It’s three years since Open Bridges split the city in two

Today marks three years since Open Bridges made history when for the first, and only time, all the bridges over the River Hull were raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city in two at 20:17 hours on the autumn equinox, 22nd September 2017.

Comrade and Scott Street Bridge.
Comrade, and Scott Street Bridge, photo by Syd Young.

There are 13 bridges over the River Hull which flows north to south through the city centre and out into the Humber. No other city has so many opening bridges over such a short stretch of navigable river.

The idea of Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard, Open Bridges was a logistical first, the culmination of 18 months of meticulous planning and preparation. A celebration of the lifeblood of the city it was delivered by an all Hull-based team to manage the different elements.

On the night, historic vessels representing three centuries mustered on the River Hull to be met out on the Humber estuary by powerful 21st century tugs.

The world premiere of the composition ‘Moments in Time’, by BAFTA award-winning composer John Stead, was especially commissioned for Open Bridges, featuring sounds recorded from Hull bridges and diffused in octophonic sound.

Historic vessels representing three centuries mustered on the River, all together for the first time, to be met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs.

Open Bridges adventures were many and varied. From operations and logistics through exploring the concept of freedom workshops in schools, hospice & prison, to creating music and art collaborations.

As the Open Bridges exhibition inside Scale Lane Bridge was coming to a close, a new street piece by Banksy titled “Draw The Raised Bridge!” appeared overnight on Scott Street Bridge. International urban art website GraffitiStreet.com published a feature referencing a link between the Open Bridges Hull project with the Banksy art work on the bridge. https://www.graffitistreet.com/banksys-latest-mural-draw-the-raised-bridge-questions-freedom-hull-2018/

Following Open Bridges Rich and Lou embarked upon the sister project A River Full of Stories, gathering memories of life on and around the River Hull, culminating in a book, film and exhibition. The first edition of the Open Bridges book, A River Full of Stories is now available in all Hull & East Riding Libraries and can be ordered from all UK libraries.

The Open Bridges short film with musique concrète soundtrack won four international awards. Produced for Open Bridges by Humber Film Creative Community it’s a multi-camera aural and musical documentary filmed by 16 film makers and edited by Philip Codd. It’s an immersive experience and can be seen on YouTube.

The River Full of Stories film features a trip down the River Hull on board MV Syntan with interviews telling real stories of life on the river in its heyday filmed on board the motor barge Syntan, sloop Spider T and in Hull Maritime Museum.

Open Bridges is an independent not for profit project conceived and organised by Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard. To find out more visit the Open Bridges website https://openbridgeshull.com/

[Lou Duffy-Howard]