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15th December 2020

Councillor Hale at the North End Shipyard, one of the sites to be transformed

Councillor Daren Hale, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration reflects on a year of progress and change for the Hull Maritime project.

Despite a year of unprecedented challenge and change, a year so very different to what we think of as normal, the Hull Maritime project has continued to achieve its milestones, deliver and make good progress.

2020 has been a busy year for all the ‘back office’ and legal elements of the project, staff working remotely have been flat out ensuring the right companies are appointed and we get the best possible value for money and the quality that Hull deserves whilst creating jobs and supporting the economy. Work to get partners on board to deliver the key parts of the project has gone well and news will be shared as soon as it is possible.

As well as the procurement of key services, there has been great efforts to close our £2.6m funding gap. So far, £845,000 has been raised with support from Garfield Weston Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation, Arts Council England and the DCMS and the Wolfson Fund to name a few. The Hull Maritime Foundation, the charity to support the project, launched its Patrons Programme and the project has just announced its Maritime Friend scheme, for as little as £25 a year. Both programmes offer a chance for you to become even closer to the project with a range of benefits and behind-the-scenes access.

An important part of the project is to involve you and encourage everyone to be part of the journey. This will remain an ongoing focus and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has reached out to us up to now.

People voted for the items they wanted to see feature in a new exhibition

Earlier in the year the People’s Choice project was launched and an incredible 11,000 votes were cast on 100 museum objects that you would like to see on future display within the refurbished museum. In addition to this, there have also public appeals of memories of the Spurn Lightship and the sightings, diaries and stories of the Hull and the Humber. The response has been great and we are still on the lookout for further contributions.

2020 also saw the very first Maritime Tales Week, a week of storytelling, theatre, crafts, readings, digital engagement and so much more. We received a great response and plans are already in place for 2021. 34 pieces of unique content was shared on our social media channels with a total viewing time of 251 hours.

Storytelling was just one of the activities for Maritime Tales Week

I have without doubt been overwhelmed with the level of volunteering that has taken place this year and throughout the pandemic. Although things have had to be done differently in response to Covid19 the volunteers have adapted brilliantly, learning new skills along the way. In total, 254 volunteer hours have been given to the project in 2020 and 214 of these have been since the beginning of Lockdown back in March. Whether it was recording the whale move, sharing their knowledge of the Arctic Corsair and Hull’s fishing heritage or supporting the project with its plans for the trawler, North End Shipyard and the Spurn Lightship. I would like this opportunity to say a huge thanks for their dedication, commitment and passion for the project and I hope it continues into 2021 and beyond.

Volunteers captured the whale skeleton move

Great work has been done to conserve a number of maritime paintings ahead of the museum refurbishment. After an initial survey of 400 paintings, a key group were identified for conservation. The first batch of these returned to the museum earlier this year with dramatic results. Now, a further 12 paintings will soon be sent away to receive conservation treatment and will then be placed into storage. Treatments include removing layers of dust and dirt, repairs to loss of paint and damage to frames. I’m looking forward to seeing the final results! The collections we hold are of course a key part of this remarkable story and caring for them in the long term is something we take extremely seriously.

As the year comes to an end and a new one begins, I will briefly mention some of exciting things that will take place in the coming year.

Exciting things to come in 2021!

2021 will see the start of work to various elements of the project. It is hoped the Arctic Corsair and the Spurn Lightship will begin their journeys of restoration and move to the shipyard company to receive some much needed attention.

As well as work to the two ships getting underway, the transformation of Dock Office Chambers will get underway and the entire collection at the Hull Maritime Museum will be packed and placed into long-term storage. This is a huge undertaking, with approximately 50,000 carefully documented and taken away to a secret location. This will then enable contractors to gain access to the site and begin the works on the museum to transform it into a building that will become a 21st century museum. Work will also get underway to create a new visitor attraction at the North End Shipyard, the new home of the Arctic Corsair.

This is a brief snapshot on what’s to come, and there’s plenty more in the pipeline, do please join us and make your mark!

If you would like to keep updated on the progress then follow @HullMaritime on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or visit

Thanks again for all your support.