Category : Public Realm

City centre to be seen in a new light as Golden Hour goes live

Some of Hull’s most treasured landmarks are set to take the spotlight as new permanent artistic lighting is switched on across the city centre.

Complementing the recent transformation of the city’s public realm, lighting specialist Nayan Kulkarni’s artwork has been designed to draw the eye naturally from the ground up to the sky and is now available for visitors to the city centre to view every evening after sunset. 

The Golden Hour seeks to create a calm and inspiring set of illuminations that throws some of Hull’s significant buildings and historical monuments into the spotlight. In combination with new street lighting, the installation will constantly change the city at night by manipulating its lit effects.

Alongside buildings including Hull City Hall and Hull Minster, some of Hull’s most iconic statues will be illuminated, from the Queen Victoria to newly restored Andrew Marvell, and The Guildhall monuments ‘Strength’ and ‘Maritime Prowess’, which stand at the top of the building.

Commissioned to take charge of this ambitious project is nationally recognised light art installation specialist Nayan Kulkarni, who has drawn on his experience of creating some of the most ambitious light works in the UK and brings his skills to Hull with designs and lights 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.

Nayan Kulkarni said: “Looking in light at A.H Hodge’s Maritime Prowess is a personal highlight that underpins the subtle change we made to Wilberforce with the Gilding of his speech; it too glints in light.

“It has been a very long journey. I have learnt more than I thought possible about roofs and the nesting habits of the gull. However, all of that has been beautifully offset by the superb Hull sense of humour.”

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager, said: “Nayan’s work has provided a great opportunity to unlock the full potential of the city centre’s historic buildings and bring Hull’s lighting on par and above 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.”

Photographer’s key time of the day, ‘Golden Hour’ has been reflected in the scheme and will see the city centre plunged back into the period shortly before sunset during which daylight is softer and ideal for landscape photography. It will begin each day after sunset and will see street lights dimmed slightly, fountains in Queen Victoria Square and Solar Gate in Queens Gardens take on the Golden Hour colour and additional lighting switched off to create the affect.

Other capabilities include the increase of a certain colour on specific nationally recognised days, for example the city centre could be red during World Aids Day. There is also potential for the scheme to extend further across the city.

The full scale of the lighting’s capability will be on show for the next four nights, starting on the same night as the first Street Food Night of the year, offering a view of what is possible, before taking standard patterns ready for key dates and events throughout the year.

A trail map will also soon available from the Tourist Information Centre, highlighting the statues and buildings included in Kulkarni’s scheme.

Works to the remains of Beverley Gate to begin

Leading UK specialist in traditional building methods, Nigel Copsey, together with bricklaying students from Hull College will next week begin to apply a new secure layer to the remains of Beverley Gate.

From Monday 2 October, cleaning of the remains will commence, with the ‘sacrificial layer’ of hot lime mortar being applied after the cleaning and preparation of the remains is complete.

Students will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to take on this exciting skill, not usually offered as part of a standard course.

This work follows improvements and re-covering with granite tiles that has been done with great care by Eurovia to ensure remains are protected.

It is expected this specialist work will be complete in November.

New timepiece sculpture moves into Queens Gardens

The installation of Hull’s newest bespoke sculpture Solar Gate has begun.

The 10 metre tall stainless steel structure was brought in to the city centre yesterday evening for the start of an installation process that will take a team of specialists a number of weeks to complete.

A flat-bed lorry with police escort and two cranes were used to bring the sculpture into the gardens and manoeuvre it into place. Now secure, work can begin to bring the piece of art to life.

Leader of the council, Councillor Stephen Brady said:

“Solar Gate will be a fantastic addition to the great work already done to create a grand new entrance into Queen’s Gardens.

“Not only is Solar Gate totally unique, it’s an incredibly clever concept that Tonkin Liu have developed.

“Big thanks must go to Hull company Pearlgreen Engineering for taking on this challenging project and doing an amazing job. It’s great to know that local hands have created this new piece of public art that will no doubt become an iconic city feature.”

Tony Schultz, Director and Chairman of Strata Holdings said:

“Solar Gate has been both a huge engineering challenge and an absolute privilege to work on for everyone at Pearlgreen and Sovereign Signs.

“Seeing it installed into place in Queens Gardens will be a massive achievement and without doubt a once-in-a-working-career experience.

“I believe Solar Gate is a wonderful centrepiece for Queens Gardens, complementing and interacting with the new environment, and will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu said:

“It’s great to see Solar Gate move into its new home in Queens Gardens, following its fabrication at Pearlgreen Engineering with local craftspeople.

“We 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.”

Work will now begin on installing new paving and a decorative steel ring around the structure, alongside electrics that will artistically light Solar Gate on a night.

The final part of the process will be to install the 16 steel plates engraved with key dates in the city’s history around the sculpture that will bring Solar Gate to life with the sun lighting them up on their day.

The sculpture has cost £310,000 in total, most of which have come from the construction process that has been done locally. These costs are included in the overall £25million public realm scheme.

It is hoped the final sculpture will be officially opened in the coming weeks.

Cormorant Boat sculpture finds new home

The Cormorant Boat sculpture will be officially rededicated this Friday in a ceremony at its new home at Hull Marina Pier.

The sculpture had been in storage before undergoing a full refurbishment thanks to local company Point Engineering. It has been put onto a new plinth by Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd, together with support from Myton Ward Councillors in the Riverside Area.

The Cormorant Boat was originally commissioned 30 years ago as part of a national competition sponsored by the then Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts and local insurance company, Rixson Matthews Appleyard.

It was the winner of the 1987 Hull Open Sculpture competition and the commission itself went on to win the Daily Telegraph Award for Best Commission of New Art in Any Medium for that year.

Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Myton Ward Councillor Martin Mancey said:

“The Cormorant Boat has been a part of the marina for many years and it was only right that we made sure the sculpture was refurbished with a new home to reflect the newly regenerated area around it at the Fruit Market.

“I would like to thank to Point Engineering and Houlton for their amazing work to refurbish the sculpture and install a new plinth and to Kate Siddle for working with the council throughout the refurbishment process.”

Artist and creator of Cormorant Boat Kate Siddle said:

“I am delighted to see Cormorant Boat back on the marina and in a prominent new home on the Pier.

“The actual inspiration for the sculpture came from my experience of living near to the sea and its abstract form was designed to evoke that experience.  Its form is suggestive of boats, seabirds, of fish, whales and waves all of which resonate with life lived on the east coast and very specific to Hull.

“The choice of an industrial material, steel, links it to Hulls former shipbuilding industry and it was, in part, fabricated at one of the remaining dry docks in Hull at that time.”

The sculpture will be re-dedicated at a short ceremony at the Pier at 12noon on Friday (28 July).

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.