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10th October 2019

The River Hull as it was in its heyday is brought to life in a new book that tells first-hand accounts of life on and around the river and is illustrated with over 200 photographs from the 19th century to the present day, many previously unpublished or rarely seen.

The hardback presentation book, A River Full of Stories, is brimming with previously untold memories from river men and women whose lives were intertwined with the river as they worked, lived and played there.

We are delighted to announce that A River Full of Stories book of memories and photographs of life on and around the River Hull is now published and the first edition will be available in all Hull & East Riding Libraries from 14 October.

The Book

A River Full of Stories curators Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard explained, “The idea for the book began during the Open Bridges exhibition inside Scale Lane Bridge in early 2018 when many of the 2000 visitors shared fascinating tales of working and living on and around the River Hull. We heard evocative memories about the river which were not represented in histories of Hull, and were at risk of being lost.”

Stories of the working river, skills & dangers, mishaps & side lines as well as leisure, pastimes and home life are illustrated with photographs including original colour images from the 1950s and contributions from nationally renowned photographers and artists.

The River Hull from R and W Paul Mill in 1949

All Hull Team

Lou said, “We put together a team of Hull people to work with members of the public who came forward following call-outs through local TV, press and social media. Memory sharing sessions were full of camaraderie and enjoyment and we heard enchanting personal stories about life on the river, from tales of barges heavy with hundreds of tonnes of cargo to kayaks and racing scows zipping to and fro.”

Rich continued, “The places we met in were inspiring places to reminisce; Hull Maritime Museum, beautiful historic vessels, the motor barge Syntan, sloops Spider T and Amy Howson, and the Humber keel Comrade as well as traditional pubs, the Kingston on Trinity House Lane and The Trout at Wansford.”

The River Full of Stories public memory sharing sessions were facilitated by Hull author Russ Litten and heritage researcher Andy Richardson of Freetownway Productions. They were filmed by Philip Codd, Alex Davies and Humber Film Creative Community and the stories transcribed for the book by Russ and the team. The book has been designed by Hull based graphic designer Martin Lewsley of Atomluft and printed in Hull at Wyke Printers, Sutton Fields on paper supplied from G.F. Smith on Lockwood Street.


A River Full of Stories is published by Duffy-Howard Music, a not for profit Hull based group, and has been made possible by sponsorship from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City, Kingstown Works Limited (KWL), Hull City Council and the Sir James Reckitt Charity.

Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council said, “The River Hull is what helps make this city. This book will enable future generations to have a greater understanding of our proud history and the important part that our river plays in that history.”

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said, “Joining forces with projects and partners like A River Full of Stories is a great way of sharing broader maritime stories and enable visitors to discover more about Hull’s rich maritime history.”

The Exhibition and Films

The free exhibition showcasing both the films made for Open Bridges and A River Full of Stories are on display at Hull Maritime Museum until the end of 2019. The museum is open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4.30pm, and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

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