Explore the history of one of Yorkshire's most historic cities

The city of Kingston upon Hull has a good claim to be one of Yorkshire's most historic cities. Founded by the Cistercian monks of Meaux Abbey, the town was acquired in 1293 by Edward I who needed a military base. He changed the name from Wyke to Kingston upon Hull and set about building a planned, fortified town next to the River Hull. The town soon boasted two churches and Carmelite and Augustinian friaries and became an important trading port.

In the fourteenth century, licence was granted to build a ditch and walls around the town. Henry VIII increased the fortifications by the building of three defensive structures to the east of the River Hull. In the seventeenth century, Hull acquired an enormous new fortification to the west of the old town walls during the Civil War, and later in the century, the colossal Citadel was built to the east of the river.

Hull prospered as a trading port, and eventually also became a substantial manufacturing town, with industries including shipbuilding, founding, paint-making, and pharmaceutical and medical products. It was the home to Reckitt's and to Rank's mills, as well as a centre of tanning and a huge handler of imported timber. Many warehouses grew up around the expanding docks.

Badly bombed in the Second World War, the city was rebuilt slowly and piecemeal, until a new renaissance began at the end of the twentieth century. In 2017 Hull celebrated its status as UK City of Culture.

The Historic Towns Trust  in conjunction with the University of Hull has published a new Historical Map of Hull. As with other maps in the Town & City Historical Map series, the new publication shows the locations of the city's many medieval and post-medieval buildings. However, instead of being based on a time-shot of the city in the mid nineteenth century, the map has in the background an Ordnance Survey of 1928. As a result, we're able to show the many manufacturies, shipyards and warehouses which dominated the character of the city in its Edwardian heyday.

Centred around the Old Town of Hull on its island, the map also shows the city's older docks, and the nineteenth-century town that developed to the west of Prince's Dock. It also hints at the amazing provision of railway tracks that shaped its topographic development.

An extract from the Historical Map of Hull, showing the City Hall and, behind it, the course of the old River Hull

The map shows medieval and post-medieval major buildings, fortifications, ancient water-courses (including the possible old route of the River Hull). And it also shows the many public houses, inns and hotels that serviced the workers and visitors, the major shops and department stores and arcades, and the many places of worship throughout the city, as well as industrial and warehouse sites.

The reverse of the map carries a comprehensive gazetteer of the city, listing all the most important sites of historic interest with a brief history of each of them and many illustrations.

The map is larger in format than our previous publications, allowing more of the city to be seen at the scale of 1:2500.  The map's cover has an introduction to the history of the city, written by Dr David Atkinson of the University of Hull. The map's authors are Drs David and Susan Neave (authors of the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Hull) and D.E. Evans, former City Archaeologist.

The map has been made possible by a generous grant from the Marc Fitch Fund.

On September 6th 2017, the map was awarded a 'Commended' prize in the annual Stanfords Award for Printed Mapping competition run by the British Cartographic Society.  Giving the Historic Towns Trust this award means recognition of the quality of the map by practising, professional cartographers.


The map is available to buy through local booksellers in Hull, the Hull History Centre, Hull Museums shops, or by ordering through any bookshop or on-line book retailer.  The Historic Towns Trust does not sell its publications directly, but they are easy to obtain by order - please order it through your usual book retailer, quoting the ISBN. 

An Historical Map of Kingston upon Hull - from medieval town to industrial city

ISBN: 978-0-9934698-2-4

RRP: £9.99



Note that the Historic Towns Trust does not sell its maps directly, but they can be easily obtained from bookshops or on-line book retailers.