A thanks.

I thank everyone who has bothered to look at what I have written, it is an honour to know that what I have to say is what some people like to read. I will try and get around to as many of your own blogs a possible as I know the importance of visitors to your blog, thank you all once again.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017 (2)

Running on from the previous page there is much more and there is some reference to one of the major industries of Hull, and the many tradigies from that industry of deep sea fishing. Many men were lost but now it is another historical subject and there are those who will never forget the sacrifices of these brave men just for people to have their fish and chips.

But things are taking shape and there are alsorts of things in the pipeline for many shows, and displays throughout the year but here is just the start still only a couple of weeks into the year.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Am I proud? You bet, there are art displays in the Ferens Art Gallery and works by Leonard Da Vinci and others in the University Of Hull buildings and most of this stuff is available to see free. I also have to mention that over £20 million of refurbishments in the city centre has taken place and although as of this moment in time is not complete it’s nearly there. After years of neglect by those with the power to do improvements, maybe, just maybe, Hull maybe cool or whatever the term is these days, and all the laughing remarks of the past may be able to be put behind us. It’s a big maybe, but we have a chance and the more people who visit and actually take a look instead of just taking for granted what has been written in the past maybe in for quite a surprise. Hull City Of Culture? Laugh no more.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

You may have heard of a city in the North of England in the UK, or, more than likely, you will have not, that is called Hull, or to be precise, and probably upper class about it, Kingston Upon Hull. No really that is its true name, confimed upon it by a King of long ago but very rarely used by its inhabitants as Hull seem’s sufficient. Or ‘Ull’ as it sounds from the locals as for some obscure reason we don’t pronounce the ‘H’ very well, but it is usually some perverse reason, amongst others, that Hull has had a bad press for many a year. This range from some toff from London visiting for about a week and declaring it the worst place to live, or crap town of the year something banal like that, and it has been going on for years. But 20 17 is here and 3 years ago, against multiple odds, Hull was chosen as the UK City Of Culture, (laugh, laugh, snigger, snigger, from those cretins of the press who have done their worst to pull anything to do with Hull down the gutter level.)

Well the story goes that Hull was the second most bombed city, after London, during WW 2, and Hull City Council did their best to carry on the destruction after the war, some beautiful buildings disappeared needlessly. But what is done is done so no good harping on about it now we have to work with what we have, and believe it or not we still have some culture left. Much of it is in the hands of the local authorities but wherever it is it now being put on show for the world to see during 2017. Hull have a year to change the preception of the city as a whole and it has got off to a great start with firework displays, light shows, and now a giant wind turbine blade on show in the city centre as a ‘work of art’. Now this is subjective, art always is, but this is no doubt a talking point amongst the many thousands who are turning up feeling proud that the city is, at last, coming out of the shadow of more famous, and more comprehensively financed by central government, better known cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and of course London.

So what is this work of art that is causing wonder, awe, and mirth in equal doses, its a blade from one of those giant wind farms that are springing up both on land and sea. But the thing is this particular blade is made in Hull by Siemens the giant international German firm that has imvested over £300 million in the area to make these colosal structures. To get an idea of what I mean here is a picture of mine:

wp_20170114_10_09_31_pro

A wind turbine blade made by Siemens in Hull on display for the City Of Culture 2017 celebrations.

A different angle to give an idea of the mass of the subject.

wp_20170110_12_08_43_pro

People are taking pictures in the way people do at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they stand back and raise their hands to give the impression of holding this thing up instead of a leaning tower.

There are various historical documents on display in the History Museum

Messing about again.

I am in the process of trying to merge 2 of my blogs into 1 so bear with me as I’m not sure how this will turn out. But I was checking over what I have written on my blogs and realised that there is some overlapping and so I am reducing the number of blogs I have, it may well end in disaster but lets see. The blog I am going to delete when I can get all this sorted out is Off on a tangent into obscurity which was supposed to be a collection of totally irrelevant musings and to be honest I’m doing that on this blog hence the tidy up, well that’s the theory.

Oh and thanks to the many people who have taken the trouble to look in on my last entry but as my wife will confirm I do have a tendency to look upwards at buildings to look at the chimney stacks as I know the construction of such things, especially those with multiple chimney pots, disguise an intricate construction unseen until buildings are demolished and the flues leading up to those chimney stacks can be seen winding there ways from the fireplace, wherever it may be in the building, to a central point, the chimney stack.

I missed a trick when many old buildings in Hull were being demolished as there laid bare was the brickwork that enabled all that smoke and the fumes to make its way out into open skies. And the reason, unfortunately that many of the older buildings built of stone were badly stained by the soot coming out of the chimneys and it only took a little rain to make that soot into a messy mess. Over time of course all that smoke and soot caused many problems not least with peoples health, we have learned from the past but all of our energy waste still has to go somewhere and these days hardly any of us see where to.

Lets talk about something realy interesting and amazing to all people ………………….. BRICKS.

It could have been something starting with a S and ending with an X but hey you can look anywhere for that type of thing so I chose bricks, well more or less the formation of bricks they way are laid. Being a former builder my interest is a little more involved but one sadness I have today with modern structures is the lack of any interesting brickwork used in construction. These days decorative brickwork may cost too much or maybe today’s bricklayers are just not trained in the arts and crafts of many of the styles of brickwork, I would hazard a guess that cost has a lot to do with it more than the craftsmen themselves.

