The signs are good for Hull's new history centre

14th October 2009

If you’ve been wondering what the impressive new building between Worship St and Freetown Way is, then ponder no more. With its illuminated 3.9-metre signs now fitted to the outside, there’s no mistaking that the city’s newest landmark is the state-of-the-art Hull History Centre.

View of the History Centre sign

It’s all part of a ground-breaking partnership between Hull City Council and the University of Hull, made possible by a generous grant of £7.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund - the largest that Hull has ever received.

The centre will bring together material held by the City Archives and Local Studies Library with the University of Hull archives, and those behind the project can today announce it will be fully open to the public from 25 January next year.

These three archive services are currently closed while staff are busy working behind the scenes to ensure the vast collections are ready for the move.

Martin Taylor: “This project has been a major undertaking for everyone involved so seeing the signs go up is wonderful. It has brought the building to life and given it its identity. We are looking forward to opening to the public early next year and thank people for their patience. Not only does this building need to be right, but the environmental conditions within the building have to be perfect to ensure the precious and irreplaceable documents it will hold are preserved for generations to come.”

Hull History Centre will be the first time in the UK that city and university archives, and their specialist staff, have been brought together as a joint service under one roof. Other local authorities are now looking at the centre as a possible role model for transforming their own services.

Judy Burg, University Archivist, said: “This project developed from a desire, shared by the University and City Council, to encourage and enable many more people to explore the archives and local studies resources of Hull in many different ways. 

“The architects responded wonderfully to this vision by designing a building which is striking, enticing and welcoming. As well as giving the building a strong identity, we hope the symbol of the tree also signifies that the Centre and the heritage it houses, belongs to all.”

Contractors ISG are building the iconic new centre, which features a striking covered walkway with curved beams, which will be used for exhibitions.

A spokesman for ISG said: “ISG is proud to be working on the Hull History Centre, delivering a high quality and regionally important resource that will provide a long-lasting legacy for the city of Hull. ISG is renowned for the quality of its building solutions and working closely with Hull City Council, we have invested the right amount of time to achieve an outstanding finish for this important facility.

“Issues relating to rigorous site investigations for unexploded WWII ordnance which took longer than anticipated, and difficult weather conditions have also at times hampered progress. ISG has been keen to ensure that all aspects of the construction have been of the highest quality and has worked with the council to deliver the new History Centre in an agreed timeframe.”