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Reflections of Queen’s Gardens

24 Feb

The continuing works to titivate this town are now reaching out to Queen’s Gardens. The result is that the two duck ponds are fenced off and the fountains are also out of action. As a result for once the surface of these ponds is absolutely mirror-like. I don’t know what the renovations to this place entail but I did hear that in the original plans those trees were due to meet their maker and the horrible cheese-grater that was refused elsewhere is to be installed right next to this spot. It’ll be awful, on that you can rely. Hull is very good at awful.
The weekend in black and white is here.
Weekend Reflections are here.

O tidings of comfort and joy!

18 Nov
For the past fortnight or so a few dozen homeless folks have been camping around the fountain in Queen’s Gardens. It was a protest at what was perceived to be the uncaring attitude of the Council towards rough sleepers; they wanted to be put in houses or flats rather than put in hostels. I don’t know the rights and wrongs of this issue and I’m coming here with less than half a story as by the time I got round to going to town the camp had been evicted leaving only this colourful tent which was pulled down just after I took this on Thursday. The next day the Council planted four big Xmas trees on the site, well we can’t have the poor and  homeless ruining the season of good will to all men now, can we?

Police Station For Sale

6 Apr
Having put all their eggs in one basket by moving to Clough Road, Humberside Police now find themselves with surplus empty police stations. One in East Hull went for £300,000 just the other week and this one on Queen’s Gardens is also up for grabs. The council had an idea of joining the sale of the station with redevelopment of the multi storey car park behind. A bigger site would attract a higher premium being their thought (for once it’s not a bad idea). Now you’d think public services like the police and the council could at least get along well enough to come to some mutually beneficial arrangement. But, as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside plod is of one political persuasion and the council is run by a different party, no agreement has been reached between the two idiotic parties over the future of this place. The PCC is also up for re-election next month so probably wants to get some Brownie points for independence though during his tenure the force has seen the highest burglary rates and been declared ‘inadequate’ by those who declare these things. He’s not all heartless bureaucrat though, recognising that the place will attract vandals and so be unappealing during the year of culture he has promised to have the place demolished if it’s not sold by then; leaving an empty brick filled demo site instead to greet visitors to Queen’s Gardens. As I say, a thoughtful sort of guy.

No iron bars, no cage, no worries

3 Apr

Have I mentioned how they’ll nick anything in this one horse town? Even if it’s cemented into the ground. Here’s the old Mankind Under Threat feature of  Queen’s Gardens under threat once again. Most of the iron bars, as you can see, have been stolen for want of a better word. The Council are now said to be preparing to move the whole thing to a site nearer the City Treasury where they can keep an eye on it (ha ha). That’s if they can scrape up enough pennies from the back of their collective sofa. It’s present site acts as a down-to-earth (literally) counterpoint to the outrageous, grandiose memorial to Wilberforce directly across the road; a stark reminder that the work started by Wilberforce et al is by no means complete. To move it would lose that poignancy and rob it of  meaning.

A story for another day

2 Apr

You’ll be aware from a casual reading of this blog that the town is undergoing a make-over, a renovation , a transformation from ugly duckling to, well, we’d better wait and see. A large wodge of cash has been found to pay for all this. Included in the first stage plans was a facelift for Queen’s Gardens which involved taking the place back to its 1950’s redesign (down come those trees), a central performance stage (for what?), a removable stage over the above pond (again why two stages?) and more space to play ‘sport’ (just plain why?) and a memorial to some guitarist, Mick Ronson (who he?), from the 1970’s whose appeal was and remains limited in the extreme. All of these bizarre ideas are, thankfully, now on hold, and officially won’t start until 2018; that is to say after the year of the City of Culture (if ever). I don’t know the reason for the delay but the suspicion that the Council bit off more than it could chew seems a reasonable one.
In the meanwhile, this place, which on a pleasant day should be an enjoyable peaceful haven in the centre of town, is suffering from neglect and decay by contractual cock-up. Being a park you’d think it would be looked after by the park services company, wouldn’t you? Well the contract with that company mysteriously does not cover Queen’s Gardens, so it is left to the overstretched street cleaners (or possibly the Council secretaries, dog wardens or whoever is free that day) to maintain this place and that is failing. The paths are cracked, litter is accumulating and anti-social elements, drunks and druggies, roam the place making it not as welcoming as it should be. The Council continues with its unrealistic, unnecessary pipe-dreams while the place is falling apart around it; nothing new there then.

More tales of woe from this lovely place tomorrow.

Weekend reflections are here.

Fountains and youth

24 Nov
Queen’s Gardens, Hull

Christmas Creep

19 Nov

It may seem odd to a youngster  but there once was a time when the Council did not put up lights and decorations for that consumer fest at the end of December. No, that particular madness started some twenty-five or thirty years or so ago after some shop keepers in Saville Street took it upon themselves to light up their street in mid December (J’accuse! ). The Council were then arm-twisted into putting up lights all over the town centre and to stick a tree in Queen Victoria Square. (One year the tree was so scrawny it had to swapped for a better one)
The lighting-up ceremeny became a bit of a feature with stars being hired to turn up on the City Hall balcony and flip a switch (Stars such as Rolf Harris!!! those were the days!). There’d be a big fireworks display as well. Thousands would turn up to be entertained. And gradually the switch-on date drifted into November. 
With austerity the displays began to be recycled and the stars were replaced by much cheaper ‘civic dignitaries’ (I love that phrase, who uses it these days?).
This year on the 12th of November that is 6 weeks and a bit before the actual day the mayor of this town flipped the switch to set off a three minute firework display and light up all the glittery  pap of the season. Now, as the town is engaged in self-renewal, the ceremony was moved to Queen’s Gardens rose bowl fountain and there’s four trees instead of one and the lights, I’m told are better than ever, (I’ve not seen them yet) and I’m just so excited I can hardly wait for Santa to bring me my presents as I’ve been such a good boy all year … what! it can’t still be November!