IT To Go - Can support clients as far as Hull in Yorkshire
Kingston upon Hull, usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of 258,700 (2008 est.). The Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) population stands at 573,300.
Renamed Kings town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the town and city of Hull has served as market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial metropolis.
Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars. Its 18th-century Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, played a key role in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.
The city is unique in the UK in having had a municipally-owned telephone system from 1902, sporting cream, not red, telephone boxes.
After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline, during which the city gained unfavourable results on measures of social deprivation, education and policing. In recent years the city has embarked on an extensive programme of economic regeneration, reconstruction and urban renewal. The economic crisis since 2008 has caused some setbacks to these developments.
Hull has been the base for several notable poets, including former University of Hull Librarian Philip Larkin, many of whose poems were set in the city. Established tourist attractions include the historic Old Town and Museum Quarter, the Marina and The Deep, a city landmark. The redevelopment of one of Hull's main thoroughfares, Ferensway, included the opening of St. Stephen's Hull and the new Hull Truck Theatre. Spectator sporting activities include professional football and two rugby league clubs. The KC Stadium houses the football club and one rugby club.
The local accent differs markedly in its vowels from that of the rest of Yorkshire, and the rhythm of speech bears a similarity to that of Lincolnshire, to which it was briefly linked in the defunct county of Humberside.
Kingston upon Hull stands on the north bank of the Humber estuary at the mouth of its tributary, the River Hull. The valley of the River Hull has been inhabited since the early Neolithic period but there is little evidence of a substantial settlement in the area of the present city. The general area was attractive to early developers because it gave access to a prosperous hinterland and navigable rivers, but the actual site was not good, as it was remote and low-lying with no fresh water. It was originally an outlying part of the hamlet of Myton, named Wyke. The name is thought to originate either from a Scandinavian word Vik meaning creek, or from the Saxon Wic meaning dwelling place or refuge.
The River Hull was a good haven for shipping, whose main trade was in the export of wool from the abbey. In 1293 the town was acquired from the abbey by King Edward I, who on 1 April 1299 granted it a royal charter that renamed the settlement King's town upon Hull, or Kingston upon Hull. The charter is preserved in the archives of the city's Guildhall. In 1440, a further charter incorporated the town and instituted local government consisting of a mayor, a sheriff, and twelve aldermen.
In his Guide to Hull (1817), J.C. Craggs provides a colourful background to Edward's acquisition and naming of the town. He writes that the King and a hunting party started a hare which "led them along the delightful banks of the River Hull to the hamlet of Wyke … [Edward], charmed with the scene before him, viewed with delight the advantageous situation of this hitherto neglected and obscure corner. He foresaw it might become subservient both to render the kingdom more secure against foreign invasion, and at the same time greatly to enforce its commerce". Pursuant to these thoughts, Craggs continues, Edward purchased the land from the Abbot of Meaux, had a manor hall built for himself, issued proclamations encouraging development within the town, and bestowed upon it the royal appellation, King's Town.
The port served as a base for Edward I during the First War of Scottish Independence and later developed into the foremost port on the east coast of England. It prospered by exporting wool and woollen cloth, and importing wine. Hull also established a flourishing commerce with the Baltic ports as part of the Hanseatic League.
From its mediaeval beginnings, Hull's main trading links were with Scotland and northern Europe. Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Low Countries were all key trading areas for Hull's merchants. In addition, there was trade with France, Spain and Portugal. As sail power gave way to steam, Hull's trading links extended throughout the world. Docks were opened to serve the frozen meat trade of Australia, New Zealand and South America. Hull was also the centre of a thriving inland and coastal trading network, serving the whole of the United Kingdom.
Sir William de la Pole was the town's first mayor. A prosperous merchant, de la Pole founded a family that became prominent in government. Another successful son of a Hull trading family was bishop John Alcock, who founded Jesus College, Cambridge and was a patron of the grammar school in Hull. The increase in trade after the discovery of the Americas and the town's maritime connections are thought to have played a part in the introduction of a virulent strain of syphilis through Hull and on into Europe from the New World.
