Businesses unite to support UK-first Hull Vigil project

Hull Esteem and its partners have joined forces to bring a unique project to life through generous donations of time, expertise and resources, equivalent to a total investment of around £80,000.

The Hull Vigil, a first for the UK, is a monumental 365-day performance that will see a bespoke glass, steel framed, wood clad structure built and installed on top of Hull College by local businesses.

Overlooking Queen’s Gardens and the William Wilberforce Statue on one side, and the River Humber, docks and east Hull on the other, 730 people will become the collective ‘vigil’ at sunset and sunrise every day for a year from May 3rd.

The 365-day silent performance has been commissioned by Freedom Festival, the Hull-based arts trust behind the international arts festival held in city.

Hull Esteem’s partners in the project include Hobson & Porter Ltd, which led on roof enabling works, concrete plinths, construction of the timber ramp and landings, and the installation of feature lighting by GW Power. Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd have been responsible for the off-site fabrication of the shelter and exo-skeletal framework, supported by local contractors Vic Coupland, Vulcan Aluminium and Dappat Engineering to name a few.

Sewell Construction organised transportation and contract crane lifts for the erection and dismantling of the vigil structure and Spencer Group is assisting in the overall management of health and safety for the project.

Dozens of other local businesses have also come forward to offer their products, services and resources in kind, helping to make the project possible.
From project management and architecture, to building supplies, scaffolding and more, businesses of all sizes have worked tirelessly for months to cover every detail of the project.

Gavin Barley, General Manager of Hull Esteem, Hull City Council’s pre-procured framework which has supported the Hull Vigil with overall management and coordination of the project and communications, said: “It has been a huge team effort to make this possible and the contributions of all the businesses involved should not be underestimated.

“Working eight floors up on the top of Hull College in all weathers doesn’t come without its challenges and everyone has pulled out all the stops to make sure the foundations are there for this fantastic event for the city.

“We’re proud to work with our supply chain and partners, and everyone involved, particularly during what has been a testing time for businesses in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it complements our work of reinvestment in the city.

“This wonderful artistic project is bringing people together in a unique way and we’re honoured to play a part in it.”

Mike Beal Construction Director at H&P said: “We are completing the access and enabling package of the project where we have facilitated all the works on the college roof in readiness for the structure being lifted up earlier this week.

“This has included the provision of an electrical supply, integration with the college’s communications and lighting systems and the construction of a 30m timber pedestrian ramp which will provide step free access to the project. Our works will continue on site in the coming days now that the structure is in place and secured to the roof.

“We are delighted to be part of this unique project and collaboration and would like to pay special thanks to our supply chain partners who came forward to support the scheme with donations of resources and materials.”

The Hull Vigil has been created by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from the Paris-based WLDN project, and has been running in Paris, Germany and the Netherlands continuously over the past eight years.

Hull will be the 10th ‘vigil’ and is presented as part of the Global Streets and Creative Europe in Situ programmes, funded by Arts Council England, as well as Hull City Council, Hull College and Hull Esteem.

It was originally planned to take place in March, but was postponed due to country’s third national lockdown delaying the build of the shelter and volunteer recruitment.

Anthony Baker, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival, said: “The Hull Vigil by choreographer Joanne Leighton from WLDN is an incredibly beautiful and ambitious performance which we can’t wait to bring to Hull on May 3rd.

“The performance will take place in a bespoke glass and wood shelter on the rooftop of Hull College, built by Hull firms for the people of Hull.

“This amazing artistic project not only connects the city but it is being built and delivered by the local community.

“We’re incredibly grateful to have the expertise and support of Hull Esteem and their partners and contractors who are supporting the project in a host of ways including donating materials, equipment and time to construct the shelter and erect it on site. At such a difficult time for local businesses, we truly appreciate this support.

“Without this support and that of our partners and creative partners, it would not have been possible for us to bring this monumental performance to Hull.”

