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.

Woodford extension nears completion as contractor prepares to leave site

Nineteen months after Woodford Leisure Centre closed its doors, the extension, including new 25m swimming pool and learner pool, is almost complete and contractors Hobson & Porter are preparing to pack up and move out.

The multi-million pound refurbishment and extension includes new sauna and steam facilities, much improved changing facilities, a café located at the new entrance and enhanced parking facilities. The installation of new environmental technologies including a thermal glazing system roof will also look to reduce longer term operating costs. The facility will also include a revamped gym and immersive studio.

Since its closure in September 2016, local contractor Hobson & Porter has undertaken multi-disciplinary works to refurbish the existing leisure centre building (including replacing the roof), create a new front elevation to the building and an extension to house a new reception area, a 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool and a 10-metre beginners’ pool.

An early challenge was presented by the poor, clay-like ground conditions. This was overcome by inserting 13m-long sheet piling on a temporary basis. The team was able to then begin drainage and foundation works, alongside construction of the pool shells.

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said:

“It’s fantastic to see the majority of the building work complete at Woodford and I am delighted with the results that I’m sure will prove incredibly popular with residents.

“The investment into Woodford will secure its long-term future as a top swimming and leisure facility and put it up amongst some of the best in the region, providing a top-class offer to the people of Hull.”

David Blades, Business Development Director for Hobson & Porter, said:

“Woodford is an iconic building in Hull that has been enjoyed by local residents for many years, so we are very proud to be working on its regeneration. When it reopens the centre will provide modern, first-class facilities to the area for families and people of all ages to enjoy.

“As a Hull-based business we are always keen to be involved in projects which support the development and growth of our city and its economy and this scheme is a great example of this. We’re looking forward to showing the public the type work that goes into a refurbishment of this size and we hope they will find it informative and insightful.”

Once Hobson & Porter move off site, Hull Culture and Leisure staff will arrive back to embark upon training in the new systems and technology, ready for opening to the public in May.


Woodford - View 1

The extension of Woodford Leisure Centre on Holderness Road was given approval by Hull City Council Cabinet in February 2015 as part of the Visitor Destination Phase 1: 2017 Priority Programme. Works are underway to progress the new six-lane twenty five metre pool and ten metre beginners pool as well as improved changing facilities, following demolition of the existing entrance area.

Additional plans also include new sauna and steam facilities, a café located on the ground floor at the new entrance. The installation of new environmental technologies will also look to reduce longer term operating costs.

The car parking area will be relocated and provide additional spaces. During this closure alternative leisure and swimming facilities can be found at East Hull Baths, Beverley Road Baths and Ennerdale Leisure centre.

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.

Council confirms £250 million UK City of Culture Legacy Plan

Hull City Council has today confirmed its continuing commitment to investing in culture and the arts with a £250 million plan to deliver further improvements to the city’s cultural and visitor infrastructure and a pledge to provide on-going support to the city’s independent arts sector. The Council has also welcomed and will support a new role for the Culture Company, which was established by the city to deliver its year as UK City of Culture.

The plans will ensure that Hull builds on the success of 2017, maintaining the momentum of positive change and creating the conditions for Hull to achieve its City Plan ambition of becoming a world-class cultural destination.

Following on from the £50 million already invested by the Council and its partners in major cultural regeneration projects, including a £25 million public realm project, work to kick-start the redevelopment of the Fruit Market and major improvements to Hull New Theatre and the Ferens Art Gallery, the Council today confirmed a further £250 million plan for public and private sector investment over the next 10 years.

The plans have been in development since Hull launched its City Plan in 2013 and include:

  • A new £30m, 3,500 capacity regional music, arts and conference venue that will open in the summer of 2018.
  • A major £7m refurbishment for Woodford Leisure Centre in east Hull, also set to open next year.
  • The creation of a major new £27 million attraction that will shine a light on Hull’s unique heritage as Yorkshire’s Maritime city.  Funded by the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will see the city’s much-loved Maritime Museum completely transformed, the regeneration of the city’s oldest docks and the restoration of two historic ships.
  • On-going development of a £50m Cruise Terminal for Yorkshire.
  • The £130m redevelopment of Albion Square and Bond Street in the heart of the city to enhance Hull’s visitor and leisure offer.
  • A £3m restoration for historic Pearson Park.

Speaking at an event to announce Hull’s cultural legacy plans today, Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, also reinforced the Council’s commitment to supporting independent arts organisations in the city. In addition to working with Arts Council England to support the city’s five National Portfolio Organisations, Councillor Brady pledged £1m to allow the repurposed Culture Company to continue to deliver world-class cultural programmes in 2018 and beyond.

