Hull Streetlife Museum – A Time Travelling Experience

The Streetlife Museum in Kingston-Upon-Hull is a transport museum with a whole lot to offer, and over the last few visits with my family has built some fun memories too. The 1940’s high street grabs my imagination every time, with perfectly designed shops set out as they would have been including a pharmacy, complete with original fixtures and fittings. There’s a grocer’s shop, and sweet shop too, and all so realistic it’s almost like time travel. Purpose built and opened in 1989 by MP John Prescott, the  transport history at the Streetlife Museum goes way back at least 200 years, from Bicycles to horse drawn carriages and cars, busses, trains and trams plus a Blackburn F2 Lincock airplane from 1928 and built in East Yorkshire.

What’s more, entry is totally free and open 7 days a week. Hull’s Streetlife Museum is in the museums quarter nearby the Wilberforce House museum and the Hull and East Riding museum of archaeology.  

Personally, I enjoy a carriage ride with my family while we’re visiting as we head even further back in time. We climb aboard the carriage and once the carriage door closes, the carriage begins rocking and rumbling, resembling a journey through cobbled streets and we hear the driver talking about the daily goings on through the street, the horses whinnying, and the imagination kicks in until the carriage stops.  

Berthed nearby the Streetlife museum on the river Hull is the Arctic Corsair deep sea trawler which was converted to a museum ship in 1999. The Arctic Corsair is Hull’s last surviving sidewinder trawler which was built for harsh Icelandic deep-sea conditions and has a riveted rather than welded hull to stand up to sever sea conditions, she also broke the world record for landing of cod and haddock in 1973. The Arctic Corsair is open to the public for free guided tours from Easter till the end of October on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. A tour of the Arctic Corsair is on my to do list for certain! 

Make sure you bring plenty of 20p pieces with you for the “vintage arcade room,” well that’s our name for the area. We always have a laugh in there, especially with my personal favorites, the laughing policeman and the Victorian foot massage machine. There’s also a fortune telling machine here similar to that seen in the film, “Big” with Tom Hanks. There are of course some very educational pieces too and change is available if you run out as we often do.  

I don’t think one visit is enough to take in all there is to see and do, it seems that on each visit I discover something I missed, and on the last trip to the Streetlife museum it was Lady Chesterfield’s specially built sleigh that came to my attention. Representing a mythical unicorn and so immaculate and pristine and yet was not just an ornament. Lady Chesterfield actually used this beautiful sleigh  during the freezing winter months on her estate.

It was popular for wealthy landowners to own such sleighs. This particular sleigh was previously owned by the renowned Nunburnholme family and was used on their country estate near Pocklington, East Yorkshire. The origins of the elaborate sleigh are Russian and dates back to 1810. 

The Streetlife museum has fascinating exhibits over two floors with good disabled access. The staff are very happy to help and are knowledgeable about the exhibits,  a very friendly and family oriented  museum.  Throughout the year there are events for all ages taking place here, something for everyone.   

Hull has a wide variety of modern day entertainment  and interesting history,  including cobbled streets through the museum’s quarter. There’s much more to visit than we’ve managed to fit in so far, including the marina with it’s lighthouse ship and of course the Arctic Corsair.  One favorite place to stop for lunch is Garbo’s bar and grill, set in an exquisite building, a former Mint building with high ceilings and mezzanine floor. The atmosphere is relaxed and the food is delicious!  I know for sure that Kingston upon hull and the Streetlife museum is a destination for returning to.

Written by Janine Moore

Janine lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband and two youngest children. A love of animals and the countryside stems from a childhood living by the river Trent and spending hours watching the local wildlife.
Photography has been a hobby for many years and the camera is never far from her side.

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