Walk 112: Hull City Centre Circular: Exploring the Land of Green Ginger…a city of culture

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: Now this a city walk so we’re not going to estimate how far we walked as we spent 2 days there & this walk’s an amalgamation of where we went. However, Hull Old Town is a fairly small place so if you want to do it all at once, it’s probably about 2.5 miles

Time to walk: No limits on this one

Difficulty: Easy, flat & all on hard paths

Parking: We stayed in the Premier Inn & can recommend it

Public toilets: Cafes, bars etc

Map of the route: There isn’t one as we wandered all over the place, & this walk combines the best of what we saw

The last time we visited Hull was as a youngster on a day trip, with the highlight being a crossing of the mighty Humber on the ‘Tattershall Castle‘, now moored on the Thames. That was of course in the days before the Humber Bridge strode across the brown waters in all its majesty

This was also the place where we bought our first 45 single record from a record shop in an arcade which we’ll visit later – it was ‘Devil’s Answer’ by Atomic Rooster & we still have it some 50 years later

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. The town of Wyke on Hull was founded late in the 12th century when the monks of Meaux Abbey needed a port from where the wool from their estates could be exported. They chose a place at the joining of the rivers Hull & Humber to build a quay. The exact year the town was founded is not known, but it was first mentioned in 1193. Renamed Kings-town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, Hull has been a market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing & whaling centre & industrial metropolis

Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars. Its 18th century Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, took a prominent part in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain as we’ll see later

The city is also unique in the UK in having had a municipally-owned telephone system dating back to 1902, sporting cream, not red, telephone boxes

In 2017 Hull was the UK City of Culture &, in the same year, the city’s Ferens Art Gallery hosted the prestigious annual Turner Prize which is held outside London every other year. The City of Culture award meant that there was significant investment in the city

Our walk centres very much on the old town & waterfront. We weren’t sure what to expect having heard some unsavoury tales but, as you’ll see, we were pleasantly surprised

Let’s Walk!

1. Todays walk starts right in the middle of the impressive Queen Victoria Square by the large statue…

What you’re actually looking at, although you can’t see them are some amazing toilets that date back to 1923 with original urinals, sinks & tiles. We went down into the gents to have a closer inspection & it really is worth a look

It makes a change for us to say “relieved” rather than ‘refreshed’, but after exiting the toilet ahead’s the imposing City Hall. It doesn’t perform an administrative function for Hull’s council, as this is based in the Guildhall, but is home to a grand central hall which plays host to a varied programme of concerts including pop, rock & classical music as well as civic functions such as graduation ceremonies for the University of Hull. When we were there Gary Barlow was doing a two night stint

2. At the left side of the building look for the start of the Seven Seas Fish Trail, an A- Z pavement trail of fish creating a tour of the historic Old Town. 41 pieces of sculpture made from traditional materials make up this impressive piece of public art. The artist Gordon Young created the trail of sculptures in 1992, representing the actual size of fish with life size pieces, from a tiny anchovy to a 10ft ray

His sense of humour is clear with the placing of a plaice in the market place, an electric eel outside the electricity sub station & a shark outside a bank!

3. Let’s have a look at the other buildings around the square. Firstly opposite the Tourist Office is the extremely ornate & eye-catching Punch Hotel…

Originally built in 1845, a rebuild was commissioned by the Hull Brewery Company from 1895-6 when the area was redeveloped. The new elaborate frontage was designed by Smith, Broderick & Lowther. Now a Grade II listed building the Punch Hotel is recognised by many, including us, as an architectural masterpiece

Next door’s Ferens Art Gallery which is free & well worth a visit. The site & money for the gallery were donated to the city by Thomas Ferens, after whom it is named. Opened in 1927, it was restored & extended in 1991. The gallery features an extensive array of both permanent collections & roving exhibitions

In May 2015, it was announced that the gallery would get a £4.5 million makeover to enable it to host the Turner Prize in 2017 as part of the UK City of Culture programme. The gallery reopened on 13 January 2017 & on 8 February 2017, Charles, Prince of Wales & Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited the gallery to view the completed refurbishment. In January 2018, Hull City Council announced that a record 519,000 visits has been made to the gallery during 2017

