The aviary was a major attraction of Pickering Park for many years. There is probably not a child that grew up in Hull that didn't come at some time to visit the birds and, indeed, other animals. Unfortunately, in 2016 Hull City Council took the decision to remove the remaining birds and close the property. Over the next four years the building fell into a terrible state of disrepair, overrun with vermin and vandals and the whole site developed into a real eyesore.
Since the closure The Friends of Pickering Park have continually campaigned for its reinstatement. As with everything when politics is involved it has been a long road. There have been promises of funding, costly surveys and many disagreements over what sort of facility should replace the admittedly ancient cages that were there. Eventually it was agreed that a Small Animal Centre, with a very similar footprint to the existing one, containing a classroom and office for the Park Rangers would be built.
Just before Coronavirus paralysed the world in 2020 the Council started work on the site. This immediately had to be put on hold, partly because of the pandemic and partly because three large trees had to be removed and this couldn't be done during nesting season. The work is now continuing at what looks like a slow pace, but we are assured that things will pick up as the weather improves into the summer of 2021.
The fountain presented to the City of Hull by George Rowntree in memory of his wife Elizabeth Ann dates back to 1912. The inscription is topped with a relief portrait of the lady in bronze.
The fountain has been removed during the building works but is being refurbished and will be returned once the aviary is complete.