Category : Public Realm

Telling the story of Yorkshire’s Maritime City

Hull City Council has been awarded £15m of National Lottery money to help secure Hull’s future as a major UK tourist destination.  Building on its success as UK City of Culture 2017, this historic maritime city will reclaim and share every element of its past by developing three important sites: the Maritime Museum; the Dock Office Chambers and the North End Shipyard; and two historic vessels, the Arctic Corsair and Spurn Lightship. 

Ros Kerslake, CEO of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

“This is the perfect moment for Hull to benefit from a £15m investment from the National Lottery.  Its profile has already been substantially raised by the ongoing UK City of Culture activities and this new funding will now enable an in-depth exploration of its maritime heritage. With a greater understanding of the wider Hull story we hope local people will feel proud of their great city’s past and optimistic about its resurgence moving forwards.”  

This place-making project, which firmly places Hull’s maritime heritage at its centre, will be developed and delivered over the next seven years; it is part of a wider plan to regenerate the city.  It will look back to Hull’s history as a trading and fishing port and then take the story onwards to the present and beyond.  

Following on from its ongoing £100m investment in the city’s cultural and visitor infrastructure, Hull City Council will provide a further £12.5m towards the project from its capital programme.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said:
“This £15m investment will help Hull build an enduring legacy from its fantastic year as UK City of Culture, as I was able to observe first hand on my visit to the city last week. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will ensure that Hull’s unique seafaring history will not only be protected, but used to help fulfil its goal to become one of the top tourist destinations in the country.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said:

“Today’s announcement is a huge vote of confidence in our city and another major step towards achieving one of the key ambitions of our City Plan to make Hull a world-class visitor destination.  My heartfelt thanks go to National Lottery players – it couldn’t have happened without them.”

The project will create at least 20 new jobs, increased visitor numbers and a volunteer programme to raise awareness and pride in Hull’s maritime history.  

The project has five core elements:

• Hull Maritime Museum will be reconfigured and visitors given access to one of the building domes which has spectacular views over the city and Humber.  There will be a 50% increase of the number of items on public view.
• The Dock Office Chambers will be converted into a state-of-the-art home for the maritime collection.
• The Arctic Corsair and Spurn Lightship will undergo full conservation before being relocated. The former will be permanently berthed in a dry dock at the North End Shipyard and the latter returned to Hull Marina. Both will have on-board exhibitions and updated displays.  
• A visitor orientation centre will be built at the North End Shipyard on Dock Office Row.

Councillor Brady added:

“This is a major investment which will conserve and showcase Hull’s maritime heritage and allow the city to develop its already strong cultural and tourism offer, ensuring that visitors continue to flock to Hull well beyond our time as UK City of Culture.

“Just as important, this investment will allow the city to celebrate and reflect on its past, present and future as Yorkshire’s Maritime City. Drawing on the unique spirit of local people, it is another example of how Hull is flourishing and prospering through the regeneration and development of its proud heritage.”

City centre regeneration and start of City of Culture year boosts city’s feel-good factor

Interim survey reveals vast majority of people believe Hull’s city centre disruption during regeneration has been worthwhile

61 per cent* of residents recently polled as part of the People’s Panel believe the interruption during the £25m regeneration of the city centre has been worthwhile.

Comments from residents completing the survey included:

  • “Fantastic transformation. Well worth the disruption. Very much needed to get people into the city centre and visiting the city”
  • “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, meaning, the disruption is temporary and we need to focus on the longer term benefits, otherwise people would never ever get improvements done to the city for fear of causing disruption”
  • “I have already visited more and been amazed at the number of people in the city centre, Ferens museums.”

Civic pride has had a boost too with 68 per cent of those polled saying that they feel positive or very positive about the city centre and Hull in general with 73 per cent agreeing with the statement “I am proud to live in or near Hull.”

88 per cent of recipients say they have increased the frequency they visit the city centre because of more events like the re-opening of the Ferens Art Gallery and the Weeping Window poppy installation. 53 percent said their increased visits were down to the buzz, 50 per cent because there are more people around, 26 per cent because of more restaurants, pubs and bars and 28 per cent because of more family friendly activities.

These findings came as many took to social media to comment on how Hull city centre was enjoying one of its busiest weekends of the City of Culture year so far, continuing the trend since the beginning of the year that saw 342,000 visitors to the Made in Hull event in the first week of January alone.

The city centre’s evening economy has also seen an up-turn as 83 percent of those polled say that since the start of January, and Hull’s tenure as the UK city of culture, they have visited the city centre in the evening compared to 43 percent one year ago.

The findings also reveal that 79 per cent of people believe work to regenerate Queen Victoria Square will have a positive or very positive impact on the city centre, as will the reinstatement of food markets in Trinity square and Whitefriargate (82 per cent).