4. Directly opposite the City Hall are two further impressive buildings…

On the left’s the old Yorkshire Penny Bank which got its name because, up until 1959, the size of its minimum deposit was one penny. The more famous building’s on the right which is the Maritime Museum. The museum, originally known as the Museum of Fisheries & Shipping, opened in 1912 in Pickering Park. It moved to its current location, the Dock Offices building, in 1974. The Dock Offices building used to be the former headquarters of the Hull Dock Company, which operated all the docks in Hull until 1893. Built in 1872, it’s a Grade II listed building & a striking example of Victorian architecture

The museum primarily concerns itself with Hull’s maritime history from the 19th century onwards, including an entire gallery to Hull’s whaling industry, which peaked in the early 19th century. Dozens of vessels ventured into the Arctic waters (particularly those around Greenland) during this period. The gallery contains personal effects, shipboard items, models, & artwork & Inuit artifacts, including a kayak

Another gallery details the city’s North Sea fishing industry which rose to prominence in the mid 19th century. This gallery makes use of models of the industry’s various ocean-going vessels, from simple cobles to large trawlers

During Hull’s year as UK City of Culture the Maritime Museum played a prominent role in the opening three month season entitled ‘Made in Hull’. At the opening event during the first week the building was one of three in Victoria Square which had multimedia projections displayed on them, attracting over 300,000 visitors. Throughout the three month season the Museum hosted a multimedia installation called Bowhead depicting a Bowhead whale

When we visited there was a fantastic exhibition about Ernest Shackleton

5. Walk round the other side of the buildings, cross the road & stand in Queen’s Gardens. Where you are standing until 1930 was water. This site was once the largest dock in the UK, measuring 518 metres long & 75 metres wide. Built by the Hull Dock Company in 1775, the dock was originally designed by the Liverpool engineer, Henry Berry, but the plan was later modified by John Grundy. It cost under £65,000 to construct & was officially opened on 22nd September 1778

It was known as ‘the dock’ as it was the only one in Hull until the opening of Humber Dock in 1809 & then it was referred to as ‘the old dock’. It was later given the name, Queen’s Dock, after Queen Victoria’s visit to Hull in 1854

There’s a couple more interesting buildings that can be seen from here. At the end of Guildhall Road unsurprisingly lies…the Guildhall. The site of The Guildhall has experienced considerable change since 1333, when an early building hosted Corporation business between the Mayor & Alderman. The building was described as a moot hall, common hall & guildhall & was located at the southern end of Market Place. This building survived until the early 19th century. A second guildhall was built to the north of the first building during the 1630s. Shortly after 1800, this guildhall was demolished to make way for Queen Street

The new Town Hall was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick (the designer of Leeds Town Hall) & opened in 1866. Shortly after, Kingston upon Hull was granted city status in 1897 a larger building was sought. Land to the west of the Town Hall was bought as foundations for the present Guildhall which began with law courts, a council chamber & offices & was completed in 1907

Over the road’s another very attractive looking pub…The Empress

6. Walk back to the front of the Maritime Museum & cross towards Princes Quay

On the left’s a very big hole in the ground known as Beverley Gate, which formed one of the ancient gateways into the city walls. It’s the site where King Charles I arrived with his court & found the town gates closed & his way barred by the town Governor, Sir John Hotham on a wet St. Georges Day Saturday the 23rd of April, 1642. The Governor had taken this action on the instruction of Parliament to protect its large magazine of arms. It is said that King Charles considered this a traitorous act that culminated in the start of the English Civil War

7. Turn right along the water along Princes Dock Road where can be found some attractive looking restaurants…

Also on the left’s Roland House, formerly known as Ferres Hospital…

Walk through the rather ornate archway…

…to arrive in Zebedees Yard, a stunning 2000 square metre enclosed space surrounding by listed buildings.  This was originally the parade ground for Hull’s Maritime Naval School Trinity House which dates back to the 1700’s, but has now been designed to be a unique 5000 capacity events & concert venue

8. Walk through the gates on the right into Dagger Lane. The large building on the right was once the site of the Hull Brewery…

Opposite’s a rather more ornate building which was formerly the chapel for a Seaman’s Mission. The Seamen’s Mission was built in 1886 by MP Charles Wilson who owned a shipping line & was a kind of club & hostel for sailors situated just opposite the offices of the Local Marine Board, where sailors would have to sign on & get paid off when going to sea. It was extended in 1926 to form the Mariners’ Church of the Good Shepherd

9. Turn left down the very old & beautiful Prince Street whose Georgian charm has been well conserved over the years…

…& at the end of which we’re greeted by the fantastic sight of Minster Square which contains the largest parish church by floor area in England…

10. Hull really has gone to town with this vast, yet beautiful area & it’s a great place to sit & just admire the Minster, whilst at the same time, watching the terrific water features & the patterns they make – very clever!

