Popular history centre marks second anniversary

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Hull History Centre is celebrating its second anniversary having notched up more than 75,000 visitors since its opening.

The award-winning centre, which brings together the city archives, local studies library and Hull University’s collections of archives, opened to the public on January 25 2010.

Between them, the city and university archives hold 3.7 to 4.35 miles of records dating back to the 11th century.

More modern documents include those of the poet Philip Larkin and the private papers of Hull East MP John Prescott – although they are embargoed for the next 30 years.

In the last two years more than 240 deposits have been handed in, ranging from individual items to large collections. They include a record of the memories of children growing up in Hull in the Blitz and a collection of photographs of a female comedy duo who were the French and Saunders of their day.

A major project being undertaken this year will see the city’s wartime archives, which survived the war in a vault at the Guildhall, catalogued and prepared for public viewing for the first time.

City archivist Martin Taylor said: “Family history is always popular but that only accounts for 60 per cent of our users - the rest cover a wide variety of users, local historians, vehicle historians, a whole range of people who come from all over the country and the wider East Riding, and overseas. Over the long term we are confident that our prediction of usership (30,000 visitors a year) will continue.”

The centre has won awards from bodies including the National Archives and the Civic Trust.