Kingston-Upon-Hull Beyond City of Culture
Made in Hull
A Rough and Tough Northern City
My city Kingston-upon-Hull or plain Hull as it is called locally can, like many cities, be a rough diamond but a diamond it is.
In 2017 the city stepped into the spotlight as the country’s City of Culture 2017 but that year has long gone.
Hull however has a long and proud history of local museums plus a world class art gallery and the majority are free to enter.
If you plan to visit Hull make sure you visit at least one of our informative and stunning museums three of which are featured here.
Look out for the Spurn Lightship moored in Hull Marina and the one time fishing trawler the Arctic Corsair moored on the River Hull Close to Wilberforce House
The free entry museums and gallery are all operated by Hull City Council.
Ferens Art Gallery Made In Hull Light Show
Ferens Annual Open or Winter Exhibition 2017Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Ferens Art Gallery
The Ferens has permanent exhibitions as well as a changing program of installations and temporary exhibitions.
This gallery was a centre piece of City of Culture and it is easy to see why.
Thomas Ferens was a local politician, philanthropist and businessman who gifted this art gallery to the people of Hull.
In 1926 the then Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone for the Ferens Art Gallery which was opened in 1927 three years before Thomas Ferens died aged 83.
Ferens Art Gallery has a great central location off Queen Victoria Square. The Maritime Museum, City Hall which hosts a variety of events and Tourist Information are close by.
Part of this area is pedestrianized but traffic flows in front of the Ferens including some local buses.
A tourist trail is on offer to take visitors around the city and to its Submarium the Deep. The Deep unlike the majority of museums in Hull is pay to enter.
When you have had your fill of art enjoy a browse in the gallery shop or some refreshments in its cafe.
At either side of the gallery there is access to The Princes Quay multi-storeyed shopping centre which sits on stilts over the former dock of the same name. It houses cinemas, shops and more.
Along the waters of the old dock you will find a good range of pubs, cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining available when weather permits.
Contact Details and Location
Ferens Art Gallery
Queen Victoria Square
General Enquiries via Hull City Council 01482 300300
School and Group Booking – 01482 318733
Monday to Saturday 10am - 4.30pm - 4.30pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm
Last admission - 30 minutes before closing
The Ferens is open bank holidays (excluding Good Friday) and is closed 24 to 28 of December inclusive and 1 January.
The Blade and The Weeping Window of Ceramic PoppiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Blade Installation
One of Hull’s current booming industries is wind turbine production and installation.
Dutch company Siemen’s has invested locally and the wind turbines and associated blades which are made are huge.
For the first few months of City of Culture a huge 75m wind turbine blade was an outdoor art installation located close to the Ferens Art Gallery.
It attracted many visitors though was not unanimously praised.
But seeing it in the flesh, so to speak, was amazing.
It was quite sad when it was finally removed in March but the same month a weeping window of ceramic poppies was installed outside of the Town Docks Maritime Museum and the Blade was quickly forgotten.
The ceramic poppies were part of a nationwide tour to mark 100 years since Britain entered World War I.
Victoria Square Hull
Victoria Square Hull is so named as it has a fine old statue of Queen Victoria but unfortunately for the late queen she sits above ladies and gentleman’s lavatories.
Fast and furious traffic used to pass around these public lavatories but these days there is a wide area of pedestrianization which includes a circle of fountains spurting through the ground allowing children to play in the water.
These fountains were also part of the areas regeneration for the City of Culture.
Across from Ferens Art Gallery the old dock offices now house a fine Maritime Museum.
Visiting The Town Docks Or Maritime Museum
Walk up the stone steps to enter this museum by its main entrance.
The first thing you will see is a fine stone staircase with ornate wrought iron supporting a polished wooden bannister. The staircase splits to the right and the left taking the visitor up to the first floor galleries and rooms which follow a circular path.
Down on the ground floor a similar circular path leads from one room to another in a fascinating journey.
The building also has a rear entrance but this is not always open for visitors, it now leads to an area of Queens Gardens called the Rose Bowl which has a traditional fountain spraying a mist of water over the nearby flowers.
But the Town Dock Offices were really just that at one time and the Queen Gardens area was a working dock.
Many of the items on display in this museum are permanent displays but a large room on the first floor houses temporary exhibitions.
Items on permanent display include scrimshaw, whale bones, ship models, works of art and educational displays.
Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 16:30
Sunday - 11:00 until 16:00.
Please note final admission is 30 minutes before closing
The Rose Bowl Queens Gardens
Wilberforce House is the birthplace and one time home of the English slavery abolitionist and politician of the same name.
The building has had various refurbishments during my lifetime.
As a child I was frightened by the associated slavery implements on display which includes man-traps. At that time this house now museum featured displays in cabinets alongside social history artifacts dating back to as early as the 17th century.
On revamp of this museum resulted in an installation representing part of a slave ship with life-size figures and running commentaries.
More recently the museum has had a touch of the 21st century added and embraced technology.
Regular visitors have given this upgrade a mixed reception. The displays could in effect be housed anywhere and the character of this home and birthplace of such an important local man has been lost.
The house has pleasant gardens at the back which lead down to the River Hull.
Additional grounds called Mandela Gardens for obvious reasons are also a great place to eat a picnic lunch.
These run alongside Hull’s Streetlife Museum of Transport.
Wilberforce House Opening Times
Monday to Saturday from 10:00 until 16:30.
Sunday from 11:00 until 16:00.
Wilberforce House is on the High Street in the city’s Museum Quarter. This area of the city has some fine old buildings. Other parts of the city centre were ravaged during the Hull Blitz of WWII meaning many buildings were destroyed.
The Museums Quarter consists of four different museums, the opening times of each are below:
Hull & East Riding Museum - Monday to Saturday from 10:00 until 17:00 and Sunday from 13:30 until 16:30.
Arctic Corsair - Wednesday and Saturday from 10:00 until 16:30 and Sunday from 13:30 until 16:30.
Streetlife Museum: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 until 17:00 and Sunday from 13:30 until 16:30.
Wilberforce Museum: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 until 17:00 and Sunday from 13:30 until 16:30.
On Display at Street Life Museum of TransportClick thumbnail to view full-size
Have you visited Kingston-upon-Hull?
Which Museum have you visited?
The Spurn Lightship
© 2018 Ethel Smith