Saturday, November 24, 2012

Prince Street, Hull

click photo to enlarge
On a recent dull and very windy day I spent a few hours in and around Hull's "old town", the original core of the city that is built around the medieval street plan. It's an area that holds a fascinating variety of buildings dating from the medieval period through to the present day. When I lived in the city during the 1970s and 1980s I enjoyed many a happy day walking the winding streets, decoding buildings that had been overlaid with the hopes and aspirations of successive centuries, photographing the worn streets, dark alley ways (called staithes in this part of England), and enjoying the reflected light from Hull and Humber. At that time the old town was barely holding its own, venerable buildings were being pulled down and the interesting road surfaces made of pitch-impregnated timber blocks were patched with tarmac and concrete. However, the 1980s and 1990s saw a more enlightened attitude to the area take hold, its visual, historic and tourist value began to be appreciated, and things took an upward turn, mainly for the better. Today, the effects of the depression of recent years are starting to take a toll on the old town and a certain shabbiness is becoming evident once more.

Today's photograph shows the arch that leads from the Market Place into Prince Street, a curving cobbled road of three-storey houses dating from the 1770s. This row has kept the good looks of the most recent restoration. However, even here a dissonant note enters the view in the form of objects that weren't part of the street scene when I lived in the city. I mean, of course, those awful wheely bins. These wretched, multi-coloured, plastic rubbish containers too frequently blight our streets. A recent newspaper article illustrated one of the worst examples. One can only hope that such pieces open people's eyes to the degradation of our environment that follows from the insensitive siting of these bins.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 58mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On