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often shortened to Hull, is a city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is located on the north bank of the Humber estuary, near the east coast, and on both sides of the River Hull, which flows into the Humber.
During the 700 years of its existence, the city has served as market town, military fortress, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial giant. Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars, and was the backdrop to events leading to the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline; however, the city has recently embarked on a program of regeneration and renewal.
Kingston upon Hull is near the east coast of the United Kingdom, on the northern bank of the Humber estuary. The city centre is close to the Humber, making the city roughly semi-circular in shape. The city is surrounded by the rural East Riding of Yorkshire, making it quite isolated from many of the large cities of the United Kingdom, when compared to the large conurbations of West Yorkshire for example.
Much of Hull lies on reclaimed land at or below sea level. The Hull Tidal Surge Barrier is at the point where the River Hull joins the Humber Estuary and is lowered at times when unusually high tides are expected. It is used between 8 and 12 times per year and protects approximately 10,000 people from flooding. Due to its low level, Hull is expected to be at increasing levels of risk from flooding due to global warming.
The boundaries of the city are tightly drawn and exclude many of the nearby villages which make up the larger metropolitan area. Cottingham is the largest of these.
Hull's administrative status has changed several times. It was a county borough within the East Riding of Yorkshire from 1889 and in 1974 it became a non-metropolitan district of Humberside. When that county was abolished in 1996 it was made a unitary authority.
The governing body of the city is now Hull City Council, headquartered in the Guildhall in the city centre. The council has several subcomponents with differing responsibilities:
The council was designated as the UK's worst performing authority in both 2004 and 2005, but is now rated as a two star improving adequately council after its recent corporate performance assessment. The Liberal Democrats won overall control of the City Council in the 2007 local elections, ending several years where no single party had a majority.
According to the 2001 UK census, Hull had a population of 253,400, a decline of 5.3% since the 1991 UK census. The population figure has subsequently been re-estimated to 249,100 as of July 2005. For many years Hull was one of the least racially diverse cities in England, however in recent years large numbers of foreigners have come to the city as refugees, students or workers.
Hull is in the Diocese of York and has a Suffragan Bishop. In 2001, the city had the lowest church attendance in the United Kingdom.
Unlike many other ancient English cities, Hull has no cathedral. It does, however, contain Holy Trinity Church, which is the largest parish church in England when floor area is the measurement for comparison. Other churches, such as St Nicholas's in Great Yarmouth, are larger when other measurements are taken. The church dates back to about 1300 and contains what is widely acknowledged to be some of the finest mediæval brick-work in the country, particularly in the transepts.
There are several seamen's missions and churches based in Hull. The Mission to Seafarers has a centre at West King George Dock. The St Nikolaj Danish Seamen's Church is located at 104 Osborne Street, Hull and has services (in Danish) every Sunday.
The city has a professional football team playing in the Championship (second tier), Hull City AFC, who play at the Kingston Communications Stadium. The club has never played in the first tier, making Hull Europe's largest city never to have seen first division football.
Hull is something of a rugby league hub, boasting two teams. Hull FC are in the Super League and, along with Hull City AFC, play at the Kingston Communications Stadium. Hull Kingston Rovers are also in Super League and play at Craven Park. There are also several lower league teams in the city, such as East Hull, West Hull, Hull Dockers and Hull Isberg, who all play in the National Conference League.
The city also boasts Hull Ice Arena, a large ice rink and concert venue, which is home to the Hull Stingrays ice hockey team who play in the Elite Ice Hockey League.
New to the city is the Hull Hornets American Football Club, which, as of 5 November 2006, has acquired full member status of the British American Football League and is now eligible to apply for competition in the 2007 regular season.
In mid-2006 Hull was home to the professional wrestling company 1PW, which held the Devils Due event on 27 July in the Gemtec Arena.
The city did have, up until 2006, a Speedway Team, called Hull Vikings. However, they disbanded when they were evicted from Craven Park and ran into considerable financial difficulty. The sport has long and interesting history. Previous to the Second World War meetings were staged at Hull White City. In the early post war years the Hull Angels raced in the National League Division Three at Hedon before closure late summer 1949 saw the team move to Swindon. The sport was revived at The Boulevard and operated for many years with the Hull Vikings featuring World Champions Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs and Egon Muller at various times. For details of the activities of the Angels and the Vikings compiled by local speedway historian Roger Hulbert look at www.speedwayresearcher.org.uk
Hull's daily newspaper is the Hull Daily Mail which was named Yorkshire Daily Newspaper of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Mail News and Media also has an internet presence, with separate sites for local news, sports and nightlife. Local listings and what's on guides include Tenfoot City Magazine and Sandman Magazine. The BBC has its new Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regional headquarters at Queen's Gardens, from which the regional news programme Look North is broadcast. Radio services come from BBC Radio Humberside, Viking FM, KCFM, Magic 1161, Hull University Union's Jam 1575, and Kingstown Radio, the hospital-based radio station, which all broadcast to the city.
