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Arts and Science

22 Mar

Last Summer I posted a statue of Minerva that stands in the museum gardens; I mentioned at the time that there were two other statues that I had failed to find. Well I must have been walking around in blinkers to miss these two standing by the exit gate, not exactly hidden are they? The near one represents Art and the other, fittingly headless, one, Science. Neither are in particularly good condition but then high explosives will do that to you.

Need a helping hand

21 Jul

Tucked away in a corner of garden of the transport museum this ancient looking statue gives no indication as to its origins nor its subject matter. We have a lady minus a hand holding on to a shield and wearing a Greek-style helmet.
Well it was difficult to find anything out about this but after asking Hull Museums (thanks to assistant curator Tom Goulder) I get the picture that this is thought to be a statue of Minerva (or possibly Britannia) from the Royal Institute which stood on Albion Street. It was part of a group of three statues. So how did it (and the other two that I have yet to find) end up in these gardens? Well German bombing in 1943 destroyed the Royal Institute and damaged the statues that much is known. The same explosion destroyed records so the story of the statues becomes a bit hazy. At least it was until, by persistence, I came across this link which is quite clear that, yes, this is Minerva and came from the Royal Institute. The poster of that page also states the statue is by W.D. Keyworth, junior and dates from 1883. So mystery solved then …
Returning to our statue and if it is Minerva then she would have had a spear in her missing hand and would have looked a lot like this.

Open Season

13 Apr

Seen here reflected in the Transport Museum’s window the Arctic Corsair, Hull’s last sidewinder trawler, is open to visitors from today. The museum runs guided tours round so if you’re interested it’s probably best to book a tour (here), also with the present parlous state of the Council’s finances who knows how long this feature will be available. Did I mention it was free? Yeah, I know, why don’t they charge?
The weekend reflections are here.

Hands Off Hands On!

26 Mar

I have to admit to not really being a museum sort of person. Ever since I was dragged round museums as a child I’ve harboured the thought that they really are as dead as the exhibits. Still some like to take their children along for something ‘educational’ and this little place, the Hands On museum near Holy Trinity Church, which I personally found dull as a grey day, was just the ticket for inquisitive little minds to potter about in. Especially since those little minds’ little hands could actually get to handle the exhibits. You’ll notice that I used the past tense there and that’s because, and you may like to sit down at this point, from April the Council of this glorious City of Culture is closing this museum to public admissions. Yes, in future only booked groups, such as schools, will be admitted.
Notice of the closure only emerged after staff were consulted about cuts to opening hours to save money. At least the Council were ashamed and deny trying to sneak this past everyone on the sly (I never believe anything until it has been officially denied). When the news broke about a week ago there was outrage and anger. So there’s now a Facebook group to get this decision reversed and a petition with over 1100 signatures. We shall see how the Council responds. 
Anyhow there’s me rattling on and not mentioning that this building was the old Hull Grammar School built in 1583 or thereabouts and alma mater to Andrew MarvellWilliam Wilberforce and countless other forgotten scholars. 

Mr Toad meets Gandhi

4 Mar

Seems this toad has found its way across town, a short hop you might say, into the Transport Museum’s gardens with convenient access to a suitably large pond. A much more tranquil site than next to the Arc building on Castle Street where I last saw it; and peace, as someone once said, is its own reward.. 

History of a museum

21 Apr

This imposing building on High Street now houses the Hull and East Riding Museum. It was originally the Customs House then in 1856 it became the Corn Exchange (not to be confused with Ye Olde Corn Exchange) before becoming a Museum of Commerce and Transport in 1923. Following WW2 when it was damaged by bombing it reopened as a Museum of Transport and Archaeology in 1957. It was renamed the Hull and East Riding Museum in 1983. 
Due to the narrowness of the street I couldn’t get a full shot of the facade but if you click here you’ll get an early drawing of the building.

The doorway still has the signs of the corn merchants and traders who worked from this building.

So that’s who it is … the Goddess of Beauty

1 Apr

A couple of years ago I took this shot of an odd-shaped woman holding an apple and dropping what I took to be a tennis racket or perhaps a frying pan. It’s part of a series of figures topping a wall by the riverside (I showed one earlier here). What could it be I wondered? The other figures seemed to represent trades and professions of Hull. Quite what this lady’s profession might be I had not a clue (I lead a sheltered life) and various lewd suggestions from web-friends were hardly helpful. And there things would have remained had I not spent an afternoon going through recent photos. I found myself looking at exactly the same figure in a mosaic from the 3rd century AD! Unclad lady, an apple and what turns out to be a mirror who else could it be but Venus the Goddess of Beauty. OK beauty comes in all shapes and sizes …

The mosaic is the Rudston Venus mosaic which came from a large Roman villa in the village of Rudston just west of Bridlington. It is now safely ensconced in the Hull & East Riding Museum.