Boiled Sweets Hull

Made in Hull: boiled sweets for the people

From the Brandy Snaps at Hull Fair to seaside rock at Bridlington, the people of Hull and East Yorkshire have a bit of a sweet tooth.

It all starts with Needler’s, a Hull-based confectionary company that grew from humble origins to become a giant in sweet manufacturing. Founded in the 1860s by Frederick Needler, the company started with just two members of staff (and a horse), producing sweets for the people of Hull from their premises on Anne Street. They were pretty limited though – only delivering as many sweets as their horse could pull on its cart before it needed a bit of a rest. And probably a sugar lump.

Even when Needler’s trusty steed could make it to their street, the sweets could be expensive for a lot of people in the 19th century. Importing sugar and other ingredients (plus generating the intense heat needed to melt sugar and create sweets) meant that for plenty of ordinary people, sweets were just too pricey. But as the Industrial Revolution transformed UK manufacturing, things began to change in the world of sweets too.

In 1851, the Great Exhibition in London included a confectionary display, showing off the talents of British sweet-makers to the whole world. Mr Needler took these techniques (like the ones used to create humbugs and other Victorian boiled sweets) and began to experiment with them up in Hull.

Needler's Hull

Over the next 50 years Needler’s grew into a household name for sweets, and as sugar prices around the world began to fall, sweets became much more affordable for ordinary families. Thanks to their success, by the turn of the century Needler’s had moved into a large factory on Sculcoats Lane in Hull and were producing tons of boiled sweets and chocolates every year.

Then in 1938, Needler’s chemists made a huge discovery. While experimenting with ways of producing boiled sweets, they found a way to successfully produce a perfectly clear, hard sweet using a new chemical process. Needler’s own Scientific Department (which sounds like the greatest place to work ever) found a way to introduce lactic acid into the sweet-making process, creating beautifully clear and delicious fruit drops, or Glace Fruits. The Needler’s discovery meant that the Hull-based company could be the first to make these sweets on a large scale, becoming the biggest producers of these fruity boiled sweets in the world for several decades. This cheaper way of producing confectionary arrived as global sugar prices began to fall, meaning that sweets were finally a treat that everyone could enjoy.

As well as bringing sweets to the masses, Needler’s was a business that kept its workers happy too. Following in the footsteps of other great (sweet-toothed) industrialists like Joseph Rowntree, the Needler family knew that a happy workforce is a productive one. So to keep their workers happy and healthy, Needler’s introduced plenty of activities for their employees when they weren’t making sweets. These included a profit share scheme in the company, team sports and a hugely popular Music Society too, who gave regular performances around Hull.

Did you or someone you know work at Needler’s? Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook.

Ira Aldridge

Othello in Hull – celebrating #Shakespeare400

Exactly 400 years ago today, William Shakespeare died quietly in Stratford. Since his death (on what some might argue was his 52nd birthday) Shakespeare has become the UK’s most enduring playwright, whose work has had a greater impact on our culture and language than anyone since. That’s why, right around the world, thousands of schools, universities and theatres are celebrating William Shakespeare today at events as part of Shakespeare400.

And although people might be quick to look to London or Stratford for a piece of Shakespearean history, here in Hull we have a fascinating link to celebrate too.

In the early 1800s Hull was a busy shipping port, with Humber Dock opening in 1809 in what is now part of the Marina. To keep the locals and visiting sailors entertained (and out of the pub) the city had several theatres, including the Theatre Royal Hull and Humber Street Theatre. Alongside the raucous variety shows and music hall acts, Shakespeare plays were incredibly popular with audiences in Hull. The city was an important stop for theatre companies touring the UK, who found audiences in Hull loved Shakespeare as much as anywhere else in the country and were always happy to see his plays on stage.

One actor who found Hull’s audiences friendlier than most was Ira Aldridge – an American born in New York who emigrated to the UK, becoming one of the most popular actors of the age. Aldridge was born to African American parents, and is remembered today as the first black actor to play Shakespeare’s Othello in 1826. A genuine pioneer, Aldridge was celebrated in the 2012 play Red Velvet, performed at the Tricycle Theatre in London and starring Adrian Lester.

Aldridge made his name performing in London, but with limited success. London was still home to the slave trade in England and so racial tensions were high, with The Times and other London papers giving racist reviews of Aldridge’s performances that relied on bigoted stereotypes, rather than actually reviewing his performances.

Hull, on the other hand, was much more welcoming to Aldridge. Thanks to William Wilberforce – Hull MP and vocal campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade in the early 1800s – the people of Hull understood the plight of slaves, and were altogether more enlightened when it came to civil rights. This extended to Aldridge too, with one Hull newspaper at the time describing his performance of Othello as one that could “be equalled by very few actors of the present day”, admiring Aldridge for his skill as an actor rather than dismissing him because of his race.