Businesses involved in the project include:

Brandon Hire – Security fencing
Briggs Amasco – Roof waterproofing
Builders Merchants – Plywood suppliers
Central Crane Hire – Crane Lift & transportation
Dappat – Steelwork
Eddie Beadle – Steelwork and drilling
Elevation – Scaffolding
Freeths – Legal
GGP – Structural Engineers
Giant Joinery – Ramp joinery work
GW Power – Temporary roof electrics and feature lighting
H&D Decorators – Decorative supplies
Kwiktuf – Glazing
MKM – Timber supplies
Morgan Wolff – Building Control
NPS – Architect – Ramp Design
R&R Photography – Photography of the project from the outset
• Radius Associates – Principal Designer
S&D Flooring – Floor finishes
Shared Agenda Solutions – Project Management
Vic Coupland Ltd – Shelter Heating and ventilation
Vulcan Aluminium – Glazing/frames

Click to expand the gallery

High-quality housing scheme will bring wider benefits

Work is under way on a high-quality housing development at Marton Cum Grafton, which will benefit not only the local community, but North Yorkshire’s taxpayers.

The Yew Tree Farm scheme will feature more than 20 two, three, four and five-bedroom homes and is being developed on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council by developer Brierley Homes.

Located within the Marton Cum Grafton conservation area and on the edge of the Vale of York, close to York and Harrogate, Yew Tree Farm is being delivered by award-winning Yorkshire-based construction firm Hobson & Porter and will take 14 months to complete.

Brierley Homes was established in 2017 and is owned by the County Council, with all profits used to support essential front-line council services across the county.

Several barns will be refurbished as part of the scheme, while the new homes will be traditional in nature and in keeping with the farmhouse style of nearby residential buildings. Importantly, the scheme also includes provision for eight affordable homes to help to meet local demand.

All the properties will feature energy efficient air source heat pumps. These systems can help a household significantly reduce their CO2 output when compared to new A rated gas boilers.

Karl Battersby, chairman of Brierley Homes, said: “2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Brierley Homes, with the Yew Tree Farm development just one of a number of high-quality housing schemes under way.

“Not only will these developments attract people to North Yorkshire, but they will also help cater for local demand at all levels of the market.

“What is more, all profits will be ploughed back into essential services during what is a challenging time for local government.”

Richard Hunter, Managing Director of Hobson & Porter, said: “We’re excited to be delivering this prestigious housing development in the heart of North Yorkshire and bringing some fantastic new properties to the private housing market.

“We are acutely aware of the need to develop these new homes in line with the area’s surroundings and will be constructing them with this in mind, including converting several existing barns to retain their original features.”

The development is set to be completed in May 2022.

Hobson & Porter starts work on new NHS health centre

Work is under way on construction of a long-awaited NHS medical centre which will provide a hub delivering specialist services to the growing communities in villages to the west of Hull.

Hobson & Porter has been awarded the contract for the project by Lovel Developments and started work this week.

The centre is a significant piece of the jigsaw at the 25-acre site in Lowfield Road, Anlaby, which has so far brought completion of 243 new homes as well as a clinic built by Hobson & Porter for the Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital and opened in 2016.

Lovel Developments, held its first consultation on the proposals for the wider site in 2014 and acquired the land the following year. But the initial proposals for the NHS facility date back 15 years, when health professionals first identified a need for more space.

Philip Lovel, Managing Director of Lovel Developments, said: “This has been on the agenda since around 2005. The idea for a new facility first gained approval from the Primary Care Trust in 2008 but they couldn’t find a suitable site.”

With land earmarked for the project as part of the Lowfield Road development, Willerby and Swanland Surgery put together a strategic case which was approved by the CCG in December 2018. Funding was finally approved by East Riding of Yorkshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in September 2020.

Mr Lovel said: “The new centre is designed to meet the need of the Harthill Primary Care Network for a hub which will enable them to bring in specialist services and better access, providing something that isn’t available elsewhere.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Hobson & Porter to build the centre having worked with them very successfully on the new facilities for Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital.

“Work has now started at the site and the building will be handed over in January 2022. By then we also hope to have started work on the final phase of land allocated for housing, which will provide up to 55 homes.”

Harthill Primary Care Network was established in 2019 to cover an area which includes Anlaby, Cottingham, Hessle, North Ferriby, Swanland and Willerby.

The new centre will be accessible by walking, cycling, public transport and car, with the main entrance at the rear, next to parking spaces for more than 30 vehicles. The ground floor will house six treatment or consulting rooms and a health education area. The first floor has nine consulting rooms for GPs and other health professionals as well as meeting rooms and space for support staff. Admin staff and the practice manager will occupy the smaller, second floor.

Joe Booth, Business Development Director for Hobson & Porter, said: “Health and social care has become a dominant sector for us in recent years and as a Hull-based business we are proud to be appointed to another project which will enhance the health facilities in the area.

