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The Out-of-Town Experience

30 Jan

Having lived around here for thirty five or more years it seems surprising that there might be parts of the town I have never been to. Mind you for a good ten or fifteen years I could not have gone here since it wasn’t even built. This is the Kingswood Shopping Centre on the newish Kingswood estate, situated on an eastern flood plain of the River Hull just north of the town. We went to see the shops, the big ASDA, and other delights and were, on the whole, underwhelmed. They are big stores, I’ll grant, but I can’t see myself going back. There were plans to extend this shopping area (with a big Next store, I believe) but these were turned down as it was thought that out-of-town shopping would kill off the town centre. It might come as a big shock to the planners but the centre is dead already and beginning to smell.

The bus route took us through some of the newish housing on the estate. I confess that I have never seen such cramped, tiny dwellings squashed as many as possible into the space. These are not council houses but private dwellings that folk are paying mortgages on. The urge to own your very very own rabbit hutch it seems is strong. The whole place gave a very claustrophobic feeling and the thought that, given a few years and the inevitable drift away of the original owners, this place would make a fine slum; especially when it floods as it did in ’07.
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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.

And while we’re on Whitefriargate …

12 Feb

And while we’re on Whitefriargate, a short mediaeval street just 200 yards or so in length and once the flourishing bustling heart of town, I thought I’d count the empties as it were, the shops that serve no customers. I made it thirteen as of the end of last month. Even the charity shops have closed. I read recently that the death of the high street had been exaggerated, that people would not forgo the experience of real shopping for online purchasing. Well not here it seems.You expect to see tumble weed and hear coyotes howling.  Must make all those culture vultures wonder what kind of a place they’ve come to. Still the paving’s new if a bit uneven in parts and there’s a brand new phone box to call the Samaritans.

This ‘joke shop’ was opened at the beginning of the year of culture for one week only but seems to have survived. Click on it to enlarge and read the ‘amusing’ posters; the humour may not travel well.

I counted this as one but it could be two, so make that fourteen empty shops.

This one has been empty since at least 2014.

It’s beginning to look a lot like that old end-of-year scam season again

17 Dec

Do you recall the Xmasses of yore when families gathered round a blazing log fire and exchanged small gifts of oranges or maybe an apple if you were lucky, while outside was a snowy Winter wonderland with robins singing among the berries of the holly tree? Nah! Me neither it’s always been a greedy money grabbing time of flog them a pile of unwanted dross and make them feel guilty if they don’t join in the ‘Festive Fun’. As everything is ‘done by computer’ these days why not invent an app (I think that’s the word) that will virtually exchange your presents from one machine to another, no actual goods will be harmed by this transaction as only money will move from your account to the dealer’s. Then you can take pictures of yourself smiling as you ‘unpack’ your ‘gift’ and you can share your delight with millions of others by the magic of social networks. Awesome! Oh hang on, I think that’s already happening …

Margot took this picture.

Falling haloes, whips and other seasonal failings

8 Dec

It’s that time of year for silly window displays. Here we have some seemingly drunken winking mannequins tottering over to starboard with haloes at what can only be called a jaunty angle. If the intent was to say that angels get their kit at this shop I think it merits a glorious fail.

A few doors down we have a mannequin with a whip for no discernible reason. Maybe for some festive flagellation; who knows. Maybe whipping up trade … any way another fail I think.

And speaking of failure these shops are on Whitefriargate which, in the past, has had seasonal lighting that at least looked faintly impressive. This year there’s a tawdry single string of lights. Pathetic really, maybe they shouldn’t have bothered.

Abandoned

1 Oct

An abandoned doll in…

an abandoned shop in …

an abandoned street.

Guess what today’s theme is at City Daily Photo

One in five

7 Mar

Oh he’s not going to go on about empty shops again, is he?  Well yeah, he is. In 2015 21% of Hull town shops were vacant, a rise from the previous year of 0.5%. And this is before the Council started their excavations and closures and so on. Now nationally the number of vacancies fell to a rate of 11.5% in town centres. So you’d think there’d be some real concern instead we hear nothing but complacent platitudes from those the council and whoever chose to put forth as spokespeople … here’s one that stuck in my craw: “We’re building a world class city centre for 2017!” Well hmmph won’t be any shops left by then, matey.

Yes even Heaven has closed its doors ….