Friday in Hull

Our Friday in Hull was a day of two halves – and then an evening. We started with a slightly indirect walk to the bus station (or rather the Transport Interchange, rather posher and better organised than the old bus station that Larkin would have known) and caught a bus to Cottingham, a “village” just outside Hull where Larkin briefly lived and often drank and is site No 19 on the Larkin Trail.

We hadn’t gone there in search of Larkin, but to meet old friends, including both the organist and one of the bridesmaids from our wedding long ago. I’d enjoyed a full English breakfast earlier at the Admiral of the Humber but managed to squeeze in some cakes, coffee and a small celebratory drink before we left to walk to Oppy Wood, on the edge of Hull’s Orchard Park Estate.

Unfortunately we found most of the wood, planted in 2004 in memmory of the 200 “Hull Pals” who died at the battle of Oppy Wood in France in 1917, had disappeared, dug up to provide a large hole to help prevent more disatrous flooding in the area – much of Hull was inundated in 2007 and 90% of the city is below high tide level, though the 2007 flooding came from the land as the rivers and drains couldn’t cope with a month’s rain in a few hours. We walked around the field that remained then to the bus stop to go back to the city centre where we picked up a snack for lunch before catching the bus to Stoneferry.

The afternoon was planned by me to make some panoramas in one of the areas I’d not managed to get to in my visit in 2017, and then to go and see the Bankside Gallery, a tremendous outpouring of street art on the walls of the old industrial area beside the River Hull, which sprung up after Banksy’s January visit to create his ‘Draw The Raised Bridge’ on Scott Street bridge.

We ate our lunch snacks in hot sun beside the Hull before beginning a longish afternoon walk, first down beside the river to Stoneferry Road, then continuing on down to the path to cross the river on the former rail bridge at Wilmington. I don’t think Larkin ever appreciated the industrial areas of Hull, though parts have a picturesque gloom that might have appealed if he had he ever gone there. The sky was rather too empty clear blue for my taste and my pictures, particularly the panoramas, though there were more clouds later in the day.

Then we wandered up Bankside to see the many painted walls, before turning back down where the gallery continues on to Scott St, resting for a short time in the Whalebone with a pint of a local brew, before walking back into town for a short rest and a cup of tea.

We spent the evening having dinner with Linda’s brother and his wife in another of Larkin’s haunts, the Royal Station Hotel, where he stands in Martin Jennings’s statue close to the door on the concourse of what he knew as Hull Paragon station. Appropriately it was Friday night, and pretty quiet, though perhaps not as quiet as when he wrote ‘Friday Night in the Royal Station Hotel‘ in 1967, but I took no pictures.
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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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