On the corner of the street a shop called Grain sells organic and speciality foods, nearby small sculpted birds sit on the bollards.

A sign on the red brick Victorian wall reads “the street of birds and shadows”.

As you enter Ella Street it’s easy to feel a little disorientated – it does not feel like an ordinary residential Hull street.

Flanked by Newland Ave to the east, Chanterlands Ave to the west and accessible by car only via Salisbury Street, it is located at the heart of the HU5 postcode.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, an idea of Ella Street as a bohemian enclave within the city has developed in the minds of some.

Hull Live went to speak to residents about living on one of Hull’s least ordinary streets.

Sculpted Birds sit of the bollards at the top of the street
Sculpted Birds sit of the bollards at the top of the street

John Fareham bought his house in Ella Street in 1979. A long-serving Tory councillor, he took great delight in dispelling any suggestions that Ella Street should be considered some kind of hippie-ish stronghold.

“There are arty types living down here, of course there are,” he said.

“But I’ve always resisted that stereotype because a good proportion of the council planning department live down here as well and I would hardly call the planners boho in any way,” he said.

He might reject the boho tag but the knackered mid-century car parked outside his house shows something of John’s eccentricity and it’s clear he’s become part of the furniture on Ella Street.

He said: “I’m sure I’m not everybody’s cup of tea as a Conservative councillor. It goes against their self-indulgent, lovey, lefty clap trap but there is still tolerance.

Tory councillor John Fareham bought his house in 1979
Tory councillor John Fareham bought his house in 1979

“I’ve never had any abuse or anything. I live my life and leave myself to it. People chat to me through my hedge and otherwise leave me be and I chat to them and leave them be.

“I like it - I think it is a good street. I don’t feel I’m in Hull here. It could be a rundown Windsor, it could be Bolton, it’s a city but it’s not a harsh urban grain.”

Former art teacher Keith Riseam is more receptive to the notion the street has a creative edge.

He said: “It is unique. It’s not got crowds of people dressed in boho costumes but it does have quite a large selection of people who are involved with education or with the arts.

“And it also contains something I think is rather special - individuals who carry themselves in their own way.

“We have a group who put stuff on occasionally like the Ella Street Festival but it’s fairly passive, it’s just good to have someone there representing something.”

Keith lives in one of the street’s many squares – terraced houses with good sized front gardens hidden down narrow alleyways off the main road.

He said: “I think one of the biggest advantages on Ella Street is without doubt the squares. They create mini communities and because of how they are constructed, they don’t appeal to everyone.

Keith Riseam lives off the main road on one of the street's squares
Keith Riseam lives off the main road on one of the street's squares

“I think there’s something about the people who choose to live on them. I was impressed by the fact there’s no traffic and the garden was at the front.

“It had that curious throwback to the Victorian era of a more cohesive community.

“The interesting thing is people have put their marks on the squares. I’ve planted trees and all these little things add up.”

“I just love the area. I couldn’t be luckier for a man who’s single and has been for a long, long time - it has got everything I need.”

The sign at the Newland Avenue end of the street
The sign at the Newland Avenue end of the street

Back on the main road, filmmaker Alan Jones lives with his partner Alice Beasley, who teaches art and her 13-year-old daughter Mabel.

They moved to the street in 2016 and Mabel claims she wouldn’t want to leave even if they won the Lottery.

For them it’s the sense of community that makes Ella Street so special.

Alan said: “Everyone makes an effort to do things. There is the festival and the sunflower planting and play days where they close the roads.

“There’s more of a sense of community than anywhere I’ve ever lived before.

“Everyone helps each other out down here.”

Alan Jones outside his house on Ella Street
Alan Jones outside his house on Ella Street

Alice agrees and highlights the birds on bollards at the top of the road as an example of the street’s collective creativity.

“We have a lot creativity down here and everyone gets involved in that. There’s the little birds at the top of the street - I think the kids were involved in helping with that and I think that’s cool.”

Ella Street is within walking distance of the city centre and just a stone’s throw from three of the city’s busiest high streets yet its trees and one way traffic system create a sense of serenity.

“I’ve always liked that it’s so close to town and you get that town vibe but it’s still got that village edge to it too,” said Alice.

The wholefood shop, Grain, on the corner of Ella Street
The wholefood shop, Grain, on the corner of Ella Street

One complaint regularly heard on Ella Street is the difficulty finding parking spaces. Houses rarely have driveways and the people living on the squares park their cars on the main road.

But Alan doesn’t see it as much of a negative. He said: “You can’t have everything – if it’s a problem you just have to park a bit further away. If we have to park on Newland it’s not a problem.”

Just a few doors down Anna Scott lives with her husband and children Carla, 10, and Amelie, eight.

Anna acknowledged the parking issue but also thinks it has its advantages: “It is a bit of a nuisance but it’s good to walk and it means you meet people on the way.

“It’s a bit frustrating when you come back at 9pm and have to park miles away but actually in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that bad.”

The Scott family at their home on Ella Street
The Scott family at their home on Ella Street

With Carla and Amelie just a few years off secondary school, Anna conceded the family have probably outgrown their terraced house but the kids have lived on the street all their lives and don’t want to move.

Carla said: “I love it because there’s Ella Street Festival and it’s very friendly and welcoming and there’s lots of families so there’s lots of children to play with.”

It’s just as well because Anna has no intention of leaving the street.

"I can’t imagine not living here and the wrench it would feel to move from Ella Street is more than just moving house. The benefits of living here far outweigh the benefits of bigger houses you might get elsewhere,” she said.

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