Hull and Beverley for Easter, part 4: to Gainsborough

Wednesday was to be a day of travelling, across the Humber Bridge by HF2 bus to Grimsby, thence by train to Lincoln and finally Gainsborough, where some of my ancestors were married. I was an hour ahead of schedule catching the bus, and the journey across the bridge was a thrill. We called in at the Humberside Airport and I got off by Grimsby station. The next train however was nearly two hours away, so i had a wander, bought a sandwich and a pint at the Wetherspoons right by the station, The Yarborough Hotel.

Humber Bridge
Across the Humber Bridge by bus
I also had time to kill at Lincoln, so wandered up and down the main street, but the view of the mighty cathedral was never as impressive as when we were coming into the station. At Gainsborough, it had started raining so I called Peter the B&B owner to pick me up. I had about an hour to catch All Saints open by my reckoning (I'm sure it said it closed at 5pm on the website) so he drove me straight there. But it was shut! I wasn't really expecting to see any Pipes evidence there but it would have been nice to see inside! It's a Georgian church, opened in 1744 - Samuel Pipes (waterman) married Sarah Cook there in 1796.

All Saints, Gainsborough
All Saints, Gainsborough
So I trudged back to the B&B, Eastbourne House, stopping off for a coffee at Cream, in the Marshall's Yard development. Now I rarely take a dislike to places but Gainsborough was an exception. The B&B was lovely, but I took a stroll by the neglected river that evening, and apart from the Old Hall, saw nothing of interest. The town centre was dead, populated only by street drinkers. I sought sanctuary in the Wetherspoons, The Sweyn Forkbeard, where I had a couple of pints and some sweet chilli noodles. Then it was back to the B&B for the final episode of Jamaica Inn.

Old Hall Gainsborough
Old Hall, Gainsborough
After a very nice breakfast, it was a lift to the station for a train to Kings X via Retford (transferring from the low level platforms to the high level). Caught the 73 bus to Victoria and had a final holiday pint at Victoria Wetherspoons, were the beer was three times the price it was Up North.

More photos on Flickr.

Hull and Beverley for Easter, part 3

On Easter Monday morning it was back to Hull, by train. I was hoping to get a bus but it was Sunday Service and the next one was a wait. Rick met me at the station and we headed off to Spurn Point, with a detour to The Holly Tea Rooms in Patrington for a light lunch. My word, the portions were generous, and the tea came with its own matching set of crocks. I was mystified by the Xmas decorations, but then I got it - Holly! Well worth a detour.

Light lunch at Holly Tea Rooms
The last time I came to Spurn Point (the second geographical extremity of the week) you could drive right down to the lighthouse, but not any more. You have to park up and walk. Soon the road runs out and there's just a sand bank, accessible only by 4x4s. Debris from the wartime defences is scattered everywhere, plus the remains of wooden breakwaters meant to tame the North Sea.

Road to Spurn
The road to nowhere
Spurn Point
Just a sand bar separates the North Sea from the River Humber
Breakwater broken
Remains of wooden breakwaters
After a bracing walk to this breach, we returned to a welcome cup of tea in the Blue Bell Nature reserve cafe and back to Hull via the huge Centrica gas terminal and Withernsea. I wanted to see Holderness Road, as one of my ancestors Thomas Pipes lived there, according to the 1851 census. We also did a detour round the rather attractive Garden Village behind Holderness House. Hull has many parks! Thence back to Rick's for fish curry.

Ella Street birds
An Ella Street bird
Tuesday morning we travelled into Hull to visit the Ferens Art Gallery, which has a fine collection of Victorian and Edwardian paintings, and a great modern collection too. The Hull Open was on, and there were some items I wouldn't mind having on my walls. On the way we checked out The Street of Birds and Shadows, Ella Street, where Rick used to live. There are plenty of metal birds to spot all along the way.

Art Galleries often have good cafes, and this was no exception. Rick dropped me off at the Hull History Centre, where I had to deposit my bag and get a temporary readers ticket to study the directories (only pencils allowed). I found no trace of Thomas Pipes but a librarian (?) suggested he lived by a steam mill (he was a stoker, and I'd always assumed that was aboard a ship) crushing linseed. Bell's Mill was the best candidate, but it wasn't named on any of the maps. Just as I was leaving, she found a book on Holderness Road which had more info on Bell's oil mill, more grist for David Pipes in Kent, our family historian,  to digest!