With Wilberforce campaigning in the House of Commons for the rights of slaves and Ira Aldridge (himself an outspoken abolitionist) on tour as the first black Othello in Hull, the early and mid 1800s were an important moment for civil rights in the UK. Attitudes were changing, and Hull was leading the way.

Aldridge was so confident in Hull’s open-minded audiences that he frequently returned to the city to perform. He even launched many of his new roles in Hull, seeing the city as a testing ground for his latest interpretation of a character. On a number of occasions this included white characters, with Aldridge debuting his Shylock, Macbeth, King Lear and Richard III in Hull in the 1830s, occasionally wearing white face paint and a wig. Not content with becoming the first black actor to play Othello, Aldridge was pushing the boundaries of performing race and testing audiences even further – and he chose Hull as the place to try it out.

We don’t know if William Wilberforce ever saw Aldridge perform in Hull. However, if you head to Wilberforce’s birthplace in Hull today – the Wilberforce House Museum – you’ll see a striking portrait that links these two men together. Painted by an unknown artist, The Captured Slave is a copy of a painting by John Philip Simpson that currently hangs in a gallery in Chicago. It shows a slave in chains, although for many years the man who sat for the painting was a mystery. Following years of research and speculation, it was discovered in 2008 that the sitter was in fact (who else?) Ira Aldridge himself.

Aldridge’s link to Hull shows that the stories of Shakespeare’s actors are sometimes just as interesting as those of his characters. You can find out lots more about Ira Aldridge (and other actors who’ve made their name performing Shakespeare) on the BBC’s Shakespeare Lives portal.

Thank you to Manchester Art Gallery for allowing us to use The Moor by James Northcote as the image for this article. If you’d like to read more about Ira Aldridge in Hull this BBC article is a great place to start.

Tom Bellerby

A day in the life of a… youth theatre director

I get to the office at around 11am or 12pm most days as I work until quite late into the evening. It suits me though – I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. I live in Hull’s Old Town and if the weather is decent I am fond of a bit of a wander around the marina and river front area before work to get my brain in gear and think about what needs to happen that day.

I spend the first part of my day in meetings, planning future projects and keeping on top of Youth Theatre admin. We have nearly 150 young people in the Youth Theatre ranging from ages 8 – 10. We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries from new members recently so the admin can get quite busy, particularly at the start of a term. I also programme all the Youth Theatre’s productions (about seven a year) so I spend a fair amount of time reading plays. And of course there’s next year to plan for. 2017 is going to be big for the Youth Theatre and will see us create some really exciting work.

I also work on Grow, Hull Truck Theatre’s artist development programme. During the day I often have meetings with our Supported Artists to explore how Hull Truck Theatre can support their development needs as individuals and companies. I’ve only been here a year and one of the things that has really struck me about Hull is how much exciting work is coming from the theatre companies of this city.

Tom Bellerby

The busiest part of my day is at 5pm when our Youth Theatre members arrive. What we’re doing will depend on the time of year. All our groups perform once a year in our Studio, supported by the Hull Truck Theatre production team – rehearsals take up about half of the Youth Theatre year (it’s hard rehearsing shows in hour and a half chunks!) The other half of the year will be spent in skills sessions – looking at different areas of theatre. These skills sessions are really diverse and often lead by what the group wants to focus on. I’m currently looking at performing Shakespeare with our 16+ groups and have explored other areas such as physical theatre, improvisation and text work with other groups this year.

My top priority at the moment is our production of Edward Bond’s The Children that I’m directing with our 14 – 16 group, which opens next week. It’s a double bill with another of our Youth Theatre group’s production of The Mobile Phone Show by Jim Cartwright, directed by Lizi Perry. The Children is a dark thriller about a group of young people who decide to run away from home after a terrible incident and then discover everyone else has disappeared over night. The cast are doing brilliantly and we are all really looking forward to getting it in front of an audience next week!

I tend to finish at around 8.45pm or 9.00pm in the evening. I head home (or into one of Old Town’s many great pubs for a post work beer), indulge in a bit of Netflix (currently working my way through Breaking Bad – I know I’m one of the only people not to have watched it yet) and then get to bed ready for it to all start again. 

The Children and The Mobile Phone Show, a double bill by Hull Truck Youth Theatre, is showing at Hull Truck Theatre between Thursday 21 and Saturday 23 April, 7pm

For tickets call the Box Office 01482323638

Teachers, Let’s Get Creative

On the 5 April 2016 a group of teachers from across the city gathered at Paragon Station beginning the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 journey to discovering what makes outstanding cultural Continued Professional Development in the classroom.

The Hull 2017 Learning & Participation Team are exploring ways in which we can work with teachers across the region to make teaching more exciting in and out of the classroom and we recruited the help of some local teachers to help us on our mission.

