Draining Hull

“Have you ever driven down Cottingham Road from the Beverley Road junction to the roundabout near The Goodfellowship and wondered……”what is that strip of land in front of the large houses on the left and why do the streets and many of the drives to the houses apparently have bridges and the roads have bridge parapets…?”

Have you ever wondered what that large bump in the road is outside Newland High School……?

Ever driven along Queens Road towards Newland Avenue and wondered similarly about the long green strip on the left and why there are bridge parapets at the junction with Princess Avenue?

Ever driven over North Bridge heading east and turned left down New Cleveland Street and noticed the bridge parapets as you turn…? Did you notice the Plaque on the wall as you turned the corner…?

All of the above are the remnants of a surface drainage system first developed some 900 years ago out of grim necessity by the Monks of Meaux and significantly improved by Civil Engineers in the late 18th/early 19th century before being abandoned and diverted in the 1960s and subsequently filled in.

People of a certain age may well remember these as open drains with an affection that may include fishing, swimming, general mayhem and their ability to swallow virtually anything up that was dumped into them. Younger people or those who have arrived in our fair city in the last 50 years or so may simply wonder as per the opening paragraph, if they’ve even noticed of course.

To set the record straight, it was the Cottingham and Newland Beck that flowed along the south side of Cottingham Road, similarly along Clough Road (the clue is in the name) discharging into the River Hull just south of the Clough Road Bridge. Along the south side of Clough Road the Beck crossed The Beverley & Skidby and The Beverley & Barmston Drains via aqueducts. The former is now filled in and is a pleasant summer stroll from the Oak Road junction with Beverley Road to Clough Road. The Beverley & Barmston Drain is still open but I hesitate to say ‘going strong’, as anyone who is familiar with how it was back in the day and compares that particularly to the stretch south of Fountain Road nowadays will verify, it is a shadow of its former self, now resembling a brook more than the major drainage channel it once was.

The bump in the road outside Newland High School and between the twin entrances to Newland Park is where the Cottingham Drain went under the road in a culvert and then crossed the Beck in an aqueduct before winding its way through Newland Park, along Queens Road and through the centre of Hull, the route of which is easily traceable by anyone who cares to. It emptied into the River Hull at High Flags, slightly south of where the Beverley & Barmston Drain still does today.

The New Cleveland Street Bridge over the Foredyke Stream was constructed in 1902 when Cleveland Street was extended to Witham. Now a Listed Building, the plaque commemorates its construction by local firm Rosedown and Thompsons Ltd., it being the first bridge in the world to be constructed in ferro concrete by the Hennebique System. The drain itself flowed into the River Hull next to the North Bridge and was the last of the significant open drainage channels to be in filled in the late 1960s.”

Peter Greendale 2018

Foredyke Stream Bridge, Cleveland Street

The Foredyke Stream Bridge at New Cleveland Street. The photographer will have been on Lime Street with his back to the River Hull, into which the drain flowed at low tide. Nothing much will have changed in this view in 2019 except that the drain itself has gone and the foreground is now a car park. The Foredyke Stream was diverted into the Holderness Drain which flows into the Humber at Marfleet in the late 1960s.

HDM Cottingham drain

The infilling of The Cottingham Drain along Queen’s Road and at the junction with Newland Avenue. This took place in 1962 – 63 and is now the green corridor (still in places with tell tale characteristic bollards and fence poles) from Beverley Road, along Queen’s Road, across Princes Ave all the way to Salisbury Street.

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

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 Hull/East Yorkshire based project.


3 thoughts on “Draining Hull

  1. I remember the drain being covered at the Queens Road /Newland Ave junction. One of the engineers on the works might have been Mr Walter Race, I worked under him in the old East Riding Council and seem to recall him talking about it. Also I lived at the top end of Newland Ave and use to go fishing for tiddlers in Cottingham Rd drain, it was clean enough for fish to live in and never seemed to be too deep for us children to wade along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, thanks for getting in touch, it’s memories and anecdotes like this that were the best things about the project, really pleased to hear from you, Rich and Lou


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