Open Bridges from the Night Sky

All 13 bridges over the River Hull closed simultaneously for the first and only time in the city’s history – at 20:17 on the autumnal equinox 2017.

The moment is stunningly captured from above by Octovision Media.

At the mouth of the River Hull where it meets the Humber Estuary with the point of The Deep on the east bank and the Stage@TheDock on the west. You can see the traffic stop on the main dual carriageway that runs west to east behind the Tidal Barrier – Myton Bridge – at exactly 20:17 on the autumn equinox, 22nd September 2017. As the camera pulls back, flares fire from HMS Pickle holding station by The Deep, signifying that all 13 bridges from Millennium up to Ennerdale Link at Kingswood in the north are closed. For the first and only time in Hull’s history, the city is split in two, there is no passage east or west.

As the historic vessels, HMS Pickle, Humber Keel Comrade, followed by Motor Barge Syntan, leave the Hull, the majestic and powerful SMS Towage and Svitzer tugs come into view, spinning in the water,  lit by searchlights and firing water cannon as a welcome. As the vessels disappear into darkness and Octovision’s drone lands on Victoria Pier the audience return to the Stage@The Dock for the world premiere of composer John Stead’s Open Bridges commission, Moments in Time.

Open Bridges is a whole tapestry of threads. It’s a celebration of the lifeblood of the city, the River Hull and its 13 movable bridges – more than any other city. Beautiful historic vessels representing three centuries – 18th century HMS Pickle, 19th century Humber Keel Comrade and 20th century MV Syntan mustered on the River Hull, met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs from SMS Towage and Svitzer. Open Bridges is an exploration of the notion of freedom during the City of Culture’s Freedom Season. The culmination of Open Bridges – the live world premiere of John Stead’s new musical work, Moments in Time was magical. And the city momentarily split in two – for the first time ever.

Open Bridges by Octovision Media
HMS Pickle fires the thirteenth flare photograph by Octovision Media

Thank you to everyone in the Open Bridges Team and everybody who came to the Stage@The Dock.

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Open Bridges is an independent Hull based project by Duffy-Howard Music taking place during the Hull City of Culture Freedom Season. It is supported by Arts Council England and Hull City Arts Fund with partnership support from Hull City Council Streetscene and project partners Malcolm Scott, John Stead, Streetscene’s Andy Burton, Pete Curry, Graham Lownsborough and Bridge Operations staff, Helen Thackeray: Hull Events, John Medland, Phil Withers, Mal Nicholson and Historic Motor and Sail, Paul Escreet: SMS Towage, Simon Lee: Svitzer (Maersk), The Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society, The Beverley Barge Preservation Society, Team Humber Marine Alliance, Freedom Festival’s Jenny Coombes and the Freedom Ambassadors, Hugh Jones of HPSS, C4Di, creative writers Christina Lewis and Russ Litten, photographers Piotr Korczynski and Graeme Oxby, Humber Film Creative Community and Octovision Media.



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