One of the most prominent reminders of Hull’s fishing industry could soon be gone. The former fish smoking house in Subway Street that stands out among the modern factory units because of its distinctive, steeply sloping roof was last used 30 years ago.
At one point there were dozens of smoking houses between the fish docks and Hessle Road, but the future of the o0nly surviving building is in doubt now that city councillors have supported plans to demolish it.
AE Purdy, who owns the site, wishes to demolish the building and an adjoining two story property. It is a grade two listed building, so the final decision lies with the Secretary Of State as the building is protected under planning law.
The councillors made their decision after visiting the site in west Hull. They found that the poor condition of the building meant that there was not really any other option.
Councillor Nadine Fudge, who represents west Hull, said: “I can understand why some people might want to save it because of its history, but in reality it’s a burnt-out rat-infested building. Demolishing it will smarten the area up.”
There have already been objections to the planned demolition from the Council For British Archaeology and the Association For Industrial Archaeology. They believe that the building should be saved because of its historical importance. However, the Hull Civic Society and English Heritage have not objected to the demolition.
Councillor John Abbott said that the cost of restoring the building would be huge: “It appears to be damaged beyond practical repair,” he said.
Councillor Tom McVie said: “Even English Heritage’s favoured contractors are not willing to touch it.”
Honorary alderman Gordon Caselton said that if the demolition of the smoking house would contradict a 2007 ruling by the Secretary of State.
“At the time the council approved demolition only for that decision to be overruled. It’s the only remaining smoking house of its type and its part of the history of the city and Hessle Road in particular.”