Literature, drama and music

The History Centre holds a wealth of material relating to modern literature, drama and music.

Literature and drama material
Hull’s incredible literary and dramatic background is well represented at the History Centre. Significant collections are held for individuals including Philip Larkin [U DPL, U DLN], Alan Plater [U DPR], John Godber [U DJG], Stephen Gallagher [U DGA], Howard Sergeant [U DSG], Archie Markham [U DAM], Anthony Minghella [U DTM], John Godber [U DJG], Winifred Holtby [L WH] and Andrew Marvell [L.920 MAR].

In addition to these individuals, the city has also been home to a number of literary and dramatic clubs and societies. The existence of such groups is documented in the records of the Hull Literary Club [C DSLIT], the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society [C DSL], the Hull Subscription Library [U DSL], and the Phoenix Players [C DIC].

Miscellaneous survivals of records relating to such groups can also be found within miscellaneous and individual deposits catalogued under the reference U DX, C DMX and bearing the prefix C DI*.

As well as the famous figures and formal societies literary and dramatic themes are also represented in collections relating to theatres such as the Hull Little and New Theatres [C DFBN, U DP, U DPN] and theatre companies such as the Out of Joint Theatre Company [U DOJ].

Our holdings also contain numerous references to literary and dramatic themes in school and ecclesiastical collections and the papers of families, individuals and academics which can be searched for using index terms such as ‘Theatre’, ‘Drama’, ‘Dramatic’, ‘Literary’, ‘Literature’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Poet’, etc.

Music material
When the Humber Bridge opened in 1981 the city celebrated with festival of music showcasing a specially commissioned suite [U DX/362] following a tradition of annual grand music festivals that had been held in the city for two centuries [L.780.79]. The current City Hall has provided a venue for the many musical societies of Hull since its construction in 1910. Organisations such as the Hull Choral Union [C DSHS], the Hull Philharmonic Society [C DSPH], the Hull Junior Philharmonic Orchestra [C DSPJ], the Hull Lydian Male Voice Choir [C DSLM], the Albion Ladies Musical Society [C DSAL], the Hull Musical Union [L DSMU], and the Hull School of Music [C DMM/13] have brought music to the city and whilst nurturing musical talent in the area.

As well as music societies Hull has been home to businesses such as Gough & Davy, piano and music dealers, and Forster and Andrews, organ builders [L DBFA]. Foster and Andrews in conjunction with the consultant Rev'd Canon F.G. Hunter [C DBGH] were responsible for the construction of a new organ when the City Hall was refurbished after WWII.

Hull has been home to many musicians and musical patrons including the 20th century composer Robert Marchant [U DRM], Philip Chignell the Chorister of St Georges Chapel who sang at a wedding and funeral of Queen Victoria’s children [C DIML], the conductor and musical director Frank Noble Wood [U DX/45], and J. Redwood Anderson, President of the Hull Chamber Music Society [U DX/80]. Hull is also the birth place of the politician Thomas Perronet Thompson, whose love of music led him to design an enharmonic organ that featured in the opening of the Grand Exhibition in 1851 [U DTH], and the noted poet Philip Larkin, who in addition to his literary pursuits is also known for his musical interests [U DPL].

The History Centre also holds a wealth of related collections including records of the licensing of music venues [C DPM/25] and the opening of the Albion Street Commercial, Technical and Music Library [C SRL/E/110]. Research files are also held on many local musicians [L.780s], as are records documenting the musical activities of various non-conformist church congregations including the Fish Street Congregational Church Choir [L DCFS].