We began our quest at Opera North in Leeds where we worked with Sarah Ogden, part of the Educational Vocal Delivery Team, who showed us a range of vocal exercises and activities which can be used to inspire children of all ages in the classroom across a range of subjects from the Creative Arts to Literacy and Numeracy.

“The CPD workshops showcased passionate and inspirational organisations committed to inspiring future generations through the arts and education.” 


Louisa Waldron,

Priory Primary School

We then pirouetted our way to Newcastle to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at the Theatre Royal. This awe-inspiring piece helped the teachers to explore ways in which subjects can be taught through the medium of dance such as History, English and Drama. Get those jazz hands at the ready!

Day two of our mission saw us brave the North East winds with Northern Architecture on a tour of Newcastle, looking at creative ways we can approach Science, Geography and History in the classroom, exploring the variety of ways we can teach subjects as a collective not as single subjects.

A visit to Northern Stage Theatre who made us rethink how theatre can engage students in set texts, increase confidence or just be an inspirational experience.

Across the Tyne to Gateshead we ended our mission at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts. There Susan Coles, Artist & Arts, Creativity & Educational Consultant and Vicky Sturrs, Schools and Colleges Programmer, provided us with ways to make the most challenging of modern art accessible to all students and ways to engage students in their surroundings.

“The workshops were all fantastic and were lead by people with such a deep understanding and insight of the subjects being delivered. I’m really excited to hear about all of the CPD opportunities that will be on offer in Hull to enable teachers to ensure that children have an experience to remember in 2017.”


Kate Jackson,
Sutton Park Primary School

Mission complete… with the hard work from the teachers, their creative input and knowledge of Hull we’re ready to begin working with more teachers and schools from right across the city. Teachers, let’s get creative for 2017!

Watch this space for upcoming news about the rollout of our Learning Programme.


Harriet City of Culture

Q+A: Harriet, Volunteer Engagement Manager

What’s your name?

Harriet Johnson

What’s your role at Hull UK City of Culture 2017?

I’m the Volunteer Engagement Manager. This means I’m responsible for getting people involved in the volunteer programme.

I’ve been working with communities across the city to talk about how everyone can get involved, and I’m really excited at the thought of people teaming up to support each other and have fun volunteering.

Why should people become a Hull 2017 volunteer?

There are so many reasons why someone should become a Hull 2017 volunteer! Volunteering is a great experience for a variety of reasons; it’s an opportunity to learn new skills, meet people and to challenge yourself.

I think volunteering for Hull 2017 is an amazing chance to celebrate our city and get involved with what will be a magical year of events. There are going to be so many different opportunities from front of house, meet and greet to backstage / technical that there will really be something for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing all the wonderful stories that will unfold from the volunteers’ experiences.

How can people find out more about getting involved with Hull’s year as UK City of Culture?

We have community roadshows across the city and beyond in April and May. It’s a chance to meet our super pioneer volunteers who can talk to you about their experience so far and even help you make a start on your volunteer application form.

If you’d like to know a bit more and start your application, you can do that through our website.

What do you love most about Hull?

Over the years I have worked in Hull I’ve had the pleasure with working in lots of different settings. There are so many community groups doing fantastic work in the city and they are all powered by a love of the city they work and volunteer in. This energy is infectious. The people of Hull are what make this such a special city. Where else do you get a wave and a thank you if you stop your car at a zebra crossing?!

Hull is a magical city, I am incredibly passionate about people learning about its unique and wonderful places and there are so many hidden gems. Every year for Freedom Festival I invite friends from around the UK to visit and take part in the weekend – they are always blown away the amazing artists, performances and welcoming vibe.

I love the green spaces (and not just the ones that immediately spring to mind). You can walk to Beverley along the riverbank, pick wild plums at Loglands and watch wildlife at Noddle Hill.

What do you get up to when you’re not looking after our volunteer programme?

I am in Apple Crumble and Stitch Hull WI. We are based at Artlink on the third Thursday of every month. We have a fun and varied programme varying from coffee tasting to letter writing as well as more traditional crafts.

I love the outdoors and gardening. My favourite outdoor space locally is Loglands nature area and Spurn Point further afield, they have just renovated the lighthouse and I can’t wait to visit it.

If I have time I like to go to gigs too – my husband’s in a band although they’re very loud so I have a trusty pair of earplugs!

Harriet is out and about during April and May at our community roadshows – why not drop in and say hello? She’ll even be taking over our
Instagram account and sharing updates from the roadshow this Saturday 10 April, at Costello Playing Fields.

Our roadshows are visiting 22 different locations across Hull and Beverley in April and May, spreading the word about Hull 2017 and talking about how you can get involved. Find out where we’re heading next.

Meet Jon Collins

If you’re a chocolate lover you’re bound to have come across Jon at some point and if you haven’t where’ve you been?!

