Papers of Christian Agerskow

Scope and Content

These papers comprise logbooks, accounts and other papers relating to the fishing industry in Hull between 1928 and 1955. Personal correspondence with Agerskow's wife and children is interleaved in the logbooks.

Administrative / Biographical History

Christian Agerskow was a successful trawler skipper who fished from Hull. Hull has been associated with fishing at least since the whaling industry of the seventeenth century. This declined from about 1800, but in the mid-nineteenth century trawl fishing became very important. Associated trades such as in fish manure and oil, and the production of ice, developed in Hull at the same time. By 1880 there were 400 fishing vessels under sail from Hull. This was a tenfold increase in 30 years (Calvert, A history of Kingston upon Hull, pp. 222-4).

The 1930s were years of depression for the Hull fishing industry and the requisition of boats during the wars left the fleet in disarray. However, Christian Agerskow fished in his trawler 'Cape Palliser' through the 1930s and his logbooks for these depression years are at DX117/1-5. He consistently brought back a larger catch than most boats at the time and on 4 December 1936 he outstripped all rivals with £1392 worth of fish caught (DX117/2).

Agerskow's logbooks cover the years 1935 to 1941 and there is one for 1949. There are also records of the overall catch amongst Hull trawlers in the 1930s in his papers (DX117/9-11) and at DX117/12 there are circa 100 accounts of all the fish landed at Hull 1931 to 1946. This is a useful resource for any researcher interested in twentieth-century British fishing. For example, it is possible to confirm from these records that Hull became the major supplier of cheaper types of fish, supplying the fish and chip shops of northern England. Agerskow was no exception to this and it is clear from his papers that cod was his main catch. In a record catch on 2 February 1946 he brought back fish worth £12,783 11s 2d, nearly £10,000 of which was cod. Like many of the members of the Hull fleet he fished off Bear Island and the Norwegian coast (Calvert, A history of Kingston upon Hull, pp.224-5).

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

U DX117/1-15 - Donated by Prof. RH Barback, 23 December 1976; U DX117/16 - Donated by Margaret Craig, 4 Apr 2011


  • Calvert, Hugh, A history of Kingston upon Hull, (1978)
  • Gillett, Edward & MacMahon, Kenneth A., A history of Hull (1989)
  • Thompson, Michael, Fish Dock: the story of St. Andrew's Dock Hull (1989)
  • Ulyatt, Michael, Trawlermen of Hull (1985)