20 March 2011

Philip Larkin and Toad, Newland Park, Hull

Returning to Kingston upon Hull, England, it was very odd to find a toadless city: last year we spent the best part of two days hunting for the 40 toads strewn about the city and outposts, and the results are here.

We returned to fill in the spaces between the toads that we hadn't had time to do last time, and that includes Larkin's last address, 105 Newland Park, which is a lovely leafy road very close to the university.

And what did we find? Larkin Toad, formerly in Princes Quay shopping center, has been bought by the owners of Larkin's former house, and is on display on the first floor balcony. Is this the only Larkin toad still viewable to the public, I wonder?

A close-up of the plaque, with intrusive blossom, which reads:
'Poet & Writer
PHILIP
LARKIN
(1922-1985)
lived here
1974-1985'

As an end to the commemorations of the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death - on 2 December, exactly 25 years afterwards - his statue was unveiled on the concourse of Hull Paragon railway station.

The bronze statue was the work of Martin Jennings, who also sculpted the John Betjeman statue in St Pancras station in London. He said that he hoped it was a 'reasonable likeness' of Larkin. The Philip Larkin Society commissioned the statue. Their web site has a link to the unveiling, with the Hull band Black and White Tango singing his poem 'Is this for now or for always' in the background, which is one of a number of songs from the album All Night North (2010), a compilation of Larkin's poems set to music by various artists.

The 'surfboard' carries the line 'That Whitsun I was late getting away' from 'The Whitsun Weddings' from the book of the same name.

My other post on Philip Larkin:

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Larkin with Toads in Kingston upon Hull
Philip Larkin in Coventry, Warwickshire
Philip Larkin in Cottingham Cemetery

3 comments:

jimgthornton said...

Great stuff.

ripe-tomato.org said...

Wasn't it good to see Larkin on the list of people who'd declined honours yesterday?

Dr Tony Shaw said...

It was certainly good news to learn of the rejection. And of L.S Lowry's and Robert Graves's rejections. But as for Hitchcock's ego...