Jon Collins, born and bred in Hull, was always destined for big things coming from a very creative family. With his Mum and Gran as his inspiration he was determined to discover his artistic talent, Jon tried his hand at a few skills including singing and writing but soon realised these weren’t quite his forte, however when Jon gave cooking a whirl he knew that’s where his talents lay.

With the mixing bowl as his pallet and chocolate as his canvas this modest master of culinary delights considers his profession as more of a vocation which allows him to express his artistic talents through his food. Jon works on all his own unique recipes and he’s always looking to create something new, experimenting with tastes and textures there’s no telling what Jon will whip up.

Jon began his training at the young age of 14 and built his career working at various notable restaurants and eateries in and around Hull. In one of these restaurants Jon’s bench faced the pastry chef’s work station and Jon became mesmerised by the intricate designs the former welder created. He learnt by watching the chef’s trained hand at work and soon became an expert himself.

Now what Jon knows about chocolate is nobody’s business. With initial aspirations of becoming a pastry chef Jon trained specialising in savoury dishes but soon realised his true passion lay with desserts, in particular chocolate! Jon booked himself on a course at the exclusive Slattery, the UK’s finest Patissier and Chocolatiers, building on his already founded skills and the rest is history. Jon set out to achieve his dreams…his chocolate coated, pistachio sprinkled, marzipan dreams!

Jon enjoys watching others indulge on his mouth-watering creations and to make sure his culinary inventions remain at the top he is always researching new ideas, new techniques and new flavours to make them more scrumptious than the last.

Jon has even taught himself basic French so he can make international calls, dealing with leading suppliers in France, ordering original continental produce and equipment over the phone to ensure his customers get the best experience Jon can offer. Très bien!

To the average onlooker Jon would appear as a creative, artistic, chocolate genius but what you might not guess is that Jon enjoys a bit of creative writing in his spare time to unwind and although Jon keeps his writings to himself it’s clear there is no end to Jon’s creativity.




Made in Hull: LCD

We’re all about arts and culture here at Hull 2017, but digital technology gets us pretty excited too. That’s why the story of LCD screens (and their amazing link to Hull) is one we’ve been really looking forward to telling.

Chances are, you’ll be reading this article on some kind of LCD screen. Whether that’s your phone, a tablet or a computer, the device you’re looking at probably has liquid crystals inside it. Liquid crystal displays (or LCDs) make use of a weird phenomenon, that scientists at the University of Hull managed to figure out in the 1970s and turn into the tech we use today.

Professor George Gray was the brains behind the operation. A pioneering Professor of Organic Chemistry, Gray led the team at the University of Hull who made a major breakthrough into liquid crystals, paving the way for LCD. His research built on the work of Otto Lehmann, a German physicist with a wonderful beard. Lehmann (along with his friend Friedrich Reinitzer) accidentally stumbled on liquid crystals in the late 1800s. They discovered the strange phenomenon where substances could have two melting points, while somehow acting like a liquid but containing lots of tiny, solid crystals.

Over the next 50 years, scientists continued to experiment with liquid crystals and found more weird properties. They realised that they could be manipulated and changed with an electric field, changing position depending on the current passed through it. They also found that the crystals were very effective at polarising light passed through them, but realised that they were pretty unstable, only working at really high temperatures. It wasn’t until 1973, when George Gray published his ground-breaking research paper New Family of Nematic Liquid Crystals for Displays (snappy title, I know) that liquid crystals really took off. Gray figured out a way to make the crystals function at room temperature, making them practical to use in screens like the ones we use now.

This discovery had a massive impact, opening up the commercial development of LCD technology and providing the basis for generations of televisions, computer monitors and other displays. This likely had a huge affect on the environmental impact of TVs too, as the industry moved from producing power-hungry TVs with cathode ray tubes towards smarter, more energy efficient flat screen LCDs.

Gray’s discovery won him the Kyoto prize for Advanced Technology, and was named as one of Eureka UK’s 100 university discoveries that changed the world. The University of Hull continue to be leaders in liquid crystal research, and celebrated the 40th anniversary of Gray’s awesome discovery in 2013.

Statue Stories: from Hull to Iceland

Looking out from Victoria Pier (opposite The Deep) is a sculpture that looks like nothing else in the city. In fact, visitors to the city could be forgiven for not even knowing it’s there. Created by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, Voyage looks out across the water of the Humber Estuary and beyond. A human figure in greenish-blue brass, the sculpture faces out in the direction that thousands of Hull trawlermen travelled, heading out to fish in the waters around Iceland.

More than just a beautiful statue, Voyage represents an important link between Hull and the Icelandic communities the other side of the North Atlantic. In the tiny village of Vik on the south coast of Iceland, Voyage’s sister sculpture (called For) faces out to sea too, looking across at the statue in Hull. As a pair, Voyage and For celebrate the unique link between Hull and Iceland, shaped by years of trade and shared seafaring heritage.

