IT is the UK’s 58th biggest city, home to Yorkshire’s most successful football team of recent years, the Tigers, and is undergoing a dramatic cultural and economic transformation: here is our definitive guide to Hull.
A is for AVIATOR - Hull-born Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly solo from England to Australia when she piloted her Gipsy Moth on the 11,000-mile journey in 1930. Her plane, Jason, remains on display in the Science Museum, London.
B is for BRIDGE - not that fancy dan one that links the East Riding with the Lincolnshire wilderness but Hull bridge, which crosses the great divide between the east and west of Yorkshire’s most divided city.
C is for CULTURE, CITY of - Hull is busily preparing to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2017, a year which will see it take centre stage with a series of arts and heritage initiatives that will help showcase the city to the wider world.
D is for DEEP, THE - a spectacular aquarium featuring 3,500 fish including spectacular sharks housed in a striking building that looks boldly out to sea from the confluence of the rivers Hull and Humber.
E is for ESTUARY - Hull sits near the mouth of the Humber estuary, the point at which all the major Yorkshire rivers, plus the River Trent, make their way into the North Sea. Navigating the estuary requires considerable skill from sailors due to currents and varying depth caused by large quantities of sediment.
F is for FISHING - Hull has been a busy port city since mediaeval times and for centuries its fortunes were allied to the deep sea fishing industry. Billions of tons of fish were landed at the port but the Hull-based trawlers are now long gone, their demise accelerated by the effects of the Cod war 40 years ago.
G is for GOGGLEBOX - Friends Jenny and Lee are two of the most popular characters on the Channel 4 series Gogglebox. Their wisdom on the events of that week’s TV from Lee’s home on the Patrington Haven caravan park are often insightful and usually hilarious.
H is for HOUSEMARTINS - Between 1985 and 1988, the Housemartins had six top 20 hits including the Number 1 single Caravan of Love. Following the split three members of the band, including lead singer Paul Heaton, formed the Beautiful South
I is for ICE HOCKEY - Hull has a long tradition of hosting professional or semi-professional ice hockey going back to 1988. The club has had various iterations over the years, including Seahawks, Thunder, Stingrays and Pirates, its present name.
J is for JAIL - Hull prison has housed some of the country’s most infamous criminals, including murderer Charles Bronson, who held a teacher hostage during a riot at the jail in 1999. Ethel Major is the only woman to be executed at the jail in 1934, when she was hanged for killing her husband.
K is for KINGSTON - the city’s correct name is Kingston-upon-Hull, derived from King’s Town in honour of King Edward I who used it as a base from which to fight the Scots in the 13th century. Few people use Kingston-upon- any more; many locals have even dropped the next letter.
L is for LUFTWAFFE - The German air force wrought havoc on Hull during the Second World War when the city’s port and industrial infrastructure were a key target for the Nazis. It was the most bombed British city after London with 95 per cent of houses destroyed or damaged in air raids which claimed the lives of 1,200 civilians.
M is for MICK RONSON - Hull’s most influential musician, Mick Ronson was the key figure behind the success of David Bowie’s ground-breaking albums The Man Who Fell To Earth, Hunky Dory and The Spiders From Mars. He also co-produced Lou Reed’s album Transformer, playing lead guitar and piano on the song ‘Perfect Day’.
N is for NEW HOLLAND - The New Holland ferry operated on the River Humber between 1825 and 1991, when it closed following the opening of the Humber Bridge, a large steel and concrete folly built to celebrate the political career of Barbara Castle.
O is for OFFSHORE - Its port still holds the key to Hull’s economic renaissance and the recent announcement that Siemens are to create over 1,000 new jobs at Europe’s biggest wind turbine factory at the Alexandra dock sees the link with the sea continue.
P is for PATTIES - staple diet of Hull people made from deep fried mashed potato seasoned with sage and other ‘secret’ ingredients. Often copied elsewhere in the UK but rarely matched and never bettered. Delicious sprinkled with chip salt.
Q is for QUAY, PRINCES - Princes Quay is a shopping and leisure complex built on stilts over Prince’s Dock that gives spectacular views over the adjacent marina. The prince in question is Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who both visited the city in 1854.
R is for RUGBY LEAGUE - The River Hull divides the city into two distinct communities with those to the east traditionally being supporters of Hull Kingston Rovers (aka the Robins or red and whites) and those on west bank showing loyalty to Hull FC (aka the Airlie Birds or black and whites). Few sporting rivalries are as incestuous or keen, in a good way of course.
S is for STEVE MIDDLETON - Do you not know who he is? OK, Steve isn’t famous, really, although a Gopro video of his contretemps with angry motorist Ronnie Pickering saw the latter become an internet sensation earlier this year. Who am I? I’m Steve Middleton.
T is for TRAWLERMEN - A total of 6,000 Hull trawlerman were lost at sea throughout the city’s history as the country’s most important deep sea fishing port. An annual service is held at the old fish dock, which is now a retail park, to commemorate their loss.
U is for UNIVERSITY - This seat of learning achieved university status in 1954 and has since gone on to establish a proud reputation for research. The world’s first ever bone density scanner was developed here, and celebrated poet Philip Larkin was librarian here between 1955 and his death in 1985.
V is for VOWELS - Nowhere proves the theory that there is no such things as a Yorkshire accent more than Hull, where the vowel sounds make for a distinctive dialect. Officer workers in Hull start at ‘narn’ and finish at ‘fahve’; Roman Catholics are big fans of the ‘Perp’ who lives in ‘Rerm’; and dropping ice cream in a popular fizzy drink gives you a ‘kurk flurt.’
W is for WILLIAM WILBERFORCE - the city’s most famous son, Wilberforce was the member of parliament between 1784 and 1812 during which time he led the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade. He is buried in Westminster Abbey and is commemorated on a 100ft-high memorial in his home city.
X is for X, COMP - COMP X are the country’s best-selling rifle cartridges used in clay-pigeon shooting. Made by the Hull Cartridge Co who are based in the west of the city.
Y is for YORKSHIRE, EAST RIDING OF - Hull is the biggest city in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the only county that retains the name ‘Riding’ derived from the Viking word for third. No Yorkshire conurbation is as geographically remote or as proud to wear the White Rose.
Z is for ZEEBRUGGE - Hull prides itself on being the Northern Powerhouse’s gateway to mainland Europe and the daily ferry crossing between the city and Zeebrugge, a Belgian port close to Bruges, continues to be an important route for industry and holidaymakers alike.