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Funded separately to Hull Maritime, Hull City Council is embarking on transforming Queens Gardens.

A long-term vision

Hull City Council has a long-term plan for Queens Gardens to improve the space to make it more flexible and accessible as well as increasing the biodiversity. Bespoke art will also be incorporated into the plans to raise awareness of its rich maritime links.

Queens Gardens, designed by Sir Fredrick Gibberd, has become a popular area recognised for its long vista, but many visitors do not realise that they are walking in what was once the largest dock in UK.

The gardens, as well as being a much-loved open space, is a key element in the maritime history of Hull, connecting Hull Maritime Museum and the North End Shipyard - the new home of the Arctic Corsair.

Extensive work to improve the gardens began on 1 June 2023 and is expected to be complete by 2025.

The main work to improve the paving around the Rose Bowl and Guildhall Road is well underway, benefitting from natural granite stone, enhancing the look of the area. The paths along Guildhall Road will also be widened making it easily accessible for everyone.

The plans will:

  • Replace the existing failing boundary walls
  • Improve accessibility with a series of ramps and steps
  • Frame key views and vistas
  • New planting to reflect the change in seasons including a mix of species to improve biodiversity and habitats
  • Contribute to better surface water management using sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)
  • Tell the story of the garden’s history, especially as a former shipping dock
  • Define the key routes and boundaries
  • Offer shade and shelter for people using the space
  • Provide a range of high quality street furniture
  • Facilitate sustainable tree management
  • Facilitate improved and larger events
New art installations, from internationally renowned and award-winning artists Katayoun Dowlatshahi and Heinrich & Palmer, will include integrated artworks on new amphitheatre-style seating, as well as maritime-inspired installations along the boundary of the gardens. Read more here.

New railings and waymarking bollards using 3d scans of artefacts from the Maritime Museum collection will also be added.
The old dock walls will be rebuilt
New paving will be laid
The future look of Queens Gardens
New amphitheatre seating

Planting for the Future

To ensure Queens Gardens has a sustainable future a tree planting scheme has taken place. Hull City Council has a 3:1 ratio, for every tree removed, three will be planted.

In total, 453 trees have been planted. 130 trees were planted in Queens Gardens including a mix of native and non-native trees. 323 trees were also planted in city centre locations and immediate surrounding areas.

Tree planting in Queens Gardens

Central Avenue

The Poplar trees planted within the central avenue were entering the latter stages of their anticipated lifespan. Some had already been lost and replanted with a different species because Poplar trees are comparatively short lived and are not traditionally planted in urban garden settings.

Any trees in the latter stages of their life are more susceptible to dropping branches, which creates a serious public health and safety risk in a city centre public park.

Therefore the opportunity to replace the Poplars has been taken. The Poplars have been replaced with a new avenue of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) and Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress) which are a fast growing, deciduous, coniferous species that grow well in wetter soils up to height that can exceed 35m. This species has a much longer natural lifespan than the existing Poplars, and will be planted at semi-mature height of 9-11m tall with a minimum girth of 80-90cm. This line of specimen trees replicates the formal avenue evident within the original Frederick Gibberd design.

A mixture of semi-mature trees have been planted
A mix of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) and Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress)
The trees are between 9 - 11m high
They are a fast growing, deciduous, coniferous species

Guildhall Road

A number of trees have been removed from the perimeter of the gardens. The trees were of poor quality and their size, mass and lack of root protection, as well as the inadequate construction of the 1950s retaining walls had resulted in significant structural damage to the perimeter walls.

The walls have been rebuilt and include new ramps to improve the accessibility of the gardens. Seasonal colour and interest will be introduced, providing beautiful autumnal colours. The semi-mature trees have been planted to provide a spectrum of colour to provide yellow, orange, burnt orange, red and burgundy accents each autumn.

Seasonal colour and interest will be introduced
New boundary walls have been built

Northern Boundary (near Gosschalks and The Glass House)

There will be a focus on British native trees and shrubs with low level grasses, herbaceous perennials and bulb planting beneath to enhance biodiversity within the gardens. The planting will provide nectar and pollen for birds, bees and insects.

Rose Bowl

New trees including multi-stemmed Birch and fastigiate Elm have been planted around the Rose Bowl Fountain to provide seasonal interest and structure at the west end of the gardens.

These new trees will be used as new focal features around the traditional seasonal bedding displays.

Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ - Himalyan Birch
Ulmus ‘Columella’ - Dutch Elm

Rose Bowl fountain

The Rose Bowl fountain is instantly recognisable and has recently been given a new lease of life. The fountain was drained to allow for a comprehensive refurbishment which includes the replacement of the water treatment, pump and fountain system to secure its long-term future.

As part of the cleaning process, the base of the outer bowl was shotblasted which revealed the original paint colours which are buff yellow, light and dark green. These colours and the original pattern have been re-instated as part of the conservation works.

The perimeter walls have also been repaired, fully rendered and painted to improve the overall visual appearance. The restoration has also improved the lighting system that will light the fountain each evening, joining the wider lighting programme linking it in with other city centre key landmarks and buildings.

The fountain was in need of work
During the works
The fountain was re-rendered
Finishing touches to the new look fountain were being made
The fountain after work is complete
The fountain has a new lease of life

History of Queens Gardens

Take a step back in time and learn more about Queens Gardens here.