Tuesday, 30 August 2016

70th Anniversary of Boothferry Park

31 August 2016 is the 70th anniversary of the opening of Boothferry Park. Whether it’s football, rugby, basket ball or show jumping (yes, basket ball and showing jumping has featured at Boothferry Park!) the ground holds many memories. If you have not been, the chances are you know someone that has. It would, therefore, be a shame to simply let the memory of Boothferry Park pass by without taking a moment to remember this old ground. Boothferry Park maybe gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten.

Its origins can be traced back to 1929 when the land located on the corner of Boothferry Road and North Road was acquired by the club in 1929. With the help of a £3,000 loan from the Football Association, work began on its construction during the early part of the 1930s. Progress was slow with work eventually halted. An additional £6,000 loan was taken from the Football Association with the aim of completing the ground ready for the start of the season in 1940. The outbreak of war, however, saw the development of Boothferry Park stall once again.

Artist impression the proposed, completed Boothferry Park,including the railway platform (known as Boothferry Park Halt) from Hull City AFC’s first match programme at Boothferry Park, 31 August 1946 [L. DSHC/5/1]. 

After the war things were more promising. A group of businessmen, headed by Harry Needler, bought the club and announced new plans for Boothferry Park, which included the capacity to be increased to 80,000 and the construction of its own rail platform. The date for the opening of the stadium was set for the beginning of the 1946/47 season, and although not fully complete (only the West stand was complete at this time) the first game was played on 31 August 1946 against Lincoln City. It ended in a 0-0 draw in front of 25,586 spectators. The match programme for this game available to view at [L DSHC/5/1].

Neil Chadwick
History Centre Assistant

Friday, 26 August 2016

From Plans to Digital Content: Dave’s Year of Transforming Archives

From Plans to Digital Content: Dave’s Year of Transforming Archives

It has been a while since I have written one of these, mostly because these last few months have been so busy and jam-packed I’ve barely had a chance to. But now that I am reaching the end of my traineeship I just want to take a moment to reflect on my year at Hull History Centre on the Transforming Archives Traineeship. I thought that as a final blog post I would quickly go over some of the projects I have been working on and assisting with.

When I think back to how overwhelmed I was initially, and the sheer variety of projects I have worked on since starting, I can clearly see how much I have developed over a year.


U LIB/10

Probably the biggest cataloguing project I have worked on is the 900 plans of the original University of Hull Library. The plans document the construction of the original library building (which was later referred to as the East Building), refurbishments, and construction of the West Building creating the library that is easily recognisable today. Cataloguing these was an interesting experience since trying to pick out relevant information from an architectural plan was not something I had attempted before.

U LIB/10/2/670 - One of the Library Plans, not actually digitised by me for once!
I have also been able to assist Alex, the current Project Archivist, with cataloguing some of the files within the ACPO collection. This gave me a very different experience of cataloguing to the plans, as the files were mostly made up of correspondence and minute extracts. Working on this collection has also been interesting as it allowed me to see how even basic conservation practices can be difficult - the amount of sticky tape I have removed could probably fill a wheelie bin! You can read more about this from Project Archivist Alex’s perspective here: Problems with Preservation (or ‘Why I hate sticky tape’).

Beyond this I was also given the opportunity to experience box listing and cataloguing digital content. This experience covered how to deal with born-digital material and the sorts of issues that can arise. I was very surprised to find out just how many questions I ended up with once I actually starting having a go and trying to use born-digital content in this way.


U DFJ/628/1 - Garden Bar Southlands Hotel, Scarborough
The largest digitisation project I worked on was definitely the Francis Johnson plans, which required me to digitise over 1800 architectural plans. Eventually, they will be used for outreach and accessibility work on a project using the ArcGIS software. As well as being the longest project, this was also one of the most difficult digitisation projects I undertook. Because of the nature of the plans themselves (architectural reprographies, made using a process called diazotype reprography), the camera used to scan the documents often produced results with completely the wrong colours. It took a lot of practise and experience in order to get accurate and useful results.

U PHO - Oversized Photo Album
I was also able to digitise an oversized University of Hull photograph album. Many of the photographs were subsequently used for a World War II exhibition and source guide. This was an interesting project because it required me to scan close-ups of individual photographs, as well as entire pages, so that the original layout was also recorded. So, even though the album was 73 pages long, I actually digitised 364 different items.