Founded in 1285, just before Edward I established Kingston upon Hull, the last of the building work was consecrated in 1425. It’s considered to contain what is widely acknowledged to be some of the finest medieval brick work in the country, particularly in the transepts. The clock is also the largest 4 faced church clock in Britain

In November 2014 plans were unveiled to reorder the church, creating an outstanding venue for performances, exhibitions & banquets, a visitor destination, & a place where those in need of help can find assistance. The aim was to create a place for the whole community, & a venue that would be a driving force in the regeneration of Hull’s Old Town. If you think the outside is impressive, then the inside is even more…

The first thing that strikes you as you walk through the door is the sheer vastness of the place, including the roof…

The stained glass windows are also impressive…

…as is the organ, which is rare & renowned, the oldest parts of which date back to the 18th century

However, our favourite part of the Minster was the area that was dedicated to the fishing industry of the city & some of the really old & tattered looking flags that were adorning it

The Minster also contains some Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson furniture which has his trademark mice. The carpenter earned the nickname ‘The Mouseman of Kilburn’ for the trademark images of mice he used to carve on to each piece of furniture. His penchant for the distinctive carvings is said to have been born when a fellow carpenter told Mr Thompson that they were as poor as church mice. Mr Thompson shunned mass production & instead replicated the style of medieval woodcarvers. See if you can spot them as you go around…

11. Back out into the square, there’s a few more buildings of note. Firstly, the rather stately  Trinity House, which was formally established in 1369, by the adoption of the ‘first subscription deed’, in which Robert Marshall, & around fifty other people founded the Guild of the Holy Trinity, similar to other religious guilds of the day.  In 1457 Edward IV granted the rights of lowage & stowage (duties payable for loading & unloading), enabling the guild to build an almshouse & chapel for thirteen persons impoverished by some misfortune relating to seafaring

In 1541 Henry VIII re-affirmed the guild’s rights & in 1567 Elizabeth I granted it the powers to settle disputes between ships’ masters & seamen, & to prevent any seamen thought unfit to take charge of a vessel

The Trinity House became an important institution in Hull in the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries, with some influence over civic matters, as well as supporting & opposing bills in parliament relating to the towns trade & port

In 1785 a marine school was founded on the property of the Trinity House which opened in 1787 with 36 boys. Students were taught reading, writing, accountancy, religion, & navigation for three years after which they were apprenticed. The school moved to a new building in 1842

12. Opposite’s the Old Grammar School, which was founded around 1330 & endowed by Dr. John Alcock (Bishop of Rochester, Worcester, & Ely, & then Lord Chancellor of England & founder of Jesus College, Cambridge) in 1479. The School flourished until its revenues were seized under the Chantries Act of 1547. The people of Hull objected & eventually re-established the school. In 1586 the school was declared the property of the Crown. In the following year Queen Elizabeth I gave the school house, the garden, & other tenements to Luke Thurcross, the then mayor, & others. He, in 1604, being the only survivor of those who had obtained this grant, gave his interest in the school & gardens to four trustees for the use of the mayor & burgesses. The appointment of masters was now in the hands of the Corporation, & by the charter of James I, the right of presentation was secured to them

The Education Act of 1944 made the LEA fully responsible for the school. In 1969 the school became comprehensive & in 1988, the Grammar School lost its sixth form & was renamed the William Gee School for Boys, which merged with the nearby Amy Johnson School for girls in 2001 to form the Endeavor High School. The merged school was subsequently placed in special measures, and finally closed in the summer of 2015

It’s most famous pupil was William Wilberforce who we’ll see more of later, but the statue outside is of another pupil, the poet Andrew Marvell

13. Walk back down the sedate Prince Street & turn left along Dagger Lane once more. On the left, outside Furley & Co coffee shop’s a blue plaque showing that this was once the site of Newton Bros, founded by Hull born Sir Alfred James Newton, the first Chairman of Harrods & Lord Mayor of London in 1899

14. At the bottom of Dagger Lane cross busy Castle Street to arrive at the splendid Hull Marina….

It was opened in 1983 on the site of the former Railway Dock & Humber Docks & is home to 270 berths & during the summer plays host to the city’s Jazz & Sea Shanty Festivals

It’s also home to the Spurn Lightship which was built in 1927 & served for 48 years as a navigation aid in the approaches of the Humber Estuary, where it was stationed 4.5 miles east of Spurn Point. On 15 April 1959, the lightship was driven ashore in the River Hull at Woodmansey, Yorkshire. It was decommissioned in 1975 & bought & restored by Hull City Council in 1983 before being moved to Hull Marina as a museum in 1987

15. Walk along Humber Dock Street passing a replica of Nelson‘s Schooner ‘Pickle’ which was a topsail schooner of the Royal Navy. She was originally a civilian vessel named Sting, of six guns, that Lord Hugh Seymour purchased to use as a tender on the Jamaica station. ‘Pickle’ was at the Battle of Trafalgar, & though she was too small to take part in the fighting, was the first ship to bring the news of Nelson’s victory to Great Britain. She also participated in a notable single-ship action when she captured the French privateer Favorite in 1807

‘Pickle’ was wrecked in 1808, but without loss of life. In 1995 a recreation of “Pickle” was constructed in Russia & is now berthed in Hull Marina on the Humber

16. Now….those that know us, know that we like a ‘refreshment’ stop & in this case it was food & drink! So, walking past The Minerva right on the seafront on a Sunday afternoon we heard the sound of incredible live sea shanty music. Walking in we found one room completely occupied by musicians & singers making an amazing noise. It’s a fabulous pub, selling some great local beers &……the homemade steak pie is to die for!!

17. Suitably stuffed we retrace our steps down Humber Dock Street & turn right along Humber Street into the old Fruit Market which is where the city’s latest development’s going on, transforming it into a really vibrant area with a mix of housing, retail property & art galleries….

The area has a real vibe about it…

…but there’s still signs of a day gone by

18. At the end of the road turn right & walk down to the seafront one more. Here is Victoria Pier where the ferry brought us on that trip before the Humber Bridge was built. Today there’s a few more modern buildings such as The Deep

The Deep is a public aquarium situated at Sammy’s Point, where the river Hull & the Humber Estuary meet. It opened in March 2002, billed as “the world’s only submarium”, the tanks contain thousands of sea creatures, 2,500,000 litres of water & 87 tonnes of salt housed in a building designed by Sir Terry Farrell & built as part of the UK National Lottery’s Millennium Commission project

It’s also a landmark centre for marine research. Staff marine biologists look after the animals in The Deep‘s collection as well as carrying out research into the marine environment

19. On the seafront’s a statue called ‘Voyage’ which also has a sister sculpture in Vik on the south coast of Iceland. They symbolise the bond created by more than 1000 years of sea trading between Hull & Iceland

As well as being a tribute to the fishermen of both places, they’re also a memorial to those who have lost their lives. Thirty years after the last Cod War, the sculptures were commissioned to commemorate the links between the two countries. Both the figures face out to sea to emphasise that the waters that divide the islands are also the routes that unite them


20. Walk back along Queen Street towards the Old Town centre once more. On the right’s the impressive flood defence system, the Tide Barrier. The Hull Barrier is a 212 tonne, 98 ft wide gate which is supported between two towers that house the operating machinery.
The barrier is closed about 12 times a year & has protected Hull from the effects of more than 30 high tidal surges since it opened in April 1980

Just before Castle Street we came across a mural & wondered if it was a Banksy as there had been several of them springing up around the city recently

21. Cross Castle Street once more, this time into the wide Market Place. Slap bang in the middle of the road, above more apparently plush public toilets, is a rather grand statue of King William III, William of Orange

