Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Big No-No

And the villain still pursued her, yes, he chased her high and low
I don't know what he asked her, but she always answered , "No."

As I mentioned at the start of this month the East Riding of Yorkshire Council was to hold an exercise in local democracy, a referendum of those who live in the villages and towns surrounding Hull, following noises from Hull City Council that it might want to expand its boundaries. Everyone expected a majority against expansion and so it turned out with over 96% against! So no big surprise there. What was surprising and most pleasing was the turnout; over 75% of those entitled to vote bothered to fill in the form and post it off. That's better than some recent general elections. It might have cost the ERYC £1 per vote but this was a loud and clear "keep your thieving hands off" message from Hull's neighbours. 
Not that Hull Council will take any notice of this at all, indeed the leader of HCC (who it has to be said looked mightily pissed in the American sense of the word) is still spreading scaremongering tales of the area losing out on economic growth, jobs, investment, blah, blah if Hull doesn't get its way, ...and apparently we're asking the wrong questions  yadda yadda yadda ... all desperate nonsense from desperate politicians.
HCC are paying for an 'independent' commission into all this. The leader of this commission, the life president of a leading local company, states not to have discussed any of the issues with any Hull councillor nor indeed does he actually know any Hull councillors. And I am Marie of Romania ...

So to the results: Question one was "should the boundaries of Hull be extended to include Anlaby with Anlaby Common, Bilton, Cottingham, Elloughton cum Brough, Hedon, Hessle, Kirk Ella, North Ferriby, Preston, Swanland, Welton and Willerby?" 51,312 voted no, 1,887  voted yes.
And question two was "do you think Hull City Council should be allowed to build on land it owns in the green open spaces separating Hull and the towns and villages in the East Riding?" 50,981 voted no, 2,167 voted yes

Monday, 29 September 2014

Former Bank in Red

Staying on Lairgate, across from Narrow Racket is this striking building. It was originally the Beverley Savings Bank back in 1843. I was going to say that was a time before bankers became pariahs and despised amongst men but I doubt there ever was such a time.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Narrow Racket again

Those with a phenomenal memory will recall that I posted about this oddly named alleyway over four years ago. As I was on Lairgate I thought I'd show it again. Still don't know why it has that name.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


Looks peaceful and quiet in this picture but in reality Lairgate is one of the busiest streets in this medieval town. It forms part of the main route from the Humber Bridge in the south to Driffield in the north, the A164. Heavy traffic winds and grinds its way through the town, through narrow streets, such as Hengate, that are plainly not up to the task. So Beverley is to get a relief road, a southern by-pass which will cut across the green belt between Cottingham and Beverley. It will, of course, only be a matter of time before Beverley expands outwards to this pass-by, but that's what passes for progress these days and if people want to build their homes on a flood plain who is to stop them?

Friday, 26 September 2014

Paint it black

This cute little black house is on Lairgate in Beverley. Nice of someone to park a car in front for some added reflections.

Weekend Reflections are here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Belated Birthday Greetings

Seems I missed the three hundredth birthday of Beverley's market cross earlier this month. They had some sort of Georgian themed party and a special Beverley Cross buns were baked! (Those dancers in the video look familiar.) Not looking too bad after all those years but after all that cash spent on renovation it should be good as new.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Conkers bonkers

Time was when youngsters would be picking these little brown nuts up by the bagful and threading a string through them and then bashing them to bits against their opponent's to see which was the hardest. (If none were lying on the ground it was considered perfectly rational to lob a big long branch up into the tree to knock a few down. Just watch out for the returning branch! I speak from experience.) Yup, an absolutely pointless pastime but one involving complex rules, a modicum of skill in aiming the damn thing and no end of skulduggery getting them as hard a nails using various treatments, soaking in vinegar was supposed to toughen 'em up. Of course you could just cheat and keep one from the year before, but that was a knavish trick. 
The game, if you can call it that, seems to be losing popularity. You simply don't see children picking up conkers any more. I've even heard of some schools banning the game on health and safety grounds! For heaven's sake a knock on the knuckles from a errant conker is all part of life's tough journey.
Now these seeds of the Horse chestnut just lie on the pavement unloved and unwanted. I'm told you can use them to scare spiders away but one correspondent in the Times reported that his pile of conkers designed for this purpose was covered in cobwebs. Still if the spiders insist on coming in you could, I suppose, whack them on the head with a conker.
As I say the game is mainly for children, no-one I knew ever played it when they reached the grand old age of twelve. It seems however that there is a World Conker Championship (surely not) held in Aston in Northamptonshire every October. Now that is bonkers!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Yellow spoilsports

In these days of safety and dullness it's hard to remember the days just a dozen or so years ago before spoilers were placed on all the fun bits of town like this little slope from the end of Victoria Avenue down to Chanterlands Avenue. So you might cycle or skateboard too fast down there and end up in the road and be run over, meh! Hardly ever happened and you wouldn't do it twice would you?.

