Archive | February, 2015

Barmy Drain

28 Feb

When applying for planning permission to build anything new  nowadays you have to supply a flood risk assessment, a surveyor, at no small cost, looks at the plot and decides how likely it is to flood and what if anything should be taken into account when drawing up plans. Good job then that such niceties did not prevail in the middle ages else nothing would be standing in these parts. The whole Hull river valley until the middle ages used to be one big marshy malarial infested lake stretching up as far as Driffield with occasional interventions from the Humber to add to the gaiety of nations. But bit by bit and without any help from the Environment Agency river banks were raised and drains put in. The late 18th and early 19th century saw really large investment in drying out the land and bringing it into cultivation. And so here’s the Barmston (Barmy) Drain as seen from Clough Road doing what it has been doing since the passage of the Beverley and Barmston Drainage Act of 1798 taking the wet stuff from East Yorkshire’s marshy carrs and putting it into the river Hull in a neat controllable fashion. Despite the rubbish piling up on the banks these drains provide a rich habitat for wildlife though it has to be said I only saw two wrens and a depressed looking duck while I was here.

I’ve posted about this waterway before here.
If you are into the history of drainage (and be honest who isn’t?) here’s an old pamphlet about draining the Hull Valley.
The weekend in black and white lurks here.
And weekend reflections are hiding here.


Home again, home again, jiggety-jog

27 Feb

As I shall not pass this way again here is the view going home.

On acquiring the status of an icon

26 Feb

Finally I arrive at the purpose of this long hike or not quite. I’d heard that demolition of the west wharf at Alexandra Dock was imminent so I thought I’d better go take a pic or two before it was too late. Looking at the map there’s a public footpath right past this place however the powers that be, ABP, obviously worried that idiots (who you looking at?) might be tempted to go out and have a better view have fenced off access so this was as close as I could get. (However look you here for some views of the place)
The wharf was built in 1911 to export coal from the Yorkshire coal mines, conveyors took coal from trains to waiting ships so there was no mucking about waiting for the tide. It has been out of use for best part of sixty years or so. (Things move slowly in these parts) Though it’s an interesting piece of the city’s past it is perhaps, as someone once said of somewhere else, worth seeing but not worth going to see.
I suppose I must mention at this point a little local storm in a teacup that has arisen over the demolition. Many years ago, so the story goes, two  local men, somewhat the worse for wear after a night of boozing, took it upon themselves to paint some graffiti on the rusty ware house. The graffiti was no fine work of art merely a dead bird with the words “A Dead Bod” (sic) underneath. Anyhow leave something for fifty years and it’ll turn into a ‘well-known landmark’, become ‘cherished’ and acquire the status of ‘icon’ and you try to remove it at your peril. So it has come to pass that a piece of rusting corrugated crap  is to be preserved for posterity. It’s a cultural thing don’tcha know? (Read all about it here, yet more garbage here and buy the T-shirt here)

 Below is how it looked in working order in 1924( from Britain from above)

and finally the ‘iconic’ dead bod.

(Image Copyright Robert Mason. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, US)

A bit of a wreck

25 Feb

Further along the promenade there’s a small graveyard of barges abandoned many years ago to rot by the tide of  Humber.

Riverside Promenade

24 Feb

Saturday saw me venturing into terra incognita that is to say the Riverside Promenade eastwards from the Half-tide basin towards Alexandra Dock. The walk is along the sea wall and is tiresomely straight and direct with views across the Humber on one side and a housing estate on the other but with little of note along the way. The monotony is broken by this sculpture from the workshop of Theo Wickenden and a nearby sign informing us that the sea wall was completed in 1992 and opened by the Burgomaster of Rotterdam, Dr A Peper. 
Did I mention it was straight and unvaried?
Riverside Promenade about halfway along.

and if the worst comes to the worst

23 Feb

I don’t know what it is about this particular site on Anlaby Road but it attracts unusual adverts and this, should the barriers I mentioned yesterday fail in some way, could be useful. I checked out the system and it appears to be high-tech sandbags, sorry boxes, but I may have missed some subtle message.


22 Feb
Half Tide Basin entrance, Victoria Dock

If, twice a day, you have an enemy rising up and threatening to engulf you then defences akin to a medieval castle are appropriate. This weekend there have been exceptionally high tides (8.4 meters at Albert Dock on Saturday evening) and the tidal surge barrier has been doing its job again. Along with that there are miles of sea walls, completed in 1992, keeping the Humber at bay for the time being. Astronomy is conspiring against us with the approach, in September, of that point in the 19 year solar/lunar cycle when their pull on the tides is highest. It’s only a matter of time …