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Another large bit of a mess

15 Feb

Had a short wander about town for first in a while and came across the sorry state of the Hull Hole aka the Beverley Gate remains. You’ll recall that after a plebiscite the council rearranged the excavation with new seating and so on.  Soon after it reopened the walls, perhaps predictably, became an adventure playground for young and not so young children who were clambering all over even riding bicycles and skateboarding on it. Parents of said children seemingly thinking it was a good idea and parents, as we know, are not allowed to say no any more for fear off being accused of abuse. Naturally the old walls or what’s left of them did not take kindly to such misuse and damage was done. So in its infinite wisdom the Council had protective bricks put on top; using lime mortar and the employment of some local college brickwork students. (The Council may have been trying to do this work on the cheap; I couldn’t possibly comment). Even as it was being done it was understood that it wouldn’t stop idiots (there is no other word) from playing on the walls and so it proved. However the mortar used has also failed and the now the new bricks are falling off as well. And if I’m not mistaken the lime mortar is leaching onto to the ancient bricks making them white and unsightly. The place is now fenced off while yet another bright idea is sought. May I suggest getting in experts who know what they are doing when it comes to repairing ancient monuments not some enthusiastic trainees; oh and stiff fines for anyone climbing on the brickwork.  This is all a bit disappointing and worrying since the Beverley Gate is a scheduled monument of national interest and seems destined to be an even bigger ruin than it already is.

In case you’re interested below is an old picture of how the Beverley Gate looked when it was less of a ruin than it is now. What you see above is the left hand base of the gate.


‘Ole in the ground, so big and sort o’ round it was

4 Dec

After a vote of residents on what they wanted for the remains of the Beverley Gate (aka the Hull Hole) the Council, in its wisdom, decided not to cover up the few old bricks but instead create an even bigger hole with seating and landscaping and so on. Quite how this bigger, better hole won’t end up the haunt of disaffected young folks and who will pick up the litter that will inevitably fall in I don’t know. Still I’d better not make too many adverse comments or I might end up like the poor chap in this cautionary tale; enjoy:

A Scheduled Monument

11 Feb

Catching up with other news from this charming little town and you’ll be delighted to learn that, after an exercise in public consultation hitherto unknown in these parts, the local hole has been saved for future generations and is to be extended with seating and a few hedges and so on. This represents a reversal for the Council which wanted to fill it in but had not reckoned without the power of digital petitions and news articles describing that decision as idiotic. (Quite why that particular decision any more idiotic than all the rest is a mystery). So now the litter will have more space to gather in and the youths will have more space to hang around and be disaffected. But history has been saved …
The few medieval bricks, tucked away in the corner down there, that make up what was once Beverley Gate have now been made a Scheduled Monument by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (I assume it costs the Government nothing to do this) which means that…., well I don’t know what it means, but it sounds good doesn’t it.
I’ve also heard that regarding the dreadful Word Gate proposed for nearby the Council are looking for other sites. They didn’t respond to my suggestion that two miles east of Spurn Point was an excellent site.

Save our hole!

2 Oct

The perennial question of what to do with the remains of Hull’s Beverley Gate has once again failed to be answered. The Council flush with money (£25 million found behind the back of the sofa) had planned to fill in the hole and then grass it over. So far so good, it has to be the least spectacular historic monument on the planet but nothing is ever so simple in this place…. Having thus erased the past it was planned to put up a humungous piece of pretentious twaddle called Word Gate. To give you a flavour of the nonsense there’s this from the Council web site: “Word Gate conjures up a place at a moment in the past. The place was a gate that said no and stayed closed, a place now beckoning you to come close. Hull speaks through Word gate, a gate between land and sea, between Hull’s heritage and Hull’s future, the City of Culture“. Cutting through this rhubarb what is proposed is a thirty or forty foot high piece of steel with words scratched on it, this will completely dominate the area, block the view down Princes Dock and after a few years will be pulled down after it becomes tarnished, dulled and covered in graffiti. You think I exaggerate take a peek at the nauseating blob in the artist’s drawing below.
Well as I was saying that was the Council’s plan until a petition to save the monument to the start of the English civil war (the English Fort Sumter if you will) gathered a few thousand signatures. The guy in charge now says other plans will be considered. Well when you’re in a hole it’s best to stop digging.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Hull hole revisited

10 Mar

If there’s one thing that can be said about meetings between councils and conservation bodies it is that nothing, absolutely nothing, is done with any degree of haste. So it was over a year ago that Hull Council entered into talks with English Heritage over the future of the oversized rubbish bin otherwise known as the Beverley Gate ruins and still there are no puffs of white smoke to indicate just what is going on. The plan, if you can call rumour a plan, is to fill it all in and build some new tourist attraction. Frankly the sooner the better, for despite its links to the English civil war, it is, when all said and done, just a large ugly hole in the ground.

Myton Gate

24 Aug

In 1322 the city of Hull was granted the right to collect murage, a tax to build and repair the city walls. Within thirty or so years the city was surrounded by walls on all sides except on the river Hull. There were five main entrances through which traffic could pass, North Gate, Beverley Gate, Myton Gate, Hessle Gate and Watergate. (I know the plaque says four but just because a gate leads to the city dump doesn’t mean you can ignore it). You can get an idea of how the walls looked from the title picture at the top of this blog. The walls and gates were maintained up until the establishment of the Hull Dock Company in 1774, the next few years saw the demolition of all these medieval defences. I couldn’t find any accurate contemporary images of Myton Gate, the image below comes from a series drawn in 1951 by somebody called T Armstrong and is on display in the robing room of the Guildhall. I cannot vouch for its accuracy.
This plaque is on a converted warehouse at the Castle Street end of Princes Dock. I’ve posted bits of this building before here and here.
From Hull Museums Collection

Hull hole … a history of sorts.

12 Aug

So what’s all this then? A dirty big hole in the middle of town, surely it must mean something. Well, the something is explained by the plaque below; this is where the English Civil War got uptight and personal. The King, having done a runner from London, was on the look out for some munitions to help his cause. Kingston-upon-Hull had an armoury; so he turned up at the gates thinking to take the guns and what have you. He was told to go away and the gates of the town were slammed in his face. So poor old Charley had to turn round and trot all the way back to Beverley for his supper. After that, I’m afraid he rather lost his head. (Here endeth the lesson).
The hole contains the excavated foundations of the old entrance to Hull and part of the city walls, that’s the brickwork you can see at the bottom of the hole. As is usual in Hull, what should be an attraction, indeed a national monument, has become a litter filled midden and an utter disgrace; it’s gradually falling apart. In my capacity as an outraged citizen I wrote to the Council inquiring what they were going to do about it; I have had no reply as yet and I’m not holding my breath.