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Map, Cartographic Curiosity, Collection Box, Hull City, England, Antique, c. 1904

Hull City Mission Collection Box
Hull, England: c. 1904
Wood with paper labels, as issued
4.5 x 6.25 x 3.125 inches

A cartographic curiosity or cartofact, being a local collection box with an applied city map, The simple rectangular wooden collection box has a  raised paneled top with a central slot for coins, and a hidden opening in the bottom panel revealed by a wooden lever to remove the donations. A color printed label applied to the box features a detailed map of Hull, a port city in northern England. The label is printed in yellow, black and red and has the name “Hull City Mission” in bold red Art Nouveau lettering, and the legend “Founded 1903” within a decorative border of repeating shamrocks. A remnant of another label with a manuscript inscription in black ink on the bottom shows the word “out” followed by the date 2/11/04, and is elsewhere numbered “82.” This apparently indicates that it was box number 82, dating to 1904, not long after the mission’s founding.

Product description continued below.


Hull, also known by its formal name Kingston-upon-Hull, is a port city in East Yorkshire, England. It was founded at the junction of the Rivers Hull and Humber in the late 12th century. Its location near the coast of the North Sea made it a thriving port for international trade over the following centuries, especially with Holland and Sweden. By 1901, around the time that this box was made, it had a population of 239,000.

The Hull City Mission was an interdenominational social services organization founded in 1903 with representatives of the Anglicans, Wesleyan Methodists and Friends. As a history of the city notes, “Its work was purely evangelistic: in 1916, for example, it visited 27,000 homes and made 761 converts, ‘reclaiming’ 76 drunkards and 20 fallen women.” It is likely that collection boxes such as the one offered were circulated in Protestant churches and other local venues and that the label on the bottom was a way to keep track of them.

A small fixed or portable box used to collect coins for charitable purposes is known by numerous names including a collection, alms, offertory, missionary, poor or mite box. Such boxes are associated with use by churches and charitable missions — some specifically for the church and others specifically for the poor. They were major sources for funds, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries.. Although more formal charitable societies emerged in the 20th century with more organized processes for charitable donations, these boxes continue to be used up to present day.

Condition: Paper label generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, wear, with minor abrasions and light chipping. Secondary identification label on the box abraded and fragmentary. Box very good with light wear and handling.


“Modern Hull” in A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1, the City of Kingston Upon Hull. Allison, K.J., ed. London: Victoria County History, 1969. pp. 215-286. Online at: (5 March 2020).

Additional information


20th Century