Sunday, 30 November 2014

Jacob Bronoswki

Who he; do I hear you say? Or maybe: oh him, I remember him and his unbelievable, interminable, meliorist, nay almost utopian TV series and book entitled, with absolutely no sense of irony, The Ascent of Man. Yeah him. Seems this man who knew everything once had a job teaching maths at the University of Hull and I suppose he had to lodge somewhere so this place on Hallgate in Cottingham was his home. During his time here he was, as a Polish-Jewish immigrant, of course given the usual warm welcome this country remains famous for and duly put under surveillance by the security services. That sort of thing wouldn't happen these days now would it?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Riverhead Apartments, Driffield

Nothing much changes or so it seems at this place. It was just like this when I first came here nearly half a century ago. Maybe the warehouse apartment developments are newish but it looks much the same.

The weekend seems to have crept up on us again. See it in black and white here. Or see its reflection here.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Expect Delays

I may have mention once or twice the problem that is Castle Street and that money had been agreed for a grand plan to alleviate some of the mess that is caused by funnelling a motorway into a inner-city dual carriageway. By now the detailed plans should be available, well it is well known that "should" butters no parsnips. These plans will not now be available until next Springtime (when birds do sing hey ding a ding, ding). I'm all for measuring twice and cutting once but to keep on putting things back will mean the actual work will neatly coincide with that other Hull problem the 2017 City of Culture. (One of themes I have heard is to be "Roots and Routes" so maybe it's all part of fiendish plan.) Drivers and that includes visitors to the cultural delights will be advised to take alternative routes, that is shorthand for find your own way through the infernal gridlock, matey, you're on your own! You have been warned.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Did Britannia waive the rules?

This building on the corner of Whitefriargate and Land of Green Ginger was built in 1886 to house the Colonial and United States Mortgage Company. The architects were one Mr Clamp and our old friend Alfred Gelder. I know nothing of the Colonial and US Mortgage Company, Google refuses to enlighten me. I can tell you that many years after it was built it housed another mortgage company, the Britannia Building Society, later to become the Britannia Bank. Why isn't it still a branch of Britannia? Well you know it's just the old, old story ....

The Britannia Building Society, was caught up in the dying embers of the 2008 crash. It was  formed in the mid 19th century and was the second largest building society until it merged with the Cooperative Bank in 2009. Now I'm not going to say there was a criminal enterprise involved because no-one has been charged with anything but  the Britannia  had a boat load of bad debts (sub-prime garbage) on its books. The merged concern had to be 'distanced' from the mutual Co-op and in effect bought out. Expect a huge legal brouhaha over all this. Meanwhile if you know anyone who wants a Victorian French renaissance style office and erstwhile bank, here's one going spare.

Here's how it looked when new and yes it was enlarged at a later date. And quite how, despite being a listed building, that ornate frontage was replaced with  plate glass dreck is probably a story too murky for sensitive souls.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


...and what to do with an old office building? Why not turn it into yet another outlet for that cultural delight that is coffee? Whether or not this is the real McCoy I couldn't say. OK that's enough coffee shops for now, I don't even drink the stuff ... give me a nice cup of tea anyday.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Thieving Harry's

What to do with an old fruit and veg merchant's warehouse? Simple, turn it into the "forefront of Hull’s developing coffee scene". Why Thieving Harry's I don't know, it's as good a name as any. And while you or I might just turn on the tap and brew up these guys are taking things just that little bit further, well read their 'coffee' page to see what I mean. Reverse osmosis!? The place seems to be thriving with excellent reviews and there is always the views over the marina to keep you occupied.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Fiat Lux

"Hey", said the guy who was fishing off the Corporation Pier, "they actually work! I thought they were just for show!" I looked a bit non-plussed, what could he mean?. "The fancy lights", he explained, "they work, not just decoration!" And I bet you thought it was just me that was cynical in these parts ...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Aschenbach to the future

A Victorian guide to Britain's railway, Bradshaw's Guide, talks of Hull being like Venice and people taking special trains from the Leeds and so on to view the sights of this spectacular city. Back then the city, or most of it at least, was surrounded on all sides by water, the Humber and a ring of docks. No-one would thnk that now, but when the sun goes down over the Marina and if you squint your eyes maybe that's a canal going off into the distance...

