The city of Kingston-upon-Hull is counting down to its year in the spotlight. January 1, 2017, Hull becomes the 2017 City of Culture in the UK.
The 2001 UK census revealed that the population of Kingston-Upon-Hull, or Hull as it is more commonly known, as 253,400. This, my home town has had its fair share of problems over the years and has, in the past, been voted one of the worst places to live in England. Its population is decreasing as many people move away, usually South, where the economic climate is more favourable.
Yet this relatively small city has always had a good stock of museums and galleries. Most of these are owned and run by the local council and this means that they are free to visit. Hull has developed a Museum Quarter in the Old Town which means many attractions are close by one another.
More recent developments have entrance fees and are privately owned but overall Hull Museums and Galleries offer a wealth of interest, and are free to visit and therefore useful for those visiting Hull on a tight budget.
If you find yourself in Yorkshire why not stop by and take a look.
It may be that you cross the River Humber via the bridge on your way to Leeds, for example. Instead of by-passing Hull make a detour and see what is here. For those holidaying in Yorkshire Hull is only 7 miles from the market town of Beverly and 34 miles from historic York.
So one of Hull's best assets is its Museum service
Wilberforce House is situated along the High Street in the Old Town area of Hull. Many of Hull's finest buildings were lost in the blitz but pockets of them have survived.
The High Street boasts some fine old buildings and pubs, such as Ye Old Black Boy. A fitting name for a pub situated so close to Wilberforce House the birthplace of England's most famous slavery abolitionist but now renamed in politically correct fashion.
Wilderforce house has undergone various renovations over the years and the most recent was controversial. In the old panelled rooms some have interactive screens and the like which tell the story of slavery, William Wilberforce and the fight to change the law regarding slavery.
However the most recent changes have taken away some of the character of the house.
These displays could be displayed more fittingly in an adjoining exhibition room and the history of the house left in tact.
The previous alterations saw displays of replica slave ships with full size models of slaves on board. This was a very moving display, and the sound effects and commentary created a great atmosphere.
However Wilberforce House is still definitely worth a visit and can be found at:-
The High Street, Hull
Opening times are:-
Weekdays and Saturday 10am - 5pm
Bank holidays times may vary.
Last admission is 15 minutes before closing.
Entrance is free.
Nelson Mandela Gardens at the side of the house are a great place to have a picnic lunch. These have been reduced in size as access to other museums was incorporated.
The gardens at the back of the house lead down to the River Hull where it is possible to walk along the old walkway.
It is fitting that the floating museum the Arctic Corsair is moored on the River Hull, just at the back of Wilberforce House. This once active trawler was no longer needed with the loss of Hull's Fishing trade. However, rather than just scrap it, the Arctic Corsair became a museum manned by volunteers who are ex seamen. To visit you will need to book in advance at:-
The Fishing Heritage Museum next to the Hull and East Riding Museum. A short film is shown pre your visit.
It is usually open from March to October.
General public tours
Wednesday 10am - 4.30pm
Last tour starts at 3pm
Saturday 10am - 4.30pm
Last tour starts at 3pm
Sunday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Last tour starts at 3pm
The old Transport Museum was situated further along the High Street, when I was a child, in a magnificent old building. As part of Hull City Council's revamp of the Museums a new purpose built building was constructed. This opened in phases but was completed a while back.
I used to love the old transport museum but find that this new place is very fitting and a great place to visit. It is well laid out and has old trolley buses, trams, trains, carriages, cars, small planes and more. There is an old reconstructed street which has many peculiar items on display, in the shop windows, which were all on sale when I was young. One old shop was taken lock stock and barrel into the museum.
The difference to the old Transport Museum of my childhood is that most of the displays in the new Street life are interactive. Children, or adults, can climb on board the old vehicles and signal box which makes for a more interesting and memorable visit.
Adjacent to the Wilberforce House Gardens, Street-life is easy to access and a fun place to visit, for all ages. For those less mobile there is a lift for viewing the upper floors.
