Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Hull named UK City of Culture 2017

I grew up in Hull; I left at the age of nine but returned aged nineteen to study at the city's university. It's a very special city and I know of no other city quite like it.

Philip Larkin liked the end-of-the-line remoteness; as a child I thought the city was the world. It's flat in Hull and so the streets go on forever. When they do eventually give out it's to the gentlest, rolling hills that ever had the name - The Wolds - or to the sea. And the sea is always special.

The sea, of course, is what made Hull. Lining up at the end of break at Appleton Road Primary School if the wind was in the right (or wrong) direction you could smell the fish docks. Fishing, fish and fisherman were the beating heart of Hull.

Until the coronary that was the Icelandic cod wars and then EU quotas. Now, there's next to no fishing out of Hull and - like other cities which have lost their major industry - it's taken time for it to recover. But recover it has, and recover into something of a cultural icon.

Apart from Larkin (and a host of other poets who followed in his wake) there's William Wilberforce, Andrew Marvell, John Godber, David Hockney and many many more with an association with the city and the wider area. It's a place where things are happening and - from today - a place other people will start noticing.

Well done Hull! Or rather, King's Town upon Hull. City royalty at last...