King Billy, as the statue is affectionately known, sits where the bear baiting ring was in previous times. Hull was the first large city in Britain to swear their allegiance to the new King when he deposed James II in 1685. This came about as Parliament thought that James was to change the state religion to Catholic & they wanted to remain Protestant. Williams mother, Mary, was daughter of Charles I & then William had married Mary, his first cousin & eldest surviving daughter of James II, when he was the Duke of York. She was therefore the next in line to the throne after James II. William refused however to be consort to Queen Mary, or only as King during her lifetime, & threatened to leave the country. Parliament thought it better to have a Protestant King & so it was the connivance of the Houses of Lords & Commons that declared them joint Rulers, but William would exercise the regal power for both of them. They were crowned in April 1689. He died in 1702

It was the only piece of public art in Hull to be removed to safety for the Second World War when it was taken to Sancton near Market Weighton. It was reinstated in 1948

There are several myths concerning the statue. The first is that Scheemaker committed suicide when he realised that he had forgotten the stirrups, but in fact as he is depicted as a Roman & they didn’t have stirrups at the time! It’s also said that when the clock of Holy Trinity strikes midnight King Billy gets off his horse & goes for a drink in the nearby pub. It’s also said that when it strikes thirteen the horse also get down for a pint too!

22. Turn left along the back of the Minster to arrive at one of the city’s gems…Trinity Market (the best is yet to come though!)

Trinity Market dates back to Edwardian times & has recently undergone a £3m renovation. It’s now starting to attract back many individual traders, but it’s the central, street food style stalls that are the stars. If you’re hungry then you can eat pretty authentic food from all around the world

23. Walk through though & into the ornate & magnificent Hepworth Arcade which reminds us of other ones like you find in London & Cardiff. It’s where Mr Marks & Mr Spencer opened one of their first penny bazaars

Joseph Hepworth took the first steps towards building his dream arcade in 1888 when he purchased a number of plots along Market Place, which now runs along the South of this covered throughfare. During the next few years, Hepworth struck bargains & snapped up other plots which were home to chemists, milliners, confectioners & even a “tallyman” which would all make way for his grand edifice

The original intention to name it Victoria Arcade in honour of the reigning monarch was dropped by Hepworth in favour of naming it after himself! We’re pretty sure that it was here we purchased that first record!

What shouldn’t be missed though on any trip to Hull is Dinsdale’s Famous Joke & Trick shop, which took us straight back to our childhoods (& some rather adult things too!). It’s window is crammed with everything & anything imaginable & you could spend hours looking, pointing & giggling!

24. Come out of the Arcade into Market Street, cross the road & walk down Scale Lane…

We’re now entering some of the oldest parts of the city &, in the evening there are some fabulous, characteristic bars to try along here. Firstly, on the left is WM Hawkes Alehouse which doesn’t look much from the outside. It takes its name from William Hawkes, a gunmaker, who manufactured bespoke guns & rifles at the premises back in 1810

However, once you walk through the front door it’s an Aladdin’s cave of nik-naks which run through both bars

25. Across the Lane’s Hull’s oldest domestic building which now houses the appropriately named The Old House pub. We ate here & the chef used to cook at The Fat Duck in Bray & Gideon Park – so very experienced

And then, facing them at the end of the Lane is the Lion & Key, which is apparently recommended for its fish & chips

26. Walk straight on towards the quay & Scale Lane swing bridge…

Scale Lane swing bridge links Scale Lane with Tower Street & is the only moving bridge in the world where people can stay on it as it swings open! The iconic footbridge has won many prestigious national & international awards, including a World Architecture News Transport Award, Civic Trust Award, Civic Trust Special Award For Community Impact & Engagement, World Architecture Festival Transport Award, Living Waterways Award, RIBA Yorkshire Award & Hull Civic Society Award

It has been widely published in books & press around the world. The design was praised in the Observer which said it was a ‘destination in its own right’. It’s listed by the Architectural Digest (USA) as one of ‘Worlds 20 Most Impressive Bridges’

27. There’s another view of the barrier to the right – you can see the tide was out!!

We turn left along the quay towards the rather large moored ship…

The Arctic Corsair is Hull’s last surviving sidewinder trawler, a type of ship that formed the backbone of the city’s deep sea fishing fleet. She was built in 1960, at Cook, Welton & Gemmell in Beverley, & was the second diesel-engined trawler built for the Boyd Line, the first being the Arctic Cavalier which was launched the previous month. She was designed for the harsh conditions encountered in the Icelandic grounds, having a rivetted rather than welded hull

