On a recent business visit to the docks in Hull, DAN Shipping employees Kevin Draper and Ian Brodie discovered whilst chatting with colleagues on the quayside that a local charity – the Carnegie Heritage Centre – had come into possession of a valuable World War Two-era Ship Register for King George Dock in Hull that was in need of restoration.
Passionate about the shipping industry, and fascinated by Hull’s maritime history – Kevin and Ian wanted to help if they could, so they successfully applied to The Matthew Good Foundation to send two £500 champion grants from the John Good Group to the Carnegie Heritage Centre to fund the restoration of the register.
The Carnegie Heritage Centre charity is housed in a grade-two listed building on Anlaby road in Hull. It was originally a public library, built with donated funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1904. The council-owned library moved premises in 2001 and the building was eventually left empty, so in 2008 a group of local residents came together to lease the centre from the council to ensure it didn’t fall into disrepair. With collections donated by the History Centre, Hull College and the James Reckitt Library – the centre was reopened to the public as a unique source of local history, with the collections catalogued and maintained by a team of passionate local volunteers.
“Thank you so much for helping us with this worthwhile heritage project! We are all volunteers at the charity and enjoy the work we do researching, cataloguing and generally helping visitors when they call in. It is so important that the information in the ledger is kept, especially as it covers the second world war period of shipping in Hull. It will be a wonderful looking book when finished and last for years.”
Liz Shepherd – Chair, The Carnegie Heritage Centre
The centre plays host to a number of other local heritage organisations and their collections, as well as providing premises for traditional English craft bookbinders, Dave Robinson and Stephen Ingram, who have been commissioned to carefully restore and re-bind the register, a highly skilful manual process that will take at least three months to complete.
Kevin and Ian visited the Carnegie Heritage Centre to see the register, tour the charity’s facilities and meet the binders.
“Hull suffered from significant bombing during the war years, and the volume of traffic the register shows passing through the dock was surprising. It also showed that on some days there were no vessel arrivals, which would be unheard of today. It was nice to see the names of other port agencies that continue to operate in Hull, and hopefully we may find records of the John Good Group in the register too.
The volunteers we met during our visit were enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable. We were also impressed with the time-served craftmanship of the binders, Dave and Stephen. It will be a painstaking task to take the register apart, repair the damaged pages and put them back in order but very much worth it to ensure it is saved for future generations to study and enjoy.”
Ian Brodie – Agency Manager, DAN Shipping
During their visit librarian and volunteer, Philip Mawer also demonstrated how the archive is electronically catalogued. Interested to see this in action, they asked Phil if he could find any history about the company that owns DAN Shipping, and who funded the donation, the John Good Group. As a local company that has operated in Hull’s maritime industry since first opening a Ship’s Chandlery on High Street in 1833, it was not surprising to find that the collection held plenty of information about the company’s heritage, and the search even turned up some images that they had not seen before.
Impressed with the facilities provided by the charity and the work done by its dedicated volunteers, Kevin is also planning to fund the digitisation of the register with a further Champion Grant for £500 as soon as the restoration is complete. This will ensure that the register is not only preserved but can be made available to more people interested in researching Hull’s WWII shipping heritage.
“Having been a part of Hull’s shipping industry since 1833, The John Good Group is really proud of Hull’s heritage and delighted to have been able to help the Carnegie Heritage Centre preserve this valuable document so that future generations can continue to hold on to this knowledge. I’m also really proud to see that this donation, whilst funded by the company, was able to be driven by myself and Ian and our passion for the industry and Hull’s heritage. Empowering employees to make a difference in their local communities is why the John Good Group set up their employee giving programme through the Matthew Good Foundation, and we are grateful to the Foundation for facilitating this.”
Kevin Draper – Operations Director, DAN Shipping