The Gold Nose of Green Ginger, a space of celebration, protection, the holding of sorrow, the sharing of secrets, and the making of wishes.
The story goes like this: In the excavations made to lay the foundations of the Bransholme Estate in Hull in 1967, one of the team of builders unearthed a small casket. Prizing open the lid, he discovered a strange, unknown gold object in pristine condition, and so the Gold Nose of Green Ginger, as it has now come to be known, was discovered.
The Gold Nose of Green Ginger looks like a ginger root, roughly in the shape of a wizened, warty nose. It has two ‘nostrils’ and two braided silk ties, which indicate that it was worn, perhaps in some kind of ceremony.
Archaeologists do not know for sure what the object was originally used for, its source, or how it ended up in Bransholme, but laboratory analysis confirms that it is made of real gold. Some believe it was transported to Hull on cargo ships bringing spices from the East. Others tell a story about the wild boar that used to roam around the marshes and forests that now form Bransholme (the name Bransholme comes from the old Scandinavian phrase meaning ‘wild boar water meadow’). Wild boar forage for food, and it is said that a one such animal unearthed this gold root. A variation of the story says that the boar had special powers and turned the root gold. Wherever it came from, many believe that The Gold Nose of Green Ginger brings good luck, and by bringing it back to Bransholme we hope to bring luck to the area.
There are societies throughout history where a focus on the human head and the senses have been particularly important. In some respects, The Gold Nose of Green Ginger is similar to the pair of eyes beaten from a sheet of gold that were excavated in 1970 from the Roman city of Wroxeter, Shropshire. The gold eyes are thought to have been a votive offering to the gods from someone seeking a cure for an eye disease; perhaps somewhere in the world there was a similar culture devoted to the nose.
In Summer 2017 the Gold Nose of Green Ginger enjoyed two months residence at North Point Shopping Centre in Bransholme, where over 35,000 people visited to wish upon it, hoping good fortune might come their way. It was then handed back to the City of Hull for safekeeping, where it will be on display at Hull History Centre for the foreseeable future.
1. Noses of Bransholme
On the lintel above the main door are impressions from the noses of Bransholme residents.
2. Central Chamber
The central chamber is an adaptable space for social occasions, workshops, and performances.
3. Vessel of The Gold Nose of Green Ginger
The Gold Nose of Green Ginger is held in a tubular vessel on a procession staff behind a magnifying lens at the top of a stepped dais. It can also be viewed from behind the dais.
4. Secret Pocket
To the right of the arched corridor, there is a private chamber for one person at a time to share a secret with The Gold Nose of Green Ginger.
5. Guardian’s Stand
The Nose Guardian can address the audience from this podium.
6. & 7. Wish Making
You are invited to make a wish. Write down your hopes and dreams and post them to The Gold Nose of Green Ginger. (All wishes remain confidential and will not be read by any third party.)
A select choice of souvenirs are available in our shop.
Regular events were held between June and August 2017.
Nose Flute Lessons
Learn how to play the nose flute.
In association with Culture:Music.
Thursdays, all day, drop-in
A different creative workshop each week.
From classic to pop, interrupt your day with some live music.
In association with North Point Shopping Centre.
Pop in for a cup of tea and a chat.
In association with the Ferguson Fawsitt Arms based in Walkington.
Aimed at 3-8 year olds.
In association with One Pound Two Pound Books.
After two months at North Point, the Gold Nose of Green Ginger was taken to Hull History Centre. City Archivist Martin Taylor welcomed it to the archive:
“Hull History Centre is the home of many of the City’s most precious things: the 1299 charter; the archives of poets Andrew Marvell and Philip Larkin; the earliest records of our community, and some of the most recent. It’s therefore appropriate that the Gold Nose, the place of which in our City’s history is only now becoming clear, finds a temporary resting place here. […] Some of you will remember the first film in the Lord of the Rings franchise, which begins with the haunting voice over “History becomes Legend…Legend becomes Myth”. By bringing the Nose here, we are all reversing that statement – Legend is becoming History. We are all part of that process.”
The Gold Nose of Green Ginger by Joshua Sofaer was originally produced as part of Land of Green Ginger for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Designed and built with How About Studio.
Costume Design: Tsai-Chun Huang
Nose Guardian: Jade Wasling
Nose Guardian Assistant: Jessica Aylen
Assistant Assistants: Christie Parkin, Jennifer Halliwell
Nose Flute Lessons: Culture:Music
Original Music: Daniel Thompson, Martinez Gonzalez
Lunchtime Concerts: Culture:Sax, Farino, Paul Sargeson, Lyn Acton & Friends, Mad Dog Jones Trio, Adam Brodie, Wes Finch, Karma Traders
Trumpeters: Jacob Taylor Durant, Ollie Fowler, Will Chalk
Banner Bearers: Nanci Yates, Josie Drury, Thea Goodwin, Cristiana Fraser
Horse and Carriage: Karen Bassett
Furry People: Colette Goodwin, Caitlan Celik
Special Guests: Lord Mayor of Hull, Father Christmas, The Easter Bunny, The Gold Man, Honey G
Stalwarts: Marguerite Reedier, Graham Reedier
Guides: Chloe Anderson, Sheila Annis, Susan Beal, Chris Brown, Lesley Brown, Sarah Carr, Barbara Cawthorne, Val Chappell, Nicky Clacy, Gill Collins, Richard Corbett, Kate Davey, Cathy Dooley, Jackie Elton, Simon Fisk, Eileen Flux, Neilson Forsberg, Lorna Gibbin, Chris Goodings, Kay Hager, Jennie Harrison, Jean Hart, Elizabeth Heywood, Karen Hillison, Annie Holmes, Yvonne Johnson, Beryl Kelsey, Cara Lilley, Sarah Mackintosh, Catherine McWilliams, Denise Middleton, Pat Nendick, Janette Newbon, Sarah Newton, Chris Newton, Richard Newton, Alison North, Catherine Novis, Anne Pollock, Margaret Priestley, Gill Ralph, Paul Route, Helen Route, Sue Scott, Babs Shaw, Hannah Shaw, Avril Sheard, Eleanor Smith, Christine Smyth, Kathleen Stabler, Liz Starr, Matt Thomson, Graham Till, Caroline Ullyart, Carolyn Waudby, Linda Whiteman.
Executive Producer: Katy Fuller
Producer: Louise Yates
MarComms Coordinator: Christina Lewis
Assistant Producer: Elizabeth Bergeron
Production Manager: Adam Long
Head of Production: Gareth Hughes
With thanks to:
North Point Shopping Centre – Louise Smith, Centre Manager
Ferguson Fawsitt Arms
MKM Building Supplies
One Pound Two Pound Books
The many people of Bransholme who embraced the Gold Nose of Green Ginger.