Councillor Brady said: “Hull’s journey towards City of Culture and the year itself has shown that investing in the arts and culture works. From raising our city’s profile and attracting record numbers of visitors to regenerating our places, improving the opportunities and well-being of residents, inspiring our young people and capturing the spirit of our wonderful volunteers, it’s an investment worth making.

“2017 has been incredibly successful, but is just the beginning for Hull. Our collective ambition for the future is bigger and bolder and with the whole city working together, as we have done in the build up to and delivery of 2017, we will deliver.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017, said:  “In originally bidding to become UK City of Culture, Hull City Council showed its commitment to culture as central to its plans for Hull’s future success. We are therefore delighted to see it reaffirming that commitment, which will help ensure Hull’s position as force to be reckoned with, not just in the North, but nationally. Creating a legacy for the city is of course a collective act, and Culture Company will continue to work alongside the Council and other partners to ensure culture remains at the forefront of those plans.”

The Royal Ballet returns to Hull to reopen city’s New Theatre following multi-million pound rebuild

The Royal Ballet returns to Hull for the first time in 30 years this Saturday, when some of the world’s finest dancers take to the stage at Hull New Theatre following a £16 million rebuilding programme that has transformed it into a world-class venue for dance, theatre and performance.

Curated by the Company’s Hull-born director Kevin O’Hare the show, Opening the New is one of the highlights of this City of Culture year. An unparalleled line-up includes Royal Ballet Principal Dancers Edward Watson, Thiago Soares, Steven McRae and Zenaida Yanowsky. They are being joined by Xander Parish, who was born in North Ferriby, first learned to dance in Hull and was the first British dancer to be employed by the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg. Also performing are Xander’s sister Demelza Parish, a First Artist of The Royal Ballet and fellow Hull-born Joseph Caley, who was recently announced as joining English National Ballet from Birmingham Royal Ballet, where he began his career, rising through the ranks to Principal.

The multi-million pound investment in Hull New Theatre is made up of £11million from Hull City Council and £5 million funding from the Government via Arts Council England. It is part of the council £100m capital investment programme designed to regenerate the city’s economy, securing lasting benefits for the people of Hull and the region.

Almost two years on from its closure in January 2016, the newly extended and transformed theatre has received a total revamp from new state-of-the-art technical and backstage infrastructure, including a significantly larger 27m fly tower and front-of-house enhancements, to a new, easily accessible entrance and foyer, lift access to all floors and bigger, reconfigured seating layout including offer of premium comfort seats, new-look restaurant and bars and additional, flexible spaces for businesses, community and social use.

The work means the theatre is now one of the most advanced in the country, ensuring that theatre goers will be able to see some of the best shows on offer and enjoy a significantly enhanced experience. [MB1]

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

“This is an incredibly exciting week for the city as Hull New Theatre, one of our key cultural venues, re-opens. To have The Royal Ballet returning to Hull for the first time in three decades is a fantastic accolade and testament to the transformation the theatre has seen.

“The city is already reaping the rewards of our investment in our cultural venues and infrastructure, with record visitors to the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery and thousands enjoying the new city centre public realm. We hope to see this continue in the years ahead with the Hull Venue opening next year and, in the longer term, our Yorkshire cruise terminal in the city centre.

“This investment will be a catalyst to ensuring the theatre is in the best possible position to cement its reputation as one of the best receiving theatres in the UK , ensuring we secure a lasting legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.”

The programme for Opening the New includes excerpts from Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet and works by the internationally renowned choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said:

“I’m thrilled to be bringing The Royal Ballet to hull for this special gala. I’m so proud of my home city, a city that has produced so much dance talent over the years and continues to do so. Working with local dance schools too has been a rewarding experience and I can’t wait to see the Take Flight performance in Trinity Square.”

A live relay screening of Opening the New is also taking place in Queens Gardens, with up to 5,000 ticketholders attending the outdoor event organised by Hull 2017 with support from Hull Culture and Leisure, which runs the theatre on behalf of Hull City Council.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure said:

“Following its £16m revamp, Hull New Theatre is set to take centre stage as a world-class venue for the best awarding-winning productions including dance, drama, opera, West End musicals and more for generations to come. The support for this opening event has been incredible with thousands of people looking forward to enjoying the performance at the theatre and the live screening in Queens Gardens.

“We also welcome the first of the theatre’s touring productions – the critically acclaimed National Theatre’s Jane Eyre – on Monday. The world premiere of John Godber’s new comedy, The Kings of Hull, then follows as part of the theatre’s  autumn season which also includes Northern Ballet’s The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, hit West End show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and the Carole King musical, Beautiful.”

