Lost & Found: Hull

Hull's lost past and newly found musical places

Tuesday 10th September 2019

Still open in 2019, Famous Hull club, Spiders in the 1980s. Photo by Andy Roe.

Hull, is perhaps, not the first Northern UK port that people think of as a hub of musical innovation, but it has given the world The Housemartins, The Beautiful South and Throbbing Gristle, not to mention a large proportion of the Spiders From Mars. A creative renaissance won the city the title of 2017 UK City Of Culture and, and recent Hull exports have included the like of young punk band LIFE, rapper Chiedu Oraka and sonic experimentalists Vulgarians.

We look at some of the spaces that Hull's music scene has lost over the years and looking forward, some of the locations of today's Hull scene.


Lost

The Lamp
Formerly The Jailhouse, then The Blue Lamp from 1992, then The Lamp, then back to The Blue lamp before its eventual closure in 2014, the venue's various names referred to its former life as a police station. The Lamp's lifespan was well placed to accommodate bands from Ocean Colour Scene through to The Maccabees, The Twang and Twisted Wheel. Despite its solid reputation as a music venue, finances got the better of it in 2014 and The Lamp put out its lights for the last time.  

Fruit
A joint venture of fellow Leeds venues Welly Club and Polar Bear, Fruit was based in an old fruit and veg warehouse between 2010 and 2018. Gigs, alternative pub quizzes, vintage markets, it seemed Fruit could do it all. One of the trailblazers of Hull's now largely gentrified Fruit Market Quarter, Fruit's success catalysed by the heat of 2017 UK City Of Culture status made rent too high and property too desirable to developers for the venue to remain. Lucy Rose, The Selecter and Wolf Alice were among those to perform there with Drenge playing one of the much-loved venue's last gigs.

Oasis
In a triple bill of losses Hull, venues Club Sahara (est. 1990) and Quigley's (est. 1992) joined their forces along Albion Street in 1993 to become Oasis. It's unclear whether the name was intended to cash in on what was to become the biggest Britpop band on the planet but to keep up with the times, the club imaginatively rebranded itself as Oasis 2000 - in the year 2000. The rebrand lasted one year before the Club became Club Zen, eventually closing in 2009 as part of a project to develop the area as accommodation, which as some have pointed out was the street's original use. 

The Raine Club
One of those Yorkshire social clubs turned part-time venue, The Raine was loved by locals and music fans alike, with a big following among Hull's mod and scooter community in particular. The Club even formed the backdrop for a photo in Quentin Budworth's Hullywood project, recreating a scene from Quadrophenia with a local scooter club. Sadly, despite the passion of Bernice and Richard Brumby who ran the club, the club's fortunes were not as fair as the Brudenell of Hebden Bridge Trades and the club closed its doors in 2018.

The Brick House
The side project of The Hull Brick Company, a promoter that aimed to attract the like of T. Rex and Mott The Hoople to Hull, The Brick House was a valiant attempt to open a small progressive venue in '70s, Hull. Sounding like it would fit into a lot of contemporary venues' business models, the venue opened as a cafe and a place to listen to records in the day, hosting gigs by night, but the Methodist chapel building's status meant that The Brick House was never granted a licence to serve alcohol. Thirsty customers, coupled with some trouble from Hell's Angels, caused the Brick House tp struggle and it closed within a year of opening in 1972. 

Dingwalls
Not to be confused with the famous Camden venue of the same name, Dingwalls in Hull took over the brutalist concrete premises of a defunct bierkeller in 1983 adjoining the Oddessy discotheque next door. The club hosted gigs from The Damned, Eurythmics and Sisters Of Mercy among other notable British bands but its time was cut short in 1985 when a fire took out Dingwalls and Oddessy in one night. Demolition soon followed. 

Romeo's and Juliet's 
In its glory years under the name Skyline Ballroom, this club saw Jimi Hendrix play on its stage, located above a Hull Co-op building. The club closed following a fairly epic drug raid in the 1980s, resulting in images of a veritable army of police officers marching into the club's foyer making the papers.


Found

The New Adelphi Club
Perhaps the only club to boast that the Luftwaffe provided it with a carpark, The New Adelphi start life as a three-bedroom house before becoming a club in the 1920s and losing its neighbouring house during the blitz. The New Adelphi really began life in 1984 when music lover Paul Jackson gave up his day job and took over the club intending to create a dedicated music venue. A formative stomping ground for the Yorkshire icons including The Housemartins and Pulp, like Leeds' Brudenell, the change of direction was a success, largely due to the area's student population and the club's efforts to still cater for its existing regulars. The New Adelphi is still going strong to this day.

Polar Bear
Dating back to the 1800s with its ornate stained-glass dome ceiling and original ceramic bar counter, Polar Bear is as architecturally interesting as it is as a hub of new music. With a sizeable outdoor area able to host small outdoor gigs, as well as its indoor stage, Polar Bear holds is weekly SESH every Tuesday. The night aims to provide a platform for unsigned local talent for unsigned talent, and the monthly FREAKSCENE night goes a step further bringing together artists from the local scene to collaborate on themed nights of temporary supergroups.

The Peoples Republic
Not a gig venue, but a pub that prides itself on playing music from all over the world on vinyl to complement its wide range of world beers. The People's Republic hosts specialist DJs, listing Turkish Disco, Eastern European, Gospel, German Hip Hop, World Percussion, and Post Punk among its highly curated aural backdrop.

Spiders
With a name that perhaps refers to Ziggy's famous band from Hull, Spiders is that sort of place that defies the creep of gentrification, and could arguably be described as a subculture in its own right. A key haunt for Hull's goth scene that hatched from the end of the punk scene, the venue remained one of the most loved spots for the congregation of subcultures in Hull. The independent club was founded in 1979 and included an appearance on The Tube among its moments of fame. Although times have changed, Spiders is still a fiercely independent club, loved by its patrons as a space in which they can enjoy themselves feeling safe from the judging eyes of the modern mainstream.

The Welly
A club with over 100 years of history, The Welly is another Hull club to resist the national trend of independent venue closure. The Welly is Hull's place for regular alternative nights, the gateway environment for many of our journeys into more diverse subcultures. The Welly boasts three club rooms and a hidden pub within a club called Mrs Wilson's taking its name from the landlady who ran the club in the 1960s.

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