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Kingston-Upon-Hull Beyond City of Culture

Updated on August 23, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Made in Hull

Light show for the start of City of Culture 2017 in Victoria Square when the city’s story was told flashed on buildings including the Maritime Museum and Feren’s Art Gallery
Light show for the start of City of Culture 2017 in Victoria Square when the city’s story was told flashed on buildings including the Maritime Museum and Feren’s Art Gallery

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

The cold and rain did not deter visitors inside and outside of the Ferens in 2017
The cold and rain did not deter visitors inside and outside of the Ferens in 2017

Ferens Annual Open or Winter Exhibition 2017

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The Ferens Art Gallery

The Ferens has permanent exhibitions as well as a changing program of installations and temporary exhibitions.

The Ferens was closed for around 16 months to undergo a major £5.2m refurbishment ahead of the 2017 City of Culture.

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.

Location

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
Carr Lane
Hull
HU1 3RA

General Enquiries via Hull City Council 01482 300300

School and Group Booking – 01482 318733

Opening Hours

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 Poppies

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This building is City HallThe blade was 75m long and impressiveA weeping window of ceramic poppiesAmazing to see
This building is City Hall
This building is City Hall
The blade was 75m long and impressive
The blade was 75m long and impressive
A weeping window of ceramic poppies
A weeping window of ceramic poppies
Amazing to see
Amazing to see

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.

Fountain Fun

Town Docks is on the right of this image
Town Docks is on the right of this image | Source

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.

Opening Times

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

Wilberforce House

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.

Location

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 Transport

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My sister-in-law having funOn Hull's Big Bus Day a WW! ambulance was on display with appropriately dressed volunteerOne room has old machines such as the Laughing Policemen still in working order for a priceOn temporary display in Mandela Gardens
My sister-in-law having fun
My sister-in-law having fun
On Hull's Big Bus Day a WW! ambulance was on display with appropriately dressed volunteer
On Hull's Big Bus Day a WW! ambulance was on display with appropriately dressed volunteer
One room has old machines such as the Laughing Policemen still in working order for a price
One room has old machines such as the Laughing Policemen still in working order for a price
On temporary display in Mandela Gardens
On temporary display in Mandela Gardens

Have you visited Kingston-upon-Hull?

Which Museum have you visited?

See results

The Spurn Lightship

© 2018 Ethel Smith

Comments

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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      12 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes it has improved in many ways but sadly still some way to go. But we do have great events now and our free museums and gallery are first class

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      12 months ago from UK

      We had a really good 2 night break in Hull several years ago. It helped to have lovely summer weather. There was so much to do. Since then we have returned several times.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      12 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      The poppies and blade were great to see. We are very lucky with our local museum service but whether it is sustainable I am not sure

      Thanks Peggy

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      You certainly have your share of museums in Kingston-upon-Hull. The fact of so many of them being open and free to the public is particularly nice. I really enjoyed viewing your photos. That ceramic poppy display is spectacular! It must be something to see it in person.

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