Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary.
The town was founded as a port from which to export wool. Hull had been a market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre and industrial metropolis. Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars. Its 18th century Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, took a prominent part in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. In the early 21st century spending boom the city saw large amounts of new retail, commercial, housing and public service construction.
Tourist attractions include The Hull People's Memorial, the historic Old Town and Museum Quarter, marina and The Deep aquarium. Hull University was founded in 1927 and now enrols more than 16,000 students. In 2017, Hull was the UK City of Culture and hosted the Turner Prize at its Ferens Art Gallery.
The economy of Hull was built on trading and seafaring, firstly whaling and later sea-fishing. Merchant's houses such as Blaydes House and some warehouses survive in the Old Town, where trade was centred on the River Hull, later shifting to the Humber docks. Another major industry was oilseed crushing. Although the fishing industry declined in the 1970s due to the Cod Wars, the city remains a busy port, handling 13 million tonnes of cargo per year. The port operations run by Associated British Ports and other companies in the port employ 5,000 people. A further 18,000 are employed as a direct result of the port's activities. The port area of the city has diversified to compensate for the decline in fishing by the introduction of Roll-on Roll-off ferry services to the continent of Europe. These ferries now handle over a million passengers each year. Hull has exploited the leisure industry by creating Hull Marina from the old Humber and Railway docks in the centre of the city. It opened in 1983 and has 270 berths for yachts and small sailing craft.
Industry in the city is focused on the chemical and health care sectors. Several well-known British companies, including BP, Smith & Nephew and Reckitt Benckiser, have facilities in Hull. The health care sector is further enhanced by the research facilities provided by the University of Hull through the Institute of Woundcare and the Hull York Medical School partnerships. In recent years, with the decline of fishing and heavy industry, the retail sector, tourism, the arts and further and higher education sectors have played an increasingly prominent role in the process of economic regeneration and raising the profile of the city. In 2009 it was estimated that businesses in Hull deliver an annual turnover of almost £8 billion, and over 5 million annual visitors contribute almost £210 million to Hull's economy.
Retail As the biggest settlement in the East Riding of Yorkshire and the local transport hub, Hull is a natural focus for retail shoppers. Major department stores in Hull include Debenhams, House of Fraser, and until its collapse British Home Stores. The city centre has three main shopping centres, St Stephen's, Princes Quay, and the Prospect Centre. There are also a number of "retail parks", and suburban shopping centres including St Andrews Quay retail park on the Humber bank and Kingswood retail park.
Hull also has many shopping streets, both inside and outside the city centre. The main non-city-centre shopping streets are Hessle Road, Holderness Road, Chanterlands Avenue, Beverley Road, Princes Avenue, and Newland Avenue. Additionally, two covered shopping arcades remain in the town centre: Hepworth Arcade, and Paragon Arcade.
The St Stephen's shopping centre development on Ferensway adjacent to Hull Paragon Interchange is anchored by a large 24-hour Tesco Extra superstore and provides many shop units, food outlets, a hotel, and a 7 screen cinema. The St Stephens development is in direct competition with the Princes Quay Shopping Centre which was built on stilts over the closed Prince's Dock, and houses a variety of chain stores and food outlets. It was originally built with four retail floors, known as "decks", with the uppermost deck housing a Vue cinema.
The Prospect Centre on Prospect Street is a smaller, older shopping centre which benefits from large footfall and is home to a range of chain stores, banks and fashion retailers. It contains branches of B&M, Claire's, a large Wilko, Poundland, W H Smith, Iceland, and Hull's main post office. Outside the city centre at Bransholme, the North Point Shopping Centre contains a similar range of popular chain stores and budget-oriented retailers including Boyes and Heron Foods.
There are a number of budget and discount retailers including four branches of Boyes, Primark, Peacocks. Hull has a selection of supermarkets, including several branches of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, the Co-operative and budget food stores.
The electrical retailer Comet Group was founded in the city as Comet Battery Stores Limited in 1933; the company's first superstore was opened in Hull in 1968. Other retailers such as Heron Foods, and Jacksons also began their operations in Hull.
Hull was ranked #457 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Hull has a population of over 284,000 people. Hull also forms part of the wider Hull metropolitan area which has a population of over 573,300 people. Hull is the #155 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.8907 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.