I also had an opportunity undertake some Audio Visual digitisation. This was very interesting and provided me with new challenges. Each AV medium required a completely separate digitisation peripheral. At Hull History Centre we had access to VHS, Cassette and Vinyl digitisation, and the use of the actual devices was thankfully very easy. However, I did find that VHS digitisation process results were sometimes unsatisfactory. With some research, I managed to determine what the issue was and how to circumvent the quality problems I was having. In this case I found that by first copying from VHS to DVD and then ripping the DVD copy to PC I had much better results. With this there is an element of compression that is unavoidable, which problem led me to research into Codecs, containers and the effects of compression on video files. All in all, I managed to produce some appropriate access copies of the files that I was looking to digitise, and to remove all of the poor syncing that was causing so many problems.


Over the year I have assisted in almost every ‘History Makers’ sessions at Hull History Centre. These are outreach events aimed at families and young children. To help them engage with archives in a different way, the sessions involve crafting and Lego activites that relate to archival holdings. The sessions usually ran on a Saturday morning, although we had additional sessions at half term and summer. I came to enjoy these a lot, although I definitely won’t miss breaking up all the Lego and separating it into colour co-ordinated containers after the events!

Dressed up for the Rationing and Regeneration event
A ‘Rationing and Regeneration’ event in summer 2016 was the culmination of a lot of work at Hull History Centre. On the day there was an exhibition, traditional stalls, lindy hop dancers, live singers and a ‘History Makers’ session for the younger kids. We all got dressed up and had a ton of fun.

A large part of my time has been spent dealing with the social media output of Hull History Centre. Any Twitter or Facebook posts have been primarily co-ordinated by my, and I have learnt a lot about how to use social media to raise engagement and get audiences’ attention. I am happy to say that both platforms have continued to grow and I hope that people have had as much fun reading my posts as I have had writing them.   

Digital Preservation

DROID & PRONOM - Signature files (.fdr)

Towards the end of my traineeship, I assisted in developing a signature file for DROID. Specifically, I was looking into the Final Draft version 7 .fdr file type found in one of the born-digital collections held at Hull History Centre. It is currently unidentified when using DROID, so I followed the guidance set out by the PRONOM team in the ‘How to research and develop signature for file format identification’ and ‘Digital Preservation Technical Paper: Automatic Format Identification Using PRONOM and DROID’ documents as well as referring to Jenny Mitcham’s recent blog post ‘My first file format signature’. By using these, I managed to work out that I needed to open the file in a hex editor (for this I used HxD and FlexHEX) which allows us to look at the actual byte stream of a file. From there, we could start to look at common sequences. I had a selection of Final Draft files to experiment with and I quickly found what I felt was a common sequence between them. At the start of every file it always began with:

FD FD FD FD 00 then three random bytes followed by FF until the bytes corresponding to the ASCI for ‘2 Final Draft, Inc. Final Draft’ in hex.

00 00 00 32 00 00 00 11 46 69 6E 61 6C 20 44 72
61 66 74 2C 20 49 6E 63 2E 00 00 00 0B 46 69 6E
61 6C 20 44 72 61 66 74 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00

With this I had thought I had cracked it, so I put this information into the PRONOM: Signature Development Utility and generated a signature file. I then installed this into DROID and ran my first test. It failed completely. The files I was testing on were not correctly identified as Final Draft file types. After speaking to the PRONOM team via email, who were incredibly helpful and quick to respond, they managed to help me to write a more accurate signature file. Together we also found more examples of .fdr files to test against the signature. The eventual signature was FDFDFDFD{12-64}46696E616C2044726166742C20496E63.

After finally getting the signature correct and being able to install it into DROID, we had success in identifying the file type. I sent off the signature to the PRONOM team and it will hopefully be added to the next update. There is more than enough for me to write a separate blog post on this, detailing the issues that I encountered during the process, but I shall have to leave it there for now!

Concluding Thoughts

Overall I have had a fantastic time. This traineeship has encouraged me to look into working with archives in the future, and I am leaving this placement for another archives position elsewhere. When I first applied for this job I must confess I had no idea what to expect, but over the last year I have become well and truly enamoured with archives. The digital side of things is still definitely where I want to focus in the future and I intend to develop this experience further. I am definitely sad to go and I wish my colleagues the best of luck to the future. I hope that Cohort 3 come away with as positive an experience as I have had!

David Heelas, Transforming Archives Trainee

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Happy Birthday William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce, politician, philanthropist, abolitionist and Hull’s most famous son is 257 today! Born at 25 High Street on the 24 August 1759, Wilberforce went on to be the leading light of the slave trade abolitionist movement, living just long enough to see the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

Portrait of William Wilberforce, 1838

To celebrate his birthday we thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at what Hull was like during his lifetime through a few of the images and documents held at the Hull History Centre.
First, let’s take a look at where Wilberforce was born. It opened as Wilberforce House Museum on the 24th August 1906, so today is the museum’s birthday as well!

