Hull is at the Center
Hull has been at the center of major trade routes, migration and enlightened thinking for centuries. Today, it is the UK’s front door, a city at the heart of northern Europe, with a major ferry link to Rotterdam and on the E20 trans-Europe route from St Petersburg to Limerick. Hull connects with direct trains from London’s Kings Cross Station. Leave Raleigh on the American Airlines evening flight to London, take the tube from Heathrow to Kings Cross station for the Hull City train, and you are in Hull in time for lunch.
Business, Industry, Technology, Education
With a current population of nearly 260,000, Hull has been a market town, a military supply port, a trading hub, a fishing and whaling center, and an industrial metropolis. It has long been the principal port of England's east coast. After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War in the 'Hull Blitz', the city recovered by transforming itself into a center of technology and education. The University of Hull, with a student body of about 16,000, students includes a medical school jointly operated by the University of York. Hull is also home to an internationally recognized School of Art and Design and to a digital innovation center (C4DI) that offers technology start-up support, co-work space, development, and business innovation to promote digital maturity in engineering, renewables, and healthcare.
Hull was designated in 2017 a UK City of Culture and demonstrates the transformational power of culture for its long term. The city’s Ferens Art Gallery has hosted the prestigious annual art prize, The Turner Prize. Hull’s many attractions include Victorian, Garden City, and historic Old Town neighborhoods, a Museum Quarter, and the Hull Truck Theater. Groups including Ramblers Association and the East Yorkshire Cycle and Touring Club, along with maritime, environmental and urban agriculture groups, associated with Hull Marina, the “Deep” aquarium, and Rooted-in-Hull, an urban agriculture project. Spectator sports include Championship football and Super League Rugby. Hull is also home to the English Premier Ice Hockey League Hull Pirates.
About our partnership
Hull was Raleigh’s first sister city. City Council member and mayor pro tem, Ed Walters, initiated the partnership in 1986. Early activities included exchanges of local youth orchestras, a Theater in the Park visit, and individual visits by selected high school students.
Many exchanges have taken place between the two cities with an emphasis on reciprocal homestays and the sharing of cultural and recreational interests. More recently, an emphasis has been directed to exchanges based upon professional interests. This includes urban agriculture and farm-to-fork dining, craft brewing, museum curators and administrators, tech incubators and co-work space entrepreneurs, photographers, and social workers and educators.
Recent activities include a 2015 visit to Hull, forging a strong connection with city officials there to foster collaborations with professionals in the city. Conversations and site visits were conducted at several venues: at an award-winning brewery whose CEO is now exploring distribution arrangements with Trophy Brewing Co. of Raleigh; Hull University social work faculty; founders of Rooted-in-Hull urban agriculture organizers; City of Culture officials; and museum administrators.
Typical of the professional exchange, Hull’s urban agriculture leaders sent a member to Raleigh to attend Raleigh’s Dig In, a community agriculture conference, and to Piedmont Grown Agribusiness conference at NCSU. He also attended the Fresh Food Challenge sponsored by the Hahn Foundation, the A. J. Fletcher Foundation Coalition and the Partnership to End & Prevent Homelessness. During the visit, he became acquainted with the Raleigh City Farm, various community gardens, the Food Lab and Raleigh Food Corridor, the Food Shuttle, and the Food Bank.
Here are 20 secrets and surprises to be discovered on Sister City visits to Hull:
1. Get close to royalty. View and learn the story behind the History Centre’s 500-year old Henry VIII authorization to Hull’s sheriff for torture.
2. Experience a slave “cargo” ship. See the terrible way it forecasted container shipping by 200 years at the Wilberforce House & Museum.
3. See how the city has adapted and stayed the same: old docks, now the marina, formal gardens, and shopping mall.
4. Enjoy theater at Hull Truck - you won’t do better in London’s Covent Garden.
5. Witness the aspirations and imaginations of the creative classes in Hull’s arts and digital hubs.
6. Find, among every type and class of restaurant - all top quality and comfortably priced - a vegetarian restaurant that seats 20 and you choose the menu for the evening from Afghan to Zambian.
7. Get in line for Hull Pies, immediately on your arrival outside the station - just cast your gaze in the same direction as the statue of Philip Larkin that you’ll find at the top of the platforms. Refreshed, you can follow the Larkin Trail.
8. Visit a city hall (actually, the Guildhall) that looks like a palace.
9. Explore on buses that go everywhere, are frequent, and easy to access. Cabs will take even the largest group most of the places you’re likely to want to go for 5 pounds and to the city’s remotest corners and adjoining villages for 10.
10. Catch a football match with Hull City Tigers, now temporarily replaced in the premier football league, but determined to return.
11. Peruse not to be over-looked art: Hull University, Ferrens Art Gallery, and Guildhall collections.
12. Wander The Avenues, a Victorian/Edwardian period conservation area; the Garden Village, a garden-city influenced, working-class neighborhood; and the Old Town trails.
13. Learn how Hull suffered through the Blitz - two of them - in both World Wars.
14. Schedule your visit to participate in special events such as the Freedom Festival and the Heritage Open Days in the Fall.
15. Discover wildlife and agriculture in the city at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and in community agriculture projects at Rooted-in-Hull, Beverley Road Farm, Kingston Youth Club Gardens, Rainbow Gardens, and Villa Garden, the last which is complete with its own market
Get on board with maritime history:
16. Sail Humber sloops and keels from the Marina, not far from the Hull River and its curious collection of stranded ships and barges.
17. Join the crew on below deck of the Arctic Corsair amid the dangers deep sea trawlermen of Hull faced or find safe passage aboard the Lightship.
18. The tire of seafaring? Go underwater at The Deep or try land-clubbing at the Museum of Street Life.
19. Tired of today? Stroll through the past with the Hull and East Riding Museum’s mammoths, iron age forts, Roman baths and mosaics, Saxon villages, and a mysterious crew of wooden Viking warriors.
20. Venture out: Beverley and Barton-upon-Humber via East Yorkshire Cycle Touring Club; Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Wolds; Humber Bridge and estuary and Spurn Point