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"A handsome and spacious new establishment"

11 Sep

Mr Craft and his company it appeared had designs to have stores on the main roads into Hull. Starting in the mid 1880s with Beverley Road by 1912 they had one on Witham and one on Anlaby Road and by 1914 would have had one on Hessle Road had not an Archduke and his wife taken a wrong turn in Sarajevo. So anyhow Crafts’ Ltd proudly opened their Hessle Road store in May 1919. The local paper, the Hull Daily Mail, was there and gave it a big write up. We are given a description of this “innovation for Hessle Road” that reads like an architectural review: “As one approaches the new premises, the impression is of an effectively designed building, of lofty proportions, with distinct architectural features. The design suggests a modern business establishment on the lines of the great London stores. The fabric is a Royal Doulton terracotta facade with alternate squares and graceful circular columns. On the ground floor are two large semi-island windows and two large side windows. The building is surmounted with an imposing dome.” I’m guessing this was cut and pasted or whatever was the style in those days from a Crafts’ Ltd press release. The ground floor we are told sold “goods in the carpet line, dress and cotton fabrics, gentlemen’s outfitting goods, boots, etc.. The first floor we are informed “”will be of great interest to the ladies, for here are to be found the most modern underclothing, baby linen, smart blouses and the latest fashionable hats, effectively displayed at prices which appear to be most reasonable.” It ends optimistically: “It is safe to say that Messrs Craft’s new stores… will be quickly appreciated.”…
Maybe the stores were appreciated I don’t know. I can say that today there are no Crafts’ stores in Hull. I can find no reference to what happened to these dreams stores, maybe the downturn in the 20s and 30s was too much, or maybe they spent too much on terracotta columns and imposing domes (which, by the way, seems to have disappeared). The handsome and spacious establishment now sells camping equipment and outdoor clothing: The store website informs us: “You’ll find everything from jackets, fleeces, t-shirts, trousers and shorts, hoodies, base layers (???) and workwear .” Maybe they should get the HDM to do them a write up.
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Window Pain

6 Sep

I guess an eatery by the name of Roosters Plaice (sic) might not be to everyone’s taste and so it came to pass that the business closed several years ago. Since when it’s been empty and, as is the style in these parts, it has attracted the attention of those who think creation comes through destruction. I heard of plans for a gym for this building on Princes Avenue but that was some time ago and it’s still empty.

152 & 154 Hessle Road

22 Aug

In the late 19th century a businessman by the name of William Henry Franklin seeing the need for shoes and boots in the boom town of Hull set up the fabulously named Public Benefit Boot and Shoe Company to go with this glorious moniker the company’s logo was a horse drawn boot. This building designed by our old friend Alfred Gelder’s company in 1896 was one of several stores in Hull in what had become a national chain. For what was effectively just a shoe shop it is a tad grand in the Flemish Renaissance Revival style. I note the ornate decoration above the first floor windows is only on one side which I find rather pleasing, can’t be having too much frippery. It is, of course, grade 2 listed. It still sells boots though not for the public benefit needless to say.
I took me a walk down Hessle Road and along the way took a shed load of pictures so the next few days, possibly weeks, will feature this  part of town which was the centre of the fishing community in Hull, unless something better crops up or I get bored.

Been there for years …

8 Aug

Another one of those “been there for years” shops non è più. This one on Holderness Road. Never mind we can always order a yard brush on line (free delivery!) and get DIY advice from You Tube. I mean, shops, who needs ’em?

Small Decoration, Nothing Fancy

15 Jul

At some point in time whoever owned 61 Whitefriargate took it upon themselves for whatever reason to embellish the rather plain façade with a little decoration. Nothing too extravagant, mind you, nor too noticeable. And so there it is, this tile or moulding, a foot maybe eighteen inches in height, clinging to the wall all by itself alone. It just sits there, in splendid isolation, beneath a burglar alarm of an adult games facility (amusement arcade to you and me), unnoticed by the all crowds that no longer parade down Whitefriagate, slowly crumbling into oblivion. 
The weekend in black and white is here.

Poundland Blues

12 Jul

I’ve shown this magnificent store before when it was a 99p Store just about to be taken over by the more upmarket Poundland. It seems that take over hit the profits of said Poundland hard (84% decline) and as a consequence this store is now an ex-Poundland (call me a cynic but I suspect that was always the intention; takeover and close down the competition is the way of the business world). And while I’m here and going on (and on) about Poundland the other store I posted about on Ferensway has also been closed and is now to be a gym and sportswear shop (how exciting!). So now the city of culture will have to make do with only one Poundland. Can things get any worse?
Margot took this symphony of blue.

Wacked

22 May

Well that didn’t last long, did it? A year ago I posted about it opening and now it’s gone. Too wacky even for east Hull.