Hull and Beverley for Easter, part 2

After the Clarion AGM proper on the Saturday (see Ian's report here), we assembled outside the hotel for a town tour, led by Paul Schofield. We started by almost reaching the North Bar Gate, then turning round and heading for the distant Minster, with several short detours. Beverley is to Hull, like Lewes is to Brighton: ancient, sleepy and a little bit posh!

North Bar Gate, Beverley
The Medieval North Bar Gate, Beverley
Now, I'd assumed that we'd pop into St Mary's church to look at the white rabbit carving said to have inspired Lewis Carroll, but we didn't. And I could have done it independently earlier but decided to read my paper instead. Bad mistake… it was open only for services on Easter Sunday and closed on Monday! There were however some grotesque heads to look at around the various doors.

Head on St Mary's church, Beverley
Anyway, we learnt a lot about the lost pubs of Beverley and were encouraged to look for public art, including the 'trades' series, celebrating the occupations of former times carried on here abouts. See if you can find all the thimbles!

Street art in Beverley
Street art in Beverley
We walked through Saturday Market and Wednesday Market (which was working on Saturday) and finally arrived at the Minster, via the Priory - our guide's favourite building, now a YHA - where we were left to our own devices. I popped into the Minster for a look round and spotted some carvings of musicians. I found out later that one is supposed to pay 3 quid for a photo license. The Minster is impressively gothic and one of the finest examples in the country.

Beverley Minster
Beverley Minster
On the way back I had a very nice pint of Worksop stout in the Chequers Micropub, a pop-up in a 60s shopping square.

The Chequers micropub
Chequers Micropub, Beverley
Back in my 4th floor single room watching tv, there was a knock on my door. It was the manager and she'd had reports of flooding in the room below me. We looked in the bathroom and it was awash… it looked like the lever tap had been dribbling down itself and round the back of the basin. The upshot was that I was upgraded to a double room on the first floor - Room 101! In the evening we had a barn dance and buffet at the hotel.

From the top of Flamborough Head
On Sunday, after the group photo, Sue drove Ian and I to Flamborough Head, where we walked to the very edge, past the lighthouse and the radio station. The problem with being atop the Head is that you can't see it, and I was not about to be doing any leaning over the edge! After a cup of cappuccino at the cafe there, we drove back via Bridlington and Hornsea. That evening, after another trip to Nellie's for an Organic Chocolate Stout, it was the prize giving (the Clarion has lots of fine trophies, but we didn't win any!) and formal dinner with speeches and cross toasting.

Many more photos on Flickr.


Hull and Beverley for Easter, part 1

People laughed when I said I was going to Hull for Easter, in fact they were rather sniffy about the place. But I like it, it's a bit like Liverpool used to be, and when it's City of Culture in 2017 I hope it will get the appreciation it deserves. In fact, my excuse for travelling there was the Clarion Cycling Club AGM in nearby Beverley, being held in Yorkshire twice in a row.

Me and Larkin at the station
Larkin about at Hull station
I travelled up the day before to avoid the Good Friday madness and stayed with my old college chum Rick, who recently relocated southerly from the leafy Avenues to the still leafy Dukeries area, backing on to a very leafy cemetery. That night we ate seafood in a swanky restaurant, Bait, on up-and-coming Princes Avenue.

Scale Lane Bridge, Hull
Scale Lane Bridge, over the River Hull
Next morning, after a walk round the Old Town to see the new Scale Lane bridge, a giant apostrophe or comma that swivels around, we negotiated the walkways around the tidal barrier and the Deep, to pop into the bohemian Thieving Harry's for soup and coffee. It's a pop-up in an old fruit market building, and the boarded-up shop from which Rick's dad used to import Mediterranean produce was just around the corner nestling between an art gallery and the Museum of Club Culture.

Thieving Harry's
Thieving Harry's cafe
Then it was a lift to Beverley, via Westwood - an area of grass and undulating woodland - to let Lisa's dog Ronnie run around and do tricks with two frisbees. They dropped me off at the Beverley Arms Hotel, where I met up with the Brighton Clarionettes Ian, Sue and Bob. We sloped off after the Mayor's reception to eat at Figaro's a big italian near a car park, via the White Horse Inn aka Nellie's (more on this wonderful establishment later), for a pizza so big I couldn't finish it!

The White Horse aka Nellies
The White Horse, aka Nellie's