And speaking of Venice, Margot, entering into the city of culture spirit that runs excitedly throughout the town, thought that for 2017 the streets could be turned into canals, to which I added, it could celebrate the ten year anniversary of the 2007 floods ... but think gondolas on Ferensway, oh, oh, oh and a masquerade and some wild licentiousness to a soundtrack of Vivaldiish muzac... No? Oh well.... We could add cholera and phthisic young men as a sideshow if that is your thing. Aw come on  now ...

I was going going to make some comment on the anniversary of the city of culture award but things are becoming too absurd even for me. Let's just say that those supposedly in charge ("They will be our Barnum and Bailey, helping us to deliver some fantastic art and helping draw together everyone who wants to be part of 2017." ) are developing a "beautiful narrative" and leave the rest  your imagination. 

Weekend Reflections are over there.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Fairfax Avenue

Fairfax Avenue is a residential road that runs from a roundabout on Cottingham Road to a junction with Bricknell Avenue. I guess most of it dates from the 1930's when land round here must have been cheap judging by the space given over to the wide grass verges which are protected from parking by regular wooden posts. It is, you might say, a typical surburban street lined with typical semi-detached houses and you might expect it to be a bit uninteresting, bordering on the boring. Well maybe; except in Winter time when the silver birches are as you see or in Spring when the blossom is simply stunning and sometimes in Autumn when the leaves turn and do that colour trick that trees do so well. So that only leaves Summer; now it can be "rather dull, unfunny and suburban" in Summer I will admit. 

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

From the canteen window

One of the perks of working in Boot's store on Whitefriargate is that the canteen is the banqueting hall of the old Neptune Hotel with a view past the exotic lingerie store and the bank along Parliament Street

This is the ceiling, as you might have guessed. Nice though it is I guess a raise in take home pay would be a better perk. 
This room is open on Open Heritage Days in September which is when I took these photos.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Humber Bore

I'm told that every tidal estuary has a bore, that is when the incoming water overcomes the outflowing water and surges upstream. In the UK the Severn bore is particualrly well known with brave souls surfing along it for miles. The Humber then also has a bore (apart from me) it's just not that noticeable near Hull. This is not to say that the tidal wave isn't rushing at great speed (25mph or so past Hull) and some violence up this narrowing inlet and indeed upstream there is, on the Trent, a bore known as the Aegir or Eagre. All these twice daily flows can and do shift sandbanks around causing shippping channels, at least upstream of Hull, to alter course, sometimes overnight. Which leads us to this little boat, the ABP survey vessel Humber Ranger, busy keeping an eye on things at the bottom of the stream and producing up to date navigation charts every two or three months.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Red Buoy

Now it depends where you are just what you make of this. American (in the broadest continental sense) mariners will recognize this color as denoting the starboard limit of a channel as you approach from the sea. Excercising the true spirit of utter contrariness, in this country and most of the world excluding America navigators recognise this red coloured buoy as showing the port limit of a channel. Now I'm sure you won't forget this as you sail your expensive yachts up the Humber on your way to the city of culture. If, however, you need to look up port and starboard then perhaps the train is your best bet.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Gross Value

Inglemire Lane, Hull

Some time ago I posted an odd picture of trees in nets and mentioned that this was due to impending development of the site. Here you can see the fruits of all that. It's a school in case you were wondering. No sorry scrub that, this is no mere school, this is a Catholic international sports college, with "world class thinking" and "world class achieving"; so there. Hmm, no matter, the trees are gone along with the fashion of calling a spade a spade.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Window Scene

Smyth's Toyshop, Clough Road
I don't suppose anyone much younger than myself and certainly anyone who did not watch 1960's British TV will ever have heard of Harry Worth. He had a series on the telly, what they call a sit-com, though it was more 'sit' than 'com' as I recall. No, the only reason I have dragged this out of the mire that is my distant past is that in taking this shot I was reminded of the opening of  Harry Worth's program. Well OK just take a peek at the video and you might see what I'm rambling on about.

