December 5, 2021

£ 1million Henry VIII military fortress to be created near The Deep in Hull

A new tourist attraction will be created in Hull, showcasing one of the city’s hidden historical treasures.

With funding now assured, it should finally open near The Deep.

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The project will focus on the site of a 16th century Tudor military fortress called the South Blockhouse, which is one of the larger defenses known as the Citadel of Hull.

A listed old monument, the remains of the massive building are currently buried below the surface of the land between the aquarium and the Victoria Dock subdivision.



A 19th-century cobbled courtyard was revealed during the excavation of the southern blockhouse

The site is also planned for the terminal proposed by the city council of Hull serving a new berth at the edge of the river for cruise ships.

According to plans, the new council-run tourist attraction would showcase the unearthed remains of the southern blockhouse and tell the story of its construction and the people who lived and worked there.

Two recent excavations at the site have paved the way for a feasibility study examining the potential to develop a tourist attraction there.

The study concluded that it would be an attraction for tourists aided by its proximity to The Deep.

Now National Highways has granted £ 1million to turn the project into reality, with the council agreeing to add £ 250,000 to the pot next year.

In addition to the construction of the new visitor center, the board of the Humber Field Archeology Team is expected to carry out a community program involving new excavation work at the site with volunteers invited to gain experience. first-hand work on an excavation.

Three-month digs are expected to begin next summer as part of a program running through the end of 2024.



A 1640 drawing of the South Blockhouse beside the Hull River
A 1640 drawing of part of the citadel beside the Hull river

The site will also be digitally modeled for the first time to help recreate what it would have looked like when first built in 1541 by order of King Henry VIII.

Head of City Council Councilor Daren Hale said, “It’s great that the residents of Hull can be directly involved in giving this historic site a new purpose. What was once a vital line of defense to protect the city will now be a place of education and offer archaeological opportunities.

“This project has already revealed an exciting and previously unknown story of our city and we are confident that it will become a popular tourist attraction in its own right.”

Watch: Ken Steedman Talks About Old Southern Blockhouse


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The national highways funding follows a previous award from the agency for archaeological work in Hull Minster.

Both grants are linked to the agency’s current £ 355million upgrade program on the A63 in the city center, which has also included a major archaeological dig at Trinity Burial Ground on Castle Street.

Fran Oliver, National Highways Project Manager for the A63 Castle Street Project, said: “Our work aims to go beyond building, operating, maintaining and improving roads.



Humber Field Archeology finds director Lisa Wastling with cannonball discovered during site excavation in late 1990s
Humber Field Archeology finds Director Lisa Wastling with a cannonball discovered during the excavation of the site in the late 1990s Photo: Peter Harbor

“As we did at the town’s Trinity Cemetery with our archaeological work, preserving the cultural heritage of the area for future generations is extremely important, so we are delighted to fund work that will soon begin to be discovered. the story of this incredible Tudor blockhouse for the local community. “



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Keith Emerick, Historic England Inspector of Ancient Monuments, said: “The South Blockhouse is a site of national significance, part of the much larger citadel.

“We will be happy to help with a project that provides opportunities for public participation and raises the profile of heritage in Hull.

Design work on the new attraction is expected to begin early next year with a public consultation on the plans scheduled for next spring before a final design decision is made.

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