Detail from 1553 Queen Mary Charter (ref C-BRC.22)

Apprenticeship Records

An apprenticeship was (and is) a private matter between the apprentice and his/her family on the one hand and the employer/master on the other. In normal circumstances the records remain with the parties concerned and it is only under special circumstances that substantial groups of records (as opposed to isolated examples found among family papers) come into being.

Persons bound apprentice to freemen (C BRG)

One of the ways of becoming a freeman of Hull and gaining access to the parliamentary and local franchises (until 1832) and certain commercial advantages was by serving an apprenticeship with a freeman. Registers of such apprentices exist from 1651 to 1886, although very few were registered after the freemen lost their special privileges in the 1830s.

These records, which are held at reference C BRG/6-C BRG/13, have been transcribed and are now searchable by name via the online catalogue (enter surname in All Fields and CBRG in the Reference No on the advanced search page). Details include the name of the apprentice; the name of their parents and their occupation and in some cases abode; name, occupation and abode of the master; and names of the witnesses to the indenture.

Registers of persons bound apprentices to seamen

Registers cover 1727-1788 (C BRG/7) and 1793-1821 (C BRE/4)

Indentures cancelled or discharged by the magistrates, 1813-21 (C CPA)

Ferries Charity for Apprenticing

These records relate exclusively to cases where the apprenticeship was sponsored by the charity by virtue of the applicant’s poverty.

Indentures 1631-3, 1769-1818 are held at C WF/63-83 and 1835-42, 1894-1936 at C DMC/5/79.

Papers relating to apprentices and applications for apprenticeships, c.1851-1962 can be found at C DMC/5/80-103.

Poor Law Apprentices

Indentures of persons bound apprentice at the expense of the Poor Law Authorities 1599-1704 can be found at reference number C BRK/3/10.

Records held elsewhere

Registers of stamp duty paid on indentures from 1710-1811 are held at The National Archives. Further details and some useful general comments on apprenticeship may be found in their research guide, Apprentices and masters.