This particular part of the journey leads you to places frequented by Larkin, both when he was alone and when in the company of others. It guides you to pubs where he enjoyed a pint (or something a little stronger on-the-rocks), pauses at places where he indulged his passion for jazz and takes you to the point from which he could look back at this ‘isolate city spread alongside water’ as he took the ferry over to Lincolnshire and back.

As with any city centre, some parts have changed radically over the years. Other streets look almost the same as they did decades ago. Hull’s fascinating Old Town, with its cobbles, porticos and intriguing staiths, is one such area. Tracing his footsteps across the city, you feel that wherever he was, Larkin was simply ‘here.’

No.1/11
Royal Hotel
Welcome to the Larkin Trail
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No.2/11
Royal Hotel
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No.3/11
Paragon Interchange
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No.4/11
City Hall
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No.5/11
Whitefriargate &
Marks & Spencer
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No.6/11
Land of Green Ginger
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No.7/11
Trinity Square
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No.8/11
The Pier &
Waiting Room
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No.9/11
High Street &
Ye Olde Black Boy
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No.10/11
The White Hart
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Crossing from Wilberforce House, the short walk along Gandhi Way brings you onto Alfred Gelder Street.

Over the road is The White Hart, another of the Old Town pubs favoured by Larkin. Built in 1904, it has a listed interior, including its Royal Doulton, curved bar. Its upstairs restaurant is a relatively recent addition.

It was at The White Hart, in 1977, that Larkin gave an informative and amusing talk to the Jazz Record Society entitled ‘My Life and Death as a Record Reviewer’.

Heading away from the direction of Drypool Bridge and towards the traffic lights, you will reach the statue of Charles Henry Wilson (1833-1907), shipowner and local benefactor. Beyond the statue stands The Guildhall, designed in the early 20th century by Edwin Cooper. During Larkin’s years in Hull, the large white building on the other side of Alfred Gelder Street, now apartments above a pub, was the city’s General Post Office, built in 1908-09.

From this junction, you can take in the architectural splendour of The Church of St Mary the Virgin and muse on what Larkin might have made of the shining dome above the adjacent Crown Court.

With St Mary’s Church behind you and The Guildhall to your left, continue along Wilberforce Drive. Its mighty monument soon rises into view and Wilberforce gazes along the length of Queen’s Gardens, a popular spot for students from the adjacent college and the venue for many events and festivals in the city.

It might seem hard to believe that these delightful Gardens occupy the site of Hull’s first dock, which was opened in 1778 and renamed Queen’s Dock following the royal visit of 1854. When Larkin arrived in the city, the ships were long gone, as the dock was filled in during the 1930s.

Larkin’s Jazz

"It was one of Larkin's gifts to perceive and reveal humour in unlikely situations - at the same time, leaving one in no doubt as to his real feelings.  Persuaded to address the Hull Jazz Record Society  on "My Life and Death as a Record Reviewer", he played a characteristically jagged and angular piano solo by Thelonious Monk.  He then suggested mischievously that listening to Monk was like walking down a street, passing an open window, and hearing someone's sister practicing scales"
 
Jazzing with Larkin, John White
Larkin's Jazz sleevenotes, Larkin’s Jazz, Proper Records

Listen to an extract from Trombone Poetry/All What Jazz
This image was produced by Joe Johnson, as part of his Larkin25 commission. You can see the full collection of the images in the archive section of this website.

For Sidney Bechet

That note you hold, narrowing and rising, shakes
Like New Orleans reflected on the water,
And in all ears appropriate falsehood wakes,
 
Building for some a legendary Quarter
Of balconies, flower-baskets and quadrilles,
Everyone making love and going shares -

Oh, play that thing! Mute glorious Storyvilles
Others may license, grouping around their chairs
Sporting-house girls like circus tigers (priced

Far above rubies) to pretend their fads,
While scholars manqués nod around unnoticed
Wrapped up in personnels like old plaids.

On me your voice falls as they say love should,
Like an enormous yes. My Crescent City
Is where your speech alone is understood,

And greeted as the natural noise of good,
Scattering long-haired grief and scored pity.
A selection of Larkin’s huge collection of LPs, archived at the Hull History Centre
No.11/11
Hull History Centre
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Go to
Larkins Elsewhere
West to East
 
Go to
Larkins Here
Beyond the City Centre
© Larkin25 2014