The online catalogue contains information and descriptions of over 330,000 catalogued items held at the Hull History Centre by the Hull City Archives, Hull Local Studies Library and Hull University Archives. It does not include images of the original documents.

Not all of our collections are catalogued. New material is received on a regular basis and these collections require sorting, cataloguing, numbering and reboxing before they can become available for researchers to use. If you are interested in accessing an uncatalogued collection, please contact our Enquiry Team at


The online catalogue is searchable by keyword. It is then possible to filter your results by format type (e.g. archive item, book), by date or by repository.

Using Advanced Search allows you to combine keywords (use 'All Fields') with other search terms and attributes including book title, author, subject, reference number, format and date range. Other useful search tips can be found on the Advanced Search page.

If your initial search returns no hits, it is often a good idea to try alternative spellings or other variations. For example, if you are interested in the First World War, you could try "WW1", "First World War", "Great War" or searching for "war" with the date range 1914 to 1918. To limit your search to particular phrases you will need to put your keyword(s) in speech marks.

The interface

What do the icons mean?

There are a number of icons designed to make it easier for researchers to distinguish between different types of material, for example:

Archive collection

If you are looking for a map, use "map" as a search term and restrict format type to 'archive item'.

What is an archive collection?

An archive collection is a group of archive items. Collections can range in size from a few items to thousands of individual records. Collections are usually created by and acquired from a single source.

Each archive collection listed on the online catalogue has a description of the collection's historical context and an overview of its contents. Restricting a search to 'archive collection' can be a useful and effective way to make an initial identification of collections relevant to a particular topic or subject.

Book covers

Book cover images have been added for items that have an ISBN. Images are not available for titles which pre-date ISBN (introduced in the late 1960s). Please note that the book cover on the online catalogue may not always match the book in our collections owing to some titles having reprints and multiple editions.

Date slider

The date slider gives a visual representation of search results that match a specified date range.

To restrict your search to a single year, enter the same date in both boxes and select 'Limit'. Please note that many archival items do not have a date, nor can one be reasonably estimated, which is why underneath the date 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 divided into sections, known as series and sub-series. 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 collection catalogue.

Research and Enquiries

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

Yes. When you conduct a search and look at an archive item description, you will see an 'Access' tab on the left hand side. The 'Access' tab highlights items where access is restricted owing to format, fragility or because it is subject to closure under data protection legislation. Please see our closure guidlines for further information.

Can somebody check a document for me?

If you are unable to visit the Hull History Centre to conduct your own research, History Centre staff may be able to undertake research on your behalf for a fee. Please see our Research Service page for further information.

Can I order online?

You cannot order items directly from the catalogue to view in our Searchroom. To order items in advance of a visit so that they are ready for you to view upon your arrival at the Hull History Centre, please call us on 01482 317500 or email It is possible to order up to 6 items in advance and we ask that you give us at least 36 hours notice.

Please see our website for further information about our Searchroom policies and procedures.

Can I order photocopies of items I have found descriptions for on the online catalogue?

The Hull History Centre is happy to provide copies of documents in its care wherever possible. However, most of the documents are unique and irreplaceable and we will not photocopy an item if we feel the copying process could cause damage. In these cases, we may be able to provide digital images instead. Researchers are also able to bring their own camera into the Searchroom to take photographs.

Please see our Copying Service and fees and charges pages for further information.

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

Most publishers and academic institutions have specific guidelines on how material should be cited. As a general guide, we ask that references include the item title, the item reference number and Hull History Centre, for example:

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

University of Hull students can use the referencing guide available on the Archives LibGuides site.

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