Centre achieves historic target

HULL History Centre has reached its first visitor target more than two years ahead of schedule.

The 10.7m archive in Worship Street has welcomed 30,000 people through its doors since opening on January 25 – a target managers initially hoped to reach by the end of 2012.

The 30,000th visitor, Christine Carr from Skirlaugh, who was researching her family history, was presented with a souvenir paperweight by the Lord Mayor of Hull, Councillor David Gemmell.

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He said: "The number of visits to the history centre demonstrates the scale of interest in culture and local history in Hull.

"Research shows that families visiting the centre for events spend an average of 20 per visit in the city, which demonstrates the benefits of heritage and culture to Hull's economy and therefore local employment."

The centre is believed to be the first in the UK to house the archives of a city and its university under one roof.

Its oldest document is an 11th-century deed confirming an exchange of land in Bayeux, France.

Other significant records and documents include Hull's Royal Charter, giving the town its autonomy in 1299. Written in Latin by a chancery clerk in Westminster, the single parchment carries the Royal Seal of Edward I and marks Hull's emergence as a nationally important port.

It grants certain rights and privileges of self-government, including the right to hold court cases, raise revenue, set bylaws and hold markets.

Altogether, there are 9,000 metres of archives – including the UK's most extensive range of World War Two records, the personal letters of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson, archives relating to anti-slavery campaigner and city MP William Wilberforce, and the pressure group Liberty.