Monday 5 September 2011

Of drain pipes and a polar bear

The junction of Princes Avenue with Spring Bank and Spring Bank West in Hull has changed a lot over the years. There used to be railway line scything across the junction but Dr Beeching saw that closed down. It ran to Hornsea and part of it is now the NCN 65 cycle track, though not until further east in Hull. On the south side of the junction was one of the first botanical gardens in the country, that has since become Hymers College in about 1890. The railway crossing was known as the Botanic Crossing long after the gardens had become academic. The road junction used to be a police- then traffic warden- controlled junction before traffic lights took over. The shape of the junction was better suited to human control than traffic lights, but it has taken thirty-odd years to redesign the junction to be better suited to the lights.

In nearby Beverley Road there used to be a pub called the Zoological Hotel marking the zoological gardens on the north side of Spring Bank. The pub shut down in the mid eighties. In the mid nineties the name was revived; the Old Zoolgical pub was built to replace the Botanic Station building. The station car park was where the coal yard used to be for the railway. The new pub, called the Old Zoological, is nearer the zoo than the old pub was.

The shape of the buildings shows how the road from Princes Avenue curved gracefully into Spring Bank West, to avoid the railway crossing. The old name boards survive on the wall, either side of a drain pipe which seems to mark the change. The place now doesn't seem to be quite the right place for the street name to change because of the new layout of the road, but the addresses of the buildings haven't changed so the drain pipe marks the boundary.

Close by is The Botanic pub, which also marks the existence of the long gone botanical gardens. Opposite the aforementioned zoological gardens was the Polar Bear pub, named after an inhabitant of the zoo. Sadly, the Polar Bear pub stands empty today, The Botanic looks like it might be going the same way but the Old Zoological seems to be thriving.

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