell's Corner, the junction of Beverley Road and Spring Bank, that used to house a much bigger operation than at present. The paper is no longer printed here, that being done somewhere outside of Hull and then the papers trucked back for sale in the city. Don't ask how much it costs, I haven't bought a copy since Margaret Thatcher resigned! It claims a readership of 170,000 and is the largest regional newspaper in Yorkshire.
Now it has to be said that though it is called a newspaper much of what is reported by this institution is far from being new or even newsworthy. It is often wrong on facts, its standards of grammar are quite lamentable, it is not above copying stories from other sources without attribution. (I know plagiarism is the basis of all culture but when I found a senior HDM employee Tweeting my photo as if he owned the image it was a bit too much too far! Still waiting for some sort of apology for that.) Its reporters, if we may call them that, seem to have scant local knowledge and often misname places and streets. I could go on but you get the gist.
You can check out its web site here, but be warned, I'm told that the mobile site is a jumble of popup adverts that make it unusable, it often gives request timeouts and is generally poor. The only good thing on the site is the comments from readers which run the full gamut of sceptical denial of just about everything to rallying positively behind everything Hullish. I should just add here that I do not read the sports bits so that might be quite superb but somehow I doubt it.
Now having said all that, it came as no little surprise to hear that HDM has won awards for being the best regional newspaper. The judges said it was "delivering a newspaper completely in tune with the communities it served"; well quite! Makes you wonder how bad the other papers are.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Keep Watching the Skies!

The old Corporation Pier, nowadays officially known as Victoria Pier, is a good place to check out the skies and the view over to Lincolnshire. If you're lucky and the tide is right then you might just catch a glimpse of something hunting in the shallows down below. 

Yup, that's a seal, okay not the best photo but definitely a seal. I've seen seals here twice so maybe they're not that rare but still an absolute bugger to photograph.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

House eating machine

I mentioned recently that Wellington House was due to be demolished well it seems that they've brought in a monster piece of kit to do the job. The nearby street is closed to traffic just in case the building falls before it's pushed.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Plane old trees

Now I'm feeling a bit old. I remember when these plane trees were put in as young saplings barely half the height of the buildings when King Edward Street was paved over in the early 90's to make a pedestrian paradise. I imagine some planner in an office somewhere said something along the lines of "we must have a little bit of greenery here stick in a few of those cheap little old plane trees, they'll do." Well now those ickle trees are bigger than the buildings and still growing, I've read they can get to nearly 100 feet so still some way to go yet.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Le vélo jaune

Bonjour from sunny Hull. The Tour de France, which finished recently in Paris, this year for some reason or other had its Grand Départ in Yorkshire. Cue lots of Yorkshire tourism advertising, lots of God's own county claptrap and so on and so forth. There can be few things more boring than a professional Yorkshire person gassing on about Yorkshire. Anyhoo this cycling shop not wanting to be left at the back of the peleton and not having any maillots jaunes simply sprayed up an old bike yellow. It does, however, have a red spotted shirt of the 'king of the mountains' which is kind of ironic given that Hull is flatter than a flat thing that's been flattened.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A little bit of rain

Well the weatherfolk had been saying it was coming for nearly a week and sure enough old hurricane Bertha's soggy remains passed over this morning and early afternoon. Pretty impressive rain it was too, at times so hard you could barely see across the street, with thunder and a bit of lightning thrown in to add to the fun. But it's all over now ...

Spoke too soon it's started again ...

What's left of the weekend in black and white is here.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

World Cat Day

Yesterday was apparently World Cat Day so here's Bruiser the local tom and connoisseur of roast chicken's gristly bits. Go ahead make his day ...

Both pictures by Margot K Juby his factotum.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Hook a duck

To entertain the young ones (or possibly their parents) during the long vacation a funfair of sorts has sprung up outside St Stephens. Judging by the lack of customers it seems they all have better things to do.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Verse tiles

Oh dear, I feel should apologise for inflicting such doggerel on you ... these tiles on a wall on Torrington Street are thankfully fading with time.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

More local wildlife

With zebras and elephants yesterday and hippos today this place is turning in a virtual Serengeti ... I stumbled across this monster while on safari down Clough Road. It's meant to sell a well known brand of mattresses, believe it or not. Think hippo, think bed ... nah.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


What can I say about this unique shop? Why is it called Zebra? Why does it have an elephant with a hat in the window ...  Why not?  Don't ask me, ask Ann, the owner who has been running this business for years now, only be prepared for a long chat. It's the sort of place where conversation seems to take precedence over selling stuff.  Zebra is on Newland Avenue and sells a vast array of arty crafty ethnic occult goods, cards, jewellery, goth stuff, hippy stuff, mermaids, you get the idea ... Well worth a visit.

Monday, 4 August 2014


Behold, one of the seats

Behold, the view from the seats

Now look behind you! D'oh!

It's not like there didn't used to be seats facing the church but at some point in the past two years the Council decided to remove half the seats from round here leaving only those pointing away. This is, of course, in line with the council policy of doing everything wrong that it is possible to do wrong and then say they have no money to do it right. This is the town that claims to be a city of culture ... well there's a definite culture of incompetence and downright stupidity.