Businesses unite to support Hull Vigil project

Hull Esteem and its partners have joined forces to bring a unique project to life through generous donations of time, expertise and resources, equivalent to a total investment of around £80,000.

The Hull Vigil plinth being lifted into place.
The Hull Vigil plinth being lifted into place.

The Hull Vigil, a first for the UK, is a monumental 365-day performance that will see a bespoke glass, steel framed, wood clad structure built and installed on top of Hull College by local businesses.

Overlooking Queen’s Gardens and the William Wilberforce Statue on one side, and the River Humber, docks and east Hull on the other, 730 people will become the collective ‘vigil’ at sunset and sunrise every day for a year from May 3rd.

The 365-day silent performance has been commissioned by Freedom Festival, the Hull-based arts trust behind the international arts festival held in city.

Hull Esteem’s partners in the project include Hobson & Porter Ltd, which led on roof enabling works, concrete plinths, construction of the timber ramp and landings, and the installation of feature lighting by GW Power. Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd have been responsible for the off-site fabrication of the shelter and exo-skeletal framework, supported by local contractors Vic Coupland, Vulcan Aluminium and Dappat Engineering to name a few.

Sewell Construction organised transportation and contract crane lifts for the erection and dismantling of the vigil structure and Spencer Group is assisting in the overall management of health and safety for the project.

Dozens of other local businesses have also come forward to offer their products, services and resources in kind, helping to make the project possible.

From project management and architecture, to building supplies, scaffolding and more, businesses of all sizes have worked tirelessly for months to cover every detail of the project.

Gavin Barley, General Manager of Hull Esteem, Hull City Council’s pre-procured framework which has supported the Hull Vigil with overall management and coordination of the project and communications, said: “It has been a huge team effort to make this possible and the contributions of all the businesses involved should not be underestimated.

“Working eight floors up on the top of Hull College in all weathers doesn’t come without its challenges and everyone has pulled out all the stops to make sure the foundations are there for this fantastic event for the city.

“We’re proud to work with our supply chain and partners, and everyone involved, particularly during what has been a testing time for businesses in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it complements our work of reinvestment in the city.

“This wonderful artistic project is bringing people together in a unique way and we’re honoured to play a part in it.”

The Hull Vigil has been created by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from the Paris-based WLDN project, and has been running in Paris, Germany and the Netherlands continuously over the past eight years.

Hull will be the 10th ‘vigil’ and is presented as part of the Global Streets and Creative Europe in Situ programmes, funded by Arts Council England, as well as Hull City Council, Hull College and Hull Esteem.

It was originally planned to take place in March, but was postponed due to country’s third national lockdown delaying the build of the shelter and volunteer recruitment.

Anthony Baker, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival, said: “The Hull Vigil by choreographer Joanne Leighton from WLDN is an incredibly beautiful and ambitious performance which we can’t wait to bring to Hull on May 3rd.

“The performance will take place in a bespoke glass and wood shelter on the rooftop of Hull College, built by Hull firms for the people of Hull. 

“This amazing artistic project not only connects the city but it is being built and delivered by the local community. 

“We’re incredibly grateful to have the expertise and support of Hull Esteem and their partners and contractors who are supporting the project in a host of ways including donating materials, equipment and time to construct the shelter and erect it on site. At such a difficult time for local businesses, we truly appreciate this support.

“Without this support and that of our partners and creative partners, it would not have been possible for us to bring this monumental performance to Hull.”

Businesses involved in the project include:

  • Brandon Hire – Security fencing
  • Briggs Amasco – Roof waterproofing 
  • Builders Merchants – Plywood suppliers
  • Central Crane Hire – Crane Lift & transportation 
  • Dappat – Steelwork
  • Eddie Beadle – Steelwork and drilling
  • Elevation – Scaffolding
  • Freeths – Legal
  • GGP – Structural Engineers
  • Giant Joinery – Ramp joinery work 
  • GW Power – Temporary roof electrics and feature lighting
  • H&D Decorators – Decorative supplies
  • Kwiktuf – Glazing 
  • MKM – Timber supplies
  • Morgan Wolff – Building Control
  • NPS – Architect- Ramp Design 
  • R&R Photography – Photography of the project from the outset
  • Radius Associates – Principal Designer
  • S&D Flooring – Floor finishes
  • Shared Agenda Solutions – Project Management
  • Vic Coupland Ltd – Shelter Heating and ventilation
  • Vulcan Aluminium – Glazing/frames

[Rachel Smurthwaite – Sewell Group]