Tuesday, 11 April 2017

2017 Quarterly Update from the History Centre

Over the past three months our City of Culture blog here at the History Centre has explored the theme ‘Made in Hull’, a theme chosen by the City of Culture team to launch the 2017 year of celebrations. With the advent of April, we have moved into the second quarter of 2017, which is dedicated to the theme ‘Roots and Routes’. As a result, our History Centre City of Culture blog now changes focus. From April to June we embark on a ‘Roots and Routes’ blog series.


This quarter’s theme is all about travelling, migration and settlement. Our blogs in this series will cover themes such parades around the city’s public spaces, as well as immigration and movement through the city resulting from the Second World War. We will be exploring 19th century cases of settlement heard by the Quarter Sessions magistrates in the city. And, because of Hull’s important maritime heritage, we won’t be focusing solely on land. The ways in which the citizens of Hull have traversed the waves will be explored as we look at 19th century whaling journeys, and the many ways in which we have attempted to bridge the River Humber over the last millennium.

Postcard showing New Riverside Quay and the River Humber, late 19th cent. [L RH]

To kick off this quarter we are playing host to an exhibition of paintings exploring the Old Town area of the city. This fabulous series of paintings, titled ‘A family’s Journey through Hull’s Old Town’, have been created by Cottingham based artist Shirley Goodsell. The exhibition is free to all and will run from 5th-27th April.

Postcard showing Whitefriargate, the entrance to Hull's Old Town, pre-1900 [L RH]

The quarter will conclude with another exhibition, this time a photographic display, compiled by Alec Gill and titled ‘Hessle Roaders’. This will again be free to all and will run from 1st-29th June.

Postcard showing Hessle Road, 1906 [L RH]

In other news, our History Makers programme for the quarter kicked off on 1st April with a great turnout to the ‘Science in the Archives’ session, which took a whistle-stop tour around the city’s scientific discoveries. The ‘Full Steam Ahead’ session, on 6th May, will look at Hull’s railway history as we build train stations and steam engines to transport us around the city. Whilst the final History Makers of the quarter, ‘Fish and Ships’, will be a celebration of our fishing past.

Just a few hints to keep you intrigued, for more information you will have to read our ‘Roots and Routes’ posts…

History Centre Team

Friday, 7 April 2017

From Dock Company to Humber Ports

Robert in our map room looking at a Humber Conservancy plan
This week marks the beginning of a project which will see the records of the Humber Ports of the British Transport Docks Board, later known as Associated British Ports, fully catalogued and made available to the public for the first time.

To enable us to catalogue the collection we have secured funding from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives which has allowed us to employ a Project Archivist for 15 months to work on the collection. 

On Monday we welcomed Robert to our team and he will be keeping you up to date on how the project is progressing.

The importance of these records
After the creation of the Hull Dock Board in 1774 Hull’s dock network expanded rapidly and these records allow us to build a comprehensive picture of the workings of the various organisations at work in the Humber region during this period and how they combined to make the area a maritime success. 


Important for the understanding of the history and development of Hull and the wider Humber region, this collection, which covers the period 1772-1982, includes records relating to:

  • The Hull Dock Company
  • The Humber Conservancy Commissioners and Board
  • The ports of Goole, Grimsby and Immingham
  • The Aire and Calder Navigation
  • The Dock and Harbour Authorities Association
  • Hull and Barnsley Railway
  • Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
  • North Eastern Railway/London & North Eastern Railway/Waterways and Ports

Carol Tanner

Access and Collections Manager

Monday, 27 March 2017

Made in Hull: Women in the Pursuit of Perfection

To celebrate the end of Women's History Month 2017 and the City of Culture’s Women of the World Festival, we thought we would take a look at the lives of some of our unsung women, all of whom we have records on at the History Centre if you want to find out more. Winifred Holtby, wrote an article for the Yorkshire Post in October 1929 entitled, Women in the pursuit of perfection [L WH/2/2.25/05/10B]. In it she separated women into two groups: those who are satisfied with their lot and are happy to compromise; and those who strive for something better, for perfection. Holtby, along with the rest of the women in this blog, falls into the second category. These are women that deserve to be celebrated for their contribution to the life of the City and those within it. 

Ann Watson
On her death, Mrs Ann Watson provided for the creation of a trust, The Ann Watson Trust, under the terms of her will, dated 27th October 1720. We know little of Ann's life or family, except that she was married to the Reverend Abraham Watson, lived in Hedon and had four children. Three of her children, Hedon, Abraham, and a daughter married to Mr Alexander Hall, all died in her lifetime. Her fourth child, Isaac survived her and was the rector of South Ferriby. Her bequest provided for the accommodation and relief of poor women in need who were members of the Church of England. Preference was given to widows or unmarried daughters of clergymen of the Church of England. She also made provision to help those in need to gain an education. Through careful management her bequest has helped those less fortunate than herself for three centuries. Today, the objectives of the Charity remain fundamentally the same. They include providing for the advancement of education through the promotion of education amongst persons under 25 who are residents of the East Riding of Yorkshire or who attend a school in that area. You can find out more about Ann Watson and her legacy by exploring the trust's records [C DSAW].

