“Art indeed is long, but life is short.” 300 years of Hull’s cultural history.

Posted on 24 May 2017

The exhibition is located within four cases on the ground floor of the Fairhurst Building (University of York Library) and will be on display until the end June 2017.

Choosing a theme for an exhibition is always fun as the collections at the University of York Library are so varied and broad. For our latest display of books Library staff have decided to expose the local history collections a bit more. We wanted to use the Raymond Burton Yorkshire collection, a wonderful selection of books and ephemera, and as our focus we chose Hull, this year's UK City of Culture. We have some wonderful books and images that reflect Hull’s cultural heritage over the last 300 years. We felt that while people would expect us to have books on York’s history they might not realise the Raymond Burton collection covers all aspects of Yorkshire life. The collection includes books about such diverse subjects as the county’s involvement in the British Civil Wars, the history of spring water in Harrogate, early writings on Dick Turpin and ephemera such as playbills, trade catalogues and chapbooks.

The current display focuses on four areas: the history of Hull, theatre, poetry and entertainment. The selection of print books show Hull’s pivotal place in the start of the British Civil War, evidence of William Wilberforce’s work for the abolition of the slave trade and the forms of entertainment that were available from circuses to the cinema. Staff were amazed to discover how many of our best poets have connections with Hull, from Andrew Marvell to Andrew Motion via Stevie Smith and Philip Larkin. The Poetry Society Library, part of the Library collection, was a good place to find works by all the poets we needed.

As always the items on display are only a small number of the books the Library holds. Just use “Hull” as a searchterm in the Library catalogue to see what else we have on the city, or pay a visit to the Poetry Society Library (nearly 11,000 volumes housed on the second floor at the end of the literature section of the University Library). Some of the books on display are part of the Rare Books collection and, after the exhibition finishes, can be viewed in the Borthwick searchroom.

The exhibition is located within four cases on the ground floor of the Fairhurst Building (University of York Library) and will be on display until the end June 2017. The Library is accessible to anyone, although you will need to get a day pass from Library reception if you are not a University of York Library card holder.