Kingston upon Hull, almost invariably referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is located on the north bank of the Humber estuary, near the Yorkshire coast. Sited 25 miles (40 km) from the North Sea, on both sides of the River Hull at its junction with the Humber, the city has a resident population of 256,200 (2006 est.).
Renamed Kings town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the town and city of Hull has served as market town, military supply port and staging area, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial metropolis. Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars, and was the backdrop to events leading to the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.
It was unique in the United Kingdom in having a municipally owned telephone system from 1902, sporting cream, not red, telephone boxes. Hull is also unusual as it is an English city without a cathedral. After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline, when the city gained unfavourable results on measures of social deprivation, education and policing. However, the city has recently embarked on a programme of regeneration and renewal and a range of sporting and cultural activities is available.
Museums and art
Hull's Museum Quarter consists of Wilberforce House, the Arctic Corsair, the Hull and East Riding Museum, and the Streetlife and Transport Museum. Other museums and visitor attractions include the Ferens Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum, the Spurn Lightship, the Yorkshire Water Museum, and the Deep, the world's only submarium. The Fish Trail leads its followers through old and new sections of the city, following a wide variety of sealife engraved in the pavement.
Hull has attracted the attention of poets; the Australian author Peter Porter has described it as "the most poetic city in England". Philip Larkin set many of his poems in Hull; these include "The Whitsun Weddings", "Toads", and "Here". Scottish-born Douglas Dunn's Terry Street, a portrait of working-class Hull life, is one the outstanding poetry collections of the 1970s. Dunn forged close associations with such Hull poets as Peter Didsbury and Sean O'Brien; the works of some of these writers appear in the 1982 Bloodaxe anthology A Rumoured City, a work that Dunn edited. Andrew Motion, current Poet Laureate, lectured at the University of Hull between 1976 and 1981, and Roger McGough studied there. Contemporary poets associated with Hull are Maggie Hannan, David Wheatley, and Caitriona O'Reilly.
The city has three main theatres. Hull New Theatre, which opened in 1939, is the largest venue which features musicals, opera, ballet, drama, children's shows and pantomime. The Hull Truck Theatre is a smaller independent theatre, established in 1971, that regularly features plays, notably those written by John Godber. The Hull Truck Theatre will have a new home in the St Stephen's development. The Northern Theatre Company, established in 1975, is also based in the city.
Hull is home to Hull Sinfonietta, the largest professional chamber ensemble in the Humber region, and also the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest amateur orchestras in the country. The Hull Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, established in 1952, the Hull Choral Union, the Hull Bach Choir - which specialises in the performance of 17th and 18th century choral music, the Hull Male Voice Choir, the Arterian Singers and two Gilbert & Sullivan Societies: the Dagger Lane Operatic Society and the Hull Savoyards are also based in Hull.There are two brass bands, the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band. and East Riding of Yorkshire Band.
In the 1960s, Mick Ronson of the Hull band Rats worked closely with David Bowie and was heavily involved in production of the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Ronson later went on to record with Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and The Wildhearts. There is a Mick Ronson Memorial Stage in Queen's Gardens in Hull.
In the 1980s, Hull bands such as The Red Guitars, The Housemartins and Everything But the Girl found mainstream success. Paul Heaton, former member of The Housemartins went on to front The Beautiful South. Another former member of The Housemartins, Norman Cook, now performs as Fatboy Slim. In 1983, Hull-born Paul Anthony Cook, Stuart Matthewman and Paul Spencer Denman formed the group Sade. In 1984, the singer Helen Adu signed to CBS and the group released the album Diamond Life. The album went Triple Platinum in the UK. Vocalist and actor Roland Gift, who formed the Fine Young Cannibals, grew up in Hull.
The Adelphi is a popular local venue for alternative live music in the city, and has achieved notability outside Hull, having hosted such bands as The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Green Day, and Oasis in its history. Another popular music venue is the Springhead, which caters to a variety of bands and has been recognised nationally as a Live Music Pub of the Year.
The record label Pork Recordings started in Hull in the mid-1990s and has released workings of Fila Brazillia and Mr Beasley amongst others. The Sesh night has released four DIY compilations featuring the cream of Hull's live music scene and there are currently a few labels emerging in the city, including Purple Worm Records and Empire.
Hull has a lively nightlife, attracting people from outlying areas as well as inhabitants of the city. Hull has the concentration of pubs and bars expected of any large city in contemporary Britain. The drinking culture in the city centre tends towards late bars while the wine bars and pubs around Hull University and its accommodation area are popular with students. In particular, the areas around Newland Avenue and Prince's Avenue have seen a rapid expansion in continental style bars and cafes encouraged by the redesign of the street layout.
The city hosts the The Humber Mouth literature festival every year- the 2007 season featured writers such as Will Self, Shami Chakrabarti, Joanne Harris, Raj Persaud, Mike Gayle, Jackie Kay, Jean "Binta" Breeze, Robin Ince, Dan Rhodes, Steven Hall and Christopher Reid.
The annual Hull Jazz Festival takes place around the Marina area for a week at the beginning of August. This is followed, in early September, by the Sea Fever Festival, an International Sea Shanty Festival.
Early October sees the arrival of Hull Fair which is one of Europe's largest travelling funfair and takes place on land adjacent to the KC Stadium.
In 2007 the Hull Metalfest began in the Welly Club, it is the second largest UK Metal festival after the Download Festival. It featured Major Label bands hailing from America, Canada and Italy, as well as the UK, such as: Dead To Fall (USA), From A Second Story Window (USA), Ion Dissonance (Canada), Belay My last (USA), Abel Is Dying (Italy), Eternal Lord, Annotations of an Autopsy, With Chaos in Her Wake, Postmortem Promises, Clone the Fragile and many more.
The Hull Global Food Festival held its first annual event in the city's Queen Victoria Square for three days in 2007. According to officials, the event attracted 125,000 visitors and brought some £5 million in revenue to the area. The next event is scheduled for 22 August–24 August 2008.
The first Hull Comedy Festival, which included performers such as Stewart Lee and Russell Howard was held in 2007 and it is anticipated that this too will become an annual festival.
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