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72.  Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:33 am Reply with quote

Inspired by an article in the Guardian (,3604,1053800,00.html ) which nominates my home city of Hull as number one Crap Place To Live in the UK, I thought I'd spring to its defence. Then I saw that some bastard journo in the Guardian had already beaten me to it. Then I saw that there was already a thread on GU about it. Buggerit. But come on people, Hull is definitely no worse to live in than (spit) Slough. There are many things QI about Hull, especially since I left there in 1969 (that didn't quite come out as I meant it to, actually). Rents are ultra cheap and so is beer, which makes it an admirable place to be a student, I gather.

73.  Thu Oct 02, 2003 11:28 am Reply with quote

Isn't it Hull that has that has the only internal telephone system in the UK?

75.  Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:58 pm Reply with quote

That's right. They used to try out ideas on a small scale in Hull that would then be adopted by the wider system. Latterly it was privatised as Kingston Communications, and I believe a lot of Hull people benefited from having free shares in it, but that may be a local rumour. Details on

There is also a fish trail through Hull, marked by little silver fish in the pavement. I spent a memorable summer vacation (1972) working in a fish factory on Hessle Road, packing smoked cod and kippers, dying smoked haddock, battering and crumbing fish fingers and packing wet fish. Ee we wuz poor but we 'ad fun. No we didn't, actually, but it was better than having no money.

76.  Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:30 pm Reply with quote

I come from Hull, too. I used to schlep amplifiers for the Housemartins.

Yours determined to have the last word on everything,

81.  Thu Oct 02, 2003 7:52 pm Reply with quote

We get about a bit though, don't we, us Hullensians? You must be a lot younger than me. My nearest claim to musical 'fame' is going to watch the Watersons and Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick in the upstairs room at the Blue Bell in the marketplace when I was about fourteen.

84.  Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:01 am Reply with quote

Is there any correlation between the dyed smoked haddock and the fact that the public phone boxes used to be yellow?

86.  Fri Oct 03, 2003 9:00 am Reply with quote

Nothing so undignified as yellow, my dear chap. Cream, if you please.

87.  Sat Oct 04, 2003 7:31 am Reply with quote

Oh all right cream. In 1778, your home town had the largest dock in England, sent more ships to Greenland than any other English port with the exception of London, and still, of course, has the magnificent Humber Bridge. Hull dull, nah.

89.  Sat Oct 04, 2003 9:24 am Reply with quote

And how many other major towns have had a major poet as their MP?

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find. I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze.
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand for the rest...

That's from memory and may not be 100% right, but who could resist seduction like that?

106.  Wed Oct 08, 2003 7:05 pm Reply with quote

And William Wilberforce. And Amy Johnson. And the development of LCD. And a very active hacking network apparently, because of the phone system.

109.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:07 pm Reply with quote


You're not serious about the Housemartins' amps, surely?

110.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:12 pm Reply with quote

Here some QI factoids on Hull.

There are no hills in Hull.

Hull is not mentioned in the Domesday Book .

Hull is the third biggest port in England after Liverpool and London and is sometimes described as 'the biggest fishing port in the world'.

Hull stands where the River Hull joins the Humber, 20 miles from the sea. The town is named after the river and was upgraded to Kingston-upon-Hull in 1292 when the manor was acquired by Edward I. Kingston-upon-Hull is still the town’s official name but nobody calls it that.

Before it was called Hull, it was called Wike or Wyk which may come from either Old English wic, ‘dairy-farm’ or ‘dwelling-place’ or from Old Scandinavian vik, ‘bay’ (as in Reykjavik, ‘smoky bay’).

Modern Hull is said to be the drugs capital of Britain.

More caravans are manufactured in Hull than any other place in the country.

Hull was the birthplace of Amy Johnson, Andrew Marvell, Maureen Lipman and William Wilberforce.

There is a William Wilberforce slavery museum in the city centre

Holy Trinity, Hull is the largest brick-built parish church in England.

The archives of the University of Hull contain Philip Larkin’s lawnmower.

112.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:09 pm Reply with quote

I seem to recognise some of those factoids...

The 'no hills in Hull' thing is true. If you take your driving test there, you have to find a convenient flyover on which to do your hill start. It's in the middle of the Plain of Holderness, which is about as plain as a plain can get. (Question - when it's on a flat plane, why is it a plain and not a plane? And before any smartarse starts talking about Concorde and the like, I should mention that the word plain predates the Wright brothers by a fair number of years).

Caravans I'll believe - Willerby Caravans, I think, used to manufacture them. As a child I stayed for summer holidays in them at a number at seaside places, such as Ulrome and Skipsea, that may well by now have slid into the North Sea because the cliffs are made of clay and retreat at the rate of about a yard a year I think (and it was a long time ago).

For other arts connections, John Godber's Hull Truck Company theatre is superb. Tom Courtney also comes from Hull and also the real J Arthur Rank (no sniggering at the back there please). Also Brian Rix, Ian Carmichael, John Alderton, Joe Longthorn, David Whitfield, and Arthur Lucan, who played Old Mother Riley (I'm beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel here aren't I?)

A nice little website with links to Things to Do and See in Hull is

114.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:16 pm Reply with quote

How do you fit a lawnmower into an archive? Extremely odd-shaped files?

118.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:46 pm Reply with quote


I believe they called for the heavy roller before consigning it to storage.

The archives also contain, I understand, Larkin's favourite chair and his pipe, though Jenny will know better I daresay.

The word 'archives' is late Latin for a magisterial residence or place of records. Records need not necessarily be made of paper surely?


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