“The last 12 months have thrown up some unique challenges in the construction sector yet it continues to demonstrate confidence and opportunity. You don’t have to travel far in the Hull and Humber area to pass a construction site and this is a great reflection of the significant contribution the property and construction sectors are making to the regional and national economy at a crucial time.

“This much-needed Health centre is one of many great local projects we have commenced in the last year and another which provides valuable opportunities within our local supply chain.”

New distribution and packaging facilities completed at latest phase of JZ Flowers scheme

We’re pleased to have completed a new phase of works for our valued long-term client JZ Flowers at Dianthus Business Park in Newport, East Yorkshire.

The project, which involved the construction of further distribution and packaging facilities, is the latest of multiple phases of works delivered for JZ Flowers, which is an international leader in flower distribution, with offices located across the world including Spalding Lincolnshire, Ireland, Holland, Turkey, and Miami.

Since 2009, we have completed a number of consecutive phases for JZ Flowers on a design and build basis, with total works valued at more than £12m. Our new-build development has created a single-site location acting as the firm’s UK headquarters and national packing and distribution centre.

Almost 10% of all bouquets sold in UK supermarkets originates from this site based to the west of Hull. The site currently comprises more than 3,400m2 of office space and almost 38,000m2 of factory space.

JZ Flowers approached us with pre-determined specifications and standards for state-of-the-art office accommodation to maintain modern working practices while combining this requirement with a creating professional and inspiring place to work.

Previous works at JZ have included new-build office accommodation, large, steel portal frame buildings, distribution and packing lines, dock leveller pods, large hardstanding areas, parking, landscaping and drainage.

Richard Hunter, Managing Director of Hobson & Porter, said: “We’re really pleased to be continuing our long-standing relationship with JZ Flowers, having now developed this latest phase of the company’s impressive facility here in East Yorkshire. We’ve worked continuously with the client and architect to develop this scheme and set the standards for continued expansion throughout the various phases.”

Richard added: “The development of a collaborative relationship with JZ flowers has been testament to our commitment to value and continuous improvement, consistently challenging our work and embracing technological developments and new construction products. This project is a great example of our capabilities in the manufacturing and distribution sector and one we’re proud to be continuing to deliver.”

Jelle Zwemstra, Founder of JZ Flowers, said: “We’re delighted to see the completion of this latest phase of works at our facility at Dianthus Business Park.

“We selected to work with Hobson & Porter because they share our commitment to innovation, quality and value for money. We’re also delighted to be working with a local business and supporting local labour.”

Restoring a forgotten landmark to its former glory

Our project to restore an iconic but forgotten landmark in Hull’s city centre is making great progress, with works to the link building and internal refurbishments now underway.

79 Lowgate is an impressive Grade II-listed building that was formerly used as the City Archives, however this came to an end a decade ago when the Hull History Centre was opened.

Located on Guildhall Road and overlooking Queens Gardens, 79 Lowgate was originally built as headquarters for local wine and spirits merchant Samuel Mason. We are currently working to bring it back into use as corporate office space for Hull City Council which will adjoin the adjacent warehouse located in Guildhall Road via the new link building.

We are well underway with the refurbishment scheme and have recently removed the roof from the loading bay on Guildhall Road to complete remedial works to the lift shaft and commence the construction of a new steel framed glass atrium which will link 79 Lowgate and the adjacent Warehouse no.8 building.

Internally, we have commenced works to delicately refurbish the original staircases and create new corporate offices across the five floors of the building. We will soon be commencing works to re-roof the main building which will involve carefully demolishing and reconstructing the parapet using the original bricks.

The scheme has been awarded to us via the YORBuild framework. As part of the procurement, we were actively involved in developing the design over the last 12 months via early contractor involvement.

The roof of 79 Lowgate offers fantastic views across Hull city centre, including our nearby Phase 2 re-roofing scheme on the city’s’ Guildhall which includes the replacement of the iconic time ball, a rare historic timepiece that was used to help ship’s navigators tell the time and fix longitudes from sea.

Joe Booth, Business Development Director for Hobson & Porter, said: “We are pleased with the progress being made at the refurbishment of 79 Lowgate and are delighted to be working with Hull City Council to restore this iconic and elegant building, which has played an important and diverse role in the city’s heritage.

