One “Ull”
of a city

Big Issue North vendor Pat “Macca” McKenzie is optimistic about the changing fortunes of his home city

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Kingston upon Hull, normally shortened to Hull – or as the accent pronounces it “Ull” – is a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It lies on the River Hull and the Humber Estuary, with an estimated population of 260,000.

Hull was founded in the 12th century when the monks of Meaux Abbey needed a port where wool from their estates could be exported.

Renamed Kings-town Upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, Hull has been a market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre and industrial metropolis.

In the mid-1990s Hull was spiralling downwards because of the loss of industries and the fishing port, but it survived. The City of Culture award means the city has been given a cash injection to regenerate the area.

We have a new city, remapped pedestrian areas and bus routes, new buildings that will house an emporium for music, a new concert arena and a new ice skating arena to replace the old one.

I was born in 1970 and grew up in Hull. I have lived here most of my life. I have moved to other places, but home is where the heart is.

The memories I have bring to light how polite and well-mannered people of Hull can be. If you do visit the city I hope your experience brings you a warm welcome.

I would strongly advise you have a look at The Deep, Hull’s very own aquarium. And we have the Humber Bridge, which spans from North Humberside to South Humberside – when it was built it was the world’s largest single span suspension bridge, although it’s now been superseded by a bridge in Japan. A local landmark, the bridge is the first thing you see when entering Hull, and it always sets the butterflies off in your belly because you know you are home.

There are always things that annoy us about our city or town. Like most cities we are experiencing a high volume of homelessness and drug taking. No matter where you live you will always come across people who want to dance with the devil and you are always going to live amongst less desirable people, but all we can do is try to highlight the situation and address it.

Some people are moaning about the hundreds of barriers that line our paths around the city, but it’s because they are laying new paving and new seating areas near Queen Victoria Square, which hosts the Queen Victoria statue high and proud near the city hall and Ferens Art Gallery, which has also had a cash injection. I appreciate that the new footpaths need to be done, and although it does look like a bombsite right now, it will be finished in time for 2017, although many people say it won’t be. I hope for Hull’s sake it is.

Thank you for your support buying Big Issue North. I hope this article inspires you to visit.

Photo: Lee Brown

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