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Guildhall ball dropping exercise

6 Mar
Peer closely at the top of the Guildhall tower and you might just make out  a ball with pole sticking out of it. Yup not an impressive sight I agree but this is, or rather was, a time signal for ships on the river and in the nearby docks. The ball would be raised up and then dropped at noon, much like the more famous Greenwich ball dropping thing down south. It hasn’t worked for donkey’s years and indeed I didn’t even know it was there until an article in the local rag drew my attention to it. There’s been a few attempts to get it going again but all have failed due no doubt to the fact that £50,000 to drop a ball at noon seems a bit of a waste of money given that there’s no ships and no dock. But these are mere piffling details; with the City of Culture coming up balls will drop I have no doubt.

Tre Kronor

3 Jul
Guildhall, Hull
It’s a little known fact the Hull was once a Swedish city and that there was much trade with that Baltic country in medieval times that continues to this day. This explains the accent of native born Hull folk and also how Hull’s coat of arms has three crowns on it exactly like the Swedish coat of arms and the ever so similar the three crowns over the stadshus of Stockholm. Sweden’s ice hockey team wear three crowns on their shirts as do Hull’s two Rugby League sides. It’s all very sub rosa and embarrassing as the English like to think the king in Kingston upon Hull was an English King when in fact it was one of the Gustavs or maybe a Magnus I forget for the moment. Sadly, or more likely stupidly, wars have been fought over these three damned crowns. Hull’s three crowns are even protected by an Act of Parliament. All this hidden history is so little appreciated that you could say I just made it all up. It’s the heat, Carruthers, the damned heat….
The weekend in black and white is here.

Real history people have little or no idea about these three crowns either as you can find out here.

Council Waste

16 Jan

In days of yore when town councils could raise their own taxes without interference from a very fat man in Whitehall it was considered essential that every last detail of the council’s main building, the Guildhall, should reflect the greater glory of the city of Hull. So it came about that even the very drain pipes had a cast iron triple crowned putto to show the world what a true city of culture it once thought it was. 
The weekend in black and white is here.

The old gas works

22 Sep

This is an early example of developing a brown field site, re-using a former industrial area. In this case the Broadley Street gas works, close by Queen’s dock, were removed, the Guildhall and law courts built over them and the street renamed Alfred Gelder Street. The old Kingston Gaslight Company, using an inefficient and wasteful process, supplied a poisonous product that gave very poor illumination so not much has really changed over the years.

Looking for business, mistah?

7 Sep
County Hall or Guildhall? Meh!
It had got to be written down, it had got to be confessed. What he had suddenly seen in the lamplight was that the woman was old. The paint was plastered so thick on her face that it looked as though it might crack like a cardboard mask. There were streaks of white in her hair; but the truly dreadful detail was that her mouth had fallen a little open, revealing nothing except a cavernous blackness. She had no teeth at all. (1984, G. Orwell)

Many years ago I lived near Paddington Station, an area well known for prostitutes. One of their enticements, indeed the only one I ever heard, was “Are you looking for business, mistah?”. It was brief and to the point and there was absolutely no mistaking what the business was.
I mention this because we, that is to say the residents of East Yorkshire who have the misfortune to live near to neighbouring Hull are being solicited for our favours by two sadly, very unattractive ladies of the night. The one playing the role of mater familias urges us not let our eyes stray upon the dubious delights of the younger, pushy tart who has a new German pimp and is eager to swallow us up whole. This second, flashes her eyelashes in a most seductive way and tells us it would be good for business, honey, ah but what kind of business is far from clear. And when you look closely, if you dare, at both these suppurating cankered madames they reveal nothing but cavernous blackness. So we are asked to be like some latter day Paris with a worm riddled apple and like poor Winston we go ahead and do it just the same.
Referendum papers for ERYC’s £60,000 farce are being sent out today.

County Court

20 Jul

I’ve never really looked at this entrance before. It’s on Alfred Gelder Street and is part of the Guildhall. It’s no longer in use as the County Court has moved on to pastures new. What intrigued me is the little pile of Edwardian baroque nonsense above the door (you might like to click on the image to enlarge it). Amongst the usual symbols of power, a lion head, sword, axe, keys, royal sceptre and the scrolls of law there are numerous overflowing cornucopias of poppy heads. Now, aren’t poppies symbols of sleep and death? Is this some ironic comment on the process of civil litigation? Or could it be that whoever paid for this was in the opium trade? Your guess is as good as mine.


29 Jun

This is the chimney of the Guildhall’s boiler house used to keep the Council Chambers warm. Nowadays the need for economies has led to efforts to capture and recycle the vast quantities of  hot air produced by Councillors but as with every project from this place it cost a lot of money in planning and consultations before the appropriate palms could be crossed with silver. Needless to say we are still waiting to see any results, delays have been blamed on the there being the wrong sort of cold in the building.
Enough of this nonsense. The Weekend in Black and White is on the other end of this link.