“It is great to see conservation projects of this nature taking place in our home city as we enter our 50th year in business. The 79 Lowgate project is one of many historic landmarks we have been preserving and refurbishing in the city in recent months; complementing our ongoing work at the neighbouring Guildhall site and across the city at the historic Beverley Road Baths. We are delighted to be bringing this Grade II-listed structure back to life and into contemporary use.”

Helping to restore Hull’s proud maritime heritage with Guildhall time ball installation

We are pleased to be underway with preparatory works to install one of the UK’s last remaining time balls to Hull’s Guildhall.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council, we will be installing a fully working time ball and internal mechanism to the building as part of our Phase 2 refurbishment project.

The historic Guildhall Time Ball, once operational, will join a handful of other working time balls in the UK, including Greenwich London, Carlton Hill in Edinburgh, two in Kent and one in Brighton.

Dating back to 1915, Hull’s time ball is the highest in the UK and the only timepiece of its kind on a municipal building. It was one of the last to have been built.

Our work will involve the removal of the existing replica ball and installation of a new one. Other elements of works consist of replacing the internal mechanism, renovation to parts of the clock tower and its historic stonework, lantern and a new electrical installation to supply the time ball mechanism.

The first work onsite will see the installation of a 21-level scaffold from the pavement right up to the tip of the Guildhall Time Ball mechanism, in addition to a full scaffold down the north elevation of the Guildhall on Hanover Square.

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration and Planning, Land and Property, said: “The Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball is a distinctive landmark in the city centre and a timepiece of great heritage project, so I am delighted to see work starting.

“Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a fully working the Time Ball will be installed and will be preserved, rediscovered and celebrated for future generations.”

Joe Booth, Business Development Director at Hobson & Porter said: ‘Whilst every project we deliver is unique, rarely do we get an opportunity to work on a project of such historic and cultural importance as this in our home city.

“It’s great for a local company such as ours to deliver the time ball restoration project and to create a physical legacy which will ensure the city’s rich maritime heritage lives on for decades for come.”

The work is expected to be complete this autumn.

Work underway at historic Beverley Road Baths refurbishment

Our works are progressing on a multi-million refurbishment of one of Hull’s most characterful buildings built more than a century ago.

Beverley Road Baths opened to the public in May 1905 and remains a focal point for families and individuals in the heart of one Hull’s most well-known communities.

The Grade II listed building is undergoing £3.7 million of upgrades sympathetic to its history and its many original features which are still intact.

We began the early works to the external façade, roof, masonry and stonework of the building in June last year are now underway with the internal refurbishment, including a major mechanical and electrical upgrade.

This will be followed by refurbishment of both wet and dry changing rooms, installation of a new sauna and steam room, replacement of ceilings and glazing, and remodelling the existing gym along with the creation of a new larger gym. Refurbishment of the main pool hall roof will also take place.

We’ll be delivering the project as part of the Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd, the council’s pre-procured framework which has led the delivery of over £400 million of new and improved education facilities across the city, along with culture and leisure regeneration projects, including Hull New Theatre and Ferens Art Gallery.

Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration and Planning, Land and Property, said: “It’s fantastic to see the works at Beverley Road Baths progressing as we invest to secure its future for the next 100 years.

“The council is committed to investing in the city’s leisure facilities and this project ensures there are much-needed jobs and opportunities for local contractors.

“We know our residents value these centres and we want to make sure they have the best possible facilities for leisure and physical wellbeing post-pandemic.

“Hull is a fantastic place to work, live, study, play and visit, and these facilities are just part of millions of pounds being spent both privately and publicly on the bright future of our city.”

Gavin Barley, General Manager of Hull Esteem, said the team is proud to be involved in the project and continue regeneration on behalf of Hull City Council for the city of Hull.

He said: “Beverley Road Baths is part of Hull’s heritage.

“Throughout the development process, we’ve worked very closely with the conservation officer to ensure we approach the refurbishment sensitively and sympathetically.

“We’ve carried out surveys on the tiling in an effort to preserve as much of the original structure and features as possible.

“This building will play a significant part in the health and wellbeing of Hull’s residents for many years to come and it’s fantastic to be involved.”

The project is anticipated to be completed this summer.

Construction underway at new warehouse facility for Crown Paints

We are delighted to have commenced works on a new state-of-the-art raw material and packaging warehouse facility for our client Crown Paints at its existing Hull manufacturing base on Sculcoates Lane.

The warehouse represents a £4.4 million investment by Crown Paints and will create an additional 4,265 sq m of storage space for raw materials and packaging.

