Hull History Centre is home to thousands of images, illustrations and photographs. Our local collections provide a fascinating snapshot into Hull’s past and its people, while some of our more wide-ranging collections contain images illustrating subjects from country house parties to the 1984 miners’ strike.
Renton Heathcote Collection
The Renton Heathcote Collection (L RH) provides a unique window into Hull during the early years of the 20th century, when the area was untouched by the devastation of the Second World War and much of the later development we see today.
Local Studies Illustrations Collection
This comprises of a vast array of sketches, images and photographs from the seventeenth century, relating to Hull and the surrounding area. This includes for example, people, places, businesses, societies, activities and events.
Health Department photographs
These photographs are a series of over 1,700 images taken by the Hull Health Department. They show housing, which had existed for centuries, marked for demolition. In some cases the houses were already vacant, in other cases they were still occupied. Find out more on the Health Department photographs page.
Claude William Jamson was a photographer working in the 1920s. The Jamson Collection (U DX336) contains over 1100 images, mainly taken in Hull and the East Riding but also representing Lincolnshire and the rest of Yorkshire. His photographs of streets and landscapes give a vivid picture of the area, from the coastal resorts of Mablethorpe, Bridlington and Hornsea, to the towns of Selby and South Elmsall in the West Riding.
See our online exhibit of photographs of Hull taken from the Jamson Collection.
Philip Larkin photographs
Philip Larkin was a keen amateur photographer, and this collection (U DLV) contains many of his photos. It includes framed photographs (mostly of Larkin's family), photograph albums, wallets of developed prints and negatives, and professional photographs of Larkin (taken for press and publicity purposes).
Georgian Society for East Yorkshire
The Records of the Georgian Society for East Yorkshire (U DGS) include a series of over 700 photographs of properties and area with which the Society was involved. These include Beverley Minster; Burton Constable Hall; Dalton Hall; Everingham Park; Holy Trinity Church, Hull (now Hull Minster); Wilberforce House, Hull; Sledmere House; and Cave Castle, South Cave.
How can I search these collections?
In many cases these series of images, illustrations and photographs can be searched using the History Centre online catalogue. Try searching for keywords such as “photograph”, “illustration” or “postcard”.
We are working to make our collections more discoverable through our online catalogue. However, some can only be found by using the Information Indexes in the library at the History Centre. These indexes are useful for searching more widely for images of Hull and the surrounding area. If you have a query about searching the indexes, please contact us.
Additional images have been published or reproduced in a vast number of books and newspapers which are available to access in the library area.
A selection of the Health Department photographs have been published in three volumes in the Forgotten Hull series [Ref L.779].
Also available in the library area are Hull Museums' Images of Victorian Hull [Ref L.9.7083], published in three volumes. These sketches are by the Hull artist F. S. Smith who travelled around Hull in the Victorian era, sketching parts of the town and buildings which have long since disappeared or altered dramatically.
The library also has copies of Hull Then and Now, Vols. 1-5 [Ref L.9.7]. This series of books includes photographs and illustrations of Hull from the 19th century, while also showing how it looks today. These volumes cover various areas of the city, including areas in the east and west of the city, as well as shops and people.
All of these books are available to browse in the library area and can be borrowed using a Hull Libraries card.