Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce is one of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, and is in turn, part of a global network of Chambers around the world.
Emerging from the 15th Century merchant adventurers who sailed from the City of Hull, the Hull Chamber was formally established in 1837. The Chamber’s links with the shipping industry also led to Hull Shipowners’ Society merging with the Chamber in 1847, creating a Shipping Committee within the Chamber structure which still exists today. This maritime influence was seen in early lobbying on subjects such as opposing the Stade and Sheldt shipping dues, encouraging links with the then influential North Eastern Railway, and being the driving force behind the setting up of electronic telegraphing from Hull docks to Spurn Point.
The Hull Chamber of Commerce has a distinguished roll call of Past Presidents, including Sir A. K. Rollitt, whose solicitor firm still plays an important role in legal matters in the city; Thomas Wilson whose company the Wilson Line once owned the largest private fleet in the world; Thomas James Smith whose humble chemist shop opened in 1851 and has now evolved into a multi-million pound pharmaceutical business which still has strong links to the city; and Thomas Ferens, whose munificence is remembered throughout the city today in places such as the Ferens Art Gallery and the University of Hull.
Hull and East Riding Chamber of Commerce merged with the Humber Chamber of Commerce in 1999 to form a single sub-regional business voice. The Humber Chamber of Commerce had itself been the result of a merger between the Scunthorpe Chamber of Commerce and the Grimsby and Immingham Chamber of Commerce. Both of these Chambers had histories stretching back into the early years of the 20th Century. The Scunthorpe Chamber was active in a number of issues relating to business over the years including the establishment of the local airport, the inauguration of the Scunthorpe Postal and Telecommunications Committee and the establishment of the Humberside Training and Enterprise Council.
Like Hull, the Grimsby and Immingham Chamber was also closely linked to the shipping community and with the exception of the Hull Chamber was the only UK Chamber with ‘Shipping’ in its official title.
The 1999 merger helped to consolidate Chamber of Commerce structures across the area and also fitted neatly with the emerging Humber sub-regional profile shared by the four local authorities. Following the merger, an area-based representation structure emerged to serve the business communities in the various cities and towns surrounding the River Humber. These Area Councils and the Shipping Committee report into the main Chamber Council which sets the policy and representation agenda. A Board also exists to run the business affairs of the Chamber.
Since 1999 the Hull & Humber Chamber has facilitated further consolidation of business representation structures as it has assumed the secretariat of various Chamber of Trade bodies in the Humber, such as the Bridlington Chamber of Trade, the Hull Chamber of Trade and the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Chamber of Trade.
Today, with 2,000 members and affiliates in Hull, Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Goole and Bridlington, the Chamber is the dominant 'voice of business' in the Humber region, as well as being one of the largest private sector business service providers.