Earlier in the day, two free performances of Take Flight, a newly commissioned dance piece by The Royal Ballet and Hull 2017 is being presented in Trinity Square, with Hull Minster as a backdrop. Based on Swan Lake, the new work by the Company’s learning and participation team, choreographed by Rachel Attfield, is being performed by pupils from four local dance schools, the Lyn Wilson and Heather Shepherdson School of Dance (LWHS), McKeown Irish Dance Academy, Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) and Skelton Hooper School of Dance and Theatre. This performance is supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming The Royal Ballet for an extraordinary day of dance. Opening the New kicks off an exciting next chapter for Hull New Theatre and the city’s future as a centre for culture and creativity. With some of the world’s finest ballet stars taking part, several with roots in Hull, and 100 aspiring dancers from across the city also performing on the day, it underlines its reputation for this major artform. “

Excavations begin at the site of Henry VIII Hull Fortress

Remains of King Henry VIII’s Hull fortress are being revealed this month as excavations take place at the site of the South Blockhouse.

Two trenches have been opened, exposing parts of the brick structure, with the investigations due to take place throughout September.

To coincide with Heritage Open Days, there will be two open days at the site Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 September, with the walls of the Blockhouse being marked out on the ground, finds on display, information boards and members of the Humber Field Archaeology team on hand to answer questions about the findings of the excavations.

This follows a similar event in July, where the walls were marked out for two days and pupils from Victoria Dock Primary School were able to learn more about the site and design cannons with specialist community archaeologist from Historic England, Jon Kenny.

As the investigations proceed during September, there will be weekly open days on Tuesdays’ 12, 19 and 26 September, where the results of the work will be updated.

Humber Field Archaeology is the team behind the excavations. Project Manager Ken Steedman said:

“This is a hugely exciting excavation. Henry VIII chose to build the South Blockhouse to defend the city of Hull because of its significant strategic position. Our investigations on the monument will expose parts of the thick walls of this important building and people are welcome to come and visit us during the Heritage Open Days.

“When we worked on the site in 1997, we discovered an iron-breech loading cannon, similar to those recovered from Henry’s sunken warship, The Mary Rose, which is now in the Hull and East Riding Museum. We may not find anything quite as large or exciting as that this time, but we are anticipating uncovering some very useful information about the Blockhouse.”

The potential development of the South Blockhouse as a visitor attraction has been included as part of the Hull Old Town Heritage Action Zone, an initiative funded by Historic England to help make heritage a key part of the city’s regeneration.

A vision for next major city centre regeneration site revealed

King Ed Sq 2 (small) Albion St (small)Albion Sq aerial (small)


As plans for major investment and the redevelopment of Kingston House, Bond Street are unveiled, Hull City Council has today revealed stunning new visuals for the development of neighbouring Albion Square.

The images show the vision and scale of the proposed development of this prime city centre site, which is identified as a priority  Enterprise zone in Hull and is allocated in the council’s new Local Plan for a retail led mixed use development. The 1.7 hectare area earmarked for development encompasses the former BHS and Co-op building, the Edwin Davis building, the Albion Street car park.

Hull City Council’s development brief for the site proposes an ambitious, high quality, mixed use development featuring high-quality retail, housing, leisure and enhanced parking facilities set around an enclosed courtyard.

The site has also been identified as a potential home for a newly-built ice arena, meaning the current site on Kingston Street may be redeveloped into prime city centre housing in the future, potentially producing a significant capital receipt which could be used to fund this or further redevelopment.

The plans also include the ambition to retain the 1963 Italian glass mosaic Three Ships mural by Alan Boyeson that has attracted much public support since the closure of BHS.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder for economic investment and regeneration said:

“Following the announcement of key private investment into the full redevelopment of Kingston House, we are delighted to introduce our vision for Albion Square.

“The site is the only one of its size in the primary shopping area of the city centre and could deliver a significant element of the additional retail floor space projected to be needed in the city over the next 15 years.

“These two developments, together with the newly refurbished Hull New Theatre and opening of the UTC, both in September, will breathe a whole new lease of life into this area of the city centre.

“Following the regeneration of the Fruit Market and the public realm improvements, it is time to focus on the core of the City Centre’s retail circuit. The visuals released today show the ambition for this development and provide the platform to securing further private sector investment into this part of the city.

“However, this investment will be largely dependent on ensuring private sector confidence in the city centre continues and central to this is ensuring that the city centre remains the destination for all significant retail development.

“The Albion Square scheme alone would be worth around £130m to the local economy, providing much-needed jobs for local people, alongside regenerating a area of the city centre that has been neglected for many years.  It would also help to further strengthen the retail and leisure offer of the city centre as whole, and in turn attract greater footfall and spend to the city centre.”

A report will go to the council’s cabinet in October to approve proposals for assembling the site and marketing the scheme to potential developer partner.

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).