Thursday, 30 April 2015

and so it begins

Having been selected as the cultural omphalos for 2017 why not go the whole nine yards and spruce up the town as well with a £25 million rearrangement of the deck chairs? First for  'improvement' is Queen Victoria Square which is to get fountains in the pavement so your trousers get wet as you walk by. Still anything that gets rid of the acres of boring red brick paving can't be all bad. As in all campaigns you must first fortify your redoubt or the thieving natives will be off with your JCB before you can say City of Culture.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Exactly five years ago this wholesome old romantic posted the first of the Hull and Hereabouts on the pleasant subject of private property and shopping. Well I had to start as I meant to go on I suppose. Anyhow after five years of austerity and working together to secure a solid recovery for all the people of this country and ... sorry, sorry, you try to avoid so many election broadcasts but they seep in by osmosis ...oh yes now where was I? Hmm, now the old fool is reduced to posting pretty flowers and wondering how quick the time flies and thinking how little things have really changed ....

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

An interesting development

Well, turn your back for a few weeks and all kinds of things can happen. The skeleton of the new C4DI building at the river mouth has gone up like an enormous Meccano set. Plans and drawings are one thing but do not convey how imposing and impressive a building this will be, nor how it complements the Deep's angular construction on the other bank. I like it, it may not be everybody's taste but, no, I think it's just fine.

Monday, 27 April 2015

It's only money

Cottingham Road, Hull

Let me see now it must be getting on for four years since some Council bods turned up and erected this erstwhile sign just down the road.Then it took a few weeks for them to get the electrics all wired in. Oh and a tree had to be trimmed back so it was visible from the road. And there it sat, a device intended no doubt to give useful information to passing travellers. Except that it didn't. It did nothing for months on end then it gave out some message reminding cyclists to take care on the roads; as if cyclists use the roads these days. Its biggest act was to warn of delays over the Olympic torch relay back in 2012. Then nothing again, until, in the middle of last year, it was just removed leaving the two supports. (I don't think it was stolen, though it is a possibility) Now all this might seem a tad uninteresting and indeed it is but consider the hours of consultations, the planning meetings, the costs of ordering the parts, installing, then the plans and discussions to remove it, then the cost of uninstalling. It must come to thousands of pounds just wasted. Then consider that this is just one item of madness among many in this small town and that the same stupidity goes on in one form or another in every town across not just this country but I'd guess in every town across the whole world ... I think I'll go back to bed.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

That old insipid feeling

I sometimes wonder if there was once a competition to see who could commission the most uninspiring buildings with the winners getting to see their visions of banality in bricks and mortar at the eastern end of Alfred Gelder Street. So bleak is the architectural canvas is that any little gimmick will temporarily dazzle. Here it's the glass rotunda (if that's the correct term) and silvered cupola of the Combined Courts building poking up above the skyline. It flatters to deceive however as the rest of the building is a mish-mash of styles designed to portray the majesty of the Law and failing. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lightship reflection

For want of anything else to offer here's the old Spurn Lightship reflected in a solicitors window. Possibly the only thing they can't charge for...

Weekend Reflections are here.

Friday, 24 April 2015

The old oak ash nexus

Ash flowers

In the perennial race to be be first out it appears that this year, despite flowering away madly, the ash is showing no leaves while the oak is well on the way. Those who study these things for a living (now that's a job I could do!) say oaks are coming into leaf nearly two weeks earlier than they did thirty years ago and ash about week earlier. That'll be global warming, they say,  or climate change as it's now politically correct to call it. And if you're a student of racing form the last time Ash beat Oak was in 1986. Ash is also under attack from a fungus threatening to make it extinct in the UK so this may become a one-tree race in the not so distant future.

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

In what used to be Woolies ...

The old  Woolwoth's store on Whitefriargate has got a new occupant, Boyes. Well it opened in September last year but I've only just round to noticing it. After Woolies went bust in '08 the store was a Peacock's shop but that didn't last too long. There didn't seem to be throngs of eager customers in the place but then Whitefriargate doesn't attract to passing trade it used to. I suppose Boyes know what they've taken on.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Can't stand the heat

I have mentioned from time to time that Hull is filling up with places to drink coffee. It seems that there is now so much competition that this outlet is due to close on Sunday. From what I gather (and bear in mind I don't drink the stuff) this firm specialises in particularly weak, insipid brews, indeed their product was so poorly received by UK customers they had to double the strength of the lattes. So for aficionados of the bean it will be no great loss and there still remains a branch in St Stephens. No doubt another coffee shop will take its place before too long.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

By schisms rent asunder

First of all I admit to coming here once again with half a story. I don't know what the intentions are regarding the recently burnt out Methodist chapel on Lambert Street. What I can say is that the triangular pediment that looked like it might tumble down at any moment has gone, also the top storey on one side. But most of the front, back and one side look, to my untrained eye, to be solid; so there might some hope of salvaging something out of all this. However the building is still in the hands of  "East Yorkshire's experts in demolition" so we'll just have to wait and see. As I said, half a story, if that.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Will it be worth the wait?