In September 1967 she was holed on her starboard side in a collision off the coast of Scotland with the Irish collier Olive in thick fog. Attempting to reach harbour in Wick she was beached in Sinclair Bay, but eventually repaired & refloated. In 1973, the Arctic Corsair broke the world record for landing of cod & haddock from the White Sea. On 30 April 1976 during the cod wars, she rammed the offshore patrol vessel ICGV Odin in the stern, after Odin had made three attempts to cut the Corsair’s trawl warps. The skipper, Charles Pitts, said that Icelandic seamen were becoming “more ambitious & dangerous in their tactics”. With his ship holed below the waterline, & patched up temporarily by the Royal Navy, Pitts decided to head for home for permanent repairs. Arctic Corsair was out of action for several months

In 1978 she was converted for midwater trawling, & in 1981 laid up at Hull. In 1985 she was taken out of retirement & reconverted for normal fishing. She was renamed Arctic Cavalier in 1988. In 1991, a campaign led by Adam Fowler of STAND secured £45,000 from the DTI Hull Task Force which enabled Hull City Council to purchase the trawler in 1993. The vessel was immediately renamed Arctic Corsair again, & moored in the River Hull for use as a museum ship

28. As the sign says, we’re now entering The Museum Quarter which is simply superb – well done Hull!

It’s possible to turn down one of the alleys to reach the museums & there’s some great sculptures along here celebrating Hull’s past…

But we first want to see another bridge, a couple of hundred yards further along the Quay…this is Drypool Bridge which was given a colourful facelift inspired by the work of 19th century Hull born mathematician & philosopher John Venn

Walk up onto it to get the full effect – it really is impressive

29. Turn left & then left again into the old High Street & the Museum Quarter

30. The first of the museums we come to is Wilberforce House, birthplace of William Wilberforce (1759–1833), the British politician, abolitionist & social reformer

William Wilberforce was MP for Kingston upon Hull & was most influential in the abolition of slavery in Great Britain & its colonies, which became his life’s work. The house is now a museum showcasing the life & work of one of Hull’s most famous sons. The museum re-opened on 25 March 2007, after a two year £1.6 million redevelopment, in time for the 200th anniversary of Wilberforce’s Act of Parliament abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire

The new exhibition has a broad focus on the history of slavery in addition to items relating to the life & work of Wilberforce. The front garden to the museum contains a statue of Wilberforce which underwent a £10,000 restoration in 2011. The statue was designated a Grade II in 1994 & is now recorded in the National Heritage List for England, maintained by Historic England

Some of the slavery items are quite shocking & humbling…

On leaving the building walk out the back & spend a few moments in the beautiful walled garden which contains the wall sculptures we saw earlier

31. From the garden turn right into the next of the museums…the Streetlife Museum of Transport

This is another museum where you can spend a few hours. The roots of the collection date back to the early 20th century, however the purpose-built museum was opened in 1989 by the then Hull East MP, John Prescott. Core areas of the collection include veteran cars, horse-drawn carriages & objects relating to local public transport

32. Walk out into the courtyard which is a peaceful place to sit for a while before taking in the next museum…

Mind the frog though!!

33. The other museum here’s the Hull & East Riding Museum where more 200 million years of history from the region are brought to life, from majestic mammoths, to Saxon warriors

34. Come back out onto the Old High Street. The large building on the left was once the Corn Exchange…

…which was originally the site of the old Customs House. Directly across from that’s Maister House which is owned by the National Trust, but when we visited was being sold due to unforeseen circumstances

Rebuilt in 1743 after a fire, this merchant’s house survives from Kingston-upon-Hull’s international trading heyday

35. The Old High Street really is a fab place to stroll & quite narrow in places & also quite quiet

Now…if there’s one pub you have to visit in Hull it’s Ye Olde Black Boy on the right. The first reference to licensed premises here is in 1729, when William Smith & his wife Mary, purchased a garden at the rear of their house & erected a brewhouse on the site. The name of the pub first appears in 1748 when a deed involving William Hayton, baker, mentions the Black Boy to the south of his land, which was the property of the heirs of William Smith, deceased

It’s difficult to date the Black Boy, as its shape has probably not altered from when Gastryk House was demolished & the plot divided-up. There are re-used medieval bricks over the passage, now part of the upstairs private kitchen, & 18th or 17th century bricks in the walls. The building has probably been extensively repaired at various times rather then demolished & totally rebuilt. When it was to-let in 1808, a pipemaker’s shop was also included

The bar is so atmospheric, plus they also sell our favourite beer, Adnams Broadside which can be complimented with one of the most amazing pork pies – what a perfect combination!!

