Monday, 21 December 2015

Henry VIII’s Christmas Present

On Christmas Day 1536 the Mayor of Hull, William Rogers had a visitor. The visitor went by the splendid title of Rouge Dragon Pursuivant and he was a messenger from King Henry VIII. He had something for the Mayor: a General Pardon for all the inhabitants of Hull (and indeed for the rest of the North of England) for rebelling against the King during what is now known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

The Pilgrimage of Grace had been a huge challenge to the Henry’s authority and his religious changes. The rebellion had started in Lincolnshire in October 1536 and soon spread to Yorkshire and much of the rest of the North. Thousands of people were in revolt. On 15 October a group of them laid siege to Hull, and on 20 October the authorities in Hull negotiated the town’s surrender. It can’t have been a comfortable feeling for the Mayor and his colleagues, knowing that they had abandoned the King, however reluctantly, and handed the King’s Town over to the rebels.

So the news of a General Pardon to everyone who’d rebelled must have come as a relief to the Mayor. The Pardon was issued by the King on 9 December after the rebels and government representatives had negotiated a truce at Doncaster and the insurgents dispersed.
General Pardon (ref C BRH/5)
The document took over a fortnight to arrive in Hull. In it the King pardoned everyone for “all maner treasons, rebellions, insurrections…” and gave permission for individuals to request their own specific pardons. Copies went to all the counties in the North, including Hull, then a county of itself. It didn’t arrive unscathed; at some point the seal had been torn off, and subsequently stitched back on. We know this because Rouge Dragon or whoever also attached a little note, in Latin, recording the damage and repair, and noting that the Pardon had been delivered on Christmas Day.

The receipt of the Pardon wasn’t the end of the story of the Pilgrimage of Grace however. Events in Hull a few weeks later on 16 January 1537, when a little group of rebels under the command of John Hallam from Cawkeld near Hutton Cranswick tried to seize the town on market day, gave Henry the excuse he need to crush the rebels and ignore his own Pardon. Poor Hallam ended up hanged in chains on Hull’s Beverley Gate. 

On which note…all the staff at Hull History Centre would like to wish all our visitors a Merry Christmas, with the hope that none of you get a Christmas present from anyone as terrifying as Henry VIII!

Martin Taylor
City Archivist

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

History Bakers: Bible Cake

As an alternative to Christmas Cake, which can be a little rich for me, I decided to try this recipe for Bible Cake (also known as Scripture Cake). It was a very popular cake, in both Britain and America, during the nineteenth century. It was often used as a way of teaching young girls in Sunday Schools both baking and bible verses. In the Amish tradition, when making this cake, you would read a verse from the Bible after adding each item. The idea behind the recipe was to find ingredients by looking up Bible passages. For instance, 2 tablespoons I Samuel 14:15 [2nd part].

This particular version of the recipe came from one of our library books Traditional Food in Yorkshire compiled by Peter Brears. Brears tells the story of life and food in working-class Yorkshire c.1800-1920. He points out that 'Since the Bible was studied at Sunday and council schools, in churches, chapels and nearly every home, it is hardly surprising that someone eventually managed to assemble biblical references for everything which could be made into a cake. The results therefore became a regular contribution to church garden parties and chapel teas.'

There are many versions of the recipe but Brears uses the following one:


4 oz/ 100g butter - Judges V 25
4 oz/ 100g sugar - Jeremiah vi 20
3 eggs, beaten - Jeremiah xvii
8 oz/ 225g flour - I Kings iv 22
½ tsp mixed spice - II Chronicles ix 9
Pinch salt - Leviticus ii 13
1 tbs honey - I Samuel xiv 25
4 oz/ 100g raisins - I Samuel xxx 12
4 oz/ 100g figs, chopped - Nahum iii 12
4 oz/ 100g almonds, blanched and chopped - Numbers xvii 8
½ tsp baking powder - Amos iv 5
2 tbs milk - Judges iv 19


Cream the butter with the sugar [I used Caster], then beat in the eggs, little by little, and mix in the flour [Self raising flour in my case], mixed spice, salt and honey.  Follow Solomon’s instructions for making a good boy, Proverbs xxiii 14 [‘Thou shalt beat him with a rod’], stir in the raisins, figs and almonds, and finally the baking powder dissolved in the milk.

Put into a greased and lined 8 in/20 cm diameter cake tin, or a loaf tin, and bake at 180oC/350oF, gas mark 4 for about one hour.

The recipe was very easy to follow. I saved time by softening the butter in the microwave [not a traditional piece of equipment, I know!]. I put nearly a teaspoon of mixed spices in as I love the smell. Due to personal preference, I substituted raisins with sultanas.  With regard to the beating of the mixture, I did follow the instructions of Solomon’s – Thou shalt beat him with a rod - although this was never mentioned in any parenting classes I attended!

