The first of occasional blog posts , a contribution to the preparations of my home city as it becomes
I'm going to be kind about Kingston upon Hull. The City of Culture for 2017 is just my favourite City north of the Humber , west of Leeds and south of Newcastle. I have known it for 68 years and 8 months and 17days. I love its potential and I love its blatant cheek. Its so needs to be City of Culture 2017 and most of all its people need to stop complaining about the City Council, the fat Cats owning derelict land, the state of Edwin Davis's, the bad Town planning of the 1960s and 70s and just RISE ABOVE IT and start being positive.
I've been watching the billboarding as one comes into Paragon from all other stations in the country. There we have it. For like Bristol and Oban one can only go into Kingston on Hull on the train . The Scarborough to Sheffield train goes into Hull and out again . A hundred and 20 years ago Hull was a thoroughfare for migrants from Baltic States, and my own economic migrant Great Grandfather, Benjamin John Elder Bruce . Having been Chief Waterworks Engineer for the City of Hull in the 1870s he took all his large family to New York in the 1890s, with the exception of my grandfather who was an Engineer on Wilson line .(Later Ellerman Wilson Line). The platform for Migrants travelling through Hull to Liverpool is still there at Paragon Station.
My credentials and right to speak -
- born in Albert Avenues Ingarvie Nursing home before the NHS. Brought into the world by my aunt , a Midwife who volunteered and gave her time freely to help her sister peri and post natally . Born in the year that saw a huge rise in births after the war .
- born as eldest of a family of 5 who rented a small flat in Marlborough Avenue, rather than live with in -laws in a city where bombing had razed to the ground all social housing on a scale never seen before.
- born into a City still reeling from the devastation and trauma of years of war whose only consolation was that it was known, though never allowed to glory in being ,just A city on the East coast
- Educated at Cavendish Road Primary School and the innovative and bold Scheme tried but failed called, Greatfield High School with 3 schools on campus, Newton Hall. Shakespeare Hall and Elizabethan Hall
- Nurtured by a local family , encouraged, and affirmed. A child taken to the New Theatre to see Opera and Ballet in the afternoon matinees.
- Taught to appreciate the local area, from Holderness to the Wolds and walked round Old Hull and shown interesting pre war remnants .
- A teenager who spent Saturdays going to the Library in Albion Street and the City Hall for the Halle and had a season ticket for Hull Choral Union, whose best friend's Dad worked at Reckitts and had read more books than I'd even heard of and could talk on any subject .
- A young person who discovered Ferens Art Gallery in the days when the cafe was upstairs, and coffee out in Fields was a treat , and who was not allowed to go to the milk bar (I ask u!) near Whiting and Pitts where all the incrowd of the 6th form went or the Locarno where everyone else went .
- Someone who has lived away from Hull and returned to appreciate it , having an informed perspective
I left home as soon as I could, and went alone to work in London , getting a flat with a girl from college who I barely knew , and worked , married and lived there for years . A City of Culture I really know about , I return to the Capital as often as I can . I know what Kingston upon Hull could be as a Culture Hub. London it will never be, why would anyone want it to be something its not ? Its a unique , historic, gutsy city, and I'm going to give it some encouragement of of my own over the next 13 months before 2017.
Toads and Larkin
Weekend in Hull