Artist’s “stuff” to go on display at Nordic House as “Relics and Rails” exhibition arrives in Hull

Hull’s newest centre for cultural, community and corporate events will welcome its first exhibition next month with the display of a collection of “stuff” which has left the artist amazed by its appeal.

“Relics and Rails” attracted rave reviews when it was presented at Goole Museum by Hull-based artist Syd Young from January until March.

Now the assortment of paintings and photographs featuring railways, industrial heritage and rock bands is heading east to Nordic House, which is part of the Danish Church just a few hundred yards from Hull’s Paragon Interchange.

Syd revealed he will make some topical changes to the exhibits before they go on show on Saturday 13 May.

Artist Syd Young (centre) outside Nordic House with his “Night Fusilier” watercolour. Charlotte Theill (left), Manager of Nordic House, and Dr Alex Ombler, Curator of Goole Museum.

He said:

“I plan to replace some of the images of Goole station with photography of Paragon Station, partly because it is so close to our new location and also because the exhibition coincides with the 175th anniversary of Paragon.

“To mark the coronation of King Charles I’m also going to add my photograph of the Royal Train from March 2009, when it brought the Queen and Prince Philip to perform the official opening of the new transport interchange.”

Syd, who lives in Hull, has always been passionate about the railways and his work includes photographs and paintings of locomotives, stations and other infrastructure from across the East Riding. Also included in the exhibition are images showing the changes in Hull’s docklands.

On the music side, Syd has put together series of photographs of various concerts which he has attended since 1980, including some big names from the music world along with a number of performers from the Hull and East Riding area.

The exhibition in Goole came about after Syd’s watercolour “Night Fusilier” was announced as the People’s Choice Award winner of the Museum’s 2022 Open Art exhibition. The work – a painting of a Deltic locomotive at Doncaster station –  claimed a starring role in the exhibition and will also feature at Nordic House. 

Dr Alex Ombler, Curator at Goole Museum, said:

“The exhibition depicts the railways and industrial heritage of the East Riding from the late 1970s to the present day and focuses on subjects which fired the artist’s imagination as a young creative and developed into a passion throughout his life. 

“Syd’s images capture a glimpse of one corner of Britain at a time of great change, when developments in transport and technology were altering the very landscape around us. We are delighted with the feedback we received at Goole Museum and it’s rewarding to see the exhibition now taking shape at an exciting new venue.”

Charlotte Theill, Manager at Nordic House, said:

“We visited the exhibition in Goole and recognised straight away that it is enormously relevant to Hull. We are extremely grateful to Syd for agreeing to bring ‘Relics at Rails’ to our space, and to Alex and all at Goole Museum for their help and support.

“We have hosted various business, community and cultural events since we launched Nordic House. This will be our first exhibition and we hope it will attract interest from audiences and from others in the creative sector who are looking for new venues to display or perform their work.”

Syd said:

I was completely knocked out by the interest in the exhibition at Goole. It’s basically a collection of things which in the past  I’ve just seen as my stuff. Even the paintings and a lot of the photography – it’s just stuff I have done, and never with the aim of putting myself out there or making anything of it.

“I am absolutely made up about bringing the exhibition to Hull because a lot of it is focused on the Hull area. The thing that surprised me so much was the amount of interest it has generated. Alex watched people looking at the work and remembering how things used to be while other, younger, people looked at the same things and said they never knew things were like that. I think people in Hull will relate to it.

“With the Royal Train, I got word that it would be bringing the Queen to the new interchange and I waited on the platform at Hessle. You can see one of the Humber Bridge towers in the background, a nod to a previous rail visit by the Queen in 1981 when her train pulled into North Ferriby and she officially opened the Humber Bridge.

“There were quite a few people on the platform at Hessle but there was also a thick clag which made visibility difficult. About three or four minutes before the train arrived a weak sunshine came through the mist, which then started to dissipate and allowed me to get a decent photograph. The train looked very smart. I don’t think the Queen was waving!

“The music items are pictures and tickets from some big names I’ve seen in Hull and elsewhere, as well as some of the trademark fliers from the Adelphi Club. You don’t see many tickets in this age of downloading everything to your phone, and card and paper ones have become relics, or even works of art.”

“Relics and Rails” will open at Nordic House in the Danish Church at the corner of Ferensway and Osborne Street in Hull on Saturday 13 May. It will be open from 10am until 2pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until Saturday 15 July. Admission is free.


Main image caption: Artist Syd Young (centre) inside Nordic House with his “Night Fusilier” watercolour. Also Dr Alex Ombler, Curator of Goole Museum (left) and Charlotte Theill, Manager of Nordic House.