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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.

Tenfoot of Trouble

12 Jul

Amid claims that the Avenues area is becoming like “a New York ghetto” a row is simmering about plans to put gates on the tenfoots*. A fine fellow with no concept of the absurd is seeking to have these passage ways declared restricted byways which would mean that they have be open to anyone and indeed cars would not be able to use them as an ancient bylaw insists that only people on foot or on horseback can use them. I love these little local difficulties they provide whole minutes fun on a dull day. Meanwhile the graffitistas and fly-tippers do their worst. This garbage (or is it trash?) lurks off Westbourne Avenue. My apologies to any New York ghettos who feel offended.
*A tenfoot for those of you who don’t come from these parts is an alley way between and behind houses that allows access to the rear of properties. They are about ten feet wide in case you were wondering.
The old weekend in black & white has come round again; it’s here.

The Avenues

22 Jul

Not Hull’s better known Avenues, that collection of tree-lined Victorian streets to the west of Pearson Park, these avenues lack trees or even a road. This pair of ‘avenues’ are to be found on High Street and consist of an L-shaped properties that wrap around a  corner building. I supposed they were developed from the alley ways that pervade this area. The one above is near Bishop Lane while the one below is next to the Olde Black Boy on the corner of Scale Lane.

Mermaid Fountain

26 May
At some time in the 1870s life in Hull was so unexciting that it was decided to liven things up a bit by installing a set of six mermaid fountains in what was then the rich part of town, the Avenues. Over the years these beauties have been moved around, destroyed,  rebuilt and become part of the community. I hear strange things happen around here on New Year’s Eve ….
This picture shows the Westbourne Avenue fountain, just visible in the distance is Park Avenue’s version. Recently a working mermaid fountain was installed on the Boulevard but I haven’t been to that see that yet. 
If you’re interested in the rebuilding process there’s a website here.