Archive | August, 2016

Libraries: who wants ’em?

31 Aug

So another month is upon us and as ever the first day is theme day at City Daily Photo and today’s theme is “libraries“. As I’ve been quiet for a while I thought I’d give you not one but two libraries. Above is Hull Central Library on Prospect Street/Albion Street. The original bit on the right was built ~1900 and there’s been further additions along the way including the startlingly original shoebox on the side added in 1959. I used to live not too far from this place and used it quite a lot until the librarian decided it would be “helpful” to separate paperbacks from hardbacks and to develop a “classics” section (the definition of a classic was quite arbitrary and seemed to be a whim of the shelf stacker). The result was that you could end up trying to find a book in any of three places (Did Melvil Dewey die in vain?). The place seemed to encourage (or at least not stop) children running around playing; all very strange and not at all pleasant. So I’m afraid I gave up and haven’t set foot in the place for years (If my sister, a former head librarian,  reads this no doubt she’ll have a fit). But it seems I’m not alone in turning away from libraries the number of active borrowers is down by 5 million (!) from ten years ago. Now I know public spending cuts have closed branches and reduced book stocks but this decline seems to pre-date the austerity. We are told by the great and the good that libraries are essential but it seems Joe Public has better fish to fry or Pokémon to catch. If they carry on much longer not providing the sort of service people want then the future is indeed bleak for these noble institutions.
Below is the big boy in town; the Brynmor Jones at the University. I’ve shown it before but not lit up like this and also I’ve only just noticed the enormous comma thing in front. How did I miss that? Anyhow this place has coffee bars, an art gallery, WiFi up the ying yang and is open 24 hours a day. Maybe the public libraries could learn a lesson.

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A slight change of use

31 Aug

These Victorian offices on Union Street/Albion Street used to be the School Board’s Offices but now thanks to the passage of time, progress and what have you this is now a supermarket, in fact it’s a Chinese supermarket, Chong Wah, selling all sorts of goodies. It’s comes as no surprise to know that back in the day (1898) the Victorians weren’t averse to wasting some of the education budget on fancy decoration such as this elaborate window frame. It’s a Grade 2 listed property as you might expect.

John Alderson MD

16 Aug

Outside Hull Royal Infirmary on its ashlar pedestal stands this statue of John Alderson MD. And why would such a thing be here I ask myself and after a few minutes on the good ship Google I find that the said Mr Alderson was a very successful physician in Hull in the late 18th and early 19th century indeed he did so well out of his practice that when he was elected Chief Physician at the newly opened Hull Royal Infirmary he gave his services for free. He vaccinated many of poor people of Hull. But that alone wouldn’t get a statue. Oh no there’s more, much more. He was consultant physician for the Hull Lying-in Charity which provided linen and food for poor reputable married women during pregnancy.  In 1814 he set up a refuge for the insane where it was said “every attempt consistent with humanity will be made to restore the patient”. And then he worked towards the provision of education, was president of the subscription library and the Literary and Philosophical Society. Feeling at a lose end he set up the Hull Mechanics’ Institute in 1825. During all this he gave many lectures and wrote several publications. Finally he started the Hull School of Medicine in Kingston Square but died before that was completed. I suppose there’s a limit to what one man can do in a lifetime. It is said the fifteen thousand people lined the streets of Hull for his funeral in 1829 … 
This statue was paid for by public subscription and stood originally outside the Hull Royal Infirmary on Prospect Street before being moved to the Anlaby Road site. Until the smoking ban was enforced more rigorously on the hospital site tobacco fiends (many were patients in pyjamas and dressing gowns with accompanying drip stands, oh it was such a fine sight to see!) would gather around this statue and offer their smoky votive offerings to this remarkable man. At least I’d like to think they did, but most probably they (like me) hadn’t the slightest idea who he was.

The Ice House or what’s left …

16 Aug

This is all that remains of the Salvation Army Citadel on Anlaby Road, a crumbling door step. It stood next to the ill famed New York Hotel and was known universally as the Ice House because they had stored ice in it before fridges and what have you. I remember it as a Sally Army charity shop in the mid 1980’s and that moved elsewhere in 1989 and demolition quickly followed but not until the obligatory arson attack. (Hull’s motto: “Burn in haste, bulldoze at leisure!”) The only reasonably good picture I can find of how looked is here though I’m sure there must be many others around. It was registered as a mission hall in 1883 and had seating for 2,500! (Those were the days). During WW2 it became a part-time synagogue for Hull’s Old Hebrew Congregation as their place had been bombed as was the custom in those days. The new place is much smaller but the road on which it stands was renamed Ice House Road just to keep the memory going.

Moorhens on Barmy Drain

8 Aug

I post this because it’s the first time I’ve managed to get a moorhen in focus in years of trying.  These birds are fairly common, not particularly shy and hardly quick moving; don’t quite know what my problem was … So, anyway, this little group were on Barmston Drain and I’m pretty sure this is a second brood of the year as another much bigger juvenile was hanging around.

Wellington Street Bridge

8 Aug

This little swing bridge allows you to nip across the entrance to the marina without having to go over the dock gates. For some reason, probably economic, it is often closed (that is open for boats but closed for foot soldiers, you understand) but I guess with the thousands attending the Humber Street Sesh cacophothon on Saturday it was deemed safer to allows folk to cross this way. (But this photo shows I was wrong to think so; this event seals off public streets and charges people to exercise the freedom to pass along the highway. It is in plain words highway robbery! with noise!)
The bridge would have had rail tracks on it originally as part of the Humber Dock rail system
There, now you’ve seen it from both sides, aren’t you lucky!.

A different point of view

7 Aug

sometimes I take a great notion
to jump in the river and drown.

So yes, it’s that man again, the statue known for no discernible reason, as Voyage. This thing always puts that old Leadbelly song in my head for some reason but that’s just me I guess.