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Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill, Clarence Street, Hull, 2013 And this is the reason I went to Hull – to catch this monolith before it gets knocked down, which is due any time soon (no chance of it getting turned into an art gallery like Newcastle’s Baltic Mill, another 1950s Rank edifice). Shotwell, the towering gun cartridge factory opposite, is also on land which used to be occupied by Clarence Mills. Designed by Joseph Rank’s friend Alfred Gelder and opened 1891, the entire complex was bombed in 1941 then rebuilt around the Victorian silos in 1952, so is mainly newer than it looks. Saying it was too costly to update, Rank closed it in 2005; it’s now owned, like Hull’s fine ex-Co-Op, by developers Manor, who say they want to build student apartments and a casino. Very sad: founder Joseph Rank (father of movie mogul J. Arthur Rank) was a major local philanthropist, and this is a piece of Hull’s industrial heritage. Until about 2009, the interior and its beautiful old wooden machines remained in fairly good nick, and was fortunately extensively documented by urban explorers (such as here and here). But it’s now trashed and dangerous, as these more recent photos show.

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

Rank Hovis Clarence Mill

4 replies »

  1. One of the saddest posts you have ever made. A truly stunning building with loads of potential. What a shame the developers don’t have the will or vision to make something of this landmark, even if they just keep part of it to help build a sense of place. Its’ such a shame some people have little respect for places like this. Thanks for sharing this, your blog goes from strength to strength, especially recently. The North has many great buildings, Leeds is especially blessed with great details and architecture.

    • Hull (or at least the council / local newspaper) doesn’t seem to have any regard for their great old buildings, reading the local press (which sounds like a mouthpiece for the developers), they appear to view it all as an eyesore and just want it knocked down as soon as possible. I was delving deep into online planning docs, and came across a few dissenting conservationist voices, but their views don’t seem to hold any sway.

    • Thanks for the link. All very sad. It’s one thing to knock it down and then build something else, but to just leave a load of rubble… sheer capitalist vandalism. How much more cultural Hull would have been in 2017 had that building remained, even as a ruin!

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