Thanks, Hull City Archives

Archives, Books, Libraries, Research 13 Comments »

Hull City Archives is, at the moment situated on Lowgate in Hull City Centre.  It is home to a massive collection of material relating to the History of the City of Hull, from the 13th Century to the present day!

The archives has several useful items from

  • Maps,
  • Business collections,
  • Historical Collections,
  • Trade Directories,
  • And much much more!

 New opening times

So that the team can carry out essential behind the scenes work, in preparation for the move to the History Centre in 2009, please note that from Monday 31 March 2008 the new opening hours for City Archives are -

Monday - closed all day
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9.30am to 4.45pm
Friday - closed all day

Contact the Archives

City archives
79 Lowgate

Tel: (01482) 615 102
Fax: (01482) 613 051

Thanks, Hull Local Studies

Archives, Libraries, Research No Comments »

When I first began research into the case, my first port of call was the Local Studies Library in my hometown of Kingston upon Hull.

I asked several questions regarding the Stephenson family, but found only one reference to Robert D’Onston Stephenson in the card file.

I knew this would be a major task, so using the tools at my disposal I began looking at the families life here in Hull.

I began with the 1841 Census, locating the family on Charles Street, then cross referenced this with the Trade Directories from the same period.

The Local Studies Library is, at the moment situated on Albion Street as a part of the larger Central Library Building.  Over the course of the next year or so, this will move to it’s new location onto the car park just off Kingstown Way.

Among the tools available at the Local Studies Library are,

  • Local newspapers from 1791 to the present
  • Thousands of photographs and illustrations, including portraits, aerial shots, local streets etc.
  • Books and journals on all aspects of Hull and the East Riding, ancient and modern including local fiction authors
  • Local maps and plans, from around 1293 to present
  • Census records
  • Hull telephone directories from 1938 onwards
  • Trade Directories
  • Burgess Roll’s
  • Polling Books
  • And much much more!!
  • Other materials and collections include,

    Winifred Holtby
    Author of several novels, including South Riding, was famous as a journalist and novelist in the 1920s and 30s. In addition to her published works and biographies, we house a collection of thousands of letters, manuscripts and other documentary items, which form the largest collection of original material on Winifred Holtby in public ownership in the world;

    Slavery and Wilberforce
    Over 1500 volumes on William Wilberforce, the abolition of slavery and all aspects of slavery, ancient and modern and includes William Wilberforce Letters 1799-1832

    Reflecting Hull’s role as a major whaling port, this collection includes some whaling ship log-books and also covers the general history of whaling and the natural history of whales

    The Library has preserved a range of this transitory material, including: theatre bills and programmes (around 7,000 18th and 19th century playbills), football programmes, post cards, timetables, company publicity, and so on

    Andrew Marvell
    A collection of published poetry, biographies and critical works

    Hohenrein family and business
    Papers of this mid 19th - 20th century German immigrant family including their successful butchery business and cinema ownership, also depicts anti-German feeling around WWI

    Amy Johnson
    286 letters written between 1922-28

    Business records
    Forster & Andrews organ builders 1844-1969: records detailing all the organs the company supplied from its Hull factory to institutions and individuals around the world

    Religious Archives
    Primitive Methodist Connexion Circuit records 1842-1920, Fish Street Chapel 1768-1982

    Trade Union
    Hull Trades and Labour Council papers.

    Contact Details

    Local studies library
    1st Floor
    Central Library
    Albion Street
    HU1 3TF

    Tel: (01482) 210 077
    Fax: (01482) 616 858

    Opening hours
    So that the library can carry out essential behind the scenes work, in preparation for the move to the History Centre in 2009, please note that from Monday 31 March 2008 the new opening hours are -

    Monday - closed all day
    Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9.30am to 4.45pm
    Friday - closed all day

    The staff at the Local Studies Libary are really helpful.

    My Ripper Book of the week 4

    Books No Comments »

    First and foremost, Thank you to everyone who has sent private messages, left comments, sent emails and been in touch to “wish me well”.  I really appreciate the support and kind words I have recieved and I am inspired by your messages.  Thank you.

    My Ripper Book of the week this week is…….