Once it was in the oven I did notice that the top of the cake browned very quickly so, after about 40 minutes, I put some greaseproof paper over the top to stop it burning. Also, it needed about 1 hour 10 mins to ensure it was cooked all the way through.

Comments from the food critics at the History Centre...

Verity - “Lovely Mix of Fruit and Nuts!”
Carol - “Very Nice! Fruity & Nutty and Moist!”
Dave - “Fantastic – Very flavourful & Fruity”
Neil - “Forget Mr. Kipling, I prefer Mrs. West! – Loads of Fruit & Nut, loved it”
Christine - “Nice light texture with a lovely fruity and nutty flavour.  Quite Moorish!”
Laura - “Liked the mixture of fruits and nuts.  Tasty and great for a winter treat”
Elaine - “Very Scrummy - Lots of flavour”
Claire - “Fruity and delicious – like a light Christmas cake!”
Martin - “Nuttier than I was expecting.  Very flavoursome.”

Caoimhe West, Archives Assistant

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

History Makers: It's Christmas!

With 53 in attendance at last week’s ‘History Makers’ we had a busy and productive session. Many thanks to all who turned up to make our Christmas extravaganza a success! A special thank you to father and son trio TeamBuild who were responsible for building this fantastic model ahead of our event. It will be on display in the arcade at the History Centre until the end of December. Why not come and have a look? There's a fun quiz to help you explore the model.
Chris, Charlie and Tom McKnight with their fantastic Christmas themed model!
The theme this month was loosely based on a ‘Victorian Christmas’. Did you know that the tradition of Christmas card and present giving in this country really took off during the reign of Queen Victoria? At the beginning of the 19th century these traditions were not well established. Over the course of the century it became more normal to give homemade cards and presents to the people you loved at Christmas time. Printed cards were expensive, so many ordinary Victorians chose to make their own. Enthused by this Victorian tradition of Christmas crafting, we had a look at some of the old Christmas greetings cards from our collections here at the History Centre and were inspired to make our own.
Selection of Christmas cards held at Hull History Centre
Our crafters also made some fantastic model Christmas trees, 3D stars and bejewelled decorations. Our master builders created endless Lego Christmas trees, Santa’s sleighs and wonderfully festive houses. At the end of the session our lecture theatre was the most festive room any archives building could hope to have!
Some of our History Makers' creations!
Now, with December’s event over, it does mean we have no more History Makers sessions in 2015. But fear not, we will be back in 2016 with our new programme for another year of free family events! The 2016 programme is available to download from the History Centre website.

History Makers Team

Monday, 7 December 2015

Newsletter Report

One of the larger projects I have been working on since I started at the Hull History Centre was to research and then produce a report on the potential of restarting an e-newsletter for the History Centre, the last one having been sent approximately 18 months ago. This is a difficult one but with my previous cohort Hannah’s similar look at bringing back the Facebook social media presence and the success of that venture then it is clearly something that is worthwhile investigating.

The benefits of an e-newsletter?
The benefits of an e-newsletter to the Hull History Centre are pretty clear, it’s yet another avenue for communication with the public. It is a form of contact that is not already being used, but is well established with other services. I reached the conclusion that although email is seen as a more professional point of contact for people it is also seen as a less intrusive one, I think that users may be far more willing to sign up for an e-newsletter and receive a regular email then they might be willing to follow our Facebook or Twitter with their personal accounts. It would also allow us a more dedicated way to inform the public about our regular events, which we do push on other social media but I think having a point of contact that gives a condensed overview of events and news would be a low effort way for interested parties to stay informed.

Some of the the Email Distribution Services
I was looking at.
Issues considered in my report
When looking at the usefulness of an e-newsletter it is also important to look at how exactly we would go about providing this service. 

We could just create the e-newsletter manually and then email it out to the subscriber list that we have using the ‘bcc’ function but this is not exactly ideal. In order to deal with both the construction and delivery of e-newsletters these days it is quite useful to use the support provided by Email Distribution Services. 

There are many different types of these available and they provide an easy way to put together e-newsletters, often allowing a drag and drop construction for images and text, as well as saving the subscriber list and handing the distribution to all the email addresses. They also give a nice and easy way for new users to sign up to the e-newsletter or unsubscribe without needing additional input from the newsletter team. Finally and most importantly of all they provide analytical information so that it becomes possible to measure the effectiveness of the e-newsletter, or at least how many subscribers are interested enough to open it!

An example of determining the reputation of a service

Research methodology
To figure out which Email Distribution Service would be best, and there are a lot available, I took a few that I thought would function well and them compared them to one another. 

