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Kingston upon Hull

City of Kingston upon Hull
Status: Unitary, City (1299)
Region: Yorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial County: East Riding of Yorkshire
Traditional County: Yorkshire
- Total
Ranked 279th
71.45 km²
Admin. HQ: Kingston upon Hull
ONS code: 00FA
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
Ranked 42nd
3,379 / km²
Ethnicity: 97.7% White
Hull City Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Labour
MPs: Alan Johnson, Kevin McNamara, John Prescott

Hull or Kingston upon Hull is a British city situated on the north bank of the Humber estuary. It is surrounded by the East Riding of Yorkshire, but is a unitary authority. The council is today called Hull City Council , and refers to the city as Hull.



Unusually for an historic English city, Hull has no cathedral. It does, however, have the Holy Trinity church, claimed to be the largest parish church in England.

Hull has an extensive museum and visitor quarter which includes Wilberforce House, Hull and East Riding Museum, the Ferens Gallery, the Maritime Museum, Streetlife and Transport Museum, the Spurn Lightship, the Arctic Corsair and the Deep. It also features the University of Hull as well as a smaller campus for the University of Lincoln. Hull is the home of the Queens Gardens and the Humber Bridge, the third-longest single-span suspension bridge in the world.

The city has a football team playing at national league level, Hull City A.F.C. who play at the Kingston Communications Stadium.

The city has two national league Rugby League teams, Hull FC who, along with Hull City FC play at the Kingston Communications Stadium and Hull Kingston Rovers playing at 'New' Craven Park.

Hull is the only city in the UK with its own independent telephone network company, Kingston Communications, with distinctive cream telephone boxes. Formed in the 1910s as a municipal department by the City Council it remains the only locally-operated telephone company in the UK, although now privatised. Kingston upon Hull has one of the most advanced computer networks in the world - a metropolitan area network.

Hull's daily newspaper is the Hull Daily Mail and BBC Radio Humberside, Viking FM and the University of Hull's Jam 1575 all broadcast to the city.


The original settlement of Wyke or Wyke upon Hull was probably established by the Cistercian monastery of Meaux a few miles further up the River Hull to provide a port for the distributuion of the abbey's wool. The strategic need for a Northern port sufficiently south of the Scottish border to be secure caused Edward I of England, fighting his campaigns in Scotland, to plant a new planned town on the site. This was the King's town upon Hull or Kingston upon Hull. The associated royal charter, dated April 1, 1299 remains preserved in Hull's Guildhall Archives.

In 1440, the former borough acquired the status of a city becoming a county corporate administratively separate from Yorkshire and having jurisdiction over an area extending west of the city known as Hullshire.

Hull was a major port during the Later Middle Ages and its merchants traded widely to ports in Northern Germany and the Baltic region and the Low Countries. Wool, cloth and hides were exported and timber, wine, furs and dyestuffs imported. Sir William de la Pole, a leading merchant helped establish a family prominent in government. Bishop John Alcock (bishop), founder of Jesus College, Cambridge and patron of the grammar school in Hull, hailed from another Hull mercantile family. Hull seems to have grown in prosperity and importance during the course of the sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries. This is reflected in the construction of a number of fine, distinctively decorated brick buildings of which Wilberforce House (now a museum dedicated to the life of William Wilberforce) is a rare survival.

In 1642 Hull's governor Sir John Hotham declared for the Parliamentarian cause and later refused Charles I entry into the City and access to its large arsenal. He was declared a traitor and despite a parliamentarian pardon was later executed. (He was actually executed by the parliamentarians, not the royalists, when he tried to change sides.) This series of events was to precipitate the English Civil War since Charles I felt obliged to respond to the 'insult' by besieging the City; an event that played a critical role in triggering open conflict between the Parliamentarian and Royalist causes.

Hull developed as a British trade port with mainland Europe, Whaling until the mid 19th Century and deep sea fishing until the Anglo-Icelandic Cod War 1975-1976, which resolution led to a major decline in Hull's economic fortune. It remains a major port dealing mostly with bulk commodities and commercial road traffic by RORO ferry to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge on mainland Europe. The city remains a UK centre of food processing.

Hull's administrative status has changed several times. It had been a county borough within the East Riding for many decades, but from 1974 to 1996 it was part of Humberside, and upon the abolition of that county, it was made a unitary authority.

Hull also has the dubious claim to fame of having only 28.9% achieving 5+ GCSE grades A to C (the lowest in the country). This is partly due to the fact that the city boundary does not include many of the town's wealthier suburbs, which are in the East Riding of Yorkshire instead. The town was also awarded first place in The Idler Book of Crap Towns , published in 2003, Rupert Murdoch's News of the World has termed it "hell on earth", however Australian author Peter Porter has described it as "the most poetic city in the United Kingdom".

Notable residents

  • Andrew Marvell, poet and parliamentarian grew up in Hull and represented the town in Parliament. A secondary school is named after him in the Bilton Grange area of the city.
  • William Wilberforce, the leading slavery abolitionist, was born in Hull 1759, baptised at Holy Trinity church and represented the City as its Member of Parliament until his death in 1833.
  • Joseph Malet Lambert, a British education reformer who proposed universal education as an economic stimulus was born in Hull in 1853. A secondary school in the east of the city is named after him.
  • Thomas R. Ferens philanthropist, industrialist and Member of Parliament for East Hull from 1906-1918, proved to be one of the city's greatest benefactors, endowing among others University College, the Ferens Art Gallery, and East Park in 1927.
  • Amy Johnson, the pioneering woman flyer who was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, was born in Hull in 1903.
  • Kelly Bailey , singer, model and dramatic actress was born in Hull in 1981.
  • Jon Culshaw, the impressionist and comedian, began his career as a DJ on Hull station Viking FM.
  • Lionel Davidson , novelist, was born in Hull.

Hull had a thriving music scene in the early eighties with bands such as The Red Guitars , Jane's Plane , Bushfire, The Housemartins, and Everything But the Girl (who took their name from a local furniture shop's advertising slogan). The Housemartins and EBTG went on to achieve international fame, and to a lesser extent, so did the Red Guitars. Bushfire moved down to London and became well known on the music scene there, while Jane's Plane, an all-women band of great local popularity, broke up. Later, the Hull band Kingmaker achieved moderate chart success. Roland Gift DJed at local nightclub Spiders and owned another nightclub in the city. The city currently has a moderately large hardcore punk and emo music scene.

See also

  • FV Gaul, Hull-based trawler lost off Norway in 1974, the worst peace time disaster suffered by the UK fishing fleet.
  • Peter Dinsdale, once the UK's most prolific killer, who lived and committed his crimes in Hull

External links

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