    Jack the Ripper, letters From Hell.  By Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner.

    Before I managed to get my hands on my own copy I would hire this out of the local library constantly.  It is a fantastic book and one that is a must!!

    The well written chapters looking at the various stages of Ripper Communication is a great read, and finely illustrated.  My fave being the comparisons of suspects handwriting.

    The authors have painstakingly searched through various repositories for Ripper Letters and reproduced them in this book which is well referenced and so easy to use.

    Most have the letters have dates of origin, location of origin, and details of it’s intended recipient.  For any one with a remote intrest in the case, this is a useful research tool and great starting point for investigations.

    Being an avid follower of all things Stephenson, I love the chapter looking at his handwriting, which is produced in fine colourful A4 format!!

    A great read!! 

    Thanks for all the support.

    Research, Stephenson Family 3 Comments »

    Just a quick one to say thank you for all the messages of support on here, casebook, jtrforums, on my myspace and via email.

    The 24 hour ECG picked up my erratic heart beats and has been returned for evaluation, I am now trying to relax and chill out.

    My Ultrasound on my heart yesterday went well, they picked up on the irregular beats and the nurse also commented on just how slow my heart had become.

    Prior to being taken ill two years ago, I ran, swam, ate healthy, went weight training, and had a very pysical job.  Most Dr’s and Nurse’s commented on how strong my heart was, and it beat “Like an atheletes”!!

    Now it is just slow!

    I am pretty tired as sleeping whilst hooked up to a 24 hour ECG is a nightmare, and have spent most of today having naps!  I managed to get some new books on churches of Hull, which will help in my Stephenson research, so i will read them over the weekend.

    All Ripper Research is now off the cards, at least until I can function again.  Once again I must thank everyone for their kind words of support, and promise to be back soon.

    Thanks again.


    New Finds on Stephenson and Co!!

    Research, Stephenson Family No Comments »

    Several new pieces to the puzzle were obtained today on Robert D’Onston Stephenson and family.  Some of these have been made public previously were as some have not.

    The following are now in my possession,

    Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s Christening Entry in the Sculcoates Parish Registers.

    Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s mother and father’s marriage Entry in the Sculcoates Parish Registers.

    • A file of letters to and from Joseph Dawber, Solicitor and Cousin of RDS.
    • A file of Tenders by Dawber and Co.
    • A magistrates paper on theft from Dawber, Stephenson and Co.
    • Several Christening Entries for the Dawber family from the Sculcoates Parish Registers.
    • A file on RDS’s relative who was admitted to a Lunatic Asylum.
    • A follow up file on RDS’s relative who was sent back to the Lunatic Asylum a year later!

    And much much more I have yet to read through!!  Due to copywrite I am unable to post.

    If anyone has an intrest in any of the above, or wishes to view them contact me through either,

    Private message on Jtrforums,

    Private message on Ripper casebook,

    Email me at

    My Ripper Book of the week 3

    Books No Comments »

    Jack the Ripper, The Facts.  Paul Begg.

    A great book by one of Ripperology’s nicest blokes.

    The first time I got hold of the latest addition I could not put it down, its packed full of info in a chronological order making it easy to pick up and read from any chapter!  Of course I would suggest starting at the beginning and working your way through!

    The book introduces us to the social and political scene of London during the Victorian age, before plunging us into the case of Martha Tabram, covering all the C5 victims, more suspects than you can shake a “Gladstone bag” at, and chapters covering Rewards, Sir Charles Warren’s Resignation, and many more of the unusual occourances during the “Whitechapel Murders”.

    It is quite an easy book to get hold of and I would highly reccomend it, the notes and references are like a book alone!!

    Another Ripper Classic

    A Trying Time

    Research, Uncategorized 3 Comments »

    The reason I began researching the ripper was becasue of my heart condition.  I had collected Ripper books, for years so when I got ill I thought it would occupy my time and keep me focused.

    Recently my health has taken a turn for the worse, with almost constant chest pains, always feeling sick, shortness of breath and so tired all the time, I thought I would take it easy.

    Having stomach ulcers does not help either, as constant heart burn, and nausea when I get stressed or worry is becoming a pain in the ass too!