By Shady and his m8

Do you remember those fancy new buildings with high windows that I posted a while back, well this forms part of the view. Snazzy innit?

Monday, 22 September 2014

The old gas works

This is an early example of developing a brown field site, re-using a former industrial area. In this case the Broadley Street gas works, close by Queen's dock, were removed, the Guildhall and law courts built over them and the street renamed Alfred Gelder Street. The old Kingston Gaslight Company, using an inefficient and wasteful process, supplied a poisonous product that gave very poor illumination so not much has really changed over the years.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Red Spot

Came across three trees in East Park suffering from red spot disease, the symptoms are a sudden and catastrophic loss of  all branches and trunk and the appearance of an ominous red spot, it's almost always fatal.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Ghosts on West Street

If you ever take a picture of a shop window reflection don't be surprised if the shopkeeper comes out and asks you just what the heck you think you are doing. He seemed genuinely upset that I was taking pictures of his stock and couldn't understand that I wasn't interested in his dummies with school uniforms. This is West Street which connects onto King Edward Street through this archway. At one time (25+ years ago!) traffic could run through this way but for some reason this was stopped as it led to too much human happiness. Anyway I liked the ghostly figures and it was worth taking even if the shopkeeper thinks I'm crazy. He may very well be right.

Weekend Reflections are here

Afterthought: Just figured out the storekeeper's anxiety at my taking pictures. The shop is under investigation by trading standards officers under the consumer protection act. Turns out the shop's owner was prosecuted last year for breaching schools' copyright by selling uniforms bearing their crests without permission. Maybe he thought I was gathering evidence and well,  I'd better stop speculating here, don't want to be held to be in contempt, again

Friday, 19 September 2014

A bit frayed at the edges

"... this most cultural-inimical sickness and unreasonableness that there is, nationalism, this névrose nationale with which Europe is sick, this perpetuation of European petty-statesmanship, of petty politics: they have robbed Europe itself of its meaning, of its reason — they have led it into a blind alley...." F W Nietzsche Ecce Homo

Well it was billed as the most important vote ever, something to decide the future of the UK, a once in a life time opportunity. Strange then that most of us didn't have a vote but we'll let that pass. It was deemed to be such a close run thing, the opinion polls had it too close to call, but the polls are designed that way else why have polls at all?  After what seems like an eternity of gassing on Scotland's nay sayers have emphatically said nae and that hopefully will be the end of that. Watch as the promises for extra devolution cynically made a few days before the vote are quietly sunk in the mire of Westminster as English MPs block any home rule measures (so-called Devo-Max). Interesting times ... oh and smile as the PM tries not to gloat too much at the Nationalists' failure. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Blooming lovely

Yesterday was a bit of a dull, overcast day, anticyclonic gloom is the meteorological word for it, any hoo this did nothing to detract from the colourful display round Queen's Gardens' fountains. 

Speaking of blooms I came across a nice short film on the Avenues Open Day, where private gardens are opened for the public to raise money for Dove House Hospice. It's only fourteen minutes long and best watched without HD unless you've got a good connection. Oh yeah, it's here.

Finally if things go the way of a certain group to the north of here this blog may soon be coming to you from a different country. We live in exciting times.... *yawn*

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

100 Alfred Gelder Street

Next door to Essex House is a completely different building, turn-of-the-century Queen Anne revivalish offices with art nouveau trimmings. Did I mention eclectic? 

The upper dormer windows are described , somewhere or other, as a tasteful addition. Hmmm.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Essex House

Essex House is a late sixties/early seventies addition to Hull's eclectic architecture, a substantial office block squeezed into the corner of Manor Street and Alfred Gelder Street that, as you pass gives little sense of its height due to the narrowness of the streets. It houses a range of businesses, solicitors, a call-centre, local government departments and last but not least the Coroner's Office. At one time it used to be the place where countless thousands signed on for their unemployment benefit but that's all been moved elsewhere.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Dancing in the street

As I walked down High Street on Saturday I came across this group in Georgian costume and thought little of it (it was that kind of day, there was a jester and a monk by the church earlier) until after I visited Maister House when I heard music and they were all lined up ready for an 18th century hop. Naturally I filmed it for posterity.

After this the crowd was to be regaled with the weary womanly woes of a whaler's wife. Too much for me so I left.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Maister House again

I posted about Maister House  sometime last year, well I finally had a look inside on Saturday. The main attraction is the staircase and upper balcony with its neat geometrical arrangement. There was a limitation on the numbers who could stand on the balcony, six at any one time, and a bit of a queue waiting for the privilege so I didn't wait around. The house is a National Trust property and you can have a look round most days if you care to. The pictures give the impression of Stygian gloom, it's was fairly dark but not as black as that.

