It’s Nice In Hull

So its official, it’s nice in Hull, Kingston upon Hull that is. When it was announced on the BBC programme “Look North” I could have cracked eggs with a feather, there was no frivolity it was a serious comment! So you bung a few fibre glass toads around the city, linked of course to the famous poet laureate, Larkin, play host to an around the world yacht race and the visitors come flocking in.  Forgotten is the wry comment, along the lines of roll on global warming, raising sea levels and bye-bye and good riddance to Hull.

 So what is wrong with Hull? Listen to all the negative press, off the top of my head I remember the high rate of teenage pregnancy, one of the top ten cities for obesity, one of the bottom ten in the educational performance ratings (we are improving), high levels of unemployment poor inhabitants and to top that off the city smells of Fish and Cocoa.

 So can the above statements be defended? Would the people of Hull want to defend the statements? I don’t think so. Hull has always either had no press or bad press (or so it would seem), in the Second World War, Hull, was the heavily bombed north eastern city.  In 2007 Hull, was the forgotten city following the floods. In truth Kingston upon Hull and its inhabitants are very resilient. The city survived the end of Whaling, lived through the demise of the Fishing industry, conquered the loss of Heavy Industry under Margaret Thatcher, re-established the docks with the use of modern technology and will re-emerge somewhat scathed but fighting from this recession.

 A couple from Essex invited up to stay at the ‘little fishing village’ on the east coast, could not believe what they saw and loved the city, but when they went home nobody in Essex, would believe them. The emphasis here is nobody would believe them! So what of our little list? Don’t teenagers in other cities get pregnant? Do all the fat people live in Hull? Perhaps they are transported here at a certain weight, so other cities have no overweight people. Yes we have poor people but we  have wealthy people too. Yes there is high unemployment, perhaps due to all the negative press about the city stopping companies investing in the place.

 You will have to go along way to find a friendlier city; it’s a cheap place to live with a great night life. There are two teams in the super league, an excellent football team, though no longer premiership. The ever improving facilities, The Deep, The Shopping, Museums, the University, and above all the People themselves. It’s not possible to have the history of Hull, the maritime history, ship building, whaling, and fishing, heavy industries and one of the largest ports in the country built on a work shy work force. Bring in the jobs and the people of Hull will work, yes, like every city Hull, has its slouchers but in general it is supported by a good underemployed workforce.

 You can say what you like about Hull but one thing you should know is, the biggest critics of Hull, are its own people. They know what’s right and what’s wrong and will not hesitate to tell you – if you can understand the accent. OH and the smell, what smell? If there’s any at all that would be the smell of history.

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Paull

Going on the past week it looks as if somebody has lifted the latch on the door to autumn. Wet, cold, windy and when it’s not raining, grey leaden skies, however, with a bit of luck there is more summer to come, maybe even an Indian summer taking us into late September. Everywhere you go at the moment in Holderness the harvest has either already been gathered or they are in the process. When walking with Skye I notice the heavily laden Hawthorns, Blackthorns and the like but when I think back to spring and the bumper blossom crop there seems to be many of the trees and bushes that have not given forth fruit or at the best poor quality. I hope to gather some sloes in September for a try at making sloe gin.

When I was younger I used to cycle through to Paull village and spent a fair bit of time there as I had friends who lived in the village, as I got older, it was to visit the village pubs, particularly on a Friday lunch time as it was within striking distance of work. Over the years Paull has changed very little, there has been expansion but not as much as places like Hedon and Thorngumbald. Paull is situated on the banks of the river Humber east of the city of Hull very close to Saltend, BP’s refinery. It still boasts a shipyard, Hepworths, and without checking I would say it was one of the last if not the last in the area. It continues a great tradition for East Yorkshire as many ships where built in Hull and the surrounding area. The most famous that springs to mind is the Berthia, built on the river Hull as a coal ship, later sold to the navy she attained fame as Cap’t Blighs ship after undergoing a name change to HMAV Bounty, of mutiny fame.

 As was mentioned Paull, is a small friendly village with three public houses all located on the main street. Those being, The Royal Oak, The Humber Tavern and The Crown which can be seen in the photo’s below.

Just along the main street from these pictures in the vicinity of where the photographer is stood, if you look to your left there are views over the river Humber, to BP’s jetty off the refinery and the Humber Bridge, once the longest single span suspension bridge in the world (just short of a mile between the suspension towers).

Just along the main street is Paull Lighthouse, Erected by Trinity House in 1836 but it had fallen into disuse by the 1890’s. The lighthouse is now a private house with fantastic views over the river Humber.

As with many villages within South Holderness, Paull has its own church. St Andrews, the church is around 600 years old and located about half a mile outside the village on the slightly higher ground, it also has some wonderful views over the river Humber and the surrounding countryside.

St Andrews Church, Paull

Walking along the Humber Bank to the east of the village there are views of the refineries on the south bank and on a good day you can see the clock tower at the entrance to Grimsby docks also on the south bank. A few years ago you could walk along the bank for a long way and as youngsters we would go along on our bicycles and have a picnic and hope to see the trawlers returning from sea (I don’t remember all the refineries on the south bank). Now if you wish to go along the bank any great distance you will need to leave the village on the back road and park up at the reserve as the sea defences have been broken and rebuilt further inland to create mud flats and marsh land for the wildlife. The chances of seeing a trawler at this point are rare.

Resulting marsh land and mud flats from breached defences

As you are walking along the river bank path from Paull on your left hand side you pass by Paull Battery, locally known as Fort Paull. This was originally constructed under the orders of Henry 8th and was used during the Napoleonic wars and the Second World War. Today the fort is a museum and well worth a visit. www.fortpaull.com should give you all the information you need. As you walk around the fort it is noticeable that you on the river defence bank are level with the top of the fort defence wall!

 There are numerous discussions going on at the moment with regard to the river defences. The main topic is that the environment agency is proposing, that due to budget restrains that certain flood defences be withdrawn. You can see from the photo earlier that once the defences are breached then the land will be of no use to agriculture and as much of South Holderness is low lying, well need I say more!

Looking toward the city of Kingston upon Hull and the mouth of the River Hull. The building in the centre foreground is THE DEEP located at the convergence of the two rivers. See http://www.thedeep.co.uk

The river Humber is said to be one of the most dangerous rivers in the world, when my children were younger they called it ‘The Chocolate Sea’ the colour generated from all the silt the waters carry.

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