Social and Economic History


The library holds a variety of items of interest to social and economic historians. These include material concerning taxation, records of overseers of the poor and of surveyors of the highways, a very small number of parish and township records and local government documents (the majority of these are more often to be found in local studies libraries or record offices).

A good deal of material on the early history of the local government and administration of Lancashire and Cheshire is to be found in some of the antiquarian collections. J.E. Bailey’s papers, for example, contain many original and secondary sources on seventeenth century Lancashire, and, in particular on the Civil War.

In addition, the library has the papers of several societies and small businesses, including Manchester’s popular Belle Vue Gardens and archives of two charity schools: Chetham’s Hospital and Nicholls Hospital.

The list on the right does is not inclusive, but is intended simply to draw attention to the range of material that the Library holds, and to highlight individual works and collections that may be of interest. If you would like assistance with manuscript queries, please contact us.


Book of rates for Lancashire, 1649. (A.7.30)
Book of rates for Lancashire compiled by William Crabtree (1610-1644?). (A.7.31)
Subsidy roll relating to Salford Hundred, 1622. (E.6.10 (1)
Subsidy roll relating to Leyland Hundred, 1628. (E.6.10 (2)
Papers concerning the collection of Ship Tax for Lancashire in the Humphrey Chetham papers. (A.5)

Civil Parish and Township Records

Arkholme with Cawood, Lancashire. Collection includes Accounts of Constables, Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor and Surveyors of Highways, 1779–1842. (A.1.21)
Ashworth, Lancashire. Accounts of Overseers of Poor, 1723-1745. (A.7.10)
Knutsford, Cheshire. Accounts of Constables and Overseers of the Poor, 1669-1778. (A.7.12)
Sutton, Cheshire. Accounts of Surveyors of the Highways, 1764-1814 (A.7.13), Overseers of the Poor, 1769-1813 (A.7.14-17), poor house accounts, 1797-1818 (A.7.18)

Politics/Local Government

Records of Urmston Halmot, 1613-1699. (A.7.3)
R. T. Hampson, historical collections relating to Lancashire from manuscripts in the British Museum and Public Record Office, c.1830. (A.6.29)
Index to the Journals of the House of Commons relating to Lancashire, 1547-1768. (A.4.58)
Enumerative Census of the town and parish of Manchester, 1773-1774. (A.4.54-56)
Transcripts made by George Ormerod of material relating to the Royal Manchester Volunteers, 1777-1778. (A.6.46)
Constitution and minutes of the Committee for preserving constitutional order against Levellers and Republicans, 1792-1799. (A.6.45)
Papers of the Manchester Pitt Club including lists of members, minute books and accounts, 1813-1831. (A.2.79)
Subscriptions for the relief of Special Constables [injured at Peterloo], 1819. (A.2.14)
Papers of the Rev. W. H. Hay, stipendiary magistrate at Peterloo. Includes over 40 commonplace books and scrapbooks of cuttings and broadsides. (A.0.3-4, A.2.27, A.3.1-46)

Societies/Business papers

Papers of the Manchester Amateur Glee and Catch Club established 1822. Lists of members, rules and volumes of music. (D.4-5)
Papers of the Rosicrucian Society of Manchester, including list of members, rules and minutes of meetings, 1852-1859. (A.6.18)
Belle Vue Collection. The papers of the zoological gardens founded by John Jennison in 1836. The collection consists of the Jennison family papers and includes account books, guide books, diaries, letters, photographs and legal documents concerning the acquisition and development of the site up to its closure in the 1970s. (F.4-F.6.9)
Wages book of Peel, Yates and Peel Burrs Mill, Bury, 1800-1802. (A.7.8). Accounts for the Bridgewater Canal, 1791. (A.7.6)
Scrapbooks of letters, cuttings, etc. relating to the Manchester Ship Canal, 1891-1899. (A.6.118-20)
The Archive of the Booth Charities, Salford, 1600s-1900s.
Papers of the Hulme Trust, Manchester, 1280-1700. (E.3.8-10)
A. Haggas Bryan