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Funded by National Highways and Hull City Council, plans for the future of South Blockhouse have been revealed to create a new heritage visitor space that conserves and protects the historic site for the future.

The South Blockhouse is a nationally significant monument, part of a scheme fortifications on the east bank of the river Hull, constructed on the orders of Henry VIII between 1541-43.

In July 2022, the largest community archaeology excavation took place over an 11-week programme to expose the monument’s remains, with community volunteers working alongside professional archaeologists from Humber Field Archaeology at every stage of the excavation.

Volunteers exposed the site over an 11-week period
The largest volunteer-driven archaeological dig seen in the city this century

The work was being done to gain a better understanding of its condition and the tell the story of the 16th century fortress, a key part of the city’s maritime history as one of the most important ports on the east coast of England.

This was the largest volunteer-driven archaeological dig seen in the city this century and saw almost 60 per cent of the site excavated, to investigate the story of the South Blockhouse and how it reflects Hull’s history over the last c.500 years. Members of the public visited the dig to see what was happening and learn more about the South Blockhouse.

Its cloverleaf shape, designed by the prominent military engineer John Rogers, is unique in England, and the South Blockhouse remains the only section of the historic town defences to escape destruction during Hull’s urban development and growth from the 19th century onwards.

The history of the South Blockhouse is part of Hull’s deep maritime heritage and complements Hull Maritime, a key cultural regeneration scheme in the heart of Hull’s city centre that will protect and celebrate 800 years of Hull’s maritime heritage.

The history of South Blockhouse:

1541- King Henry VIII visits Hull – twice!

1541- 43 Construction of the Henrician defences of Hull – they consisted of a central Castle, with Northern and Southern Blockhouses.

1553 - Royal Charter passes the care of the defences from the crown to the town.

1642 - King Charles orders the Earl of Newcastle to secure Hull for the king. Sir John Hotham becomes Governor and secures Hull for Parliament.

1643 - Second Siege of Hull - repairs to the South Blockhouse carried out

1859 - Citadel guns fire salute for the for the wedding of the Prince of Wales, the last time they are fired.

South Blockhouse

National Highways Designated Funds

National Highways manages four designated funds, allocated by the Government, to deliver benefits above and beyond building, maintaining and operating England’s strategic roads.

From protecting the environment and enhancing the landscape around roads, to improving safety, reducing congestion, and supporting communities, the aim is to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

The future of the South Blockhouse - telling the untold story

A new heritage visitor attraction will conserve and protect the South Blockhouse scheduled ancient monument site for the future.

The plans will see the site completely transformed, with hard and soft landscaping framing the footprint of the South Blockhouse and majestic, ghostly structures rising from the ground to give a sense of the structure and scale of the original building.

The regeneration of the site will bring long-hidden stories to life.

Work will start on site during summer 2024 and is expected to be complete spring 2025.

Plans to celebrate the history and heritage of Hull’s scheduled monument, the South Blockhouse site, have been revealed.