Listing fight over Hull's 'fishing heritage' mural

The Three Ships in situ Image copyright Mike Bartlett Photography
Image caption Hull Heritage Action Group say the mural is more than just a "shop front"

Campaigners appealing for a Hull landmark to be listed said it harks "back to the city's fishing heritage".

The Three Ships mural is on a vacant former shop. Historic England turned down Grade II listing in November.

It said it "falls short of the high bar for listing post-war public art". Campaigners have asked for a rethink.

Leigh Bird, from Hull Heritage Action Group, said: "It's not a shop front, it's a work of art and it's tied into the city's fishing heritage."

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"The trawlers are very stylised but their masts spell the word Hull," she added.

The mosaic, by artist Alan Boyson, comprises almost a million pieces of Italian glass on a 66ft by 64ft (20m x 19.5m) concrete screen. Another mural by Boyson exists inside the former BHS building.

The work was commissioned by the Co-Op in 1963, but the building has been vacant since August. Hull City council has locally listed the mural and believes it "to be the biggest in the UK" but the surrounding area has been earmarked for future development.

It was placed on the Twentieth Century Society's Buildings at Risk list in January.

Image copyright Nick Coupland
Image caption Alan Boyson's work has almost a million pieces of glass

Hull Civic Society, which campaigns for "high standards of architecture", has appealed against Historic England's decision and chairman John Scotney said to lose the mural "would be massive vandalism".

Mr Scotney, added: "The fact the colours are muted is in its favour, it is large but subtle without dominating everything it makes a positive contribution."

The Hull Heritage Action Group, another local conservation group, has a petition signed by more than 2,500 people and campaigns for listing both mosaics.

Leigh Bird said: "The campaign is building, and City of Culture has helped because it has brought more awareness."

An Historic England spokesman said listing was "purely to do with the artistic merits of the artwork".

The result of the appeal has not been announced but Historic England said it hoped the mural would "remain a part of Hull's streetscape".

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