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said:

“The decision to consolidate the £24.8m public realm works into 18 months and the associated inconvenience was not entered into lightly but it is clear that it is already paying off. The city centre has been transformed into a place that residents can be proud of and hundreds of thousands of visitors have enjoyed since Hull started its tenure as UK City of Culture in January. Footfall has exceeded all expectations and is bringing new audiences into the city.

“Since 2014 and throughout the works, over 40 new businesses have opened in the city centre and 500 new jobs have been created in the cultural, retail and hospitality sectors. Pubs and restaurants are busier than ever and some retailers.

“The transformed public realm provides a stage for installations like Blade, which visitors have flocked to and the perfect backdrop for Weeping Window, we anticipate high numbers of footfall to continue throughout 2017 and beyond.”

This current People’s Panel survey remains open until Friday 21 April. Anyone wanting to complete the survey can join the People’s Panel by visiting, texting “panel” and an email address to 07795563000 or emailing None members can also complete this survey using the same web link.


*15 per cent said ‘no’, 24 per cent said ‘don’t know’

City unites to mark Wilberforce’s important legacy

William Wilberforce will be artistically lit for the first time as the city unites to celebrate the 210th anniversary of passing of the Slave Trade Act 1807 (25 March).

Hull City Council, Hull University and the William Wilberforce Monument Fund will come together to celebrate one of the city’s most renowned sons William Wilberforce.

Following the launch of the University’s Virtual William (pr attached), a congregation will visit Queen’s Gardens this Thursday evening where the Freedom Chorus will serenade the lighting of the Wilberforce Monument as streetlights and Hull College lights are dimmed.

As a key component in the council’s £25m transformation of the city centre, Wilberforce will be the first monument to be lit as part of the council and art lighting specialist Nayan Kulkarni’s ‘Sculptures in the Sky’ project.

The scheme, together with sister project ‘the Golden Hour’, will shine a brand new light on some of the city’s most recognisable sculptures and buildings, as well as offering the opportunity  for countless lighting displays to coincide with special events and significant dates.

City centre to bloom as over 50 new trees planted

Mature trees from the nursery that grew the saplings in London’s Olympic Park will line Hull’s public realm as the first phase of works nears completion.

Fifty-six trees are currently being planted along Jameson Street, King Edward Street and Queen Victoria Square, with more planned for Beverley Gate and Queen’s Gardens in the spring of 2017.

Once all of the planting is complete, the number of trees in the city centre will have risen overall.

Back in 2015, each new tree was individually selected from a nursery in Holland that specialises in providing mature trees; something not currently available in large quantities in the UK.

Species include Acer Zoeschense, Platanus acerifolia and interesting multi-stem trees for Jameson Street.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager said:

“The inclusion of trees and high quality street furniture into the city centre public realm is incredibly important in creating a place that people want to spend time and enjoy.

“These trees are already 15 – 25 years old and have been moved and re-planted several times to ensure they have strong fibrous roots that will help them to settle into their new homes successfully.

“They may have their winter coats on now but be assured, once we reach spring, these trees will bloom beautifully and prove to be a valuable addition to our new city centre.”

Tree planting will continue into the New Year with some of the largest, reaching 47ft, installed into Queen Victoria Square this week.

Solar Gate given the green light

Plans for a bespoke timepiece in Queen’s Gardens have today been given the go-ahead by planning councillors.

 The 10m tall artwork is now set to become the centrepiece of a new, grand entrance to Queen’s Gardens, currently under construction.

Once installed, Solar Gate will act as a sundial, highlighting up to 24 key dates that have shaped the history of Hull and the world.

Created from discs of etched stainless steel, the artwork will be crafted by award-winning architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu and integrated in the new York stone paving now being laid in the area.

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said:

“I am really pleased with today’s decision from the Planning Committee who have listened to public views on the previous application, and have agreed that this is the right location and design for this very special sculpture.

“The commissioning of world-class artists and the integration of art and creativity into the public realm will reinforce our reputation as a city of culture, not just in 2017 but for decades to come.”

Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu said:

“Tonkin Liu are delighted to be delivering a truly innovative structure in the centre of the city to mark the rich history and positive future of the Hull.

“We are very pleased to be marking 2017 City of Culture with a piece that celebrates time through cultural references to the city of Hull.

“The time piece has been designed through computer programming to create a highly accurate alignment with specific solar angles relating to moments in the cultural calendar tailored to Hull. As with the experience of an eclipse, the waiting for the alignments brings the future, the past, and the present into play.

“At night Solar Gate is illuminated with an ever changing lighting display where its delicacy and undulating geometry is revealed and experienced.

“The advanced technology and the innovative undulating structure employs the latest fabrication techniques to make a deceptively delicate but very robust structure.