    Over the next few days I have quite a few tests due to ascertain why my heart keeps beating irregular, stopping and causing me so much hassle.

    It also means planned visits and research trips are now on the line, as rest and relaxation are the priority!!

    Please be patient, for I shall return!!

    Melvin Harris-The Books

    Books No Comments »

    Melvin Harris has released several fantastic books, this is a brief synopsis of each one,
    Strange to Relate, The BBC 4 series was doing well so Granada Publishing commissioned a book to be released via Dragon, and what a book it is.
    Harris takes us on a whirlwind tour of strange and unusual stories from weird stories to massive hoaxes. And this is what Harris excels in, the hoax!!

    He uses his powers as a researcher to get to the bottom of the stories presented and proposes what he thinks happened based on the facts!!

    I managed to obtain a copy via Amazon for mere pennies and it is well worth reading, and gave an idea of what was to come!

    Sorry, You’ve been duped!, was released in 1986 in the UK and included several popular stories if the strange and bizarre, from the Amityville Horror to tales of ghostly visitations. Harris researches each one back to it’s roots to destroy the myth’s and legends that surround the tale.

    It is the firts book in which Harris tackles the Ripper, and he looks at the claims made by Victorian Psychic Robert Lee’s.

    But for me the coup is Harris taking on Robert D’Onston Stephenson!!
    Yes! The “Dead or Alive” story surfaces, two versions of the story are covered and Harris call’s RDS a “A man whose whole life is made up of fantasy”

    Investigating the Unexplained, This is the American version of “Sorry you’ve been duped, also released in 1986.

    Jack the Ripper, The Bloody Truth, released in 1987 and covering the Whitechapel Murders from the begining to the end. It is also the first book in which “Dr D’Onston” is proposed as the ripper, in the chapter “The Magician from the mists”

    There is also an intresting disclaimer at the back stating “At one time I never took him seriously” regarding Harris’s view on Stephenson.

    The Ripper File, was released in 1989 and covers the murders, with fine illustrations from “The Illustrated Police News” covering all aspects of the victims and suspects. By chapter 16 “A Passion for darkness” Stephenson once again rears his head and is explored but not in great detail. This is one of the finest books in the genre for its large colourful illustrations.

    The True Face of Jack the Ripper, released in 1994 and covering the life and times of Robert D’Onston Stephenson, from birth, to his mysterious disappearing act!! (He’s behind you). The book is a great read but to be taken with a pinch of salt, as modern research as more or less withdrawn Stephenson from the race! Regardless of that, it is still the best Stephenson book on the market right now!

    Melvin Harris had a gift, a gift as a writer, researcher and investigator.
    He took myths and exposed them, researching and investigating them until he had reached the conclusion that everything is not as it seem’s. In the case of Robert D’Onston Stephenson, it is diffult to ascertain wether Harris was the one being “Duped” or the one “Duping” us.

    I imagine him laughing at us right now

    “Sorry You’ve Been Duped!”

    My Ripper Book of the week 2

    Books, Research 1 Comment »

    This week’s book has to be the one and only “The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, An Illustrated Encyclopedia” by legends of the genre Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner.

    This book is the largest collection of primary Sources on the events that led up to the horrific “Whitechapel Murders”, covering witness statements, press reports, inquest reports, letters to the police, and loads more!!

    My fave section covers Robert D’Onston Stephenson but there is so much this book has to offer.

    I recomemd this to anyone with an intrest in Jack the Ripper, The Police, True crime, Social History, Victorian History!!

    It’s one of the most valuble ripper research tools I use, and should be a part of your collection too!!

    Wait a minute your not a ripper book…..7

    Books No Comments »

    “The Complete Book of the Unexplained, A thrilling exploration of earths most baffling mysteries” wins the award of having the longest title on this blogg!!

    The book was compiled by Lucy Doncaster, Karen Farrington and Andrew Holland and first published in 2007.

    The Ripper section is small and covers only 4 pages and once again looks at Robert James Lee’s, a man so popular he makes Derek look like a boy scout!! Of the 4 pages 2 of these are large pictures of Lee’s and a picture of Liz Stride!!

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