36. Walk back a few steps (or waddle if you’ve had more than one Broadside) & turn left down the narrow alley…

…& cross straight over where it gets even more narrow

We were told by Keith that this was originally the poor area of the town

37. We walk through the gap & turn right. Now..unfortunately it’s time for another pub stop & this is another one worth exploring – it’s Ye Olde White Hart

Destined as it was to be the property of kings & the home of governors, this fascinating pub is steeped in history going back hundreds of years, with the present building having been constructed in 1550. It’s here at Ye Olde White Harte where the decision taken in a room in the pub in 1642 to refuse King Charles I entry in Hull is said to have been the trigger for the English Civil War

Although almost destroyed by fire in the nineteenth century, this extraordinary building has outlived the owner of the mysterious skull it houses (we got to see this), & outlasted those who have participated in great moments in England‘s history

One of the stories of the skull is that it is of a youth, & a slight fracture mark suggests he died from a blow to the head, when an angry sea captain, well doused in French brandy, used the butt of his pistol with undue strength. The boy was placed under the staircase, & there remained undiscovered until after the fire, which occurred sometime in the 19th century. Some say it was found in the attic, during the renovations of 1881, & is the remains of some poor serving girl whose hapless life was squandered, perhaps as the result of a secret liaison, that, the landlord of the time was doubtless certain to ensure remained a secret, by placing the body in a dark attic & sealing it up

Perhaps, because of its historic & cultural importance, Ye Olde White Harte has managed to remain relatively untouched over the years. Ask to go upstairs where the the deed was supposedly done, with its secret doors

38. All done? Continue down the street & turn left into the wonderfully named ‘Land of Green Ginger’

On the right’s The George Hotel. One of Hull’s most historic ale houses dating back to the 17th century, the George Hotel gained its name as it served as the gate house for the long demolished George Hotel, Guests would enter the hotel’s courtyard & a boy, who sat behind a small window, would identify hotel guests & allow them entry

This small window has now been given the prestigious title of ‘England’s smallest window’. You have to look hard to see it…

There’s also rumours of a Grey Lady who roams the bar at night

39. We now turn right along Whitefriargate which, in the Middle Ages, was home to the Carmelite Friars, also known as ‘white friars’ because of the colour of their habits

The large ornate building on the left was once the Neptune Inn, built in 1797 as the city’s premier hotel. For almost 100 years it also served as the Customs House

On the right’s The Friary fish & chip shop & we had been advised to try the local delicacy…a Hull pattie. The pattie’s a simple snack food, consisting of mashed potato, sage, sometimes a bit of chopped onion, all deep fried, & available in chippies across the city

The pattie is utterly unique to Hull. Although the pattie can be found in every fish & chip shop across the city, the spiritual home of the pattie is Bob Carver’s fish & chip shop & restaurant, close by Market Place in the heart of the city’s Old Town. The family owned business has been making patties to their secret recipe since 1888

With the secret to the perfect pattie being handed down through the generations, & currently in the safe (but slightly greasy) hands of Bob Carver, who is the third generation to run the famous Hull business. But it is his wife Carol, that is the true queen of the pattie production for the business. She is therefore Hull’s premier “patties slapper,” a Hull colloquialism both for a woman who makes “patties”, & a derogatory term for a lady of somewhat questionably loose morals

40. Continue to the top of Whitefriargate & cross over to arrive back at the start of our walk in Queen Victoria Square. So that’s our look at Hull & our opinion is that it’s definitely changed from the days when we last visited & has most certainly been helped by the money it’s received

The good news is that the city doesn’t appear to be resting on its laurels as there’s a massive programme of activity to attract visitors going forward. What’s also helped since we last went there is the incredible Humber Bridge, which is worth a trip on its own just to walk across it…

Go Walk!