Installed in 2006, the sculptures mark a new link between the UK and Iceland. Thousands of years of trade and history between the two countries took a bit of a knock during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, as the Cod Wars (or Þorskastríðin if you’re from Reykjavik) created a rift between the two countries. As Iceland looked to protect its waters, years of disagreement over boundaries and fishing zones resulted in a lengthy and frustrating fight between the UK and Iceland, with British fishermen at the centre of the dispute. The Cod Wars ended in 1976, although the end of the conflict didn’t bring good news for Hull. With increased restrictions on fishing in Icelandic waters, Hull’s fishermen no longer had permission to fish in seas around Iceland and the fishing industry in Humberside went into decline.

Although this was a devastating loss to fishing communities in Hull, the people of Hull are not ones to hold a grudge with their Icelandic neighbours. In recent decades, new trade and investment partnerships between the UK and Iceland have built bridges between these two nations, with Iceland once again becoming one of the UK’s most important export markets.

This renewed friendship is what the Voyage sculpture embodies in Hull – an optimistic look ahead to the future, backed-up by centuries of history and partnership. Or as the artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir puts it:

‘Of all the art projects I have been involved with, this has been by far the most special and meaningful. […] I hope the monuments in Hull and Vik are a lasting tribute to the close relationship between our two communities.’

Did You Know?

  • The Voyage sculpture looks out across the North Sea, facing its sister sculpture in Iceland.
  • The sculpture is made of brass, sitting on a basalt plinth.
  • The original Voyage sculpture was pinched in 2011, although it was swiftly replaced.
Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Volunteer Programme Launch

Hull 2017 Volunteer Programme Launches

Today we launch our Volunteer Programme that will offer opportunities across 600 days of activity in the lead up and throughout 2017.

A group of Pioneer Volunteers with Jane Lady Gibson of principal partner Spirit of 2012, Martin Green, CEO & Director of Hull 2017 and Rosie Millard, Chair of Hull 2017 launched the programme at Hull’s Paragon Station. The Pioneer Volunteers present for today’s launch were selected from almost 1,000 people who expressed their interest prior to the official launch, and will be trained to interview and support subsequent volunteers.

The diversity of the project will result in roles ranging from practical event support, to visitor welcome and even volunteer casts for our major outdoor spectacles. Above all else, volunteering with Hull 2017 is a unique opportunity to get a front row seat – play your part of the next major national event and ultimately be able to say “I was there!”.

Members of the public are also being invited to suggest names for the team of volunteers that will make a direct contribution to the success of Hull 2017.  Help us find the perfect name and share your suggestion by completing name suggestion form.

Martin Green, chief executive officer and director of Hull 2017 said:“Hull’s volunteers will play vital roles before, during and after the city’s year of life-changing culture. “This is a huge volunteering programme, with thousands of people required. Every individual selected will be a unique ambassador for the city of Hull and for culture. Their skills and development will play a major part in the legacy of UK City of Culture in Hull, as the programme has been built and designed to last for years into the future.”

Also announced today are a series of 20 roadshows across the entire city and beyond that will help give everyone the opportunity to be part of Hull’s 2017 story, including help for anyone wanting to apply to be a volunteer. The first roadshow will take place on 4 Apr 2016 in east Hull.

At the roadshows, people can find out more about any aspect of UK City of Culture: from how to volunteer, to how to stage an event; how to apply for a Creative Communities Programme grant or, generally, what Hull 2017 will mean for individuals, families, businesses and neighbourhoods. See the full list of roadshow locations and dates – we hope to see you there.

Martin Green, of Hull 2017, said: “From east to west, central to north, these roadshows are the first of many informative and artistic events that will bring UK City of Culture to life in the neighbourhoods of Hull.”

Hull 2017’s citywide programmes of volunteering and community engagement are supported by the Spirit of 2012 Trust, which today confirms funding to the project of £2.85m. Spirit of 2012 now joins Hull 2017 as a principal partner to build on a development grant from last year. Established by the Big Lottery Fund, Spirit of 2012 works to ensure the feelgood factor that radiated from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is felt across the UK, by connecting events to communities.

Spirit of 2012 Vice-Chair, Jane Lady Gibson, explained: “Spirit is delighted to be a Principal Partner of Hull 2017 and we’re particularly pleased to be supporting this volunteering scheme. It will enable so many members of the community to get involved in their own city’s big moment and, living in the area myself and as a University of Hull graduate, I understand first-hand the positive effect something like this will have on the city and the people of Hull.”

Leader of Hull City Council Councillor Stephen Brady said: “Our year as UK City of Culture is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone in the city – most of all, our residents.

“Yes, the city centre will act as a natural hub for large-scale events. However, the year will deliver culture right across every neighbourhood in the city and, as the 2017 team has said, there will be something for everyone. “Hull’s time in the spotlight will provide a unique opportunity for our residents to not only be in the audience, but to be part of the story, and I look forward to seeing the army of volunteers getting recruited and getting started.”

