Health Department Photographs



Admin History:

The glass plates were acquired by Hull Central Library in early 1965 when the Kingston upon Hull Corporation Health Department vacated their offices in Alfred Gelder Street ahead of the demolition of the old Queens Hall.

The plates, which were found in cupboards, boxes and loose around the Department were saved from destruction and transferred to Hull's Central Library. Anything not too badly damaged by dirt and damp was retained and on examination they proved to have been taken on the whole by a photographer who had worked for the Health Department, but also for the Police and Town Planning Department. The glass plates therefore provide a valuable record of work undertaken by all three departments.

No attempt was made to identify the locations in the pictures until 1980 when Bill Marsden was commissioned to make a full set of prints from the original glass plates, but it wasn't until 1992 when the task was taken on by Sheila Dixon that an outline index was produced. In July 1997 Graham Wilkinson and Allan Pearce were able to build on Sheila's work by using sources not available to Sheila at the time of her research. This index, listed alphabetically by street is available in the library area to browse.

Many of these images have been published in the Forgotten Hull Series of books which can be found at the History Centre under class number L779.


Much of the property shown in the photographs dates from the beginning of the 19th century and some of it, especially in the Old Town, even earlier. The photographs themselves date from the 1880s to the 1930s.

The main part of the collection consists of photographs of 18th and 19th century working class housing ordered to be improved or demolished under the various Housing of the Working Classess Acts. This makes the collection an important source for the study of streets, courts and terraces of Hull which were subsequently demolished.

The collection also contains photographs of services such as early school clinics, and domicilary welfare services.

These Health Department images were formerly at reference L followed by the image number. They are now under the reference L THP. The image number reamains unchanged.

Although not included in the description, L THP/1681-1689 show damage sustained to trawlers in Hull's St. Andrew's Dock, including what appears to look like bullet, shell and shrapnel damage. These images may therefore show the aftermath of the Dogger Bank Incident, also referred to as the Russain Outrage, when the Baltic Fleet of the Imperial Russian Navy mistook a British trawler fleet from Hull in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea for Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo boats and fired on them.

Please note that we are unable to provide access to glass plate negatives and print copies will be produced. In instances were there is no print, a digital copy will be available to view. Please speak to a member of staff for more details.