“10m tall and 4m wide, the artwork is boat-like in plan, gate-like in elevation, mast-like in side elevation, with a taper to just 10cm. The artwork learns lessons from 500 million years of evolution in sea shell form to make a very strong very light piece produced with the latest digital technologies.”

Work will begin on the sculpture immediately and will be crafted off-site then lifted into place to coincide with the completion of the revamp of the entrance to Queen’s Gardens in the New Year.

1 16-10-06 Solar Gate Reveal small

Plans for Hull’s first public square for 100 years unveiled

Stunning new images of the future King Edward Square have today been revealed. The space is thought to be the city centre’s first new public square in over 100 years, following the development of City Square, later re-named Queen Victoria Square, in the late 1890s.

At the junction where King Edward St and Jameson St meet, King Edward Square will become an open space for use during events, a base for street performers and as a place for people to relax and enjoy the city’s new public realm. Fresh tree lines and street furniture will stretch through the square reaching down to the end of Jameson St that meets George St and new lighting will complete the new look.

The current roadways of Jameson and King Edward Streets are also be pedestrianised and incorporated into the square to create a much larger and open space than the area previously offered.

Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination said:

“King Edward Square will be an exciting new events space, as well as the city’s newest public space for many years.

“With our year as UK City of Culture just around the corner, the square will provide a central point for visitors from each end of the city centre and a great location for summer events as part of the fantastic programme the Culture Company are designing for next year.”

The work to the square will continue as part of the current public realm works and will be completed by March 2017. 


First stage of public realm on schedule for Christmas completion

Hull City Council has today (Thursday 13 October) published a decision record confirming its public realm development works will be completed on schedule.

The majority of the works will be completed as planned by the end of December, whilst remaining side streets and Beverley Gate will be complete by March 2017.

In addition, plans to create a new grand entrance into Queen’s Gardens from the Rose Bowl, originally scheduled to begin 2018, will also be brought forward for completion in March 2017.

Today’s decision record agrees to move £8.7m into the project, in accordance with a decision of the cabinet in February 2015.

This brings the total cost of the scheme to £24.8m inclusive of additional works outside of the original scope of the contract. These include the work to Queen’s Gardens, wifi installation and the redesign of Beverley Gate, along with significant archaeological works and utility diversions in Queen Victoria Square, Trinity Square and Whitefriargate.

A number of pieces of street furniture, including benches and some trees, as well as the fountains in Queen Victoria Square will be installed after Christmas.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder with responsibility for public infrastructure, said:

“The scale of works for the public realm project has always been a massive undertaking. We have pushed three years work into just over 12 months, however we are determined to have this work completed on schedule.

“I am happy we have been able to not only schedule completion of what was originally planned in this timeframe, but also push to include more work for 2017 than we’d originally planned for.

“It is imperative that the city presents its best face for the 2017 celebrations and this decision record will ensure that deadlines will be met as well as limiting any future costs to the council.”

Plans for new sculpture location submitted

Plans for a bespoke timepiece sculpture have today been submitted for Queens Gardens.

If approved, Solar Gate would not only be a focal point within the city centre park, but also act as a sundial, highlighting key dates in the city’s history that will be placed as discs of etched stainless steel and integrated with york stone paving earmarked for the area.

Solar Gate would also form part of the renovation of Queens Gardens, which will include a new grand central entrance through from the Rose Bowl. Work is scheduled to begin prior to Christmas, with completion planned in spring 2017. (NB. All other work to transform Queen’s Gardens will begin 2018 as part of the legacy programme).

The plans, which could see the 10m tall piece of art installed into a new spot at the south end of Queens Gardens, have been designed by award-winning architectural practice Tonkin Liu, made up of architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (bios in notes).

On each date, sunlight will shine through Solar Gate onto the specific disc and highlight that point in time, casting a shadow the space around it.

This modern and unique piece has been amended for its new proposed location and the design now reflects the leafy surroundings of the gardens.

In total, 24 memorable dates and times for events that have shaped our world and Hull’s local history, yet to be agreed, will be marked and celebrated.

Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu said:

“Through the alignment of aperture in its two vertical surfaces, Solar Gate marks precise times with light rather than with shadows. Light travels through two spaces, aligned with a specific sun angle, and lands as a disc of light on the ground, illuminating a stainless steel disc with written details of the significance of the corresponding time and date.

“The time piece has been designed through computer programming to create a highly accurate alignment with specific solar angles relating to moments in the cultural calendar tailored to Hull. As with the experience of an eclipse, the waiting for the alignments brings the future, the past, and the present into play.

“At night Solar Gate is illuminated with an ever changing lighting display where its delicacy and undulating geometry is revealed and experienced.

“The advanced technology and the innovative undulating structure employs the latest fabrication techniques to make a deceptively delicate but very robust structure.