You can find out full details of the Hull 2017 Volunteer Programme online at and applications are now being accepted from anyone over the age of 16.

Volunteer opportunities are suitable for everyone, from those who want to gain invaluable work experience, to those who would like to meet new people. There is no upper age limit and volunteers do not have to be Hull residents. Volunteers will be recruited in four phases, with applications being accepted up until autumn 2017.

Hull 2017 Business Club launched by Lord Mandelson

Approximately 100 Hull and East Yorkshire business leaders attended the event in the inspirational setting of the University of Hull’s newly redeveloped Brynmor Jones Library.

The Rt Hon the Lord Mandelson, who has held the 10-year position of High Steward of Hull since 2013 and also launched Hull’s ambitious City Plan at the University of Hull in the same year. He said: “It is a pleasure to be back in Hull to launch the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Business Club. This is an opportunity for businesses to publicly show their support for Hull 2017 and to become part of a forward-thinking collective that will make a direct impact on the success and the legacy of City of Culture.

“You don’t have to look far to see the progress that is being made towards the transformation of this city. With less than one year to go until Hull becomes UK City of Culture 2017, the impact of the title and its associated economic benefits are plain to see. Hull is undergoing a period of rediscovery that is bringing jobs and investment to the region. It is now up to all sectors to continue working together to make the most of every opportunity that Hull 2017 brings.”

Building on the phenomenal success of the Hull UK City of Culture Bid Angels, which saw 22 of the region’s businesses each pledge £17,000 to support Hull’s bid for City of Culture status, Business Club is a new opportunity for companies to show their support for Hull 2017 – the UK’s next major cultural festival.

Martin Green, CEO and Director of Hull 2017, said: “We’re launching Business Club in response to demand from the local business community. Our business people have long been telling us they want more ways to become more involved with City of Culture. Business Club is a partnership package with mutual benefits at a time when the eyes of the world will be on Hull.

“Of course, we will never forget the role our original Hull Bid Angels played during the bid for City of Culture status. The scale of support from local businesses and the wider community played a significant role in the judge’s decision to award Hull the title and our Angels have seen increased media interest, opportunities to network and to grow their business as a direct result of this. “Business Club expands on the amazing success of our Angels. It allows a wider network of aspirational business partners to come on board, to capitalise on the opportunities that a city of culture brings with it, and to become a vital part of the 2017 story.”

Fran Hegyi, Executive Director / Director of Partnerships and Development at Hull 2017, said: “The Hull 2017 Business Club is a unique opportunity for companies that are either rooted in Hull, or who want to grow their profile in Hull, to become real city champions.

Collectively, the Business Club will make a significant contribution to the success of Hull 2017. The Club will also have the opportunity to connect with our larger partners through networking events. But, most importantly, it is a way that businesses can publicly celebrate and show support for 365 days of world-class arts and culture.”

Lord Mandelson is the current High Steward of Hull, a 10-year ceremonial post that was also held by his grandfather, Labour foreign and home secretary Herbert Morrison (High Steward of Hull, 1956-1965). On accepting the post in 2013, Lord Mandelson pledged to serve the city of Hull and launched the 10-year City Plan.

Core aims of the City Plan include:

  • to create 7,500 jobs for local jobseekers;
  • to establish the city as a world-class visitor destination; to attract inward investment;
  • reinforce Hull’s position as the country’s leading Energy City and,
  • to improve quality of life for all residents, particularly the vulnerable.

At the time of its announcement, a key ambition of Hull’s City Plan was to win the title of UK City of Culture 2017. The title was awarded to Hull in November 2013.


What is the Hull 2017 Business Club?

The Hull 2017 Business Club is a new partnership initiative for local businesses.

Building on the phenomenal success of the Hull UK City of Culture Bid Angels, which saw 22 of the region’s businesses each pledge £17,000 to support Hull’s bid for City of Culture status, Business Club is a new platform for companies to show their support for Hull 2017 – the UK’s next major cultural festival.

What are the benefits?

Becoming part of the Hull 2017 Business Club is an opportunity to position your business as helping to deliver Hull 2017 and its legacy. As well as associating your brand with an incredible year of cultural activity, businesses will gain access to a suite of rights and benefits including hospitality, tickets, marketing and staff engagement.

What are the other levels of partnership?                      

Hull 2017 has three other tiers of partnership which reflect the level of support businesses are providing to Hull 2017, with each tier receiving different rights and benefits aligned to their partnership level. You can find out more about our partnership programme.

My business is not based in Hull or the East Riding. Can I join the Business Club?

UK City of Culture is being hosted in Hull in 2017 but is an event of national significance. Over 365 days we will celebrate the culture of the UK here in Hull, providing national and international exposure for businesses who decide to become a partner to the project.

