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18 March 2021

Maritime Media Volunteer, Alison Keld tells us more about why Pearson Park has a maritime link.

As a child I would sit in the folding seat on the back of my mother’s bike. Armed with meat paste sandwiches wrapped in grease proof paper, a bottle of pop, an empty jam jar and a fishing net from a shop on Newland Avenue, we would enjoy an outing to Pearson Park.

Fishing for tiddlers in the lake is a thing of the past, but children today still enjoy watching the ducks on the serpentine lake. The rocks surrounding the lake were believed to have been donated by local ships’ captains, having been dragged up in trawler nets.

Rocks surrounding the lake

On a mound opposite the lake stands the Grade II listed cupola, rescued from Hull’s demolished Town Hall on Alfred Gelder Street that was later replaced by The Guildhall. The spire is decorated with Kingston upon Hull’s coat of arms, the three coronets or crowns.

The cupolas were rescued from the Town Hall, now The Guildhall

A new bridge across the lake was built as part of the £3.8 million restoration scheme completed in August 2020. The original iron bridge and the bandstand were removed during WW11 to provide steel for the war effort. Resembling a Chinese pagoda, the replacement bandstand is a most attractive feature.

The new addition to the park

Crossing over the bridge to the other side of the lake, just beyond the new conservatory, stands the refurbished, highly decorated, Grade II listed drinking fountain. Once a common site along main roads and parks, drinking fountains enabled workers to quench their thirst without the need to visit the ale-house. This drinking fountain was donated to the park by a local ship owner.

This drinking fountain was donated to the park by a local ship owner.

Whether you enter or leave the park via the refurbished cast iron Grade II listed gateway you cannot fail to be impressed by this ornate link to the city’s maritime history.

The striking decoration incorporates the Kingston upon Hull coat of arms and several motifs, such as an anchor, capstan, tridents, spears, oars and dolphins. A splendid show of Victorian grandness.

The entrance to Pearson Park with newly restored gates

Zachariah Pearson a man of the sea, donated the land on which the park is built.

As a 12 year-old lad he ran away to sea. At 16 he became a ship’s boy, progressing to captain by the age of 21. Acquiring his first ship at 25 he went on to make a fortune through shipping.

As a shipowner Zachariah had his share of disasters, the most prominent when he was made bankrupt after his ships and their cargoes were seized during the American Civil War.

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