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Destination Sweet Minerva Charts a Course to the New Library of Hull

14th September 2017

Early in 2016 the James Reckitt Library Trust published its manifesto. It was called The Soul of the City and it included a call for the development of a completely new central library for Hull, an inspirational building designed to be a beacon of learning in the city and a demonstration of the city’s confidence in the future. We called it the Library of Hull.

Since then the Trust has talked to many people in Hull about this vision. The level of support has been remarkable. Out of these conversations, there developed an Aspirational Brief for the project. Now the Trust has launched a formal project to develop the vision. In its initial stages, the project will further develop the concept of the Library of Hull and produce a funding strategy and business plan for it.

We have called the project Destination Sweet Minerva. Minerva was the ancient goddess of the arts, commerce and wisdom. It is also a name which holds a special place in the history of Hull. The Minerva pub has long been a waterfront landmark, and the folk song Sweet Minerva expresses the longing for home of trawlermen waiting at the mouth of the Humber for the tide to change.

The Trust believes that the tide is changing, and that now is the time to make a reality of our vision. We have asked Andrew Mawson Partnerships to help us with this. Andrew Mawson Partnerships was started by Lord Andrew Mawson OBE, one of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs. It acts as an umbrella consultancy to a growing portfolio of regeneration projects. Lord Mawson founded the internationally renowned Bromley-by-Bow Centre nearly three decades ago. His championing and development of an integrated working model for successful community regeneration – involving health, education, housing, business and enterprise – has received international recognition.

In the coming months, the Trust will be working with individuals and organisations across the city and beyond to develop the concept of the Library of Hull into a truly world-class, world-leading development proposal. We are treating this as a journey of curiosity and imagination. We don’t know yet exactly where it will lead, but we are sure that the outcome will be worthy of a City of Culture that no longer places limits on its ambitions.