Larkin about in Hull

We’d booked in at a hotel in the centre of Hull, five minutes walk from the station, but we didn’t intend to spend much time there except while sleeping, and having dropped our luggage in the room, went back down to the foyer, where while waiting for Linda to join me I picked up and opened a leaflet on the Larkin Trail.

I’m not a great fan of the poet who spent much of his life working at Hull University’s Librarian, but there are certainly some memorable lines, some evocative of the city, and  some of the city centre locations were on the route we intended to take for other reasons, so we began to loosely follow its directions, and our rather longer progress around the city centre and outskirts over the next few days I think included all of the places mentioned in the trail, seeing all its signs and reading most of them, though not those in the much wider area outside the city,  most hard to visit without a car.

The trail is a bit of a disappointment in places, its signs some distance from the true Larkin sites, for example some distance away from the flat where he lived in Pearson Park and rather further from his later house in Newland Park. If you download the longer version from the web site you do get much fuller details than the printed leaflet. You will find many of the places mentioned in these pictures and those from later in my visit, and perhaps more authentically as they were when Larkin lived in Hull on my web site, ‘Still Occupied: a view of Hull‘.

I don’t know if he came to see my show of around 148 of these pictures at the Ferens, a couple of years before his death, though it’s fairly likely given the kind of city that Hull is where the art gallery plays an important role in cultural life. He was a keen amateur photographer and I think some of the pictures would have appealed to him, perhaps with a similar ironic stance.  I’m fairly sure wasn’t at the opening, but then he disliked such social occasions, avoiding them when he could.

We didn’t do the full length in the afternoon, having other important business – such as a drink and an ice-cream at the Kardomah – and taking a quick look at the venue where we had booked a table for our family celebration in a couple of day’s time. Then it was time for dinner, after which in the fading light we took a bus to walk through Pearson Park (and past the flat in which he wrote much of his better work) and then walked back along Beverley Road to the city centre as it got dark.

On the later days of our visit we did visit, or at least go past the other places mentioned in the trail as we visited people and places important to our own past in Hull, parts of which were important to Larkin as well.

Hull – City Centre & Old Town
Hull – Pearson Park & Beverley Rd


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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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