While there have been many archaeological finds showing at least some habitation of the area in prehistoric times, and plenty of evidence of Roman use of the area, Kingston upon Hull, or Hull for short, could be looked on as a new town. ‘New’ is of course relative. Wyke upon Hull was the name of the settlement started in the late 12th century by monks of Meaux Abbey; they passed control to Edward I in 1293, the king having realised the strategic importance of the sheltered young port: the Humber was the natural starting point for Yorkshire shipping heading to Scandinavia and the low countries; and with the River Hull offering a route inland for goods landed there it was a natural economic centre.
Hull can claim two great places in our history books: its significance in the Civil War; and its central position in the fight against slavery. It was the refusal of Hull to admit King Charles’s forces (and give them its arsenal and treasury) that sparked the armed conflict in the Civil War. And as the home of William Wilberforce, commemorated in a museum in the town, Hull was vital in the anti-slavery movement.
Today Hull has a population of just over 250,000, well down on the figure of 320,000 at the start of WWII. During that war Hull suffered more bombing than any British place other than London, and there was huge damage to the housing and infrastructure of the city.
These days Hull is perhaps best known as the gateway to Europe for freight passing through Associated British Port’s facilities; and as the starting point for ferries to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge for holidaymakers and truckers alike.
There is much to attract the visitor to Hull: Wilberforce House museum is just one of several in the museum quarter. The city has the St Stephen’s and Prince’s Quay shopping centres. And for the more spiritual and intellectual side, it has the largest parish church in the country in Holy Trinity, and a poetical history worth following: Philip Larkin was librarian at the university for many years; poet laureate Andrew Motion lectured there, and Roger McGough studied there.
Hull is a city undergoing much redevelopment, but the country around it offers a more placid experience, the Wolds to the north, and the strange world of Spurn Head to the east, with lovely villages like Hotham and Ottringham within a short journey too. - Martin
I just want to say walton street market is the best market i have been to and everyone is friendly there and I really enjoy getting my bargains. - Leanne
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