An elegant sufficiency

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My home city

Since I left college, "home" has been in several places, but I always consider my roots to be in Hull; Kingston upon Hull in East Yorkshire. Though we still go there from time to time to visit my Mum who lives just outside the city, it's quite a while since I had the chance to walk around the city centre and see some of the remarkable changes which are taking place there right now.

With visiting times being strictly enforced, there are hours to be filled in between hospital visits, so Thursday morning seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a wander around with my camera.

I walked into the city centre from the hospital, so my first stop was by the new development around the station, St Stephens Centre. This photograph of Ferensway shows the new station front and the building with the green and orange window is on the site of the old ABC cinema where I saw the Beatles on 24th November,1963! Other Hullensians reading this will recognise the Hull Royal Infirmary in the background (tall, grey building looming on the horizon) to get their bearings.

The Holiday Inn Express is at the entrance to the new centre which is going to transform the city significantly when it opens later next month.

For every corner which has changed, however, there's another which hasn't, and Victoria Square remains much as it ever was - though I'm not sure the large TV screen (with amplified sound) does a great deal for anyone.

Here in Gloucestershire, the floods are a consistent topic of conversation, and of course, it's much the same in Hull, where similar events occurred a month or so before. The presence of an insurance advice centre reveals how much of a preoccupation rebuilding and recovery is right now.

On such a glorious morning, it was a pleasure to walk over Monument Bridge and remember how, as a small girl, I would be taken along the side of this dock (Princes Dock) to visit my Grandad, who worked in the Customs office on the bridge at the far side. Now a(nother) shopping centre, the street-side cafes and smart restaurants are a far cry from the old fruit market, which used to be situated down there. This photo shows the same curved stone wall when the dock was working, and until I saw it, I'd forgotten that the Wilberforce Column was moved from its original site here to a place in front of the College in Queens Gardens. That was before my time as well, though!

One of the first docks to be filled in (before my time) was Queens Dock, and the gardens there were always a bit uphill and down dale, as subsidence had occurred. All that has been sorted out now, and the gardens are as lovely as ever. The three cornered building with the green domes is the former Dock Offices (now the maritime museum) and in the background, with the pale green dome, is the City Hall, a fine turn-of-the-century concert venue. Not only have I played there on several occasions with the Hull Philharmonic (with Paul Tortelier, John Ogden, Alfredo drop, name drop....) but it was where we would go to see Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull...oh my.

That takes you back, doesn't it?



  • My goodness Gill, those names are a blast from the past.Think I may even have the original records - in my stash. Thanks for the pictures of Hull. I have never visitied .... it looks wonderful. Take Care
    Best wishes


    By Blogger Stitching with Schnauzer and Siamese, at 9:18 pm  

  • Gill,
    I am the author of a book called Legends O Tour - The Pop Package Tours Of The 1960s and am about to start work on a book about the UK tours of The Beatles, including your Hull date. I would like to include your memories.
    My contact details are on my website at

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:02 pm  

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