The ceilings are richly decorated but not very well lit, so my little camera had a few problems picking out any details.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Know your limitations

This weekend was the Open Heritage Days, when various old buildings and some not so old are open for us public to come in and have a good gawp. Previous years I've either forgotten about or missed it but this year I was in town. Now for some reason I found myself in Holy Trinity Church waiting to go up the tower. I somehow had forgotten my hinky knee and my lifelong fear of heights. So anyway I managed to climb up the medieval spiral staircase and get up on to the roof and forced myself to take a few pictures without completely losing the plot. The further ascent up to the actual top of the tower was, I decided, going too far. Yeah I know, I'm a cowardly wuss. 

Queen Street

Tidal barrier and the Deep

Looking north

No, I ain't going up there, thank you.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Contempt, who me?

A little bit of Humber Street
I'm pondering whether or not I hold the city of Hull in contempt, an odd thing to do on a Friday evening but there you go. Someone in response to a comment I made to a piece in the Guardian newspaper remarked that I held the city in contempt. I don't where he got this idea. I confess to being sceptical, utterly unconvinced by any of the gushing praises currently being heaped upon the place, I'm frankly amazed that people put up with the ridiculously poor service from the Council and its, at times, idiotic staff. The schools, the roads, housing, health provision and so on all these things are far from good. Is pointing this out an act of contempt? I could, of course, say that the place was one big gloriously happy family, I could do that but, frankly, I'm not good at fiction.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.
And Weekend Reflections are here.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Making a start

The public pathway by the river has reopened now that they've finished knocking down whatever buildings stood in the way and work on the C4DI thing at the old dry dock goes on its merry way. Scaffolding down to the floor of the dock is a development though I'd be a tad wary of that dock gate patched up as it is with bits of wood and expanding foam. Still it's not visibly leaking. (The circus tent in the background was to do with the Freedom Festival event that this year attracted thousands more than ever before)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

T'other side

Enough navel gazing, time to look out at what the world outside this place has to offer. Ah yes the delights of Killingholme! Here to entertain our eyes are two oil refineries and two natural gas power stations and last but not least a liquid petroleum gas storage facility. Should that little lot go bang I wouldn't give much for the two miles of Humber to protect this wondrous city, but let's not dwell on that.
No, today comes news (well it's oldish news really I just hadn't got round to it) that Hull will, according a leading councillor, have a cruise liner terminal! Well at least lots of money (will £380,000 be enough?) is being spent to think about having a terminal. (This council's caution before making any decision has led to a small boom in business consultants eager to help HCC make up its mind, I wonder if this is just a local thing or do other councils spend small fortunes on these expensive exercises?) It is to be placed near the Deep so, realistically, somewhere in the middle of this picture. Now I know you're all thinking ah Cruise ships, sundowners on a sundrenched deck, Love Boat and all that baggage. Hmmm this the Humber, basically the North Sea by another name so I'm thinking more frost bitten Kate O'Mara of Triangle infamy. (Did I just show my age there?)

It's not every day you learn something new. So I am grateful to Christine Hasman for telling me that Killingholme Creek is where some of the Pilgrim Fathers, the Scrooby Separatists, managed to embark for Holland in 1608. Below is the memorial erected by the Anglo-American Society of Hull in 1924, this is now at Immingham as a petrochemical plant sits on the original site and is visited by many Americans each year.

Thanks once more to Christine Hasman for these photos.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The price of failure

I have mentioned Neptune, the tidal power scheme, before and also how it proved to be not quite the raging success that had been hoped. A few weeks ago I noticed that it was no longer moored just past the Deep and thought that it had gone for good. Imagine my surprise then to see this little boat with the unmistakable yellow cabin just chugging upstream the other day. Off to the scrapyard no doubt.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Looking for business, mistah?

County Hall or Guildhall? Meh!
It had got to be written down, it had got to be confessed. What he had suddenly seen in the lamplight was that the woman was old. The paint was plastered so thick on her face that it looked as though it might crack like a cardboard mask. There were streaks of white in her hair; but the truly dreadful detail was that her mouth had fallen a little open, revealing nothing except a cavernous blackness. She had no teeth at all. (1984, G. Orwell)

Many years ago I lived near Paddington Station, an area well known for prostitutes. One of their enticements, indeed the only one I ever heard, was "Are you looking for business, mistah?". It was brief and to the point and there was absolutely no mistaking what the business was.
I mention this because we, that is to say the residents of East Yorkshire who have the misfortune to live near to neighbouring Hull are being solicited for our favours by two sadly, very unattractive ladies of the night. The one playing the role of mater familias urges us not let our eyes stray upon the dubious delights of the younger, pushy tart who has a new German pimp and is eager to swallow us up whole. This second, flashes her eyelashes in a most seductive way and tells us it would be good for business, honey, ah but what kind of business is far from clear. And when you look closely, if you dare, at both these suppurating cankered madames they reveal nothing but cavernous blackness. So we are asked to be like some latter day Paris with a worm riddled apple and like poor Winston we go ahead and do it just the same.

