Its most famous resident, the poet Philip Larkin, scathingly referred to it as a place “where only salesmen and relations come.” But fans of the poet are being encouraged to follow in his footsteps on a new trail through Hull and the East Riding.
The Larkin Trail will be marked by signs going up in 25 locations ahead of an official launch on April 20. Starting with one of his favourite haunts, the Royal Hotel, the walk takes in City Hall, where he indulged his passion for jazz, visits Marks & Spencer on Whitefriargate where he encountered “cheap clothes/Set out in simple sizes plainly”, and takes in the evocatively named Land of Green Ginger, his home on Pearson Park and of course Hull University, and the Brynmor Jones Library where Larkin worked for 30 years.
The trail – which continues to remote Spurn Point – follows on from the year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of his death.
United Creatives, a design agency from Manchester, came up with the Victorian-inspired signs, which will be painted or fixed on buildings. Emily Penn, from Larkin25, said: “They are text-heavy and are meant to look beautiful but enlighten people as to the place they are in. Larkin loved exploring the city and he loved exploring the coast on foot, on bike and on the train.”
Ms Penn said she hoped it would prove as popular as the Larkin toad sculptures, which adorned the city last summer. “The tourist information centres had lots of inquiries about the trail and we are pretty sure people will come specifically for it and it will draw new tourists in.”
Councillors meet on Wednesday to decide whether to allow a sign to be painted on the White Hart pub and on number 7, Land of Green Ginger. A website accompanies the trail, including recordings of Larkin reading his poems, his photographs and a downloadable podcast guide to the city.