You may also be planning to grow your footprint in the area, relocate your business to the region or your employees live in Hull.

When will announce the events happening in 2017?

Hull 2017 is currently developing the artistic programme for 2017 and we will be announcing the first season of the year (Made in Hull) in September 2016.

In April this year we will also be undertaking a series of roadshow events across Hull and the East Riding to highlight opportunities for people to get more involved in the project. This will include initiatives such as volunteering and the Hull 2017 Programme Fund.

How will I know my support has made a difference to the city?

Hull 2017 is working with University of Hull as our academic research partner and is developing our framework to measure the impact of the year. This will include measuring the change in perception of the city, the economic impact of events and how the year has improve the lives of local people and communities.

For more information and to discuss becoming part of the Hull 2017 Business Club contact

For Media enquiries please contact

Culture heads to Freetown

The team, representing Hull’s cultural, civic and educational sectors, will visit Freetown tomorrow (22 January) to explore future partnerships and projects.

As part of the ongoing development of links between the cities, it is hoped this exploratory trip will help to forge closer civic, cultural and educational links, including opportunities for artists from Sierra Leone to be involved in the Hull 2017 programme.

Representatives making the trip include Deputy Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Daren Hale, Chief Executive of Hull 2017, Martin Green, Chair of the Freetown Society, Kathleen Guthrie, the Director of Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, Professor John Oldfield, and Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Freedom Festival Trust, Mikey Martin.

Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council said: “The connection between Hull and Freetown is an important one, which has historically worked to strengthen the commercial, educational and cultural links between the two cities.

“This twinning link has a long and prestigious history and I very much hope that this visit will help to continue its success into the future.

“The legacy of our year as City of Culture is as important, if not more, than the year itself and I am keen to ensure that Freetown plays a part in it.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017 said: “Hull’s close links with Freetown are part of the story that we will want to share with the world in 2017.

“During the visit, we hope to meet people and artists who will want to work with to tell that story through art and culture. I hope it will be the first step to creating something very special that will strengthen the ties between both cities, leaving a legacy well beyond 2017.”

Director of Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, Professor John Oldfield said: “The Wilberforce Institute has strong links with Sierra Leone, particularly in the areas of education and outreach.

“We see this visit as an important opportunity to strengthen and develop these existing links, while at the same time exploring the possibility of future co-operation between the University of Hull and Fourah Bay College”.

Teachers from some of Hull’s schools will also join the trip, visiting Freetown partner schools. Deborah Tague, Headteacher of Sutton Park Primary School, will be joined by Stacey Barrell, also from Sutton Park Primary School, Laura Sarel from Wansbeck Primary School and Kayleigh Garner from Collingwood Primary School.

Ms Tague said: “As the Headteacher lead for City of Culture and Global Schools for the Hull Collaborative Academy Trust, I am travelling out to Freetown to reinvigorate our school links as well as hopefully making some new ones.

“Our plans were halted during the Ebola tragedy and we were devastated to hear of the plight of many of our friends and colleagues during that terrible time. As Hull prepares to be UK City of Culture, it is now time to re-engage and re-build.”

“My colleagues coming to support me back in Hull will be working to roll out the curriculum and build school partnership engagement.”

During the trip, the delegation will meet their Sierra Leonean counterparts, visit museums, galleries, schools and theatres in the area and see a cultural showcase, hosted by the Director of the Ministry for Tourism and Culture, Foday Jalloh.

Hull supported Freetown during the Ebola crisis in 2014, raising funds to provide equipment to combat the destructive disease. The country was declared Ebola transmission free by the World Health Organisation in November last year. The group will depart for Freetown on Friday 22, returning Friday 29 January.

Hull. We Move as One.

If you’re from Hull you’ve heard of Archbishop Sentamu Academy or rather Archies as they’re better known. So you’ll be interested to hear that Archies is also the name of the group who’re going to win this year’s Christmas No.1 (we’ve met them, they’re pretty impressive).

Mrs Carly Ager, Film & Media teacher and friend Chris Cooper, music producer and owners of Nu Skool Records, were approached by Hull’s very own answer to Simon Cowell, Principal Andrew Chubb. Believing in his students and always encouraging them to achieve their wildest dreams, he tasked the two with a challenge… Get a group of students to create and produce a show-stopping, breath-taking, awe-inspiring Christmas No.1 single.

You’ve never seen culture like this before, because it’s never been done. This is how their story started. Their next chapter is up to you…

The students at Archies wanted to maintain their identity, not only representing themselves, their school but also their region. Archies are passionate and proud to be from Hull and want to shout (or rather sing) about it.

Mrs Ager appointed group leader and choreographer, Paige Adamson (16) who went on to recruit Kaci-Leigh Moxon (14), Jade Farnil (15), Libby Hall (16), Alesha Neil (16), Olivia O’Loughline (15), Ellie Ideson (15), Natalie Ciftciogullari (16) and Elliot Jarvis (15), all passionate musicians, vocalists and performers.

