Open Bridges Second Anniversary

It’s nearly two years since Open Bridges celebrated the importance of the River Hull and its bridges – on the autumn equinox 2017. This time two years ago we were making the final preparations for all of the bridges of the River Hull to swing, lift, close to traffic and open to vessels, separating Hull in two before reuniting the city – a real and symbolic act creating debate about the meaning of freedom and freedom of movement denied.

Workshops in prison, hospice, library and schools were done. We had visited the bridges with composer John Stead who recorded the sounds of the bridge mechanisms ready for the premiere of his new work Moments in Time. Bridges and vessels were ready to go.

John Stead recording for Open Bridges in North Bridge 19.06.17
The composer recording inside North Bridge photograph by Richard Duffy-Howard

On the night when all Hull’s bridges over the river re-opened to traffic and the historic vessels sailed out into the darkness of the Humber to be met by the super tugs, swirling on the Humber, the world premiere of the new musique concrète acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by Hull based BAFTA winning composer John Stead began. Especially composed for Open Bridges, the work features found sounds of Hull bridge mechanisms and the surrounding environment that John recorded and manipulated to create a dynamic soundscape. John diffused the live music in octophonic sound to a full house at Hull’s open air Stage at the Dock. The music filled the air where the River Hull meets the Humber Estuary, in the shadow of the iconic buildings, The Deep, Tidal Barrier and Millennium Bridge.

Octovision screen shot OB

The award winning Open Bridges film, produced by Humber Film is a multi-camera aural and musical documentary of the journey down the river on the night, from light to darkness, countryside to urban industrial landscapes, through the bridges and out into the Humber. Made by 16 film makers who captured each bridge movement on the night, and from the bow of the MV Syntan, it is edited by Philip Codd and features a stereo soundtrack version of John Stead’s  ‘Moments in Time’.

Here’s the two minute trailer, but you can see the full film together with the River Full of Stories film of memories and conversation on board the MV Syntan as she journeys  down the river at Hull Maritime Museum until the end of the year.

A ghostly view – excerpts of Moments in Time, the world premiere of the live musique concrète diffusion for Open Bridges by John Stead. Autumn equinox 2017

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our ‘Open Bridges: A River Full Of Stories’ project. The presentation book for Hull and East Yorkshire libraries and museums will be published very soon.

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Hiddekel in Hull Marina 31st May 2019 by John Medland
Hiddekel delivering cargo to Hull Marina from a Stoneferry wharf by John Medland 31.05.2019

Open Bridges made history when for the first time all 13 of the bridges over the River Hull in the UK’s City of Culture 2017 raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city of Hull in two at 20:17 hours on 22nd September 2017.  Historic vessels sailed down the river to be met by 21st century tugs.

Open Bridges is an independent not for profit Hull/East Yorkshire based project.


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