Referendum papers for ERYC's £60,000 farce are being sent out today.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

No great loss

Amid the expected wails of anguish and gnashing of teeth of those who think anything old, anything Victorian, must be worth propping up (no matter the cost) the decrepit Wellington House has finally been flattened. Hurrah! And good riddance to all that. Would it be any great loss if that machine were, just let's say, to flatten the whole area and finish the job that years of decline and neglect have started?

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Yet, Freedom! Yet thy banner, torn, but flying ...

It's that time of year again when painted pianos pop up around town, a slightly overweight man in a green mask waves large handkerchiefs and local news reporters look grumpy in Queen Victoria Square, a sad looking Freedom Flame lurks and flickers behind safety barriers and flags lots of flags, oh and a night time torch lit parade (banish all thoughts of Leni Riefenstahl) and more so much more. Oh yes it's the Hull Freedom Festival, again, hah! Two and half days of celebrating "through artistic and cultural expression, Hull's independent spirit and historic contribution to the cause of Freedom". (Obviously I quote, I couldn't write pap like that and still breathe.) Always a good idea to see who is paying the piper and in this case the chief sponsors are Hull City Council and the Arts Council. It seems old Friedrich was wrong, culture and the state aren't antagonistic after all, more like lovey-dovey symbionts.

Pathetic is the word that springs to mind here.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Silly Season

The warm Spring and cool Summer have been ideal conditions for a bumper harvest of pom poms this year. And, as we all know, you simply cannot have too many pom poms...

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Luxury Flats

Buildings with enormous windows are no new fad [ 1 ] as this pair of Victorian villas on Westbourne Avenue show. When the moneyed middle classes left for the delights of Swanland, Anlaby and such places these buildings and others like them were split into unfurnished flats. The cheap regulated rents attracted a certain quality of tenant, artists, poets, layabouts and so on. Many of the Hull poets, in those days a smaller, more select band than the those who have since climbed on the Hull poets' City of Culture bandwagon (Roger McGough, Tom Paulin, Uncle Tom Cobley and all), either lived in or visited 4 Westbourne Ave. Back in the very early 1980's I lived with Margot Juby in the ground floor flat of number 4, second large window on the left. Some memories I recall include  a perpetual state of war with the upstairs soi-disant artist (of the often pissed variety I may add) who seemed to wear lead boots and do a lot of hammering, the bathroom ceiling falling in due to actions of said artist. Another resident, now a well known poet and winner of many prestigious awards, found, after cooking some rashers of bacon, he had also grilled a large slug. The mouse seen on the step which grew and grew until it turned into a rat. Moonshine, a grey cat with good judge of character throwing up over the rent collector's shoes. The young amorous couple next door who did not realise the walls were not very soundproof and ... well I draw a discreet veil over that.
Looking back it was basically squalor but when you're young and daft they say it doesn't seem too bad, let me tell you they lie.
Note there is no garret for the servants, they lived in a freezing cold outhouse at the back with two pokey rooms downstairs and two even smaller upstairs. Ah luxury! And in 1982/3  available for rent at £6 per week with no central heating, no gas fire, in fact no heating at all. The ice made pretty patterns on the windows.
I see there's a flat available at Number 2 with a rent a mere ten times higher than back then, I wonder if that includes slugs ...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dove House

A common sight on many shopping streets in this area is the Dove House charity shop collecting funds for the hospice for people with "a life limiting illness". When I say common there are over thirty of them spread across Hull and other East Riding towns providing 20% of the income for this charity. This one in Beverley Road specialises in furniture but it's right next to a more general shop selling the usual mix of clothing, books and toys. They also run a lottery. Hospices receive just a third of their funding from central Government so need all the help they can get.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Obligatory Butterfly

I can't go a  whole Summer without a picture of a butterfly, now can I? This Speckled Wood butterfly was taking a breather near the entrance to Cottingham church, may be saying a few prayers, who knows.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Rusty bits


This is part of the C4DI redevelopment of the dry dock that I've mentioned so many times you're probably bored by it. Since these pictures were taken the rusty leaking old lock gates have now been patched up and the dock is now dry at long last. Unfortunately the little pathway that runs around the river edge was closed as they take a dim view of hitting passing pedestrians on the noggin with flying debris. 

Today's first of the month theme for City Daily Photo is 'Rust and Ruins' .