Anlaby Road history—part 14

Here is Ferensway (once the Brook Street junction)

The extension of Brook Street involved the demolition of around 10 properties in Regent’s Terrace (by then renumbered as Nos.28 to 38 Anlaby Road). Amongst the demolished properties was The Hull & East Riding Club, which relocated to the south side of the Anlaby Road, and the studios of Turner & Drinkwater, one of Hull’s most respected photographic businesses.

Turner & Drinkwater were established in Hull in 1878, and in February 1885 plans for a new “photographic studio” in Regent’s Terrace were approved, and signalled their move into new premises.42 The new studio at Nos.8 and 9 Regent’s Terrace, was used latterly by the artist Charles Richardson, and was renumbered during the 1890s as Nos.26 and 28 Anlaby Road. The premises were rebuilt in 1904 as a high quality Edwardian building named Regent House43, designed by the architect J M Dossor, where Turner & Drinkwater remained until c.1970.

From the late 1920s a new street was planned, to provide a direct and wider thoroughfare between the Beverley Road and the Anlaby Road. In 1930, when work had already begun, it was decided to call the new street “Ferens Way” in honour of Thomas Ferens who died in that year. The Ferensway project required the foreshortening of the curving Brook Street, and the re-naming of its southern end as Ferensway. Some of the original buildings of Regent’s Terrace remain, and can be identified above modern shop frontages, to the east of Ferensway; Regent House also remains, the ground floor now occupied by a stylish cafe.

Theatre De-Luxe

The opposite corner of Brook Street was occupied by the Theatre De-Luxe, built on the site of former houses in Regent’s Terrace. The theatre was built as a cinema in 1911 to the designs of the architect James Young of Bradford, but was later demolished and replaced by a better-equipped building c.1924, re-named The Cecil Theatre. This stylish, Art Deco building, occupied the same site as the Theatre De Luxe, utilising former shops and offices next door as the Cecil Theatre Cafe. Sadly, the new building was badly damaged in 1941 during the Blitz of World War Two. Its damaged shell stood in ruins for many years, until it was cleared in 1954, for the widening of Ferensway. A new “Cecil” was built diagonally opposite in 1955 (see chapter one), the old site remaining empty until it was redeveloped in the 1970s. Fortunately, an equally stylish building was built on the site; Europa House, with its distinctive black and gold reflective glass frontage, was constructed in 1975 to the designs of the Bradford architects John Brunton & Partners.

Regent’s Terrace continued beyond the Theatre De Luxe, and the adjoining shops, with just three remaining houses, which survived into the 1950s. Beyond these houses, the terrace was intersected by many new buildings including an art college following the extension of Brook Street.

Hull College of Art

In 1901 the Hull School of Art acquired a site on the Anlaby Road for a new college; the site belonged to the North Eastern Railway Company and included Dunallen House. The Bloomsbury firm of architects, Lanchester, Stewart & Rickards won an architectural competition to design the new building and construction began in 1904. The completion of the Hull Municipal School of Art, principally designed by architect E A Rickards, was announced in April 1905. The former college survives, and is a Grade II Listed Building, and since 2006 has been utilised as a centre for the performing arts.

As Paragon Station was redeveloped, from c.1902, a new passenger entrance was created, with access via Brook Street. The Anlaby Road entrance was reduced in size, and the surplus land adjoining the frontage sold-off. The largest building that was constructed on the site of the former entrance was another cinema.

Tower Cinema

The Tower Cinema was constructed when the mania for moving pictures was sweeping the country. Designed in the Classical style, by the architect H Percival Binks, the building had seating for 1,200 when it opened on 1st June 1914. It remained in permanent use as a cinema until 1978, and in 1981 it was redeveloped as a rock music venue, which failed to achieve its potential and closed just a year later. The building opened once more in 1983 as a nightclub, and the phrase “Tower for an hour” was born, as city centre drinkers took advantage of its late licence for a few last drinks before heading home. Following another recent closure the Tower is once more facing an uncertain future, and sadly some of the most recent alterations appear to have been made with scant regard to the restrictions of its Grade II Listed Building status.

Paragon Station

Between the College of Art and the former Tower Cinema, is a pedestrian access to the Paragon Station, whose parcel and goods entrance is located further west beyond the Tower building. Paragon Station was built in 1846/48 for the York & North Midland Railway Co. to the designs of the architect G T Andrews, in the Italian Renaissance style, and mostly built of ashlar stone. The station was enlarged in 1903 to the designs of William Bell, to form a new entrance from Paragon Square; at this date the station acquired its famous porte-cochere. This stylish addition of a large ornate canopy at the front of the station, was sadly removed in 1960/62 for the construction of Paragon House; now seen as one of Hull’s most regrettable planning decisions. Thankfully, due to a new development on Ferensway, the old frontage is now partly restored to view, following the demolition of Paragon House for the St Stephen’s Project. A hotel was built adjoining the station in 1849, and is still in use as the Royal Hotel, with its entrance facing Paragon Square across Ferensway.

Beyond the original station entrance, and the Tower Cinema, more properties were built on the former railway land fronting the Anlaby Road. These small industrial premises and shops were later replaced (c.1927) by the Paragon Motor Co premises, a local landmark which lasted until recent years. This stretch of the Anlaby Road was home to many small motor engineering companies (e.g. Thompson’s, Paragon, AB Motors, etc), some of which later moved to purpose-built premises further west. The clearance of Blitz damaged property made land available to the west of Park Street, where there was abundant room for enlargement, no doubt encouraged by cheap land and post-war building grants. Beyond the Paragon Motor Co. were the last few houses of Regent’s Terrace, some of which survived as industrial premises until 2006.

Continue to part 15

The old Cecil Theatre, 1930s.

Hull College of Art, 1906.

Point duty Ferensway junction 3 Sept 1958.

Paragon Station gates 1902.

Regents Terrace & Brook Street corner 1920s.