Weekend reflections are here

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The blue bottle

In the increasingly ridiculous local paper today I read that Hull is better than Paris. Et bien, à chacun son goût! But there are similarities for, on our delightful rive droite, close by the tidal barrier there's a space with seating where les philosophes meet to admire the view and drink cheap, synthetic, industrial strength cider from a big blue bottle. Did someone not say delusion is the first of all pleasures?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Up against a brick wall

Near Snuff Mill lane, Cottingham
The thing with walls is that they exclude or include, depends which side you're on I guess. *End of banal pointless platitude*

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Church going, going, gone

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.
Philip Larkin  Church Going

Nothing is permanent and certainly not churches. For 700 years or so this place has been added to, altered, adapted, survived sieges and world wars, generally kept standing by running repairs and renovations. Each generation adding its own particular contribution to its rich tapestry so that now it is the largest parish church in the country with some of the finest medieval architecture. So what could today's generation add to this jewel of a building? Surely with all the wealth, skills and cultural knowledge that abound in this city a sympathatic way could be found to maintain the fabric and upkeep of this place and pay the bills at least. Well perhaps but, as you might have guessed by now, that is not going to happen.
It was announced last week, to much fanfare and general acclaim (you will gather this did not include me) that, after employing 'marketing specialists' the vicar intends to go into the cafeteria trade! Yup he intends to take out the carved wooden pews from the nave and instal a 'tasteful' , that is to say, massive, glass screen behind which customers can consume their pannetones and steaming weak lattes while taking in the gothic ambience. There are to be banquets and concerts and who knows what other joyous goings-on in the space so created. 
I know, I know, you're asking where will the kitchens and lavatories and so on be; no problem, a glass and metalwork lean-to (in a tasteful gothic style, of course) will be plugged onto the south side and the medieval brickwork be damned. Outside, the church boundary wall and that tree on the right are to be removed, the churchyard in effect erased and turned into an alfresco coffee shop complete with fountains where you can sip your espresso in the company of the dead that lie in such abundance just under the paving stones. This is all part of a cooperation with the Council to create what is now fashionably called a 'piazza-style' space .... and it should be particularly enjoyable during the months November through April as these are by far the best for sitting around in the fresh air.
Oh there's more, if you can stand it, (and stand you must for there will be no pews) away from the diners, at the holy end as it were, interactive displays are planned to tell the story of the place. And don't worry we are told there will still be place for worship that is if God hasn't left the building.
The vicar says he already has donations of £1.5 million tucked away for this project and requires only another £3 million. It seems that leaving a lasting contribution to the culture of this city does not come cheap. And to cap it all the Archbishop, not wishing to be left out of the party, has decided to promote the church up to a Minster: Hull Minster. The Minster Café. How does that sound? Not remotely like a gimmick... (I'd prefer Ye Olde Boneyard Bistro myself but that's just me being me.)
And me being me would question whether the Church of England, is a fit and properly responsible organisation to leave in charge of this country's cultural heritage or at the least churchy bits. Maybe it should be moved out of these places all together and professionals put in charge. Now there's a thought; evict the C of E from its churches.
I have little doubt that should planning permission for this proposal be sought then the Council, believing, as so many do, that culture is just another opportunity to drink coffee, will grant it. That does make this any the less a tacky, crass and short sighted act of vandalism. And after all this I forgot to mention it's a Grade 1 listed building but that seems to count for so little these days. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Well I don't know, the ceasefire was well known to be coming along , indeed by 5am that morning it had been signed, so just to keep the numbers rolling the soft shitted generals sent their boys to go die for stuff they could walk into after 11am. So much poppycock. Anyhow t'was but a pause, a brief hiatus, in the continuing European war.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Triple X

