The History Centre catalog contains information and descriptions to over 330,000 items in the collections, but it does not include images of the documents themselves. Unfortunately not all of our collections have been catalogd. New material is received on a regular basis and this needs to be sorted, catalogd, numbered and re-boxed before it becomes available for use.

We are also retrospectively converting the old typescript lists we have. Please check our recently catalogd page for details of new collections as they are added to our catalog.

Information about many of the un-catalogd collections held within the University Archives is included in the catalog even though the archive is currently not accessible. Please check the availability of the material before making a visit to view a particular collection.


Our new catalog allows you to limit your search results by applying filters – by format type (eg an archive item or a book), by date or by repository.

If your search returns no hits, try using alternative spellings or other variations, eg for WW1 you could try ‘great war’, ‘first world war’, or ‘war’ where date is 1914-1918.

You don’t need to use the wildcard * to truncate a search as the system automatically does this. To search for a particular phrase please use apostrophes – eg ‘phrase’

Why do I get more results than I did on the old catalog?

We have improved the visibility of the Local Studies book collections so you can find it all from a single search rather than searching the History Centre catalog and then the City Council library catalog to find material relevant to your enquiry.

The new interface

This latest version of the catalog is designed to make it easier to restrict aspects of your search using features found in many online retailers. Please see our about page for further details.

What do the icons mean?

We have used a number of icons to make it easier to distinguish between different types of material we hold, for example:

Archive collection

If you are looking for a map in the archives use map as a search term and restrict format type to archive item.

What is an archive collection?

For each archive collection we hold we produce an overview describing the collection, its creator and a broad overview of its contents. Restricting a search to archive collection only is a very effective way to identify collections that we hold that are relevant to a particular topic or subject – eg slavery.

Using the filters

When you conduct a search you are now presented with a number of options on the left-hand side. These options allow you to filter the results by format type, by date or by repository. Some aspects like the subject and author elements only relate to the Local Studies items in the History Centre to may not appear if you are searching for archive items only. If you wish to remove a filter – simply select the black cross above the filter details.

Book covers

Book cover images have been added for items that have an ISBN, though many of the local studies titles pre-date this system (introduced in the late 1960s). Please note that the exact book cover may not always match the image due to re-prints and multiple editions of a title.

Date slider

The date slider gives a visual representation of the material that matches the date range.

To restrict your search to a single year – please enter the same date in both of the boxes and select ‘Limit’. Don’t forget that many archival items do not have a date, nor can one be reasonably estimated – this is why underneath the data slider there are entries marked unknown.

Can I browse the breadcrumb trail to navigate up/down a collection?

Many of the large archive collections are sub-divided into sections. You can use the breadcrumb trail (the series of links that can be found at the top of the page) to navigate through the various sections of the catalog.


Can I check if an item is available before I visit the Centre?

Yes you can – when you conduct a search and look at a specific item the “availability box” appears on the top right hand side of the screen.

For items from the Local Studies library you can now select the link Check if this item can be borrowed to see whether loan copies of that title are available at the History Centre (or another library across Hull) or whether the title can only be viewed in the searchroom.

For archive items the “availability box” will highlight items where access is restricted either because the item is too fragile to handle, or subject to closure due to data protection. Please see our closure guidelines for further information.

Can somebody check a document for me?

If you are unable to visit the History Centre to carry out your own research, staff at the Centre can undertake research on your behalf for a fee – please see details of our enquiry service for further information.

Can I order online?

You cannot order items directly from the catalog – but you can request upto 5 items in advance – call us on 01482 317500 or email please give us at least 36 hours notice. Please see our notes on planning your visit including the ID required and the use of digital cameras in the searchroom.

How do I order photocopies of items I have found on the catalog?

The Hull History Centre is happy to provide copies of documents and images in its care. However, most of the documents and images are unique and irreplaceable and we will not photocopy any item if we feel the copying process would damage it, especially for volumes. We do allow individuals to use their own camera or we can provide details of our digital image service – please see our fees and charges for further information.

How do I cite an item in the History Centre collections?

Most publishers and universities have specific guidelines on how material should be cited. We generally encourage references to give the title of the item, if relevant, then the item reference number and then Hull History Centre, for example:

‘South Riding’ map (Ref L WH/8/8.6/01a), Hull History Centre

University of Hull students might also be interested to read the referencing guide on the Archives LibGuide site.

Please contact us if you wish to feature an image from our collections in a publication.