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Wilberforce Weekender. City of Hull Marina and Museum Quarter

 This weekend saw more celebrations in the City of Hull to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire which took place via an Act Of Parliament steered through by Non Conformist Hull MP William Wilberforce in 1807.

The museum which is located in this famous Son Of Hull’s family home, conveniently located in the Museum Quarter of the Old Town, has be reinvigorated and is well worth a visit.

It’s amazing how, when you live in a place you ignore what’s in front of your nose in favour of visiting other Northern locations such as York, Leeds or Lincoln.

The weekend was ushered in with a yacht race from Rotterdam to Hull completed by eight of the vessels which are to compete on a Round the World Challenge which sets of from the Mersey in September.

Yorkshire Forward, which is a Government Quango charged with spending Public money in order to attract business to the Region has devoted £4 million towards the entry of a yacht (The Hull and Humber) and crew in the Global Race, and the evidence was on show yesterday as the Clipper Class yachts were paraded in the River Humber, and very impressive they are too. (See photo album).

Yes, we can carp about the money and I can’t imagine for one minute that a business person watching as the boats sail up into New York Harbour under the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty will jump up and down screaming; “We must invest in Hull!”, but it does raise the profile of the City as one with drive and ambition, and let’s face it, it is very easy to be cynical about such investment. And in the wake of the floods people will carp.

The magnificent, and underrated Waterfront of the City was shown off to be a vibrant and picturesque place, and for once in this wretched “Summer” we had a reasonable day to show for it.

We spent the day in the Museum Quarter, firstly at the Street Life collection which show the old transport systems of the City, set in contemporary scenery followed by the Wilberforce House which is lively, informative and has something for everyone. Conor is only four, but loved it as there is a trail for young one’s to complete whilst I immersed myself with the history and politics of slavery right up to the present day.

This includes a depressing, but necessary montage on contemporary racism in Britain including a contribution from Ian Wright who has donated a signed shirt.

And our very own Clive Sullivan’s World Cup Winner’s Medal from 1972, when he was the first black person to captain any British national side, is present reminding us (as if we need it) what a truly trailblazing and heroic person he really was.

The whole thing which doesn’t cost a single penny, allied to the weekend’s events showcase Hull (for once) in a positive light and I for one am proud of our Tradition of defiance (The English Civil War started here when the King was refused entry to the City) and progressive poltics via Wilberforce, and more recently John Prescott and Alan Johnson.

Today 27 million people in our World are Slaves (defined by the UN) and this, along with the grinding poverty that kills 50,000 souls a DAY, is a reminder of the Genocide that is taking place on our watch, and why Tony Blair’s vision to Make Poverty History must not be sidelined, or bracketed with his hubristic and criminal involvement in the tragedy that is Iraq.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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