Picture Post: Hull sails into history in year as City of Culture

In the last six months, as Hull embraces it's status as UK City of Culture its residents have got used to unusual happenings. Earlier this year and in the middle of the night, an art installation made from wind turbine blades arrived outside the Ferens Art Gallery.
PIC: James HardistyPIC: James Hardisty
PIC: James Hardisty

And that was just the start. The Humber Bridge has been turned into a giant musical instrument thanks to Opera North, buildings have been lit up with images of the city’s history and there will be more to come as Hull enters the second half of the year. However, while City of Culture has brought the off-beat and the unusual to the centre of Hull, elsewhere it remains business as usual.

The huge TOISA Explorer was photographed here in Albert Dock. Built four years ago, the offshore supply ship weighs in at a hefty 4,427 and enjoys a commanding presence moored in the waters off Hull.

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Albert Dock, which is its current home, was opened in July 1869. Built at a cost of £1m, the dock covered 17 acres and had one of the largest entrance locks in the country. Initially referred to as the Western Dock, it was named for Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales.

It was one of series of docks which line the edge of Hull and the city owes its very being to its proximity to water. During the late 12th century when the monks of Meaux needed a port to export wool from their estates they chose a spot at the junction of the rivers Hull and Humber.

In the late 13th century when Edward I looked for a port in the north east of England through which he could supply his battling troops in Scotland he acquired Hull.

Having established it as a major trading hub, the main export from Hull was wool and by the early 17th century there was a ship building industry in Hull. As trade boomed, the River Hull was unable to cope with the volume of traffic and in the 18th century it was decided to build a new development of docks in the 18th century.

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Hull prospered, but in recent years as the industries for which they were built have declined many have found a different use. One was turned into a marina and another was filled in and is now home to a major shopping centre development.