Business records

Since the granting of Hull’s charter in 1299 the economic success of the city has been founded on the strength of its local businesses enterprises. Whilst Hull’s maritime heritage is well known (and has been dealt with on our Martime Sources section of the website) the diversity of businesses that have existed in the city is less well known. Retailers, engineering and manufacturing companies, catering firms, architects, solicitors and accountants have come and gone over the centuries but all have contributed to the character of the city.

The History Centre holds a wide variety of collections of business records documenting the rich and varied economic history of the city. Many of these collections have been catalogued under the reference prefix of C DB*, although further records may also be found under the references C DI*, C DMX, and U DX.

Records relating to people involved in businesses also form part of our holdings. Notably this includes a large collection of apprenticeship agreements [C BRG]. Further records relating to individuals involved in local business might also be found by searching our online catalogue using an individual’s name. A key source for trying to track a business are the trade directories

Whilst many smaller collections are also held, the following represent some of our more extensive holdings:

Solicitors and Land Agents: 
Hebblethwaite & Son - land agents [C DBHT], Graham & Rosen Solicitors [C DDGR], Moss and Lowe Solicitors, later Sandersons [C DMSA], Stamp Jackson and Procter Solicitors [C DMS, U DSJ], John Henry Shepherd [U DDSH], John Lockwood [U DDJL], Crust, Todd and Mills [U DDCV].

Manufacturing and Engineering Companies:
Forster and Andrews, Organ Builders [L DBFA], Priestman Brothers Ltd Engineers [C DBPM, C DBSP], Rose, Downs and Thompson Ltd. Engineering and Plant Machinery Manufacturers [C DBR, U DX/201, U DX/249], Hull Hide Skin and Fat Company [C DBHS], Premier Oil, Cake Company Ltd [C DBPO], Needler’s Ltd Confectionary Manufacturers [U DNE, U DX/339], Kay and Backhouse Ltd Agricultural & Diary Engineers, Blundell, Spence & Company and Associated Companies Paint Manufacturers [C DBBS].

Comet Group Plc [C DBCO], Tealby & Co. Ltd Timber Merchants, Horsley Smith & Co. Ltd Timber Firm, King and Co. Ltd, Iron Mongers and Building Merchants [C DBKC], R. Field and Company, Cafe's and Groceries [C DBF], G.T. Earle Ltd. [C DBEL], Hessle Gas Company [C DBHG].

A Brown & Sons, Printers and Booksellers [C DBAB], Hull Printers Ltd [U DHP].

Insurance Companies:
Hull Exchange Co. Ltd [C DBHE], Sun Fire Offices Insurance [U DX/43], Kershaw & Sons Insurance Agents [C DBK], Hull and Eastern Counties Mutual Plate Glass Insurance Company Limited [C DBPG], Richards, Hibbert and Co, Incorporated Marine and General Insurance Brokers [C DISE].

Breweries and Public Houses:
Dart Hotel and the Old English Gentleman Public House, Hull [C DBTP], North Country Brewery Ltd formerly Hull Brewery of Silvester St, Hull [C DBNC].

Hodgson, Harris and Co. and successors [C DBHH], Downs Kidsons [C DBDK].

Blackmore, Sykes and Company [C DBB], Francis Johnson & Partners [U DFJ], Fisher, Hollingworth and Partners, formerly T. Brownlow Thompson and Fisher [C DBFH].