Check out the opening times at:-
Street-life Museum of Transport
36 High Street
Tel:-01482 613 902 / Fax 01482 613 710
Hulls Maritime Museum used to be situated along Hessle Road near Pickering Park. In 1974 the contents of this museum moved to the old Dock Offices in the Centre of Hull. These offices had been next to an old dock but with the changing times the Dock was filled in and became the Queen's Gardens.
Princes Dock across the road was left rotting for years until a large glass and metal shopping centre was constructed over it.
Nearby on Monument Bridge there was a statue of William Wilberforce which was a local landmark. This was moved in 1935 due to the increase in traffic around Victoria Square and is still in its new location. It is along Queen's Gardens and next to the College.
Town Docks is perfect for Hull's Maritime Museum. It is a beautiful building with many rooms just right for the displays. There are some static displays but this museum does have a full programme of different events throughout the year and some temporary exhibitions.
Much of Hull's previous wealth and fortune was made from fishing and whaling. The city has fine artifacts which at least these days everyone can view. The old museum had some old whale bones outside but Town Docks has these on show indoors.
The Town Docks Maritime Museum is:-
Opens Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Last admission is 15 minutes before closing.
There is a museum shop which sells a good selection of prints, cards and the like. You can also pick up a huge selection of information leaflets about other local attractions.
Ferens Art Gallery or as it more usually called, The Ferens, is situated just across the pedestrianised square from the Town Docks Museum. Victoria Square used to be a very busy area of town but with the pedestrianisation it is now less busy. Victoria Square has a fine statue of Queen Victoria sitting in the middle, but, unfortunately, it is only over the City centre public toilets.
The Ferens is world famous and has a good reputation. It underwent changes in recent years and had a large extension added on to the main building, around the time that Princes Quay was being developed.
The Ferens closed for major renovations ahead of the city of culture. It is expected to repoen early in 2017.
The Ferens has permanent displays of past masters and modern geniuses as well as those that just baffle the beholder. Frans Hals and Canaletto were amongst the permanent displays along with many maritime artists. The temporary exhibitions have shown artists such as Picasso and Salvador Dali.
The gallery has installations at times and interactive exhibitions.
There is always a full programme of "hands on" workshops for children during the school holidays.
The centre-court downstairs has seen some strange exhibitions over the years. One that springs to mind was a completely wrecked car that was hung from its rear end and dangled over the Gallery. It was an exhibition detailing fragility and our mortality. Well I think it was.
The Ferens has had its fare share of controversy over the years and has never shied away from showing exhibits that are a little off the wall or contentious. One such exhibition never saw such a massive amount of visitors visit the gallery before as when the national press condemned it and at one stage the police threatened to close the gallery.
With cool marble and wood floors, roman chairs to sit on, and contemplate the art work, the Ferens is a great place to chill and relax on a hot day.
Admission to the Ferens, including the Children's Gallery, is free.
The gallery is usually open -
Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm
Last admission at 4.45pm
Sunday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Last admission at 4.15pm.
The Ferens is open on Easter Monday, May Day bank holiday, spring bank holiday and summer bank holiday.
There is lift access for those with mobility issues.
There is also a popular cafe that is usually bustling with activity.
The address is:-
Ferens Art Gallery
Queen Victoria Square
Kingston upon Hull
The Deep is one of Hull's latest attractions. It is a huge submarium situated near to the River Humber. You can easily walk to it from Hull's Museum Quarter or there is a local bus service.
This place is not owned by the council and charges an entrance fee. It may seem quite pricey but it is well worth visiting. The Deep is set out over many floors and if you are into fish, fishing or simply the waters of the world it is a must to visit. Concessions are available.
It is easy to spend a half a day or more in here so make sure that you visit early in the day.
Princes Dock Street
Hull, HU1 2JX, United Kingdom
Tel +44 1482 381 000
It is possible to book part of The Deep for conferences and as an unusual place to get married.
Hull also has The Spurn Lightship which is a floating museum located in the Marina. Although the visit here may be brief it is interesting. Children tend to love clambering all over this old vessel which worked hard at Spurn along the Humber for many years.
I have not detailed the Hull and East Riding Museum as I have not visited this building, since it was the old transport museum. With dinosaur bones and bronze age treasures children should love this museum though.
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!
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