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To Hull and Beck....

The 12.13 from Huddersfield pulled into Paragon station. It was a glorious sunny day, and I had decided to visit Hull, the UK's City of Culture for 2017, for the first time in many a year.

"City of Culture? Hull?!" I hear you say. Well, yes, the big city by the mighty River Humber has a lot going for it. History - anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was once an MP in the city - fascinating old buildings, art galleries and museums, its maritime heritage, and plenty of creative souls, from poet Philip Larkin (who has a micro pub in the city named after him) to musicians like the Housemartins/Beautiful South and guitarist Mick Ronson. And more recent attractions are the Deep marine life museum and the Princes Quay shopping complex. With its relative isolation the city has long taken on the mantle of a regional capital and walking the streets you get a sense of importance and civic pride.

But it is the river that dominates the city. Or, more correctly, rivers. The city originally grew up beside the River Hull as it meets the Humber - hence the city's Sunday name, Kingston-upon-Hull - and today the Old Town is a fascinating warren of streets and home to many of the city's finest pubs. Pubs like the George on the wonderfully-named Land of Green Ginger, with a wood-panelled Georgian interior and glazed leaded windows, one of which is supposedly the smallest pub window in the country. The beer did not disappoint either, the pint of Moonshine was on top form. Round the corner on Silver Street, tucked away down an alley is the Olde White Hart. This is another place which oozes history, with an upstairs room intriguingly named the Plotting Parlour. I bought a pint of Castle Rock Harvest Pale and took it outside to the delightful beer garden, where I managed to sit in one of the few spots where the sun could get past the tall buildings. Wonderful.

The third pub in the Old Town I visited was another historic gem, the Olde Black Boy on High Street. This has the obligatory leaded windows, beams, and dark wood panelling. I settled down in the main room, the
Taylors Landlord the best I had had in years, and tucked into a delicious pork pie, several of which seemed to be going down well with other customers. Time to move on, round the corner is the Tourist Information office, and the river Hull close to where it joins the Humber. The Hull is a tidal river, and the footbridge across the river here to a Premier Inn and the Deep is one of a dozen swingbridges or similar which allow ships to pass through. This was the site of the original port, although most of the action has now shifted a mile or two east down the Humber, where the huge docks can provide the facilities required by the tankers and cross-channel ferries. The Hull's original importance is reflected though in the industrial sites and old warehouses which line its banks, although some of these have now been converted into flats.

I left the Old Town and made for the old Fruit Market area where, beside the Humber is another classic pub, the Minerva. Now at one time this was a Tetleys pub and for a time it was one of a number of brew pubs which the brewery had, and produced its own beer called Pilots Pride. The brewery is long closed and the old brewhouse has since been converted into a small theatre. The pub, which dates back from the 19th century, has several rooms, with one a small triangular affair with just one table. Sadly, the beer (I've forgotten what it was) was not particularly on form and, as I wanted to go and sit out in the sun overlooking the river, was served in a plastic glass. Still, it was a nice spot to soak up some rays.

Time to walk back to the station. I passed the marina, home to dozens of boats of varying sizes. Alongside the waterside are tables from the several bars and eateries which line the marina. All of this helps enhance the continental feel that the city has, along with some of the buildings and places like the Danish Seamen's Mission. And with sights like its unique cream phone boxes, it feels like a place apart, even though the train to Huddersfield is only about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Earlier in the day I had visited a lovely little cellar bar, the Hop and Vine, a few minutes walk from the station on Albion Street, the last Georgian terrace in the city. This friendly place is a regular award winner, and like all the places I visited, was well worth checking out. And there are plenty more pubs to go at that I didn't get chance to try!

So, very much a flying visit, but I can highly recommend Hull as a place to visit, and as City Of Culture you have a ready-made excuse....
The same weekend saw the Beck on Bradford Road, Brighouse, hold its annual beer and music festival. We were treated to fantastic performances from the town's musical heavyweights, the Rainey Street Band on the Saturday, probably one of their best-ever performances, and Blood, Sweat, and Beers on the Sunday, with the band in brilliant form. And half way through the set we were treated to a rare performance by Sgt. Wilko, whose Dr Feelgood covers were superb. Time for a Sgt Wilko revival! On the beer front I particularly enjoyed a 6.2% heavyweight from Northern Monk, although it wasn't a beer to tackle too many of! As ever it was good to see lots of old friends and faces there.

Last weekend was the annual 40's weekend in Brighouse, with plenty of tanks, jeeps, and 40's outfits on show, along with a Spitfire flyover. The Market Tavern was cloaked in a huge net of camouflage, but it didn't seem to work as the place was packed! It was another lovely sunny day on the Saturday, and with the town as a whole was heaving, we decided to leave the crowds and seek refuge in Huddersfield. We called in the excellent Corner Bar, from there we moved on to Arcade Beers, close to the station, with no cask but several beers on tap and a huge range of bottled beers. It also has one of the brightest murals I have seen and wiring that seems to have been inspired by the old Hand Drawn Monkey bar! I liked the place. We moved on to visit a couple of more traditional pubs. the Sportsman and the Kings Head, before getting the train back to Brighouse and home after another busy day....

The Olde Black Boy, Hull


  1. I think you mean The Old Black Boy in High Street? Not Black Bull?

    1. I certainly do! As it says in the picture. I will correct it. Thanks for pointing it out, however many times you check there's always the chance something will get through!


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