Less haste, less speed is the motto in these parts as you well know. A mere three years since I posted that there was to be redevelopment on this site, eighteen months or more since it was cleared but now we are at last at the end of the beginning and a new block of shops is springing up before our very eyes, callooh callay! OK some of the problem lay with the planners who were unaware that this was industrial land (D'oh a scrap yard not give that away?) and couldn't be used for shops. So there was some legal hassle but that's all behind us now. I'd like to say that it will be worth the wait but alas it is to be a dreary unexceptional build that could be found anywhere in a thousand other towns. Meh!

The pawnbrokers and the shop next door seem to have survived all this kerfuffle. I suspect they'll outlast this new development.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Excellent Cafe

This is the Excellent Cafe on Holderness Road. If your nearest competitor is a branch of that ubiquitous purveyor of burnt cow meat called McDonald then there is, I suppose, little point in being modest. Despite its name the local council rates this place as only average for hygiene and so on; and I'm afraid images of the fare on offer are not quite to my taste. I think I'll give it a miss.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

No April showers have come our way

WELCOME, wild North-easter!
  Shame it is to see
Odes to every zephyr;
  Ne’er a verse to thee.
Charles Kingsley

Somehow Spring has sprung without me really noticing it. Though it looks nice and sunny the picture cannot begin to describe the slightly nithering north-easter that is flowing across the land giving the feeling of walking through a tub of ice-cream. And it's been a really dry April so the droghte of Marche has not been sooted as they used to say.

Friday, 17 April 2015

"After you, Claude – no, After you Cecil"

I'm not sure that whoever designed the bus station, or Interchange as purists would have it, wasn't on some sort of sadism trip or just plain incompetent or maybe both. The place consists of a long line of bays, over 30 I think, from which depart buses laden with passengers and into which buses similarly arrive. Simple you might have thought except when the arriving buses meet the departing buses at the same time or even better when a load of buses all depart at the same time. There then takes place an elaborate slow motion dance of the omnibuses with the lower number bays giving way to the higher ones. It's just the sort of barmy, ill thought out cheap-o design we've come to expect around here. It matches the similarly badly designed passenger waiting side of the shop which I moaned about before here. Still it does give time to take a few photos while we wait our opportunity to go home at long last.

The great omnibus Excuse Me
Weekend reflections are here.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

See how great a flame aspires ...

...Kindled by a spark of grace!

I could not say that I was entirely surprised to learn yesterday morning that the George Lamb Memorial Chapel on Lambert Street had been destroyed by fire. As I mentioned in my post three years ago it had been in a fairly derelict state for years and last used for God bothering 21 years ago. Other long empty buildings have been subject to similar blazes in the recent past. 
I'd heard rumours the Council were going to buy it under the compulsory purchase system but I don't know if anything came of that. Anyhow that's all a bit moot at the moment. The innards are completely gone and engineers are testing the structural viability of the shell. Let's hope the facade is sound enough to be saved at least though it does look a bit iffy to be honest. There is, of course, plenty of scuttlebutt about how convenient this destruction might be for any potential developer, I couldn't possibly comment.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Soon the democrats will be democking

May 7 is the big day for the quinquennial exercise in so-called democratic accountability. But at least in this country you don't have to vote and it's really tempting not to bother since there isn't going to be a 'None of the above' option on the ballot paper. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Grasshopper Store

Although there quite a few Polish and Eastern European stores dotted around the outskirts of town especially on Beverley Road and Newland Avenue there are very few in the town centre itself. This one named Pasikonik or Grasshopper is on Carr Lane. It's a welcome addition to Hull's shops and provides an alternative to the uniform fare offered by the the chain stores Sainsbury's, Tesco and so on. I hope we see more like this. If only so I can get my Polskie piwa when in town!

Monday, 13 April 2015

"Buses are running well late"

Carr Lane
I was in town this afternoon on a spot of business and ran into a classic Hull gridlock with buses backed up on Carr Lane, Ferensway full in both directions and Anlaby Road looking like a no-go area as well. Marvellous! And not helped by the road works I mentioned  a week ago. The title is what I overheard a bus company man saying to a frustrated passenger. My bus home took 15 minutes to do 300 yards just leaving the station, even I can walk faster than that with my gammy leg and all.


Junction Carr Lane, Ferensway and Anlaby Road

Sunday, 12 April 2015


Prayer might be a strong wall and fortress of the church but it does no harm to get in the masons every now and then to check over the stonework and make sure the church is still a goodly Christian weapon. Here's Cottingham's parish church, St Mary's, getting some serious maintenance a few weeks back, after seven hundred years or so perhaps this is not so surprising.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Exchange Court

Running off  Lowgate, behind the old court house, Exchange Court is evidence that the court house (now pub/club) was once a public exchange when it was built in 1866. This little alley is home to spiders and red motorbikes. The only business I could find down here was a wealth management company. Wealth? Now what would that be? Vaguely remember the word, but no, sorry, it's remind me.

