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Archives: Collections at Hull History Centre

Guide to archival resources available in Hull, and to electronic resources available to help locate archival material elsewhere

Online Catalogue

Hull History Centre catalogue

The downloadable PDF lists below are thorough but not exhaustive. You can find out more information about individual collections, and see what else is held, by searching the Hull History Centre's online catalogue. 

Local Studies Special Collections

The Local Studies Library contains 1000s of books, including many rare editions, relating to a wide variety of locally significant topics. Subjects covered include transport, poetry and literature, biography, history, art, leisure, religion, trade and industry, architecture and fiction.

In addition to the main collection, the library holds several special collections on the following subjects: Slavery; Whaling; Winifred Holtby; Larkin; Andrew Marvell.

Aside from the vast book collection, the Local Studies Library also holds archival material. Collections include the Winifred Holtby papers, the Hohenrein Family papers, whaling log books, the Renton Heathcoate postcards, photographs and illustrations, and programmes for various local theatres and sports clubs. A fuller list of Local Studies archive collections can be downloaded as a PDF below.

Also available are a vast selection of historic maps of the local area, enclosure awards and plans for Hull and the immediate surroundings, trade directories covering the late 18th to mid 20th centuries, and electoral registers for Hull.

Institutional Archives (University of Hull)

The records of the University of Hull are preserved at Hull History Centre. Major collections include the following:

  • Minutes of Senate, Council and various committees recorded in the 'Proceedings Volumes'
  • Vice Chancellors' and Registrars' parcels containing correspondence, reports, etc.
  • Official publications including Annual Reports, Calendars, Congregation Programmes, and the University Gazette
  • University Photographers' collection of photographic negatives and prints documenting significant events, graduations, building construction, and notable lecturing and professorial staff

Other collections include the records of various staff and student associations, the Senior Common Room, the Students Union, and Scarborough Campus.

A fuller list of Local Authority archive collections can be downloaded as a PDF below.

Institutional Archives (Hull City Council)

Hull History Centre is the recognised place of deposit for public records created by Hull City Council and it's predecessors. Major local authority collections include the following:

  • Minutes and Order Books of the Hull Quarter Sessions
  • Minutes and Reports of Hull Corporation
  • Registers of Freemen and Apprentices
  • Records of the Courts of Quarter Sessions
  • Records of the Police Magistrates Court
  • Building Regulations Plans
  • Housing Department Records
  • Architects Department Records
  • Education Department Records
  • Health Department Records
  • Air Raid Precaution Committee Records

A fuller list of Local Authority archive collections can be downloaded as a PDF below. 

Archives of Notable Individuals

Hull History Centre holds archives for numerous notable and local individuals. Records generally include letters, journals and diaries, writings, and photographs. Significant collections are held for the following:

  • Stevie Smith, Literary Figure
  • Philip Larkin, Literary Figure
  • John Platts-Mills, Barrister and Rights Activist
  • Christopher Mullin, MP and Journalist
  • Victor Weisz, Political Satirist
  • Winifred Holtby, Author and Campaigner
  • Robin Page Arnott, Former Communist
  • John Saville, Historian and Former Communist

A fuller list of archive collections created by notable individuals can be downloaded as a PDF below.

Archives of Businesses

Hull History Centre holds archives for a number of local businesses. Records generally include minutes, financial papers, annual reports and ephemeral material. Significant collections are held for the following:

  • Forster and Andrews, Organ Builders
  • Ellerman Wilson Line, Shipping Company
  • Needlers, Sweet Manufacturers
  • Hebblethwaites, Land Agents
  • Rose Downs and Thompson, Manufacturers
  • Thomas Hamlyn and Co Ltd, Trawler Owners
  • Hellyer Brothers, Trawler Owners
  • John Good & Sons, Shippping Company
  • Francis Johnson & Partners, Architects

A fuller list of archive collections created by local businesses can be downloaded as a PDF below.

Archives of Charities, Societies and Pressure Groups

Hull History Centre holds archives for many charities, societies and pressure groups, both local and national. Records generally include minutes, annual reports, campaign material, subject files, publications and photographs. Significant collections are held for the following:

  • Liberty (formerly The National Council for Civil Liberties)
  • Co-operative Women's Guild
  • Mission to Seafarers
  • British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
  • Hull United Charities
  • Hull Philharmonic Society

 A fuller list of archive collections created by charities, societies and pressure groups can be downloaded as a PDF below.

Archives of Landed Families and Estates

Hull History Centre holds archives for a number of significant local landed families and estates. Records generally include letters, diaries and journals, land deeds, marriage settlements, wills, photographs, maps and plans, and accounts. Significant collections are held for the following:

  • Sykes Family of Sledmere
  • Hotham Family of Scorborough and South Dalton
  • Forbes Adams Family of Escrick
  • Lloyd-Greame Family of Sewerby

A fuller list of archive collections created by local landed families and estates can be downloaded as a PDF below. 

Collections at Hull History Centre

Map of Everingham
British Youth Peace Festival programme
Recipe for gout mediine
Photograph of a demonstration held by the Socialist Women group
Front page of Civil Liberty newsletter
Poster produced as part of the Cruelty Free campaign by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection

Sources for Studying...

Staff at Hull History Centre have prepared thematic guides to archival collections. These guides are not aimed at a particular course or level of study, and can be used by anyone.

They aim to highlight major collections and provide keyword suggestions for use when searching the History Centre's online catalogue.

If postgraduate students (MRes and PhD) require further help identifying sources for thesis subjects not covered by these general guides, please contact the Hull University Archives team for advice at archives@hull.ac.uk.