Mirror pools attract all sorts of visitors to Hull Minster

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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They were designed to reflect the grandeur of the ecclesiastical architecture, but every so often a pigeon also gets a walk-on part.

The mirror pools outside Hull Minster were unveiled earlier this year and represented the completion of a £2m project to revamp the city’s historic Trinity Square.

Work had begun 18 months earlier and had involved the exhumation of hundreds of skeletons. The square was then repaved, the churchyard wall round the front removed and the statue of the 17th-century Hull poet Andrew Marvell shifted a few yards.

However, it was the mirror pools – thought to be the first of their kind – which caused the biggest headache for the architects. Invisible when the water is switched off, they fill with just 2mm of water when turned on, but earlier this year the jets became blocked with grease following a food festival.

Designer Mel Chantrey, who was also responsible for the dancing fountains in Hull’s Queen Victoria Square, told The Yorkshire Post at the launch: “The thrilling bit about this is that unlike Queen Victoria Square where it’s all nozzles, jets and grilles, here it is just stone and water.

“We are generating patterns over and over again, rhythmical repetitions, allowing people to introspect and to dream. To engage people in that dynamic is a real privilege.”

It is hoped that the pools will further boost visitor numbers at the Minster, which was formerly known as Holy Trinity and which is believed to be the largest parish church in England.

Dating back to about 1300, the Grade I-listed building boasts a number of claims to fame. It contains some of the finest mediaeval brickwork in the country, particularly in the transepts, and it was where slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce was baptised.

In November 2014 plans were unveiled to reorder the church so it could be used as a performance venue. The £4.5m transformation is a key element of the regeneration of Hull’s old town which it is hoped will be one of the legacies of this year’s UK City of Culture.

Technical details: Nikon D3s camera,12-24mm lens, 250th sec at f5.6, iso 200).

PIC: James Hardisty

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