Historic Day as Hull History Centre opens to the
25th January 2010
After months of anticipation, the new, purpose-built Hull
History Centre has opened to the public.
To mark the first day of operations, the Lord Mayor of Hull and
the Vice-Chancellor of the University handed over two significant
items from the archives - the 1299 Royal Charter which marks the birth of Hull
as a strategic port and Philip Larkin's second work book containing
his pencil-written poems from March 1950 to September 1951.
Thanks to a generous £7.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund
(HLF), Hull is the first city in the UK to bring together its city
and university archives, local studies resources and specialist
staff into one building - a welcoming, spacious environment that
will transform the way local people access and view the
collections, with hi-tech storage to preserve items for future
The £7.7m contribution is the largest grant that Hull has
received from the HLF to date, and one of the largest amounts given
to any archive project in England.
The Hull History Centre is a fitting home for the 9,000 metres
of archives which include the most extensive range of WW2 records
nationally, the personal letters of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson,
archives relating to anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce,
the pressure group Liberty and a wealth of local history and
This one-stop shop offers longer opening hours, more and better
space to view and use archive material, a separate space for school
and community groups, the same quiet search-room, 12 public-access PCs,
how-to workshops, guided behind-the-scenes tours, advice sessions
from local family history groups, and a programme of public events.
There is also a fully equipped conservation studio so that fragile
items will survive for use by future generations.
Later in the year, the centre's arcade will include a cafe
serving hot and cold drinks and snacks, and displays offering tips
on how to start exploring the resources - whether for local
history, family history or just curiosity.
The Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull and the Admiral of the
Humber, Councillor Karen Woods said: "The idea for the Hull History
Centre came about 10 years ago and it's taken foresight and hard
work from both partners to reach this milestone - the day the
centre opens to the public. Local people cannot have failed to
notice this impressive building taking shape and we hope they will
be equally impressed when they get inside.
"Hi-tech but welcoming, the centre will transform the way people
use and view the collections. It's a place for everyone and we hope
it will encourage people who haven't used the archives before to
come inside, browse and even make some discoveries of their
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull, Professor Calie
Pistorius said: "The University is proud to be the custodian of
such nationally important archives as that of Philip Larkin, our
former librarian and renowned poet. We are delighted that we are
now sharing such an impressive and important building, where we can
help take of our precious archives for generations to come.
"As well as giving our archives the best environment to be
stored safely, the History Centre will also make archive material
much more accessible to the public and hopefully engage more people
with their and the city's past."
Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and
Humber, said: "It's wonderful that Hull's treasure trove of an
archive has moved into a new home and is now opening its doors to
the public. The Heritage Lottery Fund is proud to have helped make
this relocation possible and we congratulate both Hull City Council
and the University of Hull for undertaking this ambitious
"The History Centre will be a huge asset to the city, enabling
visitors to view important documents including the city's Royal
Charter and to learn more about famous local residents such as
William Wilberforce, Amy Johnson and Philip Larkin."