The town prospered during the 16th and early 17th centuries, and Hull's affluence at this time is preserved in the form of several well-maintained buildings from the period, including Wilberforce House, now a museum documenting the life of William Wilberforce.
During the English Civil War, Hull became strategically important because of the large arsenal located there. Very early in the war, on 11 January 1642, the king named the Earl of Newcastle governor of Hull while Parliament nominated Sir John Hotham and asked his son, Captain John Hotham, to secure the town at once. Sir John Hotham and Hull corporation declared support for Parliament and denied Charles I entry into the town.Charles I responded to these events by besieging the town. This siege helped precipitate open conflict between the forces of Parliament and those of the Royalists.
Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and leading up to the first World War, the Port of Hull played a major role in the transmigration of Northern European settlers to the New World, with thousands of emigrants sailing to the city and stopping for administrative purposes before travelling on to Liverpool and then North America.
Parallel to this growth in passenger shipping was the emergence of the Wilson Line of Hull. Founded in the city in 1825 by Thomas Wilson, by the early 20th century the company had grown — largely through its monopolisation of North Sea passenger routes and later mergers and acquisitions — to be the largest privately-owned shipping company in the world, with over 100 ships sailing to different parts of the globe. The Wilson Line was sold to the Ellerman Line — which itself was owned by Hull-born magnate (and the richest man in Britain at the time) Sir John Ellerman.
Whaling played a major role in the town's fortunes until the mid-19th century. Hull's prosperity peaked in the decades just before the First World War; it was during this time, in 1897, that city status was granted. After the decline of the whaling industry, emphasis shifted to deep-sea trawling until the Anglo-Icelandic Cod War of 1975–1976. The conditions set at the end of this dispute initiated Hull's economic decline.
The economy of Hull was built on trading and seafaring, firstly whaling and later seafishing. Merchant's houses such as Blaydes House and some warehouses survive in the Old Town, where trade was centred on the River Hull, later shifting to the Humber docks. Another major industry was oilseed crushing. Although the fishing industry declined in the 1970s, the city remains a busy port, handling 13 million tonnes of cargo per year. Freight handling at the port is projected to rise following Network Rail oversight of a £14.5 million investment in the rail link, which was completed in mid-2008. This was projected to increase its capacity from 10 trains per day to 22. The port operations run by Associated British Ports and other companies in the port employ 5,000 people. A further 18,000 are employed as a direct result of the port's activities. The port area of the city has diversified to compensate for the decline in fishing by the introduction of Roll-on Roll-off ferry services to the continent of Europe. These ferries now handle over a million passengers each year. Hull has exploited the leisure industry by creating a marina from the old Humber Street Dock in the centre of the city. It opened in 1983 and has 270 berths for yachts and small sailing craft.
Industry in the city is focused on the chemical and health care sectors. Several well-known British companies, including BP, Smith & Nephew, Seven Seas, and Reckitt Benckiser, have facilities in Hull. The health care sector is further enhanced by the research facilities provided by the University of Hull through the Institute of Woundcare and the Hull York Medical School partnerships. In recent years, with the decline of fishing and heavy industry, the retail sector, tourism, the arts and further and higher education sectors have played an increasingly prominent role in the process of economic regeneration and raising the profile of the city. In August 2010 a 110% increase was reported in tourism enquiries to the city, with Hull becoming an increasingly popular destination for "staycation" short breaks.
In January 2011 Siemens and Associated British Ports signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the construction of wind energy machine manufacturing plant at Alexander Dock. The plan would require some modification of the dock to allow the ships, used for transporting the wind turbines, to dock and be loaded.
