Hull and fish are synonymous and in 1992, the artist “Gordon Young”:https://gordonyoung.info/ created a Fish Pavement as part of the Hull Festival celebrating 300 years since the start of the Civil War.
Now known as the “Seven Seas Fish Trail”:http://providerfiles.thedms.co.uk/eandamedia/ys/2298110_1.pdfl, it’s a fabulous way to explore the city looking for fish. Armed with a map we set off on the two-mile walk starting at City Hall before meandering through Hull’s Old Town, along winding cobbled streets and the marina, on the banks of the River Hull and back into town.
Having found the shoal of silvery anchovies easily, we struggled to find the eight lobsters (2) at the entrance to the Princes Quay shopping centre. However, having given up on the lobsters, we were soon on a roll passing cod, x-ray fish, and flying fish. At one point, we lost not only the fish but our route although we were quickly put back on the right track by a helpful Hullensian.
We spent a good two hours trying to find the 41 fish which were generally carved into various types of stone in the pavements. With a helpful hint about their location, we managed to find 39 of them even though a less than helpful street cleaner virtually covered the Monkfish with his barrow. It was disappointing to see that some of the 14 cut steel eels embedded into the boardwalk along the river had been prised out.
The carvings accurately depict the size of fish and range from a tiny anchovy to a 10ft ray. However, we didn’t realise this when trying to look for number 28, a shrimp. Fortunately, a passing man saw us heads down searching for the fish and pointed out something so small, we’d never have found it on our own.
Many of the fish were chosen specifically for the location: the pilot fish outside Pilot House, an electric eel outside the electricity sub-station, and a plaice in the Market Place. I suspect the artist had a wry smile on his face when he placed the huge shark outside Barclays Bank.
Following the fish trail was one of the highlights of our trip although a sunny day helped enormously. It would also be a great way to keep children amused and exercised: they can take brass rubbings of many of the fish and get a certificate of completion from the Tourist Information Office.
The map we used from the Hull Old Town and City Guide also pointed out Ale Trail locations so there’s something for the whole family.