Barton upon Humber Tourism

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The Sounds of the Humber – from concrete to opera

Photo credit: David Lund Photo credit: David Lund

The gentle hum of traffic crossing the Humber Bridge has provided a backdrop to the lapping of water, chirruping of wading birds and wind tickling the rushes since it first opened to traffic 36 years ago tomorrow, and this year marks 40 years since the cable spinning began to connect those two iconic towers writes Jo Marwood.

From the first “Humber Bridge Act” of 1959, to the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen in 1981, residents on both sides of the Humber closely observed its construction as the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world.  Indeed, the Humber Bridge enjoyed this accolade for 17 years, until Japan’s Akashi Kaiky? Bridge opened in April 1998.

Visitors today flock from afar to enjoy the Humber Bridge, walking from Barton to Hessle and back, enjoying a picnic and spotting a variety of birds.  The various sounds of the Humber often pale in comparison as people strive to capture that perfect photograph as a souvenir of their visit.  The whispering of wind through the reeds is forgotten as they juggle expensive cameras, or lean nonchalantly on the Bridge railing with selfie-stick in hand.  To address this in 2017, the innovative “Height of the Reeds” project from Opera North sought to reconnect visitors through “A Sound Journey for the Humber Bridge” as part of Hull City of Culture 2017.

People were invited to borrow a set of headphones and “disappear into a sound adventure”.  Local sound artist Jan Bang captured the deep music of the Bridge itself, and interwove this with music by Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, guitarist Eivind Aarset and electronic wizard Jan Bang, as well as the triumphant sound of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North.  Spoken word from local poets interspersing the music evoked the Bridge as an iconic landmark of travel and symbol of home.

Liz Bennet, Managing Director at The Ropewalk in Barton-upon-Humber, managed to reserve a place to take part in this special project, and escape into the world of sound:

“On a windy April Wednesday afternoon, Richard Hatfield and I set off complete with headphones to walk the Bridge from north to south and back again, whilst listening to a specially commissioned piece of music based on the sounds of the Bridge.  It has been a long time coming, combining the arts and this iconic structure straddling the Humber, and for me it really worked. With a soundscape in our ears, the vast skies above, the smell of the river and vibrations from the passing traffic, it was a truly a special experience for all the senses.”

The music was structured to last the duration of the walk across the Bridge’s 2,200-metre span and back, and the footpath was closed to the general public during the event.  For vehicles travelling over the Bridge, the sight of headphone-wearing people lost in a symphony of epic music was a sight to behold in itself!

The “Height of the Reeds” project was designed to uncover the hidden sounds of the Bridge and its surrounding natural environment.  Today, it’s hard to imagine the River Humber without those haunting concrete towers reflected in the swirling waters, and the thick cables curving majestically between them.  Many thousands of tonnes of steel and concrete built this historically important structure, yet the surrounding natural landscape of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire is only enhanced and celebrated all the more.



Sue Wilsea on The Fathom Writers’ Showcase and the Local Literary Scene

Next Wednesday at 7.30pm, local writers of all levels, ages and backgrounds will be reading their work to the people of Barton in the Ropery Hall bar.  This is all down to the Fathom Writers’ Showcase, a free event organised by Sue Wilsea so that her students can unveil their work to the public.

Past Forward project worker Jamie Smith spoke to Sue about the showcase. Continue reading »

A Big Thank You on National Volunteers’ Week

This volunteers-week-logo-2017National Volunteers’ Week, we want to say thank you to all the volunteers who keep Barton-upon-Humber’s heritage and history institutions running, as well as all of the others who give up their time to keep our town alive and colourful.  Without these people, Barton’s rich and interesting past would remain hidden. From museums like Baysgarth House and the Wilderspin National School, to natural and cultural sites like the Far Ings National Nature Reserve and The Ropewalk, much of our town’s heritage is kept alive by such volunteers.

So, what does volunteering in Barton involve?  In Barton’s museums, volunteers do a great job while meeting all kinds of new people, greeting visitors at reception, showing them around, installing new exhibitions, hosting a range of special events, and really becoming a part of the museum community. Continue reading »

Rex Russell Exhibition at Baysgarth House Museum

Baysgarth House Museum has dedicated its latest exhibition to local historian and educator Rex Russell, who is known to have revived archaeology and historical study in the Barton area over the second half of the twentieth century.

The exhibition sums up the life, work and discoveries of one of Barton’s most interesting characters and one of its most prolific scholars stimulatingly and thoroughly. The exhibition is elementary enough and interesting enough to engage those who are unfamiliar with the man and his work, while still having the depth to arouse interest in those who are more au fait with him. Continue reading »

A New Chapter for Bardney Hall

The warm spring sunshine catches the gold lettering of “Bardney Hall” on the wrought iron gates that mark the entrance to this historic and beautiful house in Barton-upon-Humber writes Jo Marwood.  Bardney Hall is a Grade II listed Queen Anne house, and boasts a number of fine architectural features, frills and follies indicative of the town’s growing prosperity during the 18th century.

DSC_0034Originally built as a private residence for William Gildas in the early 1700s, Bardney Hall now offers boutique bed and breakfast accommodation.  It is partially concealed from Whitecross Street by evergreen shrubbery, but once inside the grounds it is hard not to be seduced by the spectacular facade, expertly-landscaped gardens and sumptuous decor on offer. Continue reading »

The Queen Street Primitive Methodist Chapel’s 150th Anniversary

In April 1867, the first stone was laid in the construction of an impressive new chapel for the Primitive Methodist movement on Queen Street in Barton-upon-Humber as the local movement needed to re- house their rapidly growing congregation in the area.

By the 1860s Primitive Methodism was already a well-established and well represented movement in the local area and a part of life in Barton. The local movement had grown from a handful of people to hundreds and had already outgrown two chapels in the area since the early 19th  century – the first on the site of Central Surgery on King Street, and the second on Newport that was overcrowded and the congregation needed a larger place to call home. Continue reading »

Behind the doors at The Ropewalk

What was once Hall’s Barton Ropery, a busy and thriving rope making factory, is now home to The Ropewalk. This impressive quarter-mile long Grade II listed building proudly celebrates art, craft and heritage with regularly-changing exhibitions, an Accredited Museum, artists’ studios and more. Continue reading »

Get the champagne corks popping – it’s Barton Arts 20th anniversary season!

Barton Arts is celebrating its 20th anniversary in some style this year.

Tickets go on general sale on Monday (April 10) and art lovers in town and further afield are spoilt for choice with events ranging from Clare Teal returning to the town to celebrate Doris Day to poet John Hegley turning his poetic genius and silliness to an interactive family show. Continue reading »

Contact Details

Tourist Information
Telephone: 01652 631500

Barton Town Council
Telephone: 01652 633598

Barton-upon-Humber Tourism Partnership
Telephone: 01652 660380