I used a number of key features for this comparison which I had identified as being useful to the Hull History Centre these included: Cost, East of Use, Subscription and Unsubscription, Importing Data, Reputation, Template Options and Analytics. It was important that the e-newsletter is effective as possible without being too time consuming to put together.

Ultimately the determining if it would be any use to have such a service comes down to the people who are willing to subscribe. What do you think, is an e-newsletter something that would interest you? And if it is then feel free to tell us what it is you’d like to hear from us.

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee

Friday, 4 December 2015

History Bakers: Yorkshire Parkin

Parkin is essentially the Northern English form of gingerbread. Different Parkins are characterised by where they are made and Yorkshire Parkin, one of the most famous, is made using oats. Traditionally, it is eaten on the 5th of November during Bonfire Night celebrations marking the infamous failure of Guy Fawkes (a Yorkshireman) to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. I love this cake and regularly bake it whatever the time of year.

This recipe is taken from The Yorkshire Dalesman, a monthly magazine of Dales life and industry. Hull History Centre has back copies from April 1939 to June 2013 and they are available to view in the search room (L.9.4). The recipe is easy to make and creates a lovely moist sticky cake. Although you can eat the cake almost immediately, and believe me it’s difficult to resist, I wrap it and store it in an airtight cake tin for several days as it gets stickier.

What you will need...

8oz/220g soft butter
4oz/110g soft, dark brown sugar
2oz/55g black treacle
7oz/200g golden syrup
5oz/120g medium oatmeal
7oz/200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 275 °F/140 °C/gas 1
Grease an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm square or loaf cake tin
In a large heavy- based saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup over a gentle heat. In a large baking bowl stir together all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the melted butter mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Part way through the mixing process...

Gradually, beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time. Finally add the milk and again stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1 hour, 30 minutes until firm and set and a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Try to resist the cooling parkin!

Store the parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of three days, you can even leave it up to a week before eating and the flavours really develop and the mixture softens even further becoming moist and sticky. The cake will last up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Sticky and delicious!

Staff comments:
Carol        Absolutely gorgeous! Very moist and just the right amount of ginger
Laura       Fantastic cake! Lovely texture and ginger taste. Great for this time of year    
Claire       Lovely and comforting, a great winter treat
Verity       Perfectly baked!
Elaine       Very moist and tasty
Dave         Very nice. Gingery and filling
Mrs West   Delicious – moist and tangy

Michele Beadle, Reader Assistant

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Closure 2015

This closed week has been one of our busiest ever with our digital microfilm readers were serviced and the building was subject to a very through clean!

Just before we closed we took delivery of 1000 archive boxes and we have made a significant dent into these already! 

On the City side colleagues set-up a production line to sort and re-box nearly 500 large boxes of Building Regulations applications into 636 archival boxes and work is in-hand to give all of these boxes labels! The Building Regulations files which cover 1994-1999, will be made available to the public once indexes are complete in the new year. 

Before - in their old boxes

After - new boxes ready for labelling

Another major task that was completed was the moving of all of our official sporting programmes into one series. The programmes provide coverage for Hull RLFC, Hull Road Rangers, Hull City AFC, North Ferriby AFC, Hull Vikings, Humberside Seahawkes, and Hull Kingston Rovers. Whilst they are not complete runs they do provide an insight into the clubs’ history at given points in time. This required over 150 custom made boxes to be made to protect them. 

Work was also undertaken to sort, catalogue and re-box our Local Studies information section on Companies in the city which will make them more accessible.

On the University side work was taken to rationalise material. A few months ago we received a tip-off that there was a store room on campus with university publications. A team visit to the store and several hours later we had identified a large quantity of material that we wanted for the archives including university and departmental prospectus going back to the 1990s. 

This material was transferred to the History Centre and during closed week we were able to merge this material with our existing holdings. As a result we were able to fill many gaps in our holdings whilst at the same time throw away a large number of what we were now able to confirm were duplicate items.

We were also able to sort and put into order a large number of volumes of the university proceedings and work is in progress to add these to our on-line catalogue

Before - needing to be un-wrapped

After - neatly sorted

Hull History Centre team

Thursday, 26 November 2015

150th Anniversary of Alice in Wonderland

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Caroll’s children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There have been numerous events throughout the year marking the occasion, and last week saw the launch of the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library

The imagination of generations of adults and children alike have been captivated by Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole to a fantasy world populated by weird and wonderful creatures, such as the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, and who could forget the menacing Queen of Hearts whose catchphrase “off with her head” echoes in memories of childhoods past. The popularity of the book can be seen in the many adaptations created over the years.

