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Hull History Centre to host new exhibition telling the untold story of Ravenser Odd

An exhibition to tell the unknown story of Ravenser Odd is to go on display at Hull History Centre.

Ravenser Odd was a short-lived medieval town on an island in the Humber. Both Ravenser Odd and its neighbour, Hull, gained their charters from Edward I on the same day – April 1st 1299.

To mark the 725th anniversary, the exhibition ‘Hull/Ravenser Odd: twin cities, sunken pasts’ will display the original Hull and Ravenser Odd charters, on loan from The National Archives. The exhibition will also highlight existing items in Hull History Centre’s collection (Hull’s 1299 charter, maps of medieval Hull), and bring the little-known story about the sinking of Ravenser Odd and the ascendancy of Hull to life.

The exhibition will go on display from Tuesday 26 March 2024 and will run until Thursday 30 May 2024.

Councillor Rob Pritchard, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “Despite its proximity to Hull, the story of Ravenser Odd is fairly unknown.

“An understanding of the Ravenser story and its implications for the wider Humber will allow Hull people to reflect on their own 800 years of maritime history and the opportunities to explore themes around Hull’s own development.

“This exhibition will tell the story and capture the imagination of residents, children and young people in many different ways.”

Alongside the exhibition, there are creative workshops delivered by local artists from Square Peg Hull taking place aimed at children and young people and local communities. The first ones will take place on Wednesday 14 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm or 1 – 3pm at the Hull History Centre. The workshop will explore life in the lost city of Ravenser Odd. Using mixed media and collage techniques participants will create a cityscape of businesses, buildings, boats and people that will tell the story of daily life in the sunken city. 

Their creations will form part of a collaborative artwork that will go on display in the Hull/Ravenser Odd: Twin Cities, Sunken Pasts exhibition. 

A comic aimed at children and young people that brings the archival documents on display to life to engage young people with the history and folklore of their community has also been commissioned by Hull Maritime.

The comic will be created by local artist Gareth Sleightholme and will be the third in a series of comics produced as part of the Hull Maritime project. 1362: A Spurn Oddity will follow imaginary local school children as they discover the forgotten history of the birth and death of Ravenser Odd. It will be given out for free at the exhibition and in local schools, encouraging children to see themselves as part of the ongoing history of Hull and the Humber area.

The exhibition and associated activities are underpinned by research by Dr Kathryn Maude (The National Archives) and Dr Emily Robinson (University of Sussex). They will give a talk about the history and folklore of Ravenser Odd on 9 April at Hull History Centre. On 10 April Phil Mathison (local historian) and Dr Steve Simmons (University of Hull) will speak about their search for traces of the island. Both talks are free and open to all.

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