Hull Three Ships mural: BHS mosaic granted Grade II listed status

The Three Ships mural on former BHS building
Image caption The Threes Ships mosaic in Hull was created by artist Alan Boyson in 1963 and boasts almost a million pieces of Italian glass

A giant mural set for demolition has been granted Grade II listed status.

The council said it had to knock down The Three Ships, depicting Hull's fishing heritage, after "dangerously high levels of asbestos" were found.

But the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the mosaic was of "special architectural and historic interest".

Campaigners welcomed the decision and want it to be preserved.

Describing the decision as "ridiculous", Deputy Leader of Hull City Council Darren Hale said: "It won't change our plans, it will just delay it.

"The reality is we can't keep the mural without keeping the building.

"As we've said, that image will be centre stage in our new development in that area and that's the strong case that we'll be putting to the planning committee."

Image copyright East Yorkshire Video Camera Club
Image caption The mosaic was installed on the side of a department store in 1963

Hull Heritage Action Group said it hoped the council "will do the right thing" and investigate "all possible routes to preserving the mural in situ".

Independent heritage experts told the group that demolition was "not necessarily the only route", it added.

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Historic England said a "robust" planning process was now in place and would be working with the authority to "look for ways that it can be retained as an important landmark for the city centre".

The mosaic, on the front of a former BHS store, was created in 1963 by artist Alan Boyson. The building is due to be demolished as part of a £130m redevelopment of the city centre.

It comprises almost a million pieces of Italian glass on a 66ft by 64ft (20m x 19.5m) concrete screen and depicts three stylised trawlers spelling out Hull with their masts.

Image copyright Nick Coupland
Image caption Alan Boyson's work has almost a million pieces of glass

An application to have the mural listed was turned down by English Heritage in 2017.

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