Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fictional Hull and Hull in Fiction: Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of our LovetoRead blog. In the first part we showcased some of the bigger names to be found within our fiction collections. In part 2 we are going to take a thematic approach to delve a bit further and show off some hidden gems from our less well known authors...

Morality and Justice…
Dickens was not unique in using fiction as a vehicle to illustrate social injustices. An 1852 novel by Francis Ross, entitled ‘Edward Charlton: or life behind the counter. A tale illustrative of the drapery trade and the evils of the late hour system’, is a cautionary tale full of Victorian ideals of morality. Such moral tales were often given as Sunday School prizes, and were designed to illustrate the evils of drink and other vices. Another example of this can be seen in ‘The Struggles of Stephen Stedfast’ written by the Rev. George Shaw.

Some of our contemporary authors writing stories based in the city are very popular and, amongst these, crime novelists rank high on the list. Authors such as Nick Quantrill and David Mark are well known, both in the city and nationally. Both have created a central character who investigates a series of crimes which happen in and around the darker side of the city. If you like this genre, you should watch out for events involving Nick Quantrill, as he not only writes books but has participated in reading events at both the History Centre and Hull Central Library.

Historical Mystery…
If you like your crime to be mixed with history then Cassandra Clark might be for you. She has written a series of medieval mysteries inspired by Meaux Abbey. Her novels feature the Meaux Abbey abbess as detective and the first book, ‘Hangman Blind’ begins at Meaux before moving to York. Once you’ve read one, you might just have to read them all…

Family Sagas…
Family sagas are very popular with our regular users. The Second World War is brought to life in ‘Ada’s Terrace’ by Margaret King. The novel describes itself as ‘Hull: love and romance in wartime’, and is about the docking community and the difficulties of life during the bombing.

Two stories for the price of one…
If you enjoy stories featuring a challenge, Louise Beech’s ‘How to be Brave’ might be for you. This novel tells two stories; that of Colin, a merchant seaman during World War II who is adrift in a lifeboat with some of his shipmates, and  that of his great granddaughter aged 10, who is diagnosed with diabetes. This part of the story is set in the present day and as the family struggles to cope the story of Great Grandad Colin is told until both stories blend together to give an impression of ‘family’.

We hope this has piqued your interest enough to want to find out more. So if you didn't last time, go explore our titles for yourself! You can find them by searching the History Centre Catalogue under the reference L.823. And happy reading!

Elaine Moll, Librarian and Archivist

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Fictional Hull and Hull in Fiction: Part 1

This autumn, 2016, the BBC along with the Society of Chief Librarians has been running a ‘Love to Read’ campaign throughout the country. You might have seen some of the radio and television programming already.

Here at the History Centre we thought we would join in and take this opportunity to give you a taster of some of our fiction books. Yes, we do have fiction as well as our vast array of books on the local area! 

The scope of our collection extends to books set in Hull and the surrounding area, and covering all aspects of life. Whilst reading a good novel is always enjoyable, don’t you find you can engage with a book more if you can directly relate to either the subject matter or the setting? Lots of our fiction books use local figures, stories and street names, and evoke intriguing images of Hull in print. 

Our collection ranges from 1813 to the present day, with a good many books from the 19th century. Just some of the topics covered include morality and justice, crime, historical mystery, and family sagas.

Some of our authors are already well known and loved in Hull...

Daphne Glazer, born in Sheffield, was long ago adopted by the people of Hull as their own. Many of her stories have been set in Hull, like 'Goodbye Hessle Road' and 'Three Women'.

Winifred Holtby is another local literary celebrity you've probably heard of. She was responsible for 'South Riding' which has been made made into a TV series on two separate occasions. However, there are some other titles by Holtby you might like to try. 'Anderby Wold', for example, and 'The Crowded Street', which was allegedly based on Cottingham.

Then of course we have Val Wood, nationally famous author within the 'family saga' genre. Very popular with our regular users, Wood's books include 'The Door Step Girls', 'Rich Girl, Poor Girl', and her latest book 'No Place for a Woman' which begins in 1897 and is mostly set during WWI.

As for the less well known local authors within our collection, you will have to join us again next week for part 2 of this blog to find out more. In the mean time you can explore our titles for yourself, by searching the History Centre Catalogue under the reference L.823. And happy reading!

