Georgian Society for East Yorkshire

Background to the Collection

The Georgian Society for East Yorkshire was founded in 1937 by Rupert Alec-Smith, with the aim of compiling a list of Georgian buildings in the area and working to preserve them. Early members of the Society included the young Bridlington architect Francis Johnson, Basil Reckitt of Reckitt and Colman, Lord Middleton (who served as the society's first patron), A.S. Harvey, Joseph Hirst, Lt Col John Dunnington-Jefferson, Sir Servington Savery MP, and James Downs.

In the 1930s, Georgian villas and country houses were being left empty or converted into flats due to the high costs of maintaining and running them, while Georgian buildings in cities such as Hull were being redeveloped into offices or simply suffering from neglect. The Society campaigned to preserve the character of such buildings, which included Maister House and Trinity House Almshouses.

The Second World War interrupted the Society's activities to some extent, but in the post-war period it campaigned to save war-damaged buildings and country houses. The 1960s and 1970s saw the Society take on town planners to preserve historic areas, and contribute to the rise in conservation areas.

The Society continues to exist and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012.

What is in the collection?

The collection (reference U DGS) includes files documenting society campaigns and projects around individual buildings and areas of architectural and historical significance to the Georgian period. These files generally include correspondence, photographs, plans, press cuttings and reports.

There are also separate series of photographs, negatives, slides, plans, drawings and maps also relating to the society’s campaigns and projects. The photographs depict interior and exterior views of individual properties, whilst the plans provide information as to building layout. The files provide contextual information about specific buildings and document the society’s opinions and activities.

What areas of research would the collection support?

You can use the records to undertake research into Georgian period buildings in Hull and East Riding, threats to them and efforts to preserve and conserve them during the 20th century. The collection can also aid research into alterations to and works undertaken on these buildings during the same period. More generally the records can help you explore Georgian period listed buildings in Hull and the East Riding.

Are there any access issues?

All items in this collection are available to researchers in the searchroom.

Is there any related material?

The History Centre also holds the papers of Rupert Alec-Smith (ref U DAS), founder of the Georgian Society.