Mission to Seafarers archive arrives

A new collection had been deposited with the Hull University Archives at the Hull History Centre.

The Mission to Seafarers archive includes photographs, film footage, magazines and paper records and reports, dating back to the 1800s, and documents the difficult and often dangerous lives of seafarers.

The Mission to Seafarers was originally founded in 1856 as the Mission to Seamen. The society has dealt with issues such as welfare, justice and safety, the effects of two World Wars, economic shifts, industrialisation, and the physical and social isolation affecting seafarers around the world.Archivist with Mission to Seafarers material at Hull History Centre

Because of the long and relatively complete runs of documents, the archive is particularly useful for people researching geography, citizenship and cultural studies, as well as history. Because the collection has arrived only recently, it is as yet uncatalogued. Teams of volunteers and staff have been working on documenting the collection, so stay tuned in for announcements over the next few months about what the collection contains, and when it will become more accessible.

The accession of this significant collection has also been featured in the local press:

Hull University press release

Yorkshire Post, 23 Dec 2010

BBC Humberside, 21 Dec 2010 

Assistant Archivist Michael Ewen was also interviewed on Phil White's show on Radio Humberside on 21 Dec 2010, currently available to Listen Again (1hr 5mins in)

The University of Hull Archives are a specialist repository for papers of maritime organisations. Judy Burg, University archivist, said: “Once these archives are catalogued and available to researchers they will provide a wealth of information relating to the lives of seafarers across the world during the past 150 years.

“This archive complements other fishing and maritime material we have at the History Centre, and is itself of local, national and international importance.

“As well as supporting high-quality research undertaken at the University’s Maritime Historical Studies Centre, they represent a heritage in which the residents of Hull should have great pride.”

The new deposit adds to Mission to Seafarers material which is already held at the History Centre under reference U DMS. More details are available on our online catalogue.

The archives include:

  • Reports from chaplains and Mission staff working in ports around the world from 1940 onwards
  • Files relating to Chaplains working for the Mission since 1900
  • Minutes, reports and correspondence relating to the work of the Mission from its foundation in 1856 to the present day
  • Records relating to the Thames Church Mission Society from 1844 to 1904
  • Magazines such as The Church and the Sailor, The Flying Angel
  • Photographs and film footage