Archive | August, 2014

The point of delivery

31 Aug

The NHS has undergone many twists and turns over the years. There are many who say it is being sold off for private profit, well that maybe, there are other better places for that argument. Here, however, a private hospital has been sold to the NHS to safeguard the care and treatment of patients. This used to be the Nuffield Hospital on Westbourne Avenue until 2008 when the NHS took it over. 
Looking into the history of the building I find a Mr E H Garbett, a manager of the Hull Dock Company lived here in the 1890’s, the house was then called Barcombe House. He was a member of the Primrose League, an organisation set up to promote Conservative Party policies and values, back in the days when Gladstone was PM. I wonder what he would make of his former home being part of a health service, free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need, not ability to pay; one whose founder, Nye Bevan, called “pure Socialism”.
I cannot post about this building and fail to mention that this was the place where Philip Larkin died. There is, inevitably, a plaque on the wall outside, a kind of memento mori to all who enter. Cheerful, innit?

High Windows

30 Aug

Squeezed into a narrow plot between a railway line, an old Jewish cemetery and a cut-through dedicated for some strange reason to Saint Ninian lie three or four of these new eco-buildings. No Queen Anne revival style here more your overgrown insulated tea chest. The windows are three stories and give nice reflections but I cannot imagine how dreary the view must be from within . The interiors are extremely spacious with triple height voids(!), how do I know? The architects tell us so and invite us to have a good look round here. I know this should be paradise but what, exactly, do you do with all that space and all that sun-comprehending glass?
Weekend reflections are here.

Like a beast with his horn …

29 Aug

Unicorns do not exist, 
they only think they do. 
Unicorns do not exist, 
they’ve better things to do.

This unicorn is neither pink nor invisible nor yet a unicorn. It is one of those tree carvings carried out in the Avenues on trees that have either died or been deemed to be damaging property and killed off. Sadly it seems no-one has taken any care of  it and it is riddled with woodworm holes and will, no doubt, cease to exist in the the not too distant future unless some virgin with a large tin of Borax comes along and tames it.
By the by if anyone knows the source of the verse, please do tell. I can’t find any attribution on the web.
The Weekend in Black and White may exist here.

Salisbury Street

28 Aug

Read any description of the Avenues area of Hull and sooner or later you’ll come across mention of George Gilbert Scott Jr and his Queen Anne revival style residences on Salisbury Street. Now when it comes to the Gilbert Scotts of this world it’s Sir George père (Albert memorial, Midland Hotel at St Pancras station etc) and Sir Giles petit-fils (Liverpool Cathedral and red telephone boxes) that are remembered in the architectural world. George junior’s works in the Queen Anne revival style have been overlooked for the most part, perhaps not without reason. These buildings on Salisbury Street with their concrete and brick construction are mind numbingly symmetrical and twee. They have some interesting external decoration but they’re not really my cup of tea. They are Grade 2 listed buildings and have I suppose some historical interest in architectural terms.
Last year some brave soul proposed to build a block of flats in the gardens behind two of these buildings. Fat chance! Cue a whole brigade of angry locals and the Hull Civic Society (see here from page 9) all fired up and the Council (which a few years ago subsidised the renovation of these buildings), of course, refused it. 

I wouldn’t want you to go away thinking all of Salisbury Street is like this. There are, thankfully,  only eight of these buildings the rest of the street is more typical Victorian middle class terrace, with garrets for house servants, of course.

Catalpa bignonioides

27 Aug

I came across this tree a fortnight ago and it was covered in these pretty flowers that I’ve never seen the likes of before. Now I know my record on tree identification is exactly tiptop, the infamous jacaranda that turned out to be a foxglove tree sticks in my mind. Nevertheless I’m pretty confident that this is a Catalpa tree because its other name is Indian Bean tree and today it’s covered in hundreds of what look just like French runner beans. It’s also sometimes called the cigar tree because you can smoke these pods for some mild effects, so I’m told. It comes originally from South-eastern USA. Quite how this specimen got to be hiding in plain sight on Clough Road I can’t imagine.

Building for books

26 Aug

The University’s Brynmor Jones library is having a bit of work done to it so there’s a less than academic air about the place at the moment. No doubt it’ll all be settled by the end of next month when the little darlings return from their long vacations. I’m sure some of them will want to use this place, though I know of one student who got a First in English and only ever went in here once.

Seems to grown a new bit at the side and a new entrance if I’m not mistaken

Art deco? What art deco?

25 Aug

Many of Mr Burton’s emporia built all across the country during the early years of the last century were noted for their fine art deco styling and this one at the top of Whitefriargate is a particularly splendid example with black marble and gold painted windows. Shame then that, when the ground floor was renovated some years back, this was all thrown out along with the baby and the bath water. 

PS: Following a comment from Steffe I’ve had a root around the web and come up with this not very clear picture from 1953. As was the style back then everything was monochrome and cars drove on what are now pavements, how quaint. Anyhow I hope you can make out what the old shop front, on the left, was like. There’s a bigger version here.