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A skyline of sorts

24 Jul

This is the view from Queen’s Gardens towards Savile Street. The buildings have featured before in this cheery little post. I am happy to note the abandoned shop now has occupants selling skates and related gear, I hope they took care of the doll. All the other shops remain unused. Lurking in the back is the flat dome of the empty BHS store which is hard to see from street level and can only really be appreciated from a distance, I suspect most folk are unaware of its existence.
And speaking of BHS I see no reason not to post another view of the three ships mosaic and mention again the petition to have it listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Even the ‘expert’ whose advice led to the application being rejected has said he hopes it can be saved. So go sign it; you know you want to.
I’ll have more about listed things in Hull tomorrow all being well.
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Dancing in the street

22 Jul

Not having TV or social media folk had to make their own entertainment in the old days. In Yorkshire and North East England they came up with this, it’s called rapper sword dancing. It involves five dancers, five double handed steel blades and a guy on the pipes or maybe an accordion playing a catchy rhythm. They whirl around, leap over one another and weave to and fro never leaving go of the handles and trying not to decapitate themselves as they go. The dance ends with the blades intertwined in a star-like figure which is then held aloft as if the solution to all life’s problems has been found. It is profoundly pointless and that I suppose is the point as, having made the star, they start all over again, always twirling, twirling, twirling …
These guys were part of the three day Hull Folk and Maritime Festival which this year I managed to get to see part. There was folk singing on several stages. Not really my scene. I don’t mind a bit of the Irish pipes, (Planxty and so on) but modern “folk songs” make me want to reach for the mute button. But then there were lots of folk dance groups doing their thing in various spots across town. Now somehow this appealed; the often bizarre costumes, the music: all good stuff. Below is a sample. 

And last but by no means least …

Now this being Hull the city of culture as well as all these delights the BBC Proms was being broadcast from the stage in the dock and the UK Pride festival was being held in Queen’s Gardens.  I could post about them now but I think I’ve gone on too long as it is…

I have a little list

17 Jul

That’s the long list of empty buildings on Whitefriargate, poor Demon Trading has been added, closed because of high business rates (well done Hull City Council) and fall in passing trade due the recent year long city works (again take a bow HCC!). Even the website no longer works. But all is not doom and gloom, no sir, because we can take one off the list. A charity shop will be taking over in the store next door but one to this. 

This art deco style building was, I recently found out, the original BHS store built in 1934 and stands on the site of the original frontage of the George Hotel which in turn stood on the site of the residence of an Elizabethan businessman. (Did I mention Whitefriargate goes way back?). The current BHS store is on the larger list of empty buildings in Hull but disappointingly not on the list of nine buildings given listed status in an announcement today, the campaign to save the BHS mural continues.

Building a legacy

5 May

Here is the eastern end of Jameson Street with the canopy of the now empty BHS store that used to shelter those waiting for buses. Where once there was a steady stream of cars, buses and people, the very arterial blood of any city, there is now yet another bland, pedestrianised desert. 

When a shop stops selling stuff and the doors close and the “for sale” signs spring up (redevelopment opportunity, of course) this is when the cover up operation starts. In swoops the council or whoever and City of Culture posters festoon the empty windows and doors. It all looks so professional, they’ve obviously had a lot of experience in this. So the empty BHS store is no longer a salutary lesson in the failure of modern business but has somehow become a bright blue advertisement for Culture and that is some sort of legacy I suppose.

Now I’ve gone on about this mosaic thing before and how there was a petition to get it some protection from any future wrecker’s ball. Well it seems there yet another petition to get it Grade 2 listed. As you simply cannot have too many petitions I signed that as well; you may like to do so it’s here. The mural now has a Twitter identity (@BhsMuralHull)  and I read recently of a young person who had a tatoo based on the mosaic. Now that is truly a lasting legacy.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.

Nice mural, shame about the building

10 Nov

They say if you stare this mural for long enough (in my case over thirty years on and off) you can see ‘Hull’ spelled out by the masts and rigging of the boats. I wouldn’t worry if you don’t see it.
This is the now empty BHS store and I’ve shown it before in better times. I’m showing it now because there’s a bit of a storm in a teacup brewing over getting the mural some protection from removal or demolition and so on. The powers that be have said that the 1960’s work by Alan Boyson “does not reach the standard for listing compared to other examples”. There’s another mural inside, which I don’t remember ever seeing, and that too was not listed. This decision has not met with universal approval and a petition has been set up to get the Council to do something about it. (You can sign it here should you wish.) It’s not difficult to discern the dark arts being employed here. If this does get listed then that building will be damn difficult to demolish without a lot of expense and I think that building really should come down if only to subtract one ugly thing from the planet. So I signed the petition; to lose the mural would be like losing an old friend, but I’ll sign one to remove the building as well if anyone were to put one up. Go figure.

Res per industriam prosperae

6 Aug
This monumental mosaic fronts what is now the BHS store on Prospect Street. Originally the Coop had a massive department store here but it changed hands and is now half the size, graphically disproving the latin inscription on the mosaic.