Open Bridges 2017

Open Bridges made history when for the first, and only time, all the bridges over the River Hull were raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city in two at 20:17 hours on the autumn equinox, 22nd September 2017.

Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire has 13 bridges over the River Hull which flows north to south through the centre of the city and out into the Humber. No other city has so many opening bridges over such a short stretch of navigable river. Open Bridges was a logistical first, the culmination of 18 months of meticulous planning and preparation. Open Bridges is a celebration of the lifeblood of the city delivered by an all Hull based team to manage the different elements. On the night historic vessels representing three centuries mustered on the River Hull to be met out on the Humber estuary by powerful 21st century tugs. The world premiere of the new acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by BAFTA award winning composer John Stead was especially commissioned for Open Bridges, featuring sounds recorded from Hull bridges and diffused in octophonic sound. Historic vessels representing three centuries mustered on the River, all together for the first time, to be met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs.

To watch the award winning Open Bridges short film with musique concrète soundtrack settle down in a comfy chair, turn the lights down & the volume up and soak it up, it’s an immersive experience.

Open Bridges adventures were many and varied. From operations and logistics through exploring the concept of freedom workshops in schools, hospice & prison, to creating music and art collaborations. As the Open Bridges exhibition was coming to a close a new street piece by Banksy titled “Draw The Raised Bridge!” appeared overnight on Scott Street Bridge.

graffiti street published this feature referencing a link between the Open Bridges Hull project with the Banksy art work on Scott Street bridge, that appeared in the last week of January 2018.

In January 2020 went with John Dean on the Dean’s Marine barge George Dyson’s working trip from Hull’s Albert Dock to York city centre, stopping overnight in Goole along the way. Watch the video of the trip accompanied by our Loudhailer Electric Company soundtrack:

Following Open Bridges we embarked upon the sister project A River Full of Stories, gathering stories and memories of life on and around the River Hull, culminating in a book, film and exhibition.

The first edition of the Open Bridges book, A River Full of Stories is now available in all Hull & East Riding Libraries and can be ordered from all UK libraries.

ARFOS at Willerby Library

A River Full of Stories film – on board the motor barge Syntan, sloop Spider T and in Hull Maritime Museum it is full of real stories of life on the river in its heyday.

Open Bridges is an independent not for profit project  conceived and organised by Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard.