Extensive work to transform Trinity Square in Hull’s Old Town has come to an end, with the switching on of new water features reflecting the majesty of Hull Minster.
As part of the £25m regeneration of Hull city centre, Trinity Square has undergone a huge change and almost doubled in size with high-quality sandstone running up to the doors of the newly-named Hull Minster.
The statue of the great Andrew Marvell has also found a new home in the centre of the square and in front of the school he once attended, Hull Grammar.
The crowning jewel in the square’s crown is the addition of eight 4m x 4m water features, creating the effect of mirrored paving. Invisible when switched off, but breathtaking when filled with water.
With four mirrors running down each side of the square, the reflections of the beautiful stained glass windows are completely symmetrical with a perfect reflection when still, and gentle stirring motions creating unique shapes also possible.
The water features are thought to be the first of their kind, with paving not dipping or pooling at any point. Painstaking hours of work have gone into creating the perfect conditions for just 2cm of water to run smoothly over each of the features using traditional methods to ensure the most even of surfaces.
The features were switched on following at a ceremony featuring a blessing by the Vicar of Hull Minster, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, and Handel’s Water Music played on the church’s carillon bells.
Councillor Martin Mancey, Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “The completion of Trinity Square marks a huge milestone in the city centre-wide public realm scheme.
“The intricate detail in the design of the square is second-to-none and after months of watching the work progress and looking back at the original computer-generated design, it’s a wonderful moment to see it come to life.
“With Hull Minster’s work progressing incredibly well, Trinity Market’s hall re-opening on North Churchside and the recent designation of the Old Town as a Heritage Action Zone with Historic England, it’s clear to see that this area is treasured and will continue to draw people in for years to come.”
The unique design is the creation of the Fountains Workshop Ltd, which designs water features across the world, including the recently opened Queen Victoria Square fountains that are already exceeding all expectations. However, Trinity Square proved to be a whole new kind of challenge.
Mel Chantrey, artist in residence for Fountain Workshop Ltd, said: “The challenges for us at Trinity Square were to design and develop a group of ‘mirror pools’ that both celebrated the imposing facade of the minster, whilst imbuing the new square upon which it stands with special qualities, drawing upon and referencing both ecclesiastical and mystical sources.
“Our efforts have resulted in the creation of water-glazed stone mirrors upon which liquid geometry waxes and wanes, engaging the onlooker in an intimate and thought-provoking manner that perhaps invokes calm and delight, creating time and space for personal reflection.
“They are unique elements for an equally unique and very special destination in Hull.”
The glazing has the perfect backdrop of the imposing Hull Minster, which is currently undergoing the most significant changes since Victorian times.
Hull Minster’s £4.5m development project has funded the physical re-unification of the church with the square and is now creating a flexible, open space in the nave for more inclusive worship as well as a wide range of cultural, social and community events.
Dr Barnes said: “Now that the work is complete people can really appreciate the spectacular transformation of Trinity Square.
“The water features add a new and unique dimension. They are precision pieces of engineering and wonderful works of art – reflecting, literally, the grandeur of Hull Minster. Water appears frequently in the Bible, both literally and symbolically, so it is fitting that it is employed so imaginatively in Trinity Square.
“It’s great to see people enjoying the water features during moments of both joy and reflection. Having seen the Minster mirrored in the water, we hope visitors to the square will come through our doors to experience the equally awesome views inside.
“We are so grateful to the council, with whom we have worked so closely to create this marvellous space. We also want to thank all those generous donors who have contributed to our development project, which has re-united the church and square and is making Hull Minster a place for the whole community to come together and use.”
The glazed paving will run from 7am - 11pm each day, with a reflection period of totally still water set for five minutes on the hour every hour. The water can also be switched off at some points in the year during larger events in the square.