Elaine Moll, Librarian and Archivist

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Hull History Centre secures a National Cataloguing Grant Award

From Dock Company to Humber Ports: Records of the Humber Ports of the British Transport Docks Board, 1772-1982

Hull History Centre has secured £37,000 from the National Archives National Cataloguing Grants Programme to employ an archivist for 15 months to catalogue the extensive records of the Humber Ports of the British Transport Docks Board, later known as Associated British Ports. 

As well as the growth of the ports, once catalogued this collection will offer an invaluable study of the development and influence of the railways and the role they played in urban development during the nineteenth century. 

The extensive drawings of the docks and dock installations allow an almost full impression to be gained of the development of the port from 1778 to 1914, supplementing the surviving industrial archaeology.

St Andrews Dock (Ref CTSP/3/623-8)
St Andrews Dock (Ref C TSP/3/623-8)

Important for the understanding of the history and development of Hull and the wider Humber region, this collection 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

Critical to the understanding of the growth and development of the Port and City of Hull, this project will allow us to catalogue the wealth of resources held within the collection and encourage use of it for personal study or academic research.

We hope to start the project by spring 2017 and will post regular updates on our progress.

Carol Tanner
Access and Collections Manager, Hull City Archives

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Basecamp Week

The National Archives building, Kew, Richmond
Earlier this month we travelled down to The National Archives, near Kew Gardens. This is the official home of the UK government archives and holds over 11 million records in its collection, from 10th Century manuscripts to copies of government websites, and just about every kind of document and record in between.

The basecamp was the first opportunity to meet all of our Transforming Archives cohort in one place as our host archives are spread all over England and Scotland. Getting to know the trainees over many coffee breaks and dinners brought home just how diverse a group we are – our backgrounds range from photography to maritime engineering to TV production, all now bringing these skills to the archive sector.

In the National Archive reading rooms,
even the reference directories are historical documents.
The training week consisted of five days of talks and workshops from National Archive curators on the theory behind acquiring and maintaining a collection, and conversations with archivists willing to share their experiences on recent projects. 

Mixed in amongst the professional skills development was plenty of advice and support for personal development coaching that will help our careers long after the traineeship is over.

Behind the scenes in the
National Theatre props department
We were also able to visit other archives around the city to see how they cope with the specific challenges faced by their collections and their circumstances. Our first visit was to The National Theatre Archive – a small collection, but one that comes with its own special challenges. A large chunk of the archive is made of bulky props, posters and stage models which need specialist care and which don’t fit into a “normal” archive structure. The National Theatre Archive also holds a vast collection of audio-visual recordings stored on all kinds of film reels, cassettes, DVDs and video files. Digitising and cataloguing these collections is a continuously transforming process as hardware and software change or become obsolete; talking to the archivists (including Pavel, one of last year’s Transforming Archives trainees!) we better understood the problems the archive faces to preserve these materials in the best and longest-lasting formats.

Samuel Rolle’s account of the Great Fire of London, written in 1667.
The next day included a visit to the London Guildhall Library, probably the oldest civic library in the UK. Its collection is dedicated to the history of the city as well as its legal and business records.

The Guildhall also houses the new City of London Police Museum, which was set up after the closure of the City of London Police’s own small museum. We spoke to the librarian and manager at the Guildhall Library that put the exhibition together, and who explained the process of creating the exhibition with limited space and limited time. They showed us the results of a collaboration with the nearby design school to create 3D replicas of weapons that the police would not normally allow on public display.

An introduction to reading medieval manuscripts.
Probably the biggest advantage of the basecamp was that we could see first-hand the work going on in archives much different to the Hull History Centre – from small, focused institutions like the National Theatre Archive to the vast public repositories of the National Archives. 

Big or small, the recurring theme amongst every archive we visited was the drive to make their collections accessible to the public through direct outreach and through digitising the records.

It was really great to meet all the archivists, record managers and curators at The National Archives and to speak with them about both upcoming projects at the Hull History Centre, and our future careers in the archives sector.

This basecamp has given us plenty of new ideas and approaches which we can use at the Hull History Centre, and to see where we can take the centre’s collections in the future. We can’t wait to meet up with the cohort again at the Edinburgh basecamp in March 2017!

Tom Dealey and Francisco Castanon
Transforming Archives trainees