Hull's history is that of a solidly industrial city, with working-class sensibilities. Like many other cities and towns, it has suffered the negative effects of Britain's transition to a post-industrial society. These effects include, among other things, a decaying infrastructure, an obsolete industrial base, and areas of urban blight. These factors contribute to Hull having the second highest level of deprivation in England, after Liverpool. In 2005, Hull was named "the worst place to live in Britain" in the Channel 4 programme "The Best and Worst Places to Live in Britain".
In spite of these issues, many of the city's residents are very proud of Hull, its history, and its traditions, using such terms as "underrated", "thriving", "fantastic", and "wonderful" to describe their home. Many residents and visitors also credit it for its down-to-earth, working class-attitude and its friendly nature. The University of Hull boasts a reputation of being one of the friendliest universities in the United Kingdom.
Hull's national reputation is also reflected by the positive striving of the Council to improve the city's welfare. However, the city has had poor performance in terms of most socioeconomic indicators in comparison with the rest of the UK. Hull City Council was designated as the UK's worst performing authority in both 2004 and 2005, which the Council are trying to improve with its new £200 million St. Stephen's project. These efforts helped ensure Hull's absence from the 2006 list of "Worst Places to Live in Britain", a list which included, among other places, Nottingham, Manchester, and areas of London.
Hull is seen as something of a national oddity: a large city, in the midst of a very rural part of Yorkshire, at the very edge of the nation. The rest of the East Riding has always looked upon Hull as a very different entity, and government decisions have taken this into account with things such as post codes, telephone networks and other regional groupings.
As with many cities across the country, areas of Hull are undergoing regeneration. These include the St Stephen's and Quay West projects. £300 million Quay West (being built on brownfield land) will provide an open air expansion of the existing Princes Quay shopping centre.
Overlooking the Humber, the new £165m Humber Quays development, now with World Trade Centre status Humber Quays, is adding new high quality office space to Hull's waterfront. Phase 1 of the project includes two office buildings (one complete, one under construction), and 51 new apartments. Phase 2 will include a new 200 bedroom 4 star hotel, a restaurant, plus more high quality office space.
The East Bank of the River Hull will see a stunning £100m residential development connected to Hull's old town. The Boom will include over 600 luxury riverside apartments, shops, boutiques, bistro cafés, a 120 bed luxury hotel, plus health and education facilities.
St. Stephen's is being built on the site of the old bus station and is a 52,000 sq m scheme, anchored by a 24 hour superstore, providing shop units, residential areas, as well as a new 'transport interchange'. This will include a new bus station and renovated railway station and is said to be the second system in England which integrates railway and bus stations, leisure and shopping facilities under the same roof, after Doncaster's, Frenchagate interchange. This project is aimed to be completed by the end of 2007. Stores leasing area in St Stephens include Zara, Topshop, Oasis, H&M, Next, and Tesco.
The local accent is quite distinctive and noticeably different from the rest of the East Riding; however it is still categorised amongst Yorkshire accents. The most notable feature of the accent is the strong I-muatation in words like goat, which is [g??t] in standard English and [go?t] across most of Yorkshire, becomes [g??t] ("geuht") in and around parts of Hull, although there is variation across areas and generations. In common with much of England (outside of the far north), another feature is dropping the H from the start of words, for example Hull is more often pronounced 'Ull in the city. The vowel in "Hull" is pronounced the same way as in Standard English, however, and not as the very short /U/ that exists in Lincolnshire.
The rhythm of the accent is more like that of northern Lincolnshire than that of the rural East Riding, which is perhaps due to migration from Lincolnshire to the city during its industrial growth. One feature that it does share with the surrounding rural area is that an /i/ sound in the middle of a word often becomes an /a:/: for example, "five" may sound like "fahve", "time" like "tahme", etc.
The vowel sound in words such as burnt, nurse, first is pronounced with an /E:/ sound, as is also heard in Liverpool and in Middlesbrough, yet this sound is very uncommon in most of Yorkshire.
The generational and/or geographic variation can be heard in word pairs like pork/poke or cork/coke, or hall/hole, or spur/spare, which some people pronounce identically while others make a distinction; anyone called "Paul" (for example) soon becomes aware of this.
An amusing postcard is produced mocking the Hull accent. It lists a number of words and phrases as they are spoken (by some) in the city and a 'translation' to the Queen's English. For example, someone in Hull telling you that they had received a fern curl could be telling someone they had received a phone call.