The concept

Late 1990s – The Concept
The History Centre project began with a new vision for archives and local studies in Hull. The Hull Local History Liaison Group, a cross-domain and cross-sector group, was established, in the late 1990s. This followed an awareness that services and facilities for archives and local history within Hull were fragmented, leading to duplication of effort, inefficiencies and a lack of co-ordinated strategic direction. 

During 1999 the concept was developed of a new joint service provided by the City Council and the University in collaboration, bringing together the holdings and services currently divided between Hull City Archives, Hull Local Studies Library and Hull University Archives.

During 2000 and 2001 project work focussed on background research; consultation with staff, users, non-users, stakeholders across the city and region; assessments of space and functional requirements for a new service; investigation of possible funding streams; and evaluation of possible buildings and sites across the city. 

Model of the History Centre

A survey of users and the general public in Hull, carried out in November 2000 showed that 96% agreed with our proposals to merge the three services, that a central location was preferred and that they would use the merged repository joint more than they currently did. The clearest message from the survey was that a new building should provide a broad range of facilities and services.

A detailed set of criteria, based on the professional standards for storing archives (BS5454:2000) was produced to enable comparisons between possible buildings and sites. These criteria included location, proximity to potential hazards, internal physical environments, floor loadings and size. Location was of particular importance, given the aim of overcoming physical barriers to access to archives.