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Hull Maritime volunteer, Julie Corbett tells us more about the Railway Dock in Hull.

Recently I wrote about the Humber Dock in this blog post. Once again, I have been inspired by a tweet. This time by the tweet here, by Angus Young. His tweet had a photograph of a sculpture and mentioned an ‘annual open Hull sculpture competition’. I had never heard of this event and was intrigued. Even better the sculpture was at Railway Dock, and I had not written a piece about that dock yet.

Railway Dock looking towards the Marina (Humber Dock)

Railway Dock is the smallest of the Town Docks. It was branch dock of the Humber Dock. The dock built in 1846 and designed primarily as a transhipment base for cargo which was carried by the newly formed Hull and Selby Railway (opened in 1840). There was also a separate passenger service on provided by the same railway company.

The story of Hull railways is quite complicated and well beyond the scope of this blog post. I offer a brief history of the stations serving Humber and Railway docks. The first railway terminus was built adjacent to Humber Dock, the Manor House Street Station. The area was redesigned, developing to handle cargo only when Paragon Station opened in 1854. Manor Street Station was then largely demolished and became Railway Street Goods Station. This was superseded by the English Street Goods Station in 1959.

One of the Railway lock gates with rail track

On my visit I could see very few signs of this rail system around the Railway Dock itself. The lock gates at the dock entrance does have evidence of connections with the railway system. This rail bridge was built by Victorian dock engineer John Hartley. It was still in use as a roadway in the mid-seventies.

The Railway Dock was closed in 1968 and in 1983, along with the Humber Dock, became Hull Marina.

So back to my motivation to visit Railway Dock. The sculpture which is at the west end of the dock and does suggests all the past activity and there is one remaining warehouse, Warehouse 13.

'Unknown New Cargo' by Stuart Bastick (1991)

I must have passed by this several times and not realised the significance. Further to my surprise I found three more sculptures in the immediate area that were winners of the Hull Sculpture Prize.

This competition was biennial over a short period sponsored by a local firm Rixon Matthews Appleyard (Financial Services) Ltd. It was open to recent graduates and entries were to respond to a maritime theme.

Neptune’s Head by Russ Coleman (1994)

This one is near the Railway Dock lock gates and nearby the site of the planned new home of the Spurn Lightship (read more about the new wet berth here ). You can read more about the final stages of the lightship’s extensive overhaul by Dunston Ship Repairs Ltd here.

Along the west side of Humber Dock is the nest sculpture. There is no information plaque with the structure.

The fisherman by Kate Noakes

The final sculpture we are aware of is on Victoria Pier.

Cormorant Boat by Kate Siddle (1987/88)

I would like to end the blog post with a question. Does anyone know anything about these two sculptures at the Tidal surge Barrier?

Would be delighted to find out.

Unknown sculpture One, The table
Unknown sculpture 2 Wood and cable