Newland Avenue café habitués are no doubt waiting  with baited breath for this new coffee shop to open in the old video rental place. Whatever happened to renting videos (not that I ever did) and how soon will these coffee haunts become last year's thing? 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Carr Lane at sundown

That bus, the number 35, will go on down that road towards the setting sun until it reaches Willerby which I am told is the undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, at least not without a ticket.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


I seem to be in a monochrome mood for some reason. It could be the near three days of rain and cloud and/or the earlier sunsets. Above Trinity House Lane and below Posterngate both of which I've shown before in more colourful mode.

Weekend Reflections are here.

Friday, 7 November 2014

You have arrived

Should you be wondering where on earth you are when you leave the station this sign will either reassure you or fill you with dread ...either way please do enjoy that end-of-the-line sense of freedom ...

The weekend in Black and White seems to have crept up on us once again, it's here.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Les feuilles mortes

One of the downsides of a long avenue of trees is the great fall of leaves at this time of year. If, however, you still have to find the inner adult in yourself then a long path of crispy crunchy golden brown leaves is a joy forever, as you noisily slush you feet through them and kick them gleefully in the air to the obvious alarm of youths who have yet to find the simple pleasures of life.

Now to the tricky question which to prefer: Yves Montand's Les feuilles mortes or Piaf's Autumn Leaves? Personally, I think listening to Piaf sing in English is akin to hearing a cat bark mais à chacun son goût! Now I'm sure I'll get this mournful tune as an earworm, agh!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Turtle-y Awesome?

I am, thankfully, in the position of knowing absolutely nothing about this. What is an adolescent mutant ninja turtle when it's all at home and should I be on the look for one as I wander in my time? Ignorance, I'm guessing, is bliss in this matter. It looks delightfully gross but then I'm no film critic.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Flying to the moon

Margot took this daytime moon photo. It just needed a little cropping. Teamwork huh?

Monday, 3 November 2014

Purple flag

Lamp posts in town have been draped with purple ribbons for a few weeks now but I didn't get round to finding out why until this weekend. It's a recognition that if you go for a night out in Hull you are most unlikely to encounter trouble. Hull it seems has been awarded a Purple Flag for being  civilised or in the words of some bumf I read "clean, safe, vibrant and enjoyable with something for everyone". So now you know as much as me.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling

Oh! Death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling? 
Oh! Grave, thy victory? 
The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling 
For you but not for me.

For those who believe in such things November starts in such cheery way with its two days of the dead. So yesterday all the Saints went marching in as it were, the officer class of the holy hierarchy, a Holy Day of Obligation, fasting and abstinence. Today it's the turn of the poor bloody infantry that is to say anyone else who has ever died, and, as I recall (and it's been a long, long time since this nonsense was forced on me), you can take this one or leave it as you like. As with so many Christian events this is just a take over of pre-existing pagan rites, the beginning of November being the Celtic festival of the dead, Samhain. These two days go largely unnoticed in this country, Hallow'een being a commercial thing and well, who does all that religion stuff these days? But in other parts, I'm thinking Mexico, they throw a three day party with much macabre merriment. I think maybe we're missing out.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A conspiracy of traffic lights

Today's theme for City Daily Photo is 'Landmark'. So here's my offering, no, not the overly large religious building in the background that has been there so long it's at the top of this blog. Nor yet the dim outline of King Billy riding off down Market Place. No, today's landmark is this collection of traffic lights which you must admit is pretty impressive (I make it 18 or more in this view). It has been noted somewhere, possibly apocryphally,  that it is possible to drive by motorway from Liverpool to Lublin without meeting a single traffic light (but do watch out for the ferry) except when passing through this slow-you-down-and-stop-now-start town of Hull. These lights, of course, are installed, at strategic points along the road, so that motorists can admire the more obvious landmarks that you see here...

I must confess that I looked for a collective noun for traffic lights, as you do, and found the title of this post in this really obscure link.