Monday, 9 August 2010

Day of Culture

In a need to keep busy at weekends, coupled with a desperate need to not spend any money, a friend and I decided that what we needed to do was soak up some of Hull’s culture this weekend.

(Yes thank you very much, we do have it. But let’s not talk about our attempted bid to become City of Culture in 20-whatever.)

In fact we have so much culture that one day isn’t going to be enough and there’s going to be a repeat trip. In your face Hull Culture Doubters!

This weekend’s culture tour comprised of Ferens Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum and a stroll around the Marina and docks.

Ferens Art Gallery

Always underrated I feel and no need to be because it’s slap bang in the middle of town. Like right in the middle. I used to love this place when I was a wee thing, especially a kind of horrifying picture which you can see here. No idea why I loved it so much because it’s not normal material for a child to like but I was totally obsessed with it.

What is always nice about Ferens is that they usually have pretty good visiting exhibitions on. There’s two at the moment – one about Ern Shaw, a Hull-born illustrator, featuring many pictures of his work including designs for Happy Families playing cards and Hull City football club comic strips. There’s also an area for kids to play a giant snakes and ladders board game and there’s a tree on the wall for you to stick leaf-shaped post-its with your thoughts on. My favourite was the person that wrote “I liked this gallery, but it smelled of crisps”.

The other exhibition is rather amazing, and is called Manic Mechanics – Moving Sculpture by Johnny White and Amanda Wray. The reason this exhibition is so good?

Two words baby. HANDS. ON.

The sculptures are made out of various pieces of scrap metal and are amazing to look at in themselves but have the added bonus of having levers and knobs and switches to flick and pull and press to make the sculptures move about or make noises. Some of them actually freaked me out a bit. Not least the one with 6 babies heads which all spun round and cried. When I wasn’t expecting it. Lovely. The owl and pussycat in their pea-green boat was rather lovely though and there’s an opportunity for you to get on an exercise bike to make one of the sculptures move – culture AND exercise?! Brilliant. (visit them here to see some of the exhibits)

It’s at Ferens until Sunday 5th September. So you should

I asked my friend for her overall reaction to Ferens Art Gallery as someone who had never been before (SHOCKING!) and didn’t have the whole nostalgic vibe I had for it:

“Hmm, well I loved Ferens Art Gallery but feel they need a few more modern displays; the cartoon kids area was really cool (apart from the man who insisted on talking to his wife and child at the top of his voice!) My favourite part was the post-it note tree with the messages left from visitors, especially the note left by the 71 year old! Also, more interactive parts please Mr Ferens Art Gallery,although these were actually quite scary at first, I imagine the rotating screaming baby heads may freak some small children out...”

Hull Maritime Museum

Also slap bang in the city centre this museum is the kind of museum that gives museums a bad name. It is boring. B.o.r.i.n.g. I mean I know the clue is in the title but unless you are seriously into your ships and shit this is not going to be for you. I see why it’s there, we’re all about the boats and stuff in Hull what with it being a dock and all (please note. Hull is not on the sea. It’s not even near the sea. It’s on the River Humber. Don’t come here looking for a beach holiday).

It even smells like museum.

It is worthwhile popping your head in to see the big huge whale skeleton and the rather cool collection of narwhal tusks. I’m kind of obsessed with narwhals. It is in serious need of updating and they need to work on getting the place lighter, it’s so dim and dingy. Not good.

Although on the upside, I did learn a new term. “Scrimshandering.” I’m working on finding a way to introduce it into my speech every day.

And Culture Friend’s thoughts:

“Yawn! I’m sorry I know it’s our heritage, blah, blah, but really could be a little bit more interesting Mr Maritime museum (think I could do his job better!) The place smells funny as well. To be honest I was ready to go for lunch within minutes of being in there!”

The Marina

Parts of the docks were redone fairly recently when the World Trade Centre was built and there’s a particularly lovely sculpture down at the bottom.

Also. The Deep is there. People should go to The Deep if they come to Hull. It’s cool. Alas it was not on the list for the Day of Culture because it costs pennies.

We also went to have a look at the old Fruit Market. It’s in a derelict part of the city centre but there were huge plans to invest and do it all up and make it marvellous. These plans are now kind of hanging in the balance thanks to Hull Forward (our economic regeneration company, responsible for making know...nice again) being disbanded and shut down.

Thanks Mr Cameron.

It is open and sort of full of random old stalls. I kind of get what it’s trying to do but I’m not really feeling it at the moment. Some old bloke selling his watercolours of cats is not going to cut it I’m afraid.

I do have high hopes for the Museum of Club Culture (which pretty much does what it says on the tin) and I’ll be back over the Bank Holiday weekend when there’s some fun stuff going on.


How's that for one day? One day of culture. In the Hull. There will be more to come...


  1. Ooh I really like that sculture, it's lovely. x

  2. Thanks for the info and pictures. Its great to see things around your home. What is up with poor St. Sebastian? Are we sure he is being tended? Looks murderous to me....

  3. I'm not a huge fan of museums, well, "traditional" museums I should say. I love Tate Modern, and I love The Imperial War Mueseum North in Manchester, The Lowry is cool too, but things about coins and medals are really not my thing! But I have to say, I had no idea Hull had so much good stuff - I love The Deep, cool building x

  4. Love your piccies, especially the one of the marina. Local museums are pretty good though aren't they? We have one here in Carlisle that keeps changing so there is always something new to look at. Thinking of you for tomorrow ( Tuesday), as Tuesday are a bit yuck. Take care

  5. Love the Ferens picture, so elegant.
    Can I be a guest member of The Culture Club? I'd like to visit The Wilberforce Museum when you go, I've never been...
    I really recommend the StreetLife Museum and The Archeology Museum (especially the Monty Python inspired graffiti on the Roman Street display).

  6. I'm afraid the rotating baby heads would have totally freaked me out. Dolls (and clowns) scare the be-jesus out of me.

    I love visiting museums - they're free and generally have brilliant little cafes attached to the, selling great coffee and yummy cakes. York was brilliant for museums to wander around.

    Look forward to the next trip into Hull's culture.

  7. I used to go out with a lad from Hornsea and spent more time in Hull than is normal. My favourite bits were the street signs, the cream telephone boxes and the Land of Green Ginger (just for the name, not because I like hanging around the back of the train station).

    You have also reminded me of the poignant 'Songs For Humberside' including the hilarious protest song 'Will they ever Bridge the Humber'

    Now that's culture!

  8. lol that is a lot of culture - i'm impressed!!

  9. It's embarrassing how little culture I get esp when I live in London!!!

    Victoria x

  10. Wow, I also had no idea Hull was full of such interesting stuff - I must confess my only piece of knowledge about Hull until now was that it has a football team - in fact, my one claim to fame is that I once covered a Hull vs Chester City game for the local paper! Makes me think I should make more of an effort to see some local culture myself - think the only thing I've done around here is the Ghost Walk - I do love a good ghost walk!

    Anyway, thanks for your comment - I'm absolutely made up that you tried the recipe and I'm glad that you and your flatmate enjoyed! Good old Asda! Hopefully I'll find some other gems to blog about in the future!


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