Maritime - Official Records

Classed as ‘Public Records’, many of the collections created in government departments and selected for permanent preservation have now been deposited in places which ensure the records will be of local interest. Hull History Centre therefore houses collections which are both of local interest and national importance.


These include collections such as C DPD - Records of Associated British Ports and its predecessor bodies (1776-c1970), which gives a broad survey of the history of the economic, commercial and archaeological development of the Port of Hull and elements of that of the wider Humber estuary.

Recording details of vessels and their ownership from 1804 onwards, Shipping registers at C DPC 1804-1994 cast light on the transition from sail to steam and indicate how and when ships were converted for use during the two World Wars.

Hull has a rich fishing and maritime past and many seamen have passed through the port of Hull during its long history. The Hull History Centre holds 25,500 fishing vessel crew agreements for fishing vessels operating out of Hull between 1884-1914 at C DPF.

In addition, the Centre holds the  Records of the Water Bailiffs 1569-1874, at C WB. The Water Bailiffs were officers appointed by the corporation (borough council) of Hull to collect various dues on shipping owed to it as owner of the Old Harbour – the mouth of the River Hull which served as the port from the Middle Ages until the opening of the first enclosed dock by the Hull Dock Company in 1778.

Complementing the records at C WB, we hold the Customs Bills of Entry covering the period 1832-1971 (incomplete). They are the customs records for ships entering the port of Hull.

The Hull Port Sanitary Authority was established in 1873 to oversee health and sanitary conditions of the vessels using the port, their crews and passengers. These records at C WHG cover the years 1873-1991.

The right to exercise admiralty authority in the Humber was granted to the Borough of Hull by letters patent in 1447 by King Henry VI. The records of the court set up to administer this right are held at C JA Records of the Hull Court of Admiralty 1565-1675.


Information about records of welfare organisations, fishing and associated records, records of shipping companies, collections relating to the whaling industry and details of useful websites are also available.