2nd February, 2020 Trees in Threes.

Recently, as part of the Pearson Park Restoration Project, Hull, a number of young trees have been planted across the site. Some, as above, have been planted in nearby groups of three, this reflecting the fact that a number of the old mature trees dating from the original planting were also planted in groups of three (see above in background). This cannot have been random, but why so?

I have no official answer but wondered if it might have reflected the emblem of Hull Corporation, three crowns vertically, one above the other. There seems to be no definitive answer as to why this should have been the town’s emblem but its use seems to go back at least to early modern times, 16th/17th centuries. There is an interesting information board at Hull History Centre which speculates on this question, it currently stands behind the counter where light refreshments are served. Part of the answer, it seems, hinges on whether the three images are in fact crowns or coronets. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines coronet as ‘a small or inferior crown, a crown denoting a dignity inferior to that of the sovereign’. The issue remains a mystery.

Finally, it surely is not good to plant what will be (hopefully) large deciduous trees so close together. Trees have a vast network of roots and if too close these root systems will be competing for the same resources to the detriment of all. When parishes were enclosed by Parliamentary Enclosure in the century or so after 1750 young trees were planted in the newly created hedgerows averaging three to every 100 yards of hedge – 30+ yards apart. Nevertheless, some of the mature groups of three trees in the Park seem to have done ok.


30th January, 2020 Postscript to Pointing Heavenward.

Just last night discovered this print of an early photo taken on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1897, and the site Pearson Park, Hull. In the top right-hand corner can be seen the Park’s original bandstand with its centre-roof ball and pinnacle of which the new one (s.p.b.) is a copy. Well done those organising the Pearson Park Restoration Project.

27th January, 2020 Pointing Heavenward 10.

The photo. above shows one area of the ongoing upgrading of facilities at Pearson Park, Hull. The new conservatory in the background appears to be nearing completion as is the new footbridge over the curving linear pond, just off picture to the right.

The new bandstand is emerging beyond the scaffolding and sheeting and the semi-domed roof with its central orb and pinnacle, both gold painted, is now completed. Thus the latest heavenward projection in the locality is now visible.

In conclusion most of these uppermost projections, cupola, pinnacles, turrets and spires were created for decorative purposes although sometimes they were given a practical purpose (s.p.b.s). The examples written about over the last nine blogs were all created in a relatively narrow time-span, basically 1870s to 1910, other examples in the town also sit in this timescale. Mostly, but not exclusively, they were embellishments to public buildings and exampled the level of investment being devoted to these buildings and to their public function(s) at that time.

Given some uncertainty as to whether ‘cluster’ is the proper collective noun for cupola and the like, nevertheless other clusters exist, the obvious one being those around Queen Victoria Square in the town centre. The single dome of the City Hall (1903-1909) is topped by a cupola, at the corner of Savile Street and Cross Street stands the former Yorkshire Penny Bank building (c.1900) with a two-tier cupola on top of its corner turret and the Town Docks Museum (formerly Dock Offices and now called the Maritime Museum, currently closed for three years for refurbishment!!) (1867-1871) has three domes topped by what David Neave (s.p.b.s) calls ‘lanterns’ (p.519).

To find more we need to remember the old rule ‘look up’, although some attention to ground level may help when approaching road junctions.

24th January, 2020 Pointing Heavenward 9.

Also in the same section of Beverley Road, Hull only 50 yards south of the Baths (s.p.b.) and Stepney Primary School (s.p.b.) stand two early 20th century purpose-built public houses, both now disused.

The ‘Rose Inn’ standing on the west side of the road was built of red brick and included an unusual rounded corner capped by a lead-covered ‘onion dome’. In Lincolnshire onion-shaped caps were seen as the norm for tower-mills (tall windmills, sometimes six floors high) – currently in Barton on Humber a dispute exists over a semi-derelict tower mill off Waterside Road which a property developer wants to convert to residential use but does not wish to go to the expense of restoring its onion-shaped dome. The Rose Inn has a fine inn-sign hanging over the pavement depicting the head and shoulders of a lady dressed in Georgian clothes (inn-signs often have an interesting history but it is not a topic I am familiar with).

Across the Road stands the ‘Bull Inn’ (see above). Here ornate gables rising above the fa├žade and entrance are like those of Bilson and Bryson on nearby buildings, although David Neave (s.p.b.s) informs us that neither designed this building. He also draws attention to ‘terracotta detail and faience panels on the building’s exterior’. I had to look-up faience ‘a general term for all kinds of glazed earthen-ware and porcelain’. Also notable is the pub-sign ”a handsome gilded figure of a bull (p. 557).

My blog next will be the last in this short series and, along with concluding comments, will show the golden pinnacle on top of the newly created band-stand in Pearson Park.

23rd January, 2020 Pointing Heavenward 8.

Vertical/horizontal – I give up – it was the right way up on my desktop.

Just to remind – spires are perhaps the most dramatic of rooftop embellishments, but essentially with no practical purpose. Here on Prince’s Avenue Methodist church, red-brick with decorative stone additions and including four corner pinnacles at the base of the broach spire (for a more in-depth study of church spires see Landmarks and Beacons in Section 3 of this website). As with many late Gothic-Revival churches the original entrance to this chapel was at the base of the tower, here at the corner of the building (see booklet on St. Nicholas’ church, Beverley for another example (section 3).

This building on Prince’s Av. is an example of the Wesleyan Methodist movement (Nonconformist) becoming competitive with the Established Church in building styles and elegance, ironically roughly at a time when new churches (C. of E.) were sometimes built without towers (e.g. St. Mary’s church, Sculcoates Lane, c.1916). The Primitive Methodist chapel Queen St., Barton being in the same vein but here the Prims. building as grand, if not grander, than the Wesleyans. Like some monastic orders long before they were seduced by worldly vanity.

Personally I would rather the term ‘church’ be confined to Established Church buildings and distinguished from Nonconformist buildings where the term chapel should be used, ecumenicalism apart.

21st January, 2020 Pointing Heavenward 7.

I don’t know what’s going on with these photos but cannot change now.

Just north of Beverley Road Baths, on the other side of the road and on the corner of Pearson Avenue stands ‘Rosa Villa’, now a home for the elderly but originally built as a private house when this section of Beverley Road was a linear prestigious area roughly contemporary with the fine houses built around the perimeter of Pearson Park.

Rose Villa has a corner turret providing some accommodation like the property highlighted in the previous blog. The turret is capped by a Welsh slate-covered rectangular spire.

David Neave (s.p.b.s) does not mention Rose Villa but he does describe the extensive property on the other side of the Pearson Avenue junction, now a hotel incorporating the original Dorchester House of 1861, and including ‘a profusion of shaped gables and corner turrets topped by slate-covered spires’. Clearly a fashion statement of the 1860s.