As the biggest settlement in the East Riding of Yorkshire and the local transport hub, Hull is a natural focus for retail shoppers. Major department stores in Hull include Debenhams, House of Fraser and British Home Stores (Bhs). The city has three main shopping centres, St. Stephen's, Princes Quay and the Prospect Centre. There is also a number of "retail parks" and the North Point Shopping Centre at Bransholme. Large areas of Hull are undergoing regeneration to encourage retailing and commercial development. These areas include the proposed Quay West and flagship St. Stephen's projects. Budget and discount retailers such as Boyes, Primark, Peacocks, Poundland, TJ Hughes and Wilkinsons have branches in Hull. Hull has a good selection of supermarkets including several branches of Tesco, Sainsbury's, the Co-operative and budget food stores including Heron Foods and Iceland. A wide range of specialist and independent retailers are located on Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue to the west of Hull, which serve the large student population. The historic Hepworth and Paragon Arcades offer upmarket and specialist shops. Whitefriargate was traditionally Hull's premier shopping street but has declined in recent years due to the recession. It still offers a range of shops such as Marks & Spencer, Boots and Peacocks and niche retailers such as Lush.
The Princes Quay Shopping Centre which has a striking ship-like appearance, was built on stilts in the former Prince's Dock housing a variety of chain stores and food outlets. It was originally built with four retail floors, known as "decks". The uppermost deck has housed a Vue cinema since December 2007. A major extension to the centre Quay West had been announced in 2008 but this has now been cancelled due to the economic downturn and recent government cuts to regeneration projects.
St. Stephen's on Ferensway is Hull's new flagship shopping centre, built on the site of the old bus station. It is a 560,000-square-foot (52,000 m2) scheme, costing over £160 million. It is anchored by a large 24-hour Tesco Extra superstore and provides shop units, food outlets, residential areas and car parking. Adjacent is Hull's Paragon Interchange, which includes a new bus station, renovated railway station and retail outlets. Stores in St Stephen's include T.K. Maxx, Zara, Cult, Topshop, Oasis, H&M, Next, New Look, Peacocks, Pumpkin Patch, Starbucks, Jane Norman, Build-A-Bear Workshop and USC.
The Prospect Centre on Prospect Street is a smaller, older shopping centre with a range of chain stores, banks and fashion retailers. It contains branches of Boots, Claire's, a large Wilkinsons, Poundland, W H Smith, Santander, and Hull's main Post Office. At Bransholme, the North Point Shopping Centre (Bransholme Shopping Centre) contains a similar range of popular chain stores and budget-oriented retailers including Boyes and Heron Foods.
Hull is the only city in the UK with its own independent telephone network company, KC, formerly Kingston Communications, a subsidiary of KCOM Group. Its distinctive cream telephone boxes can be seen across the city. KC produces its own 'White Pages' telephone directory for Hull and the wider KC area. Colour Pages is KC's business directory, the counterpart to Yellow Pages. The company was formed in 1902 as a municipal department by the City Council and is an early example of municipal enterprise. It remains the only locally operated telephone company in the UK, although it is now privatised. KCOM's Internet brands are Karoo Broadband (ISP serving Hull) and Eclipse (national ISP) Initially Hull City Council retained a 44.9 per cent interest in the company and used the proceeds from the sale of shares to fund the city's sports venue, the KC Stadium, among other things. On 24 May 2007 they sold their remaining stake in the company for over £107 million.
KC (Kingston Communications) was one of the first telecoms operators in Europe to offer ADSL to business users, and the first in the world to run an interactive television service using ADSL, known as Kingston Interactive TV (KiT), which has since been discontinued due to financial problems. In the last decade, the KCOM Group has expanded beyond Hull and diversified its service portfolio to become a nationwide provider of telephone, television, and Internet access services, having close to 180,000 customers projected for 2007. After its ambitious programme of expansion, KCOM has struggled in recent years and now has partnerships with other telecommunications firms such as BT who are contracted to manage its national infrastructure. Telephone House, on Carr Lane, the firm's 1960s-built HQ, in stark modernist style, is a local landmark.