Our construction work is ongoing, with the facility expected to be complete in July 2021.

Crown Paints’ operation in Hull is the company’s major UK water-based paint production site.

The new facility will allow the paint manufacturer to consolidate its operations from several older buildings into one modern facility – and allows Crown to repurpose these existing buildings to accommodate future growth.

The building of the new warehouse underlines Crown’s commitment to its UK production, both at this site in Hull and at its headquarters in Darwen, Lancashire.

Discussing the new facility, Crown Paints’ Hull site manager, Jonathan Fewster, said: “The new warehouse will create much-needed additional storage space for raw materials and packaging, which will effectively allow us to increase our manufacturing output and improve efficiencies at our Hull site.

“What’s more, the new building will have better sustainability credentials, which is an important consideration for us as a company. This represents a significant investment in our manufacturing capability and is a demonstration of our company’s commitment to the long-term future of our facility in Hull.”

Richard Hunter, Hobson & Porter’s managing director, said: “The new Crown Paints facility will be a fantastic investment for our region and will see increased manufacturing and production outputs at an already thriving site here in Hull.

“It’s great to see two local businesses with a proud heritage coming together to deliver new facilities in the area and demonstrating a commitment to the production and manufacturing sectors.”


Hobson & Porter apprentice recognised with prestigious Hull College Principal’s Award

We’re pleased to announce that one of our apprentices has been presented with a prestigious award from his college following his hard work both in the classroom and on site during this challenging year.

Joseph Thomlinson, aged 21, a Level 3 Brickwork apprentice at Hull College, received the Principal’s Award for Progress and Effort for Apprenticeships from Principal at the college.

Joe was nominated by his Skills Coach, Shaun Stephens, for his hard work throughout the pandemic in completing his Level 2 certificate and pushing his Level 3 studies towards completion.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic this year, Joe has pushed on to complete his site experience and has demonstrated his skills in bricklaying and setting out and is now on track to becoming fully qualified as a bricklayer.

Pauline Steele, ESP Coordinator for Hobson & Porter, said: “We’re really proud of Joe for this achievement, he has shown real dedication and pride in his studies and worked hard during this difficult and unprecedented year.

“Despite the unexpected challenges of lockdown and remote working, Joe hasn’t let this get in the way of his work and he has pushed on to keep learning his trade, working at several Hobson & Porter sites to gain valuable industry experience. From everyone at Hobson & Porter, congratulations on your award Joe, it is well deserved!”

On receiving his award, Joe said: “I’m really honoured to receive this award from the Principal of Hull College. I wasn’t expecting it, I just wanted to pass my apprenticeship and learn my trade, but I’m really pleased with this. It is great to see my work recognised and now I’m looking forward to finishing my Level 3 NVQ and hopefully continuing my career in the construction industry with a full-time role.”



New C4DI tech hub nearing completion with 160 new jobs on horizon

Our project at Hull’s Fruit Market to create a new showpiece building for the tech community is nearing completion, with 160 new highly-skilled and highly-paid tech jobs set to be made available.

Once open, the three-storey sister building for the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) will offer space for tech businesses to grow and traditional companies to innovate through technology.

The £3.75m building has been developed by regeneration company Wykeland Group and is the latest major investment at Wykeland’s @TheDock tech campus in the Fruit Market creative quarter.

The project has been supported with almost £1.3m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

The new 20,000 sq ft building has ground-floor parking for 25 cars, including two electric car ports, and a secure cycle unit, with two floors of offices above. Office suites are available from 200 sq ft to 17,500 sq ft.

The building’s striking design, featuring glazed brickwork, light bronze cladding and glazed stairwells, enhances further the quality of office buildings in the city, and it also has strong environmental credentials, with a BREEAM sustainability rating of very good.

We have worked closely with Wykeland to ensure construction has continued with minimal disruption, following the introduction of Covid-secure working arrangements.

The new building is the latest phase of the @TheDock tech cluster, developed by Wykeland on a waterfront site which was derelict just a few years ago. @TheDock has the original C4DI building as its centrepiece and offers the newest Grade A office environment in Hull.

The development has generated hundreds of highly-skilled jobs and has been a vital element in the transformation of the Fruit Market area into a vibrant urban village and magnet for investment.

The new C4DI building features Grade A office space for digital businesses, with suites available ranging in size from 200 sq ft to 17,500 sq ft.

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