Archies was born.

In keeping with the schools ethos, Move As One is a powerful song conveying the message of unison not just locally, or regionally but internationally. Highlighting the issues affecting society today with a strong and clear message we Move As One.

With a talented and passionate group they performed and produced the piece themselves.

Archies visited Abbey Road Studios in London recently to get some feedback on their track from Geoff Pesche who has worked with top musicians such as Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue, and Dizzee Rascal (but we can imagine Archies were much more fun to work with – no divas here!). Sitting in the same seats that Ed Sheeran and his entourage had sat in just days before (so jealous btw!), Geoff was blown away and loved the track self-produced by Archies.

You’ll all remember when astronaut Chris Hadfield infamously tweeted a photo of Hull and the Humber from space (and if you haven’t where’ve you been?). Well he’s given exclusive rights to use his photos in their music video.

So with other big names like Chris Evans and Dermot O’Leary interested in their story we know Archies are going to go far!

Remember, first impressions count for nothing. So spread the word and let’s get Hull in everyone’s home this Christmas, Archies is spreading the Christmas message.

Watch out Christmas No. 1 Hull’s coming for you!

#Hull2017Live update


Hull International ‏@HUInternational
Even @2017Hull‘s new brand has been shaped by the very community it promotes. This city belongs to everyone. #Hull

Jack Chamberlain @Voucher_Boy
Such a brilliant @2017Hull update today only feels right after seeing three excellent and entirely different shows this week, top stuff

Jamie Potter @jamiepotter
I like @2017Hull’s ideas, especially around “coming back to ours”. Logo is just one part and works best laid over images or in vivid colour.

Rabbey @RachaelCAbbey
So excited for @2017Hull , branding on point. Cool, cheeky & all about communities. Top work @philipbatty, bring on an inspirational year!

Park Bench Theatre @ParkBenchPoets
on fire for Hull for a radical season of transforming experiences in this city after listening to the @2017Hull team #MoreToTheStory

Jack Shoemark @CaptainOx
Love the branding @2017Hull

Reg Tait @regmtait
New #Hull2017 branding and website look brilliant! #Hull #HullYes

Dominic Love @DomLove7
Really liking the new @2017Hull brand – few people unhappy it wasn’t designed by Hull co. – thing is it was 100% created in and by Hull

Alice Thomson @alicethomson
All feels returning from the announcement of @2017Hull. So glad I moved back here. EVERYONE BACK TO OURS! #Hull2017

Anna Chesters @annachesters
LOVING the @2017Hull slogan: ‘Everyone back to ours’ #Hull2017


Rachel E: I think it is great, it has a contemporary feel which is just what we needed. Sometimes bringing in outside talent is what is needed to get the best for a project. City of Culture shouldn’t exclude ‘outsiders’ it just means we are the centre of cultural conversation in that year

Joseph C: Fantastic new brand. Clever, clean and something I’d be proud to use and be a part of. Exactly the kind of brand I hoped CoC would get.

Denise SIt clearly and loudly proclaims HULL – brilliant!

Ferens Curator part of ARTIST ROOMS team

Following Wednesday’s announcement from Arts Council England of over £2million for its Strategic Touring Programme, Ferens Art Gallery is delighted to be leading the ARTIST ROOMS 2016-19 tour.

Having successfully hosted three consecutive years of ARTIST ROOMS in the past, the Ferens will now be involved in a new mentoring programme that aims to help develop arts professionals and build relationships between the venues, to create a strong touring art network.

Exhibitions and Events Officer at the Ferens, Claire Longrigg, will be involved in this programme as part of a national curatorial team that will advise and support staff from galleries across the country with the 2016-19 programme.

Exhibitions and Events Officer at Ferens, Claire Longrigg said: “I am delighted to be part of this team and am looking forward to working closely with our colleagues from galleries up and down the country that will be hosting ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions.

“The Ferens Art Gallery has been worked hard to host three ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions Woodman, 2011, Warhol, 2012, and Creed, 2013. All three exhibitions benefitted greatly from having the support of the Gallery’s youth group the Future Ferens (young volunteers age 18-25) who assisted with the curatorial, marketing and learning aspects of the exhibitions.

“I look forward to sharing our experiences with colleagues nationally.”

Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Terry Geraghty said: “This is another good example of how we are building relationships and developing our partnership working, ultimately to improve the cultural offer for the people of Hull. The recognition here is a real credit to all involved.”

ARTIST ROOMS is an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland with the 2016-19 programme comprising 1,600 works by 39 artists including Joseph Beuys, Agnes Martin, Damien Hirst and Louise Bourgeois.

The tour is made possible thanks to the new support of Arts Council England and the continued support of the Art Fund.