Wildridge’s interpretation of Alice, The Hatter and The March Hare [C DML/2/1] 
The story of Alice’s adventures has been a personal favourite of mine since childhood so I was excited to discover when sorting through some uncatalogued materials held in the Local Studies Library a small collection of postcards depicting various scenes from Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the looking glass. The picture postcard set comprises six illustrated postcards created from original drawings by Thomas Tindall Wildridge.
Thomas Tindall Wildridge (1858-1928), was a records clerk, antiquarian, author, and an artist. He often included sketches in his own publications and a number of his paintings are held in the Hull Museum’s collections. Inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, Wildridge created “a unique collection of original oil paintings, water colours, pen and ink and other drawings” for an exhibition that formed part of the Lewis Carroll Pageant. The packet of six postcards were published at the exhibition and could be purchased at the time for sixpence.

Wildridge’s interpretation of characters from Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [C DML/2/1]

The postcards have now been catalogued and form part of a small collection relating to Thomas Tindall Wildridge. The collection includes two letters from Wildridge to Dr. Wilson-Barkworth regarding the Hull Grammar School, and a number of prints of sketches by Wildridge. The collection is held at reference C DML and can be viewed in the archives searchroom at the History Centre.

Hull History Centre

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The National Archives - Base Camp Week

This last week I had the privilege of attending my Base Camp week as a part of my Transforming Archives Traineeship, it was held at The National Archives in Kew where I met with eighteen of the other trainees from all over the UK

The National Archives

The National ArchivesThe first thing that struck me about The National Archives was the sheer scale, it dwarfs anything I am used to in almost every from way staffing to physical space. As a result there are some aspects of work that TNA does quite differently, the most obvious of which was an electronic tracking system that they utilise. A request to see a particular record is tracked every step of the way, with it being checked in and out of every location using a barcode scanner. That way if for some reason an item is out in limbo they can bring up the system and check the last place that it had been seen.
The employees also used small vehicles in order to move documents around because of the number of requests and the distance needed to travel, these were either small flatbed trucks or in the case of some areas they had newly acquired electric trikes. This was incredibly surreal to see people riding around on.


Strange to see archivists riding around on these!
Picture courtesy of  @Jessabellion
The storerooms themselves were on a whole other scale in comparison, I'm pretty certain the Hull History Centre archive could have fit into a third of one floor and the TNA had over four floors worth. There was even one room that was closed even to other archivists except for a handful with select permission. This is where some of the rarest documents that the TNA holds were kept, including the Jack the Rippers letters and five copies of the American Declaration of Independence.

Basic Archive Skills Training/Skills for the Future
Contents of restricted archive
Wasn't allowed inside but these are pictures of some of the
documents inside the strongroom.
A lot of our time was spent covering the kind of skills and roles in a modern archive workplace. This was covered in a variety of ways from having a session where we got to meet a number of the different employees at TNA all from different areas to a more academic lecture on various archival skills (accessioning, archival description, etc.).

There was also quite a large focus on making sure that you are continuing to improve your skills, we has talks about the CAIS modules, Basic Archive Skills Training by the Archive-Skills Consultancy and also from Skills for the Future itself. This seems to rapidly be becoming a focal point in archives that the skills required are varied and need constant updating, often in areas that are not immediately obvious. The whole purpose behind Skills for the Future is trying to get people interested in archives from a non-traditional background to gain new insight and points of view. As one of my fellow cohort’s jokingly tweeted if there’s anything to take away from basecamp week it is to be always developing your skills, and also archivists love cake!

London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) – No Colour Bar
I was also given the opportunity to attend the London Metropolitan Archive and discuss their various outreach programmes. I was very interesting to see how another archive has approach the problem of getting people to use the services. LMA have definitely gone above and beyond with an absolutely full calendar and activities from teaching sessions to a book club. A defining aspect of each teaching sessions is that they are always tailor made for the class attending with archives relevant to their age group and school being brought out.

No Colour Bar Exhibition
No Colour Bar exhibition at the
Guildhall Art Gallery, London
Picture courtesy of @mm_archives
I was also hugely impressed that the LMA has worked with the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Friends of the Huntley Archives to use the archives that they have on the Huntleys and the Bogle L’Ouverture press and bookshop to help produce the No Colour Bar exhibition. This included a reproduction of the bookshop and copies of the original letters and photographs digitised and put on display. It was very interesting to see how closely the archive had worked with the Gallery in order to help promote the event and make the archives feel like a part of the display. I definitely recommend the exhibition!

Overall it was a fantastic week, both educational and incredibly enjoyable. It was great to meet all the other Cohorts again after the very brief introduction during DCDC15 as well as meeting the Opening Up Scotland’s Archives trainees for the first time. I don’t believe that I am the only trainee writing about my experiences during Base Camp week so if you follow the hashtags #TransformingArchives or #Skillsforthefuture then you should see the other blog posts when they go up.

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Bring Your Own Device event

The Hull History Centre will be ‘Rebuilding Marvell’s Hull with Minecraft.
Saturday 21st November at the Hull History Centre 10-4

Book your free ticket on EventBrite.

