Why Hull is far from being dull

August 5, 2005

You quote the vice-chancellor of Lincoln University as saying that Hull is unappealing to students and "lacks attractiveness as a university city" ("Hull hath no fury like a city scorned", July 15).

In the past five years student numbers at Hull University have grown by 20 per cent; it has more students (17,200) on its city campus than ever before. Some 10,500 first-years asked to rate their universities in an Opinionpanel survey ("What impresses today's freshers?", June 17) ranked it seventh. These facts do not suggest that the city is a negative factor in the decline in recruitment to Lincoln.

The story also juxtaposed an image of Lincoln Cathedral with that of a vacant site in Hull. It would, of course, be possible to find an unappealing photo of even our most gracious towns and cities. The site pictured has recently been cleared for a £160 million office, retail and leisure scheme. The redevelopment of Hull, led by its Urban Regeneration Company, is making exciting changes. The Deep, the ocean experience centre, is the second most successful Millennium scheme after the Eden Project and houses the university's £1 million environmental research simulator. The Marina, the KC Stadium and extensive renovation to the historic old town are transforming Hull.

Hull has many lively cafes, clubs and entertainment venues. The cultural milieu of the city makes it attractive as a university venue - John Godber's well-known Hull Truck Theatre, an extensive array of galleries and museums (Ferens, Maritime, Wilberforce, Street Life, plus the university's own art collection), and a rich literary tradition, whose compass extends from Andrew Marvell to Philip Larkin and beyond.

Jonathan Raban, the Seattle-domiciled award-winning author and Hull graduate, has commented: "When I was a postgraduate student there... I found myself living in a loose gang of ten or a dozen people... We talked, endlessly - about painting and politics, and sociology, and literature, and psychology... It wasn't until I left Hull that I realised just how lively and exciting this... intellectual community was. I have to say I have never known anything quite like it since."

David J. Drewry, vice-chancellor, Hull University

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