Friday, 10 April 2015

It is sweet and right to drive for your country

When I moved to Cottingham about ten years ago one the things that struck me was that there were an awful lot of trucks, just like this one, going back and forth. They weren't all orange but they all seemed empty. What was going on? Well what was going on was that I had moved into the training area of the Defence School of Transport based at Normandy Barracks, Leconfield. This just happens to be "probably the largest residential driver training school in the world"! They take their young wannabe HGV drivers out on the local roads not to universal approbation it has to be said. Over the years you tend not to notice them as they pass by nor when they're parked up down the road for the obligatory cigarette break.Can't be sure on this but I'm guessing tobacco has killed more soldiers than enemy action.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A house on Park Lane

That's Park Lane, Cottingham and really there's no problems with the neighbours since there aren't any save for the pylons and power cables converging on Creyke Beck substation. The noisy skylarks might drive you to distraction though.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Fagle has landed

Through the agency of time or, more likely thieving little hands, the Eagle on Anlaby Road has been transformed into the Fagle which, as I'm sure you all know, is a French word concerning an order of hardwood trees including oak and beech. No I didn't know that either I had imagined it to mean something entirely, erm how shall I put this, different (*innocent face*). But no matter the pub is still empty.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Meet the new shop ...

In the blink of an eye this shop changed from being Discount UK to Bargain Buys, same staff, same stock, same prices. That's not really surprising since both brands are owned by Poundland. Try as I might I cannot summon up the enthusiasm displayed by a 'business leader' in the local rag who describes this change of name as a sign of "recognising Hull is a great place to do business" or as the same perp said "Hull is bucking the trend in terms of retail". (I have this idea that a vitual 'business leader' spouts out the same messages just changing the town  or city whenever a button is pressed on a rent-a-quote machine) In fact these bargain basement discount stores are ubiquitous in the UK and not a sign of a strengthening retail market; quite the opposite.

And this is just for, well, why not?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Plan B? There's not even a Plan A!

Fish Street from Sewer Lane via Castle Street

*Sigh* With the inevitability of night following day the scheme to upgrade, improve or whatever you want to call it, the festering sore that is Castle Street has run into the docile buffers of bureaucratic inertia. Back in 2013 I posted that money was being made ready for this work and the earliest it could start was 2015 and as is my way I cautioned there might be delays. I hate to say I told you so but ... here we are two years later and those who should have submitted plans, the Government's Highways Agency, have yet to do so and don't look likely to act any time soon. (Surely the rumour that they cannot make a decision during the election run-up is a vile canard, perhaps not) So start dates are being pushed further back, 2018? 2020? Who knows when? Meanwhile the Council, for once not guilty of any misdemeanour and desperate to put some kind of bridge (iconic or otherwise) across the never ending stream of motorised madness in time for the City of Culture in 2017, is going quietly bonkers and talking about coming up with a plan B .... 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Road Works

For the past few months the orange bollards and safety fencing have been up at one of the busiest junctions in town where Beverley Road and Spring Bank meet Ferensway and Freetown Way. The plan is to widen the junction, renew the traffic lights and make bigger islands for pedestrians to cross over. They'll also throw in some so-called pedestrians light controlled push buttons but as these won't actually do anything until the traffic has been stopped by the traffic lights they are really just for show. As with all road works in this town delays are inevitable; last Thursday, for example, I was on the bus into town and got caught in a jam so slow that we made 50 whole yards in ten minutes. In the end I got off and walked. (If you zoom in real close to the centre of the picture my bus is the red and cream one still stuck on Beverley Road ten minutes after I got off it!) The rumour is that this work will be completed ahead of schedule, that'll be a relief and we'll be back to the natural background rate of delays. I expect, though, that the junction will look pretty much the same as it did before which is to say not very pretty at all..

Saturday, 4 April 2015

...quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.

A new coffee hole on King Edward Street is a blessing, I was beginning to worry in case there weren't enough to satisfy the cravings of the poor in spirit. This one claims to be independent unlike the one next door. It has seating upstairs no doubt with the very Gods themselves. Oh and the view is as I posted just the other day. Heavenly, almost.

The weekend in black and white is sipping a latte over here.

Friday, 3 April 2015

New plans for an old site

Over on North Church Side plans are afoot for a boutique hotel no less, in or on the site of these fairly plain shop units. A local property developer by the name of Allenby (such a fine name, if I may say so myself!) wants to make 30 or so short stay apartments. 

As the top picture indicates this development to this quiet backwater comes with close up views of Holy Trinity's fine medieval brickwork.

Weekend reflections are here.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Some Silly Billyness

For today's offering I present our great deliverer in a reflection of the door way of the King Billy pub on Market Place. I read recently that King William was the very man who introduced this country to gin ("England may I introduce to Gin, Gin meet merry old England; I'm sure you'll get along famously!" and so it came to pass.), well he can't have been all bad.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Shadow play

It's that first-day-of-the-month time once again and the theme for City Daily Photo is the "camera-shy self-portrait". This effort is not much of a portrait and I didn't take it but apart from that it fits the bill. This is what two bored grown-up people get up to on a Christmas evening, haunting the empty streets looking for trouble, so lock your doors, bar your windows and be afraid, be very afraid ....