Six of the historic Hull buildings given Levelling Up funding and what they're becoming

The distinctive art deco Burton building in Whirefriargate
-Credit: (Image: Neil Holmes Photography)

Since 2021, 36 historic buildings in Hull city centre have received funding to renovate them or bring them back into use under the Levelling Up scheme.

Hull City Council was awarded £19.5m in Levelling Up funding in 2021 to help regenerate the city centre. A total of £7.5m of that was set aside to provide grants to bring unused floor space and empty buildings back into use.

More than £7m from the pot now handed out including to some of the most prominent and distinctive buildings in the city centre. Here is a look back at some of those buildings, what they were and what they could become after receiving a grant.


Former M&S, Whitefriargate

The Grade II-listed art deco building which once housed Marks & Spencer was built in 1931 and the store closed in 2019. Property developers Wykeland bought the building in 2020 and a temporary Job Centre opened in it in 2022 as part of efforts to expand facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Job Centre has since moved out and it has since undergone renovation works. A grant worth £165,784.50 was awarded in February to cover half of the costs of the renovations which include removing asbestos and installing lights, a disabled toilet and fire alarms.

40 Whitefriargate is one of the buildings that will benefit from the new lighting
The former M&S building in Whitefriargate -Credit:Hull City Council

Hammonds of Hull, Paragon Square (Ferensway)

The former department store has been home to a House of Fraser, a food hall and currently houses a call centre. The Hammonds of Hull food hall took over the ground floor of the building in December 2021 but closed in March 2023. There are now plans for a bowling alley and adult games bar.

ResQ remains in the upper floors of the Hammonds of Hull building which was constructed in 1952. The company and building owners Refine Paragon Square Ltd have received £750,000 and £315,000 respectively to bring unused floors back into use and create an events space.

Castle Buildings, Castle Street

The council granted £162,081.60 towards Wykeland bringing Castle Buildings back into use as part of a wider redevelopment including a nine-storey hotel and rebuilding the Earl de Grey pub. Castle Street Chambers was completed in 1900 and once housed the offices of steamship owners and brokers Messrs G R Sanderson but it has been empty since the 1970s.

The scaffolding which has covered the Grade II-listed building for more than 20 years began to be removed in January. Castle Street Chambers will be renovated and connected to the rebuilt Earl de Grey pub and Wykeland has put out a call for enquiries for anyone interested in leasing it.

How the new hotel, re-located Earl de Grey and refurbished Castle Buildings will look
How the new hotel, re-located Earl de Grey and refurbished Castle Buildings will look -Credit:Wykeland

Former Burton building, Whitefriargate

Burton left its art deco building at the top of Whitefriargate in 2020 after owners Arcadia Group went into administration the same year. The Grade II-listed building, originally clad in granite, was designed for Montague Burton by architect Henry Wilson and it opened in 1936.

Wykeland bought it in 2021 and a year later announced a restoration project to bring it back into use, potentially for retail or as a restaurant on its ground floor. The company received a grant worth £750,000 in 2022 to help finance the £2.4m restoration projection which remains ongoing.

66-68 Humber Street

A pop-up arts and culture venue was created in heritage buildings in Humber Street with the help of a £76,418.81 Levelling Up grant. It was rechristened 1-2 Pier Street after a new shop front, roof, wall cladding, heating and plumbing were installed.

Events held in the venue so far include a preview night for an Art Link exhibition and a showcase of Hull comedians. The space is available to hire and Fruit Market were advertising it from late May to mid-June as of this week.

Customs House Building, Trinity House Lane

The former Customs House Building's history spans more than two centuries to 1790 when it was built as part of the short-lived Neptune Inn. It was later home to a branch of Boots but owners Hull Trinity House Charity received a £154,275.20 grant to redevelop last year.

Works included re-roofing the building, repairs and refurbishing its interior. The grant allowed the building, which still contains many of its original features, to be converted into apartments.