Illustration of Wilberforce House, High Street, Hull

Wilberforce began his education at the Old Grammar School near Holy Trinity Church in 1767.

Illustration of the Old Grammar School, Hull

William Wilberforce was fortunate to receive an education, but not all children had the advantage of an education in the 18th century. In 1753 another Hull Philanthropist, Alderman Cogan founded the Alderman Cogan’s School for Girls to educate and clothe 20 poor girls. The school tried to find employment for the girls when they finished their education and this page from a Cogan’s School account book (1754-1820) lists girls in the school leaving at Whitsuntide, giving the name of the employer if known.

Page from the Cogan School account book [C DMC/3/97/3] 

This map shows us what Hull was like when Wilberforce became MP for Yorkshire in 1784. He had become an Independent MP for Hull in 1780, a post he held for four years. It is dedicated to Samuel Thornton, MP for Hull 1784-1800, and William Wilberforce.

Map, 1784

With the onslaught of the Napoleonic Wars, the City became worried about invasion and in 1803 appointed a Committee for the Defence of the Town. Their first task was to raise subscriptions for the defence of the town and here we can see a list of those subscribers. If you look closely you can see some of the most influential families of the day such the Maisters, the Sykes and the Broadleys.

Subscribers' list raising funds for the defense of Hull, 1803 [C DMT/7/5]

C DMT 7a

Many people found themselves in dire straights during this period, and many fell foul of the Settlement law which stated that the parish of birth was responsible for poor relief for those in need. If those in need refused to return to their own parish, Removal Orders would be issued to remove them by force if necessary. Here we see the Crouddis family being forcibly removed back to the parish of Holy Trinity in Hull in August 1804.

Removal order relating to the Crouddis family [C DMX/118]

Now back to Wilberforce. He died on the 29 July 1833, just three days after he heard that the passing of the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery had been guaranteed. Within 5 days of his death the Mayor was petitioned for a permanent memorial to Wilberforce's life, and the resulting monument, which was erected in 1835, stood on Monument Bridge by Princes Dock for almost 100 years, until in 1935 it was moved to stand at the head of the new Queens Gardens, where it still stands today.

Wilberforce monument, Monument Bridge, 1907

Wilberforce monument following its removal to Queens Gardens, Mar 1935

This brings us to the end of our quick tour of Hull and life in the 18th and 19th centuries. There's lots more information to be found at Hull History Centre so why not pay us a visit!

Further information about Wilberforce House, the monument, and the man can be found on the Hull Cultural and Leisure Ltd’s Museum website.

Carol Tanner, Collections Manager, Hull City Archives at Hull History Centre

Friday, 19 August 2016

Sporting programmes Part 3: Ice Hockey, Speedway and Auto 66 Club

Humberside Seahawks & Hull Stingrays 
programmes [Ref L.796.962(5)]
Founded in 1988 the Humberside Seahawks went through several name changes, and were known as Humberside Hawks (1993-1996), Kingston Hawks (1996-1999), and Hull Thunder (1999-2003), before becoming Hull Stingrays. 

Financial pressure forced the club in to liquidation in 2015. Our holdings cover the Humberside Seahawks era (1988-1995). 

Unfortunately, there are no programmes from the days of Kingston Hawks and Hull Thunder, and just a handful of programmes are available for the Hull Stingrays for 2010. 

Hull Vikings speedway programme [Ref L DSHV]
Hull Vikings are said to have been the most successful sporting team to come out of the city in terms of awards, winning the Premier League treble, Knockout Cup and Play-off Shield in 2004. Originally starting as the Hull Angels in 1947, they became known as the Vikings from 1970. 

We hold one programme from Hull Speedway in 1949, with the rest covering 1970-1981 and 1995-2001.  

Auto Club 66 programmes from the grass track 
and Elvington in 1970 [Ref L.796.75(5)]
Surprisingly, we came across Auto Club 66 programmes covering 1970-81. The club was formed by a group of enthusiasts in 1966 (hence the name) and in 1968 the club ran its first grass track. In 1970 the club gained use of Elvington Airfield, near York and later Carnaby Raceway at Bridlington. 

Today the club is based in Scarborough and consists of motorcycle race meetings at Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount and Cadwell Park circuit, Lincolnshire. 

