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Using Hull History Centre: Local Studies Library

Guide to how to use the facilities at Hull History Centre including the Local Studies Library, Searchroom, online catalogue, copying and referencing, and the Arcade.

“He found a set of encyclopedias; like Wikipedia, but paper and very bulky.”

Michael Grant, Gone 

What is the Local Studies Library?

The Local Studies Library provides access to books and other resources on a wide range of topics of relevance to the local area.

The Local Studies Library includes quiet work space and provides access to:

  • The local studies book and ephemera collections
  • OS maps of Hull
  • Microfilm collections
  • Hull City Council IT and photocopying facilities
  • Various supporting resources

More information about each of these resources can be found below.

Using the Book and Ephemera Collections

The book and ephemera collections contain works on a wide range of local subjects.

Subjects covered include transport, architecture, religion, poetry, sport, leisure, parks, and theatres. There are also special collections relating to Slavery, Winifred Holtby and Philip Larkin.

The newer additions to the Local Studies book and ephemera collections are described on Hull Library Service's online catalogue, as well as on the History Centre's own online catalogue.

However, some of the older material within the Local Studies Library is only discoverable via an onsite card catalogue. The card catalogue is arranged by reference number, author and title. There is also an accompanying subject index to allow researchers to search the catalogue by subject.

If you need help finding something, ask a member of staff who will be happy to direct you.

Using the Microfilm Collections

The Local Studies Library contains a number of resources on microfilm.

The microfilm collection includes a large run of local newspapers, which date from the late 18th century.

Other material on microfilm includes whaling log books, parish records for Hull Holy Trinity, non-conformist records for Hull and the East Riding, and local municipal burial registers.

Microfilm rolls are kept in open access cabinets in the Local Studies Library. Tables of contents for each cabinet drawer can be found on top of the cabinets. There is also a red ring binder next to the cabinets to help you identify what is available on microfilm, and on which microfilm rolls you can find the material.

Staff are happy to show you how to use the microfilm readers, which include zoom, focus and print features.

Using the Map Collections

The Local Studies Library contains large and small scale OS maps, dating from the 1850s to the 21st century.

The maps are available on open access in map cabinets towards the back of the library.

The map collection is not yet described in the History Centre's online catalogue. Instead, researchers are provided with map keys, which are located on top of the map cabinets to help you to identify what is available in the cabinets.

Small scale OS maps can be found in one cabinet, and provide good overviews of larger geographical areas. These maps are helpful if you are looking at an area of Hull consisting of more than a few streets.

Large scale OS maps can be found in a second cabinet and provide good close detail for smaller geographical areas. These maps are helpful if you are looking at a particular street or group of buildings.

Using the IT Facilities

IT facilities in the Local Studies Library are provided by Hull City Council, not the University of Hull.

Internet enabled PCs are available, however, you will need to sign up for a Hull Library Service card in order to use them, which you can do here.

By signing up, you can access family history resources such as FindMyPast and Ancestry for free. You can also access the British Newspaper Archive Online to search 1000s of digitised newspapers from around the UK. As there is no index to the microfilmed newspapers in the Local Studies Library, you can use the BNAO to search for articles of interest before looking them up on the microfilms.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the building, enabling you to connect your own device to the internet; just sign in using a Hull Library Service account login. Alternatively, you can sign in to eduroam using your University of Hull account.

Other Resources

In addition to the above resources, the Local Studies Library also contains some useful reference material.

The following resources are available on open access for researchers to help themselves.

  • Monumental inscriptions, which allow you to read grave marker inscriptions for local burial grounds
  • Municipal cemeteries plans, which allow you to work out where someone was buried
  • Early electoral registers, which allow you to discover who was resident at a given address