“10m tall and 4m wide, the artwork is boat-like in plan, gate-like in elevation, mast-like in side elevation, with a taper to just 10cm. The artwork learns lessons from 500 million years of evolution in sea shell form to make a very strong very light piece produced with the latest digital technologies.”

A formal decision for Planning Committee is likely to be made later this year.

Wider plans for Queen’s Gardens, earmarked for 2018 start, include an impressive new-look, inspired by the 1950’s design including a new performance area and tribute to the late great Mick Ronson.

1 16-10-06 Solar Gate Reveal small

Hull’s historic monuments and buildings set to shine

Some of Hull’s most treasured landmarks are set to take the spotlight as plans are underway for a series of light installations.

Complementing the transformation of the city’s public realm, the light artwork has been designed to draw the eye naturally from the ground up to the sky.

Alongside buildings including Hull City Hall and Holy Trinity Church, subject to consultation and approval from church authorities, some of Hull’s most iconic statues will be illuminated, from the Queen Victoria and the Wilberforce monuments, the statue of Andrew Marvell, which is currently being restored before it returns to form, the centrepiece of a regenerated Trinity Square, and the Guildhall monuments ‘Strength’ and ‘Maritime Prowess’, which stand at the top of the Guildhall.

Commissioned to take charge of this ambitious project is nationally recognised light art installation specialist Nayan Kulkarni, who will draw on his experience of creating some of the most ambitious light works in the UK who brings his skills to Hull with designs made exclusively for the city.

Kulkarni’s unique schemes, ‘Sculptures in the Sky’ and ‘the Golden Hour’, will shine a brand new light on some of the city’s most recognisable buildings and sculptures, as well as offering the opportunity  for countless lighting displays to coincide with special events and significant dates.

As part of the project, Hull City Council have now submitted a listed buildings consent application for the new lighting rigs to be fixed to Ferens Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum.

Nayan Kulkarni said about his projects:

“It is a huge privilege to be invited to illuminate the city’s streets, historic buildings and sculptures, not just for 2017 but as a permanent installation. The Golden Hour seeks to create a calm and inspiring set of illuminations that will transform some of Hull’s significant buildings and historical monuments. In combination with the new street lighting, the installation will constantly change the city at night by manipulating its lit effects.

“Using bold and subtle mood changes, colour and shadow will attract the eye from place to place, reflecting speed of pedestrian movement and city life.

“Eyes will be drawn upwards naturally, revealing some of the Hull’s historic architectural features in a way perhaps never seen before. That is, artificial light makes us see differently.”

Subject to listed buildings consent being granted, work will begin on The Golden Hour and Sculptures in the Sky will start later this year and will be delivered in parallel with Hull City Council’s £25 million public realm improvement scheme.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager said:

“We have a great opportunity that aims to unlock the full potential of the city centre’s historic buildings and bring Hull’s lighting on par with other cities.

“The commissioning of Nayan and the integration of art and creativity throughout the project will ensure the very best of Hull is enhanced.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive of the 2017 City of Culture Company said:

“This project really captures the idea that there is more to Hull than meets the eye. You may think you know this city’s streets, but Nayan Kulkarni’s illuminations will take you on a fascinating new journey as darkness falls.

“In drawing your attention to specific features that may have previously gone unnoticed, it will encourage you to look at familiar buildings in a completely different way.”

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said:

“The plans for an innovative lighting scheme covering key sites in Hull city centre are very exciting indeed and we’re delighted Holy Trinity has been chosen as one of the landmark structures to be illuminated. It underlines Holy Trinity’s status as an architectural jewel in the city’s crown and complements the £4.5m transformation of the church and grounds which are well under way.

“The proposed lighting of the church is subject to consultation and approval from the church authorities and the tests will inform that process.

“We’re really excited to see how Nayan Kulkarni will enhance even further the beauty and majesty of an iconic building as old as the city of Hull itself but as relevant to local life as it has ever been.”

History of Hull streets on display

Information boards have appeared throughout the city centre, telling the historical stories of the streets.

Six boards have been installed across the city centre in areas included in the public realm project, and offer an insight into how some of the main city centre streets used to look and operate in years gone by.

Boards are stationed at Beverley Gate, Humber Street, Jameson Street, Paragon Square, Queen Victoria Square and Trinity Square.

Each board includes details of the history behind the streets, alongside historical images, interesting facts and a glimpse into the future with CGI imaging of the area.

Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination said:

“The public realm project seems to have really sparked people’s interest in the city centre and importantly its rich history.

“The boards present an opportunity for members of the public to learn more about their city centre’s past as well as finding out more about the projects that it is hoped will help to make Hull a world-class visitor destination”.

Boards will remain in place throughout the remainder of the public realm programme, when it is hoped more permanent sites can be found for them.