(c) Ferens Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Ferens Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
This interactive workshop will combine research into Andrew Marvell and 17th-century Hull with  the popular game Minecraft to help bring history alive for younger audiences.
Minecraft experts will be on-hand to help participants build four key landmarks from Andrew Marvell’s Hull – Beverley Gate, Holy Trinity Church, Hull Grammar School and the Hull Charterhouse – using plans, maps, and other historical material in the History Centre’s collections. The completed buildings will be showcased on the HullCraft website.

This is a Bring Your Own Device event - you will need to bring their own device, whether it is a laptop or a tablet with their copy of Minecraft on. If you don't have a device with Minecraft on you will not be able to take part in this workshop - but we will be creating videos during the event for everybody to view afterwards.

Laptop users must also have their own Minecraft account username to log into the game. Please remember to bring any accessories like chargers with you!!
  • Our session is suitable for Minecrafters aged 14-19 year olds - under 16s please bring a responsible adult with you for the duration of the event.
  • There will be a simple buffet lunch but you are welcome to bring your own lunch or picnic!
  • The event will be held in the lecture theatre at the Hull History Centre, situated directly next to our glass arcade
  • We will be photographing the sessions for promotional use on the HullCraft website and as part of the Being Human festival. We will provide photography permission forms for parents to fill in at the event
  • Parents/guardians can join in with the crafting or can relax with refreshments
  • Please see the Hull History Centre website for more information about the location and directions.

Monday, 9 November 2015

November History Makers: Lest We Forget...

A big thank you to everyone who came to our History Makers session on Saturday 7th November. In spite of the horrible weather, lots of you ventured out to take part.

Field of poppies created out this month's History Makers session

Our theme for this month was Remembrance Day and the commemoration of World War I.
Much of the fighting that took place during World War I, happened in the fields of northern France and Flanders. By the end of the war these fields had been turned to wastelands by the fighting and very little would grow there. One of the only things to survive were bright red poppies. Very soon the battlefields of Europe, where so many people had fought and died, were transformed into beautiful poppy fields.

It is for this reason that the poppy became a symbol of remembrance. It was adopted by the British Royal Legion and has been used in their Poppy Appeal since the 1920s. Many people choose to wear a poppy in November to show that they remember the loss of life that occurs during big conflicts like World War I.

At our session, we showed our support for the Poppy Appeal. Many beautiful poppies were made by our crafters and our master builders and we collated them all into one huge poppy field. We also explored what it would have been like to live through World War I when we built Lego bunkers, tanks and trenches.

All of our efforts were to show that we remember those soldiers and people at home who lost their lives during World War I and all subsequent conflicts. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook to see more photographs from the session. These should be posted in the next few days...

‘History Makers’ Team

Friday, 6 November 2015

My First Month: Plater and Websites

It’s getting close to the end of my first month here at the Hull History Centre, and wow is there a lot to talk about. If I thought my first week did a lot for clearing away my preconceptions about archives then I had no idea what was coming next. What has definitely surprised me is the variety of tasks that I have done so far, no one day has been like another and I have a feeling that this is only going to continue.

Page from "Hull History Centre - Website Analysis"
showing Web Accessibility for the colour-blind
One area where I felt I could really contribute was to do an analysis of the Hull History Centre website. I was able to use my previous web development and computing experience in order to perform a critical review and in fact for once not having extensive archives knowledge was a benefit since it allowed me to look at the site from the point of view of a user. This helps when determining what functions well in a website and also identifying what could use some improvement. One of the biggest challenges was trying to understand the target audience of the Hull History Centre. My already brief time here has shown me that archives provide a service to a wide variety of people and it’s not always as simple as it first seems. All kinds of people use archives, and therefore all kinds of people need to be able to use the website. Whether they are academics, people interested in family history or local history, parents looking for something for their children to do (shameless History Makers plug) or sometimes even people just coming in off the street because they’re passing by!

This attitude towards welcoming anyone is reflected in other areas of the archive. For example I was very surprised to see that other than needing a form of photo ID anyone can simply head into the search room and request to see a document. I found this unusual because I think in my head I had this impression that getting to view archives in person was like asking to see a specific exhibit at a museum, it was something that needed permissions and to be requested in advance. But then most of these collections are open to the public, why shouldn't they be able to just walk in and see them? You'd never want to request things in advance at a library, you just want to walk in and look at the books.

