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Diversity in Archives: Home

Guide to searching for diverse voices within archive collections at Hull History Centre including search strategies, women’s voices, ethnic minority voices, and LGBTQ+ voices.

Diversity in Archives


This guide provides advice on searching for records of diverse voices held at Hull History Centre. Finding the histories of women, people from ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ people can be difficult. This guide aims to help you start your search.

Searching for diverse voices within archive collections can be difficult. Historical power structures, as well as how archives have selected and preserved records, mean it can be hard to find the voices and histories of women, ethnic minority people, and people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Many archive records, particularly from before the 20th century, were created by official bodies such as local government, courts, and the Church, or by powerful people such as landed families. This means that the voices recorded within them tend to reflect the people with power in these structures – and they were overwhelmingly male, white, and upper or middle class.

But it is possible to find representations of diversity within archive collections, with considered searching, some lateral thinking, and a bit of background research.

This guide shows you some search strategies and suggests starting points for research within Hull History Centre's collections. It’s not an exhaustive list but a jumping-off point.

Hull History Centre's online catalogue

You can use the catalogue to search our holdings.

Hull History Centre catalogue

If you want to use the search strategies in this guide to look for archives at Hull History Centre, start with our online catalogue. Use the Advanced Search page to build complex queries, or do a basic keyword search from the homepage.

If you need any further advice on History Centre holdings, the Hull University Archives team are happy to help. You can email us at

Upcoming archives workshops

Find details of our archival skills workshops and how to book on to a session.

Request a personal appointment

Want to find archive material for use in your own research or coursework? One of the archivists from Hull University Archives will be happy to chat with you. Email to make an appointment.

Visit Hull History Centre

In order to access any of the material mentioned in this guide, you will need to visit Hull History Centre.

The building is on Worship Street, which is behind the Hull New Theatre and opposite the Old English Gentleman pub.

For up to date information on opening hours and arrangements during COVID-19 please visit the History Centre website.