Map showing the extent of the Trust's land ownership, 1770 [C DSAW/3/2]

Mrs Christiana Rose
Christiana Rose was a woman who forged her own way in a man’s world. In 1833 she inherited a business that would become known as Rose, Downs & Thompson Ltd. It was originally established in 1777 by John Todd as the Old Foundry in a location that would later become known as Canon Street. The business specialised in making windmill parts and casting canon and ship fittings. It also benefited from the lucrative seed crushing industry which required presses and windmills to operate. On the retirement of Mr Todd in 1824, the business passed to Christiana's father, Duncan Campbell. Christiana had a large hand in continuing the business and expanded it to such an extent that, between 1861 and 1863, the Old Foundry had built and installed over one hundred double presses, all of which bore the name C Rose. She died in December 1871 having steered the business through a transitional period which would see it become one of the leading exporters of oil mill machinery. To find out more, have a look at the records of Rose, Downs & Thompson [C DBR]. 

Photograph of female workers in the workshop, c.1920 [C DBR/2037]

Ada Hartley
Born in 1896 to Charles and Caroline Hartley, Ada was a woman who was to dedicate her life to the teaching profession and the children in her care. At the age of 17 she attended Hessle Church of England School as a student teacher. She would return to the school in 1928 as a teacher, and would remain there, working her way up the ranks to Headmistress in 1938, until her retirement in 1961. Outside of her teaching work, Ada served the community in other ways. By 1925 she had joined the Kingston Nursing Division of St. John’s Ambulance Association. She served in No. 6 District, the Hull Corps. In 1931 she was appointed a Lady Ambulance Officer and became a lady ambulance driver later the same year. As WWII approached, Ada attended courses in Chemical Warfare and became an instructor in anti-gas measures, before being appointed as a Lady Divisional Superintendent in June 1941. After the war she received The Order of St. John of Jerusalem in recognition of devoted service to the cause of humanity. Ada remained unmarried after the war, a fate many women experienced following the death of a generation of young men did not come home from the war. She died in 1980 having dedicated her whole life to helping others. You can find out more about Ada and her life in records at the History Centre [C DIMH].

Ada (1st on left) with The St John's Ambulence [C DIMH/1/4/1]

There are many more stories waiting to be told, many more exceptional Hull women to discover, here at the History Centre through our online catalogue. Mary Murdoch (1864-1916), Suffragist and Hull’s first female doctor [L.610]; Winifred Holtby (1898-1935), author, critic, journalist and political activist [L WH,  L.823]; Stevie Smith (1902-1971), poet and author [U DP/156, U DP/197, L. 821 (SMI)]; Amy Johnson (1903-1941), aviatrix and the first female to fly to Australia [L.920 (JOH), L DIAJ]; Lilian Bilocca (1929-1988), activist [L. Newspapers, L. Books]; Jean Hartley (1933-2011), founder of Marvell Press, Philip Larkin’s publisher [U DJE].

Carol Tanner, Collections Manager Hull City Archives

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Archive Service Accreditation

It has been announced today that the Hull History Centre has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation by The National Archives.

What is the Archives Accreditation scheme?
Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Archives Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. Achieving accredited status demonstrates that Hull History Centre has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.

To complete its application staff at the Centre have spent a year reviewing and updating all of its policies on fundraising, volunteers, social media, access, learning and outreach aswell as collections management.

The Accreditation Panel which made the award, following a visit to the Centre earlier this year, commended the achievements of the Centre “in delivering a very positive service offering strong outreach and innovation, particularly in cataloguing and digital preservation. The constituent archives have embraced the opportunities of co-location to provide a positive experience for their users.”

What next?
an attendee at a recent History Maker
session with a decorated helmet and shield
 
We now have a framework to review and update all of this work in the next few years but it has given us the confidence that we are on the right track. We will continue to offer a range of services to meet our different users needs – including our popular History Makers craft and Lego activities for families, History Bakers where staff put their baking skills to the test with old recipes in the archives through to our recent Reading Old Writing workshops.

We will continue to seek external funding to allow us to do more, as evident through securing a National Cataloguing Grant to work on the records of the Humber Ports of the British Transport Docks Board which later became Associated British Ports. 

This year we are heavily involved in supporting a range of projects as the city celebrate UK City of Culture and hosting a wide variety of exhibitions including one on Hull in the Civil War later this summer.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the sector today is preserving digital content like word files or email often requiring data to be safely transferred from old formats – like the floppy disk. This area of work is key to ensure that future generations are able to access information in the archives for academic research or personal curiosity.