Alan Plater's Radio Play "Tolpuddle" with accompanying letter
and music sheet
A collection I have spent a fair bit of time with so far is playwright and screenwriter Alan Plater’s, specifically his Radio plays. Quite a few of the plays only have a title and a physical description of the items (typescript, outline, etc.) and little else. If you don’t happen to know the name of the play you’re after then there is little chance of you being able to find it using the current information. That is why I have been adding descriptions to all of the radio plays so they can be found easier using the online catalogue. There is often no information about these plays online, so the only way usually is to scan through the play and write a short description myself but this needs to be done so that although it gives an outline of the story and what it is about it doesn't contain any plot spoilers!. This can prove to be awkward sometimes since Plater has a habit of writing plays were nothing appears to actually happen but that have enormous subtext which is difficult to describe without simply writing the entire script again. The idea of audience plays a big factor into this once more, since I don’t know who will actually be reading the descriptions that I write it is important to be as clear as possible in my use of language and in the style of writing I choose to use.

Overall it has been a very interesting first month, to be completely honest I can hardly believe how fast it has gone! And yet I feel a lot more comfortable around the archives then I was initially. Next week I should be heading down to Kew for the Base Camp week at The National Archives and I'm very much looking forward to that, as well as seeing my fellow Cohort 2’s again.

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee (Cohort 2)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

History Bakers - Fiery Gingerbread

To celebrate the Hull Fair and Bonfire Night season, for this month’s History Bakers, I thought it would be only fitting to make some gingerbread.

The old recipe books at the Hull History Centre contain several different recipes for gingerbread, but the winning recipe was taken from the Hotham Collection (ref. U DDHO/19/2) dating from around 1777. This particular recipe caught my eye as it was very different to the gingerbread recipes I had tried before as it contains black treacle, cream and brandy!

For such an old recipe, it was actually fairly detailed, with clear weights for each ingredient and a general method. However, I still had to estimate the oven temperature, cooking time and amount of flour, and so was particularly glad when they turned out so well!

If you would like to have a go yourself, please see the original recipe and a modernised version below.

Original recipe taken from U DDHO/19/2

Transcription: Take ½ lb of fresh butter, ½ a lb of fine sugar, 1 lb of treacle/warm the treacle in 3 or 4 spoonfuls of cream, ¼ of a pint of brandy, ¼ of an ounce of mace, 1 oz ¼ of ginger beat and sifted as much flour as will make a stiff paste – roll it in what shape you please and bake it upon tins. 

1. Pre-heat the oven to about 180C and grease over trays.
2. Take ½ lb of margarine or butter and ½ lb of caster sugar. Mix together and gently warm in a pan.
3. Add 1 lb of black treacle and warm on a low heat in four dessert spoonfuls of single cream, ¼ pint of brandy, ¼ oz of nutmeg and 1 ¼ oz of powdered ginger. 
4. Whisk, continuing over a low heat.
5. Once thoroughly mixed together, remove from heat and sift in as much flour as will make a stiff dough.
6. Roll out (to no more than 1cm thickness) and cut in whatever shape you would like.
7. Place in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your gingerbread. 

Gingerbread comes in all shapes and sizes!

Please see my colleagues’ comments below (we’re all becoming quite the food critics!):

Claire Fiery and lovely, taste of bonfire night!
Laura Cute gingerbread men, lovely strong treacle flavour, yum!
Mrs West         Delicious – How real gingerbread should taste...not too sweet!
Martin Very gingery! Full of flavour.
Carol                Not too much ginger for me – lovely.
Nick         The black treacle is very noticeable, strong flavour!
Elspeth Very enjoyable tangy taste of treacle. Not as sweet as bought gingerbread men today!
Elaine A strong taste of ginger. Really good!
Christine         A lovely mild gingerbread, and not too sweet
Pete         Very good gingery and full of flavour
Mike                 Fiery and fun, Perfect for Hull Fair week!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Hello from the new Transforming Archives Trainee, David Heelas

Hi, I'm David Heelas the new trainee at the Hull History Centre as a part of the Transforming Archives initiative from The National Archives, with a focus on digitisation and digital preservation. I mostly come from a Computer Science background and although originally a Hull local I got my BSc from Newcastle University. I have spent the last few years in a variety of jobs from being an Outbound Sales Advisor at a Call Centre (sorry) to most recently where I worked at a local charity as an Assistant IT Tutor.

This opportunity is very exciting to me because it will mean learning a lot about a career and environment I previously knew nothing about. I have always loved learning new skills, especially anything relating to technology. I have found it very interesting to see how new techniques and tools have affected archives and looking to see in what way they will impact further in the future.

My first week coincided with the DCDC15 (Discovering Collection Discovering Communities 2015) conference in Manchester which I was fortunate enough to attend. This allowed me to not only meet my fellow cohorts in the Transforming Archives programme but also meet some of those who had finished their traineeship from the previous year. The conference also gave me a much larger idea at how digitisation and digital technology have been utilised by Archives so far and in what way they’re looking to harness them in the future. The panels were varied and fascinating in particular the talk the Bodlean Digital Library Systems and Services gave about their digital front-end and how to provide a service that combines user accessibility with an end product that is both quick and useful. Additionally the panel on Technology and Mobile Heritage and how just because an institution creates an ‘app’ it doesn't mean that it will be used or even last particularly long, so that means that thinking carefully on your delivery system is going to be is more important than ever.

So far it has been a bit overwhelming although thanks to the team which I have found to be incredibly friendly and welcoming I think I’ll settle in no time. There is a lot more to archives then I initially suspected and as a result there’s a lot more for me to take in! I hope you will keep up with my posts in the future as I will be using the History Centre blog to update you throughout the year.

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee (Cohort 2)

Friday, 9 October 2015

History Bakers - Quick Kuchen

The word ‘Kuchen’ is German for cake and it’s possible that there are as many variations as its English counterpart. The recipe I have chosen is a Streuselkuchen, which is a German speciality. Traditionally it is made of yeast dough covered with a sweet crumb topping referred to as streusel, but this variation has a sponge base. The recipe allegedly originated from Silesia, a province that is today in Western Poland, but the cake can now be found all over Europe. Many variants are prepared with fruit fillings, mostly of sour taste such as apples, gooseberries, sour cherries, and rhubarb.

Clearly there are many variations of the recipe and this particular one came from a souvenir recipe book called Our Favourite Recipes (Reference C DJC/1/7/2/1) put together by the Hull Daughters of Zion in 1965 to share recipes and raise funds for a ‘Jerusalem Baby Home’. Recipes in the book cover a whole array of dishes, including soups, fish dishes, Passover dishes, cakes and desserts, as well as including useful ‘Household Hints’.

I particularly wanted to choose a Jewish recipe for this month’s History Bakers as it ties in nicely with the launch of the exhibition Religion, Culture and History: The shaping of Hull’s Jewish Community, which will run until the end of October at the History Centre. I chose the ‘Quick Kuchen’ primarily as it is a traditional cake but most importantly because it is quick to make and the method simple to follow!

To make the kuchen:
2 ½ cups of self-raising flour
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup of milk
Handful of sultanas (I used raisins)

To make the streusel:
2 oz. flour
2 oz. butter
3 oz. sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
A few chopped almonds

To make the kuchen:
Beat up eggs, sugar and oil. Add flour, milk and sultanas. Put in greased tin, cover with streusel.

To make the streusel:
Sieve flour and cinnamon, mix in the sugar, then rub in the butter until like breadcrumbs and add a few chopped almonds. Sprinkle over kuchen.

Put into a cold oven. Turn on to no.3 and bake for 50 minutes.

Staff Comments:
Hannah: “Delicious mix of crunchy top and soft sponge, tasty!”
Caoimhe: “Absolutely scrummy - crunchy topping compliments the soft fruity and very light sponge - spot on!”
Claire: “Really nice - different textures make it interesting and delicious!”
Verity: “Beautiful sponge, great mix of textures.”
Michele: “A delicious light and fruity cake with a lovely crunchy topping.”
& Grace: “The crunch on the top of the sponge was a lovely touch as were the sultanas inside.”
Christine: “Loved the crunchy topping and the sultanas in the sponge gave a lovely touch of moisture.”
Pete: “Very very nice, tastes as a kuchen should.”

Overall the Quick Kuchen was definitely a hit! Why not have a go yourself and see what you think...

Laura Wilson
Archivist / Librarian

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

History Makers - Hull Fair Starts Early!

So Hull Fair is almost upon us and there are only a few days to go now! But for us here at the History Centre we started to get into the spirit early this year with our Hull Fair inspired History Makers event on Saturday 3 October.

We had an awesome turn out this month with 85 in attendance and hopefully everyone enjoyed it, the staff certainly did! With lots of help from everyone who attended we managed to make the best fairground Hull has ever seen. We had swinging pirate ships, dodgems, waltzers, ghost trains, houses of fun and so much more!

An awesome fun house!

On the crafting side, we had lots of beautiful and brightly coloured carousel horses, some fantastic helter skelters and some brilliant attempts at making lollipop ferris wheels.

Carousel horses galore!

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page to see photographs from the event. Also a selection of the models made on the day will be on display at the History Centre until next month’s event.

Speaking of forthcoming events… we only have two more History Makers sessions left this year. On Saturday 7 November we will be making poppies as we learn about the annual Remembrance Day. Then it’s almost Christmas so on 5 December we will be experiencing a Victorian Christmas as we make cards, decorations and build all manner of Santa’s grottos!

We are also currently planning out 2016 History Makers programme. Let us know what your favourite session has been or if you have any suggestions for event themes. You can leave your feedback on our Facebook page.

But for now, enjoy Hull Fair and don’t eat too much brandy snap (at least not before going on the rides)!

History Makers Team

Friday, 2 October 2015

From Paper to Virtual Worlds: Hannah's Year of Transforming Archives

Digitising the Grand Tour diary of Francis Johnson, the architect

It has (unfortunately!) come to the end of my Transforming Archives traineeship at the Hull History Centre and I have explored architectural archives, illustrated letters, digitisation, digital preservation, social media, outreach activities…. and there’s still much more! 

It is quite a challenge to summarise an entire year in one blog post so I thought I would begin with a reflection on my first post where I was newly ‘accessioned’ (archives pun there!) to the practical aspects of working in archives and how the service works, attracts new audiences, and also organises, preserves and manages the material. I came to the History Centre from a more general heritage background which included history of art, architecture and the use of digital technologies such as videogames, content management systems and websites. Because of this I began the year with an open mind, eager to learn all aspects about the role of archives and see where I could apply my previous knowledge in an archives context.

Conservation work to strengthen a WW2
Over the following months I was trained by the very knowledgeable History Centre team in all aspects of working in archives - from cataloguing in CALM, document retrieval, awareness of the range of questions users asked and collections management - I even had a go at conservation work!

My two specialisms for my traineeship were digitisation and outreach, so I had many opportunities to work with the overhead camera capturing images of maps, plans and documents. I spent a week at The National Archives where a highlight was shadowing the digitisation team to see their digitisation process for capturing images and creating metadata for mass quantities of material. 

Another brilliant aspect of the traineeship was the opportunity to undertake a long distance module with the University of Dundee. I studied 'Digitisation and Digital Preservation' which has given me lots to think about regarding the lifespan and accessibility of digital media - from now on I will certainly be thinking about the longevity of my own digital files in future work!

Being amazed by Minecraft creations at our
Bring Your Own Device event
One task I particularly enjoyed was developing learning resources for use by children and families at our History Makers Summer Sessions and Minecraft Bring Your Own Device events. For these I researched a historical theme (Hull architecture!), digitised relevant material and created resources to engage and inspire creativity. Taking part in the sessions themselves was a fun experience, and it was rewarding to see participants building architecture from the resources I created!

My traineeship has allowed me to combine existing interests with new experiences such as architectural history with digitising the architect Francis Johnson’s Grand Tour diary, and bringing forward my videogame passion into HullCraft (recreating Francis Johnson’s architecture in Minecraft).
I have really enjoyed trying new experiences - for me this was presenting to academics and professionals at conferences such as 'Northern Collaboration: Developing Archives', writing an article for The Space (BBC & Arts Council England) and also working with young people in a workshop environment.

Victor as a worm,
detail from Vicky
illustration U DX165/43
I have found some of my favourite images from cataloguing the illustrated letters of Victor Weisz which he wrote to his fourth wife Inge in the 1960s. I particularly enjoyed cataloguing the illustrations which feature himself and Inge as animal creatures or literary characters, such as drawing himself as Shakespeare’s 'Hamlet'. He is known for his political satires, yet his witty sense of humour and ability to turn his everyday routine into clever, personal cartoons are what makes these letters fascinating to work with. You can browse thumbnails of his illustrations in the catalogue I created for Vicky’s letters to Inge (U DX165). 

Another highlight from the year was meeting Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives and Keith Sweetmore, The National Archives Engagement Manager (North of England) at the launch of the Celebration of Architecture exhibition. Alongside the projects of local architects, the exhibition showcased Claire Weatherall’s exciting work on the Francis Johnson archive which has provided the springboard for several projects and activities I have been working on this year - from History Makers to HullCraft.

Claire Weatherall, Simon Wilson, Jeff James, myself
& Keith Sweetmore. Photo by Lee Fallin.

This year I have seen that archives are an inspiring trove of untold stories where material can be searched, reinterpreted, and communicated to audiences in many different (often surprising) ways- through lectures, books, websites, art and even videogames. I have also enjoyed the personal aspects of archives, offering windows into people’s lives who possibly never imagined that their work would be preserved or looked at by others!

Detail from Vicky illustration U DX165/254
I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds. I am very eager to continue my work in archives and have loved working at the History Centre so much that I don't really want to leave!
Thank you to the brilliant team at the Hull History Centre who have supported me throughout the year - I am going to miss the endless supply of cake! 

Also, thank you to Emma Stagg, Transforming Archives Project Manager, for leading from The National Archives front and putting up with all of the travel paperwork which comes from me being at the far end of the M62! 

Lastly, good luck to the next trainee who I’m sure will enjoy and benefit from the History Centre team and the community spirit of the Transforming Archives programme as much as I have! 

Hannah Rice
Transforming Archives Trainee (Cohort 1)