"Hull, Hell & Halifax!"
Kingston upon Hull
Whenever, Hull cropped up in conversation, my Yorkshire born father always chuckled and chirped “Hull, Hell and Halifax!”. A time worn phrase that reflected the classic image of the time, of the industrial powerhouses of Northern England.
Today things are changing and have changed. Hull is among those Northern Cities, (or Northern Powerhouse as current patronizing politicians seem to say nowadays) experiencing a revival and making an excellent effort to preserve and illustrate its rich and important place in history. Indeed, in 2017 Hull was the UK’s City of Culture, which no doubt drew wry smiles from ‘southerners’ in England!
Hull is well served by rail with several daily direct trains from London Kings Cross, taking a little over 2 hours, as well as frequent service to fellow northern cities such as York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.
Not a Detour. A Specific Destination.
You don’t go ‘through Hull’ on the way to anywhere. It is at the end of the line where the Humber River intersects with the North Sea. It is this location that has dictated its history.
Always a safe port, along with ports such as Bergen, Hull was a part of the important Hanseatic League. Trade, warehousing and fishing have been the stalwarts of Hulls economy over the centuries
Whilst Hull never played a direct role in the Slave Trade, (like all northern cities their businesses indirectly benefited from the raw materials produced by slaves) it did produce William Wilberforce the Member of Parliament who led the movement to eliminate slavery – this he did in 1807. Over a half century before the USA did the same. Wilberforce, born near the port section grew up seeing and learning about shipping and trade, educated at the nearby Grammar School, decided to make a career in politics
Today in the old section and in the Museum Quarter you can trace his steps and even visit his house, now turned into an exhibition about his life and the global struggle with slavery.
The ‘Cod War’ and more
In the 70’s and 80’s, the UK, upset over fishing rights came into conflict with Icelandic Fishing Trawlers which for a while galvanized the nation. Strange but true. Today, in Hull, in the old town you can board a surviving trawler from the North Atlantic Cod War!
World War 2
Hull, given its location, just across the sea from Germany and being a port was badly damaged by bombing raids and in terms of per cent of area of the city damage, as a measurement, was only just behind London. Hull endured 86 air raids during WW2 and it did change the city. Nevertheless, Hull has some magnificent and large Victorian buildings that compete with the likes of Manchester. The Guild Hall being one, the Maritime Museum housed is another on Victoria Square.
You can do themed walks including one about WW2 in Hull. See here.
Hull, has several Museums worth visiting and quite a few are free too. Main ones are in the Old Town and Museum Quarter. Additionally, The Deep is one of the countries largest aquariums.
In the indoor Market Hall you can dine for just a few pounds – still!
Just across the street is Trinity Church – and the brick section, claims to be the oldest in the country and dominates the square near The Grammar School