Our holdings of speedway programmes can be searched using the online catalogue at L DSHV] with the library card catalogue listing holdings for Ice-Hockey at L.796.962(5), and Auto 66 Club at L.796.75(5). If you have any programmes you no longer want, please consider us.

If you missed the previous parts of this three part series - see Part 1 - Rugby and Part 2 - Football.

Neil Chadwick
Reader Assistant

Friday, 12 August 2016

Sporting programmes Part 2: Football

There are a small number of Hull City AFC programmes [L DSHC] from 1912-1968, featuring club greats like Raich Carter and Ken Wagstaff. Programmes, however, mostly date from 1970 when the club played in football’s lower leagues. For example, the club faced relegation to the old Third Division in 1995/96 season, and things went from bad to worse with the club once again looking at relegation, this time from the Football League during 1998/1999 season, which has since been described as the ‘Great Escape’ when the club was steered to safety by the then player-manager, Warren Joyce. New ownership and a move to the new KC Stadium brought about the clubs revival. Back-to-back promotions took the club in to the second tier of English football before their play-off victory at Wembley in 2008, which saw promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history. We hold programmes for Hull City AFC’s first two seasons in the Premier League, 2008/09 - 2009/10.
Hull City match programmes for the 1971/72, 1998/99 & 2009/10 seasons [Ref L DSHC]

North Ferriby Utd match programme from
2009/10 season [Ref L.796.334]
Another of the areas well known football clubs is North Ferriby United. Formed in 1934 the club has enjoyed success over the years. For example, they took part in the East Riding Church League and winning the Division One title in 1938, while in 1982 they reached the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup before losing away to Boston United. 

More recent years have been the clubs most successful, most notably with promotion to the Northern Premier League in 2005 and in 2013 with promotion to the Conference North. However, the clubs biggest trophy came on the 29 March 2015 when they beat Wrexham FC of the Conference Premier at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately we don’t have a copy of the programme for this match in our collections, if anyone would like to donate one, please contact us. Our holdings of official match programmes do not start until 1989, but the clubs most successful period from the 2000s is largely complete and gives insight in to one of the areas most successful and well-known semi-professional clubs. 

Programmes for Hall Road Rangers also feature. Originally set up in 1959 as a youth club for the Sunday league football, the club today plays in Northern Counties East League Division One. Match programmes cover 1994-2012.

Our holdings of Hull City match day programmes [L DSHC] can be found on our online catalogue, with other football match day programmes, including North Ferriby United, to be added to the catalogue soon. 

If you missed the first part of this three part series - see Part 1 - Rugby

Neil Chadwick
Reader Assistant

Friday, 5 August 2016

Sporting programmes Part 1: Rugby

Two of the ten shelves holding our official sporting
programmes, together with customized boxes
Closure week in November 2015 gave us the chance to re-box and move our official sports programmes in to one series, making them easier to retrieve for public viewing. 

It also gave us the opportunity to take stock and review our holdings, especially on the back of the success of our Rugby League exhibition in 2013 during which we received donations of match programmes for both Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers.

Although not complete our official sporting programmes give an insight in to a clubs history. Useful if you are researching a club at given point in history or a particular game. You may, however, simply wish to reminisce. 

Unsurprisingly, a large part of the collection is made up of rugby league programmes. Programmes for Hull FC [L DSHFC] and Hull Kingston Rovers [L DSKR] date from 1960 onwards. The 1980’s were arguably Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers most successful period, when between them, they won the 1982/83, 1983/84 and 1984/85 championships, and not forgetting the 1980 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. The decline of both clubs during the 1990s is also covered, including the ill-fated Hull Sharks venture and Hull KR’s relegation to Division Three, before revival and the Super League era.

Selection of programmes for Hull Kingston Rovers & Hull FC
covering the 1980s [Ref L DSKR & L DSHFC]

It’s not just Hull’s professional rugby league clubs that feature among our rugby programmes. Being a rugby town, a small number of local amateur clubs feature. However, these are less in number, mainly because fewer were produced compared with professional clubs. Among the collection is East Hull RUFC with two programmes for the 1965-66 & 1966/67 seasons. However, it is rugby league programmes that feature more prominently among the collection. A small number of programmes are held for Hull Dockers, West Hull, Ideal Isberg, Cottingham Tigers and Hull Phoenix covering the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Although limited in number they do provide a snap shot of amateur rugby league in the city in the last decade of the twentieth and first few years of the twenty first centuries.

A full list of official programmes for Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers can be found on our online catalogue. Other rugby match day programmes will be added to the catalogue soon.

Neil Chadwick
Reader Assistant