But what do I mean by all this? Well looking round my local city centre, Hull (England or Kingston Upon Hull its full name) I often look at the many old buildings still standing despite the ravages of WW2 ( I know it was years ago but things don’t move very fast in these parts due to lack of funding and investment but that’s another story) and some vandalism (indiscriminate demolition) by the local council and the brickwork craftsmanship is wonderful (well I think so). So without further ado I will show some pictures of what I actually mean oh and they are my own pictures not purloined from anywhere else.

IMG_0219-copy

IMG_0223-copy

IMG_0222-copy

This is one of my favourite buildings in Hull for decorative brickwork the craftsmanship is superb. You have everything, arches, circles, a bay and a turret on the top of the building which is circular. Thousands of people pass this building by every day of the week and never notice the splendour of the architecture but I’m sure that is the same the world over, but whenever I am near to this building I always spend a few minutes admiring it. Another example of the fine arts of brickwork craftsmanship is in a building that is tucked away down a narrow side street not far from the building in the other picture and has some equally wonderful brickwork so more pictures to follow.

IMG_0243-copy

IMG_0244-copy

IMG_0245-copy

Another building I stand and stare at (yes I know I do get some odd stares in my direction but I’m not so decorative), and again the arches are just magnificent. Now before I get carried away by posting too many pictures there is the odd modern-day building constructed using bricks in a decorative way, not a lot, but still an effort has been made but come nowhere near the magnificence of these older structures. Cue more pictures.

IMG_0213-copy

IMG_0251-copy

IMG_0250-copy

As I say brickwork can still be more than just straight lines of bricks that we all pass by many times during out lives but I have only scratched the surface of the structures involved, anyone interested in the marvellous subject of brick chimney stacks? (and yes all this is said with tongue in cheek as we say, joking in other words). 🙂

The 2nd course (layer) of bricks.

Not so long back I went around the city of Hull, my home city, and took pictures of buildings still standing from a bygone era, and a couple more up to date buildings. You see Hull was the most heavily bombed city in Britain during WW2 outside of London, but because it was important as a port its name was never mentioned. So the likes of Coventry, Birmingham and others cities get a mention, and they did get severely damaged, but Hull is left out, even today.

So it was no surprised then that uncle Adolf destroyed many of the fine buildings built during some very prosperous times for Hull when traders and entrepreneurs were making their fortunes, but some survived. Only that the council knocked down a lot more for the re-development after the war so we are no left with very few. But those that are left have some magnificent brickwork in them, which the pictures below show.

Its of a building in the heart of Hull, thousands of people walk by it everyday and do not even blink, on a brickwork level I think its a masterpiece, and ironically, right opposite is a college that teaches brickwork, I don’t even know if they have looked at this building. There is nearly everything, different types of arches, bulls-eye, semi-circular, segmental, Gothic, Flat arch,  and even ones on the corner which is actually a bend along with a turret on the top of the building, the craftsmanship is awesome. There is even a bay near the top of the building.

The building, by the way, is The Old Customs House, Market Place, Lowgate, Hull, check it out on Google Maps. There are many grander buildings in Hull but I’m concentrating on the brickwork aspect of this building, some of the more grander types are stone and very grand indeed, but to me, this is a gem, well done the brickies, and architects, whoever you were. Click on a picture by the way for a larger view.

Brickwork …… yes you read that right.

Not a subject that anyone, well anyone I know, ever mentions, and why would they? Bricks are just …… well ……. there and not something you think about but although I’m not about to alter that perception I do think that brickwork in general is worth a mention. I want this to read by anyone so I won’t go into detail about bonds and the rest, that is not what this blog is about, it’s trying to get people to look at the many different styles of brickwork throughout the country, indeed the world and the innovative way in bricks have been used for all matters of construction.

This is just an ordinary door with a brick arch over the top and the amount of work to get all this together is awesome. A template would have been used for the arch to be constructed on and then all the cutting of the bricks around the arch itself is near on perfect. The bricks themselves are wedge shape and all the brick joints are equal giving a very tidy appearance.

The same arch but looking underneath to see how the bricklayer was a real craftsman to get everything to look so tidy. You may also notice that there are some different coloured bricks, that is because the walls inside are of a glazed brick and totally different to the ones on the outside.

All in all a very decorative way in which to bridge a door opening, lintels, wood and stone, have been used since the beginning of building and in later years concrete became plentiful and when metal rods were bedded inside gave incredible strength over wider areas and so brick arches became a luxury.

Churches were always big users of  arches in both brick and stone and some are just truly magnificent. How some of that stonework got put into place many centuries ago, without the help of mechanical means, one can only guess at. But there are plenty of arches of brick within Church buildings and when I was out and about on my bike, (cycle), I came across this small Church but only had my mobile (cell) phone with me so took these pictures, sorry if they are not all that good.

As you can see these arches to a point and are known as Gothic arches, there are semi-circular and segmental, as well a many more. But a closer look at these arches display, yet again, both the craft of bricklaying and the effects on what would otherwise be just a blank brick building. Not to mention that the arches match the shape of the windows and doors themselves, all very symmetric.

This is just a small example of the effective use of different coloured bricks in an imaginative way and if you notice the picture of the smallest of the windows you will see alongside the window is another use of brickwork first used centuries ago, the buttress. Used to strengthen walls and sloped at the top to finish off another decorative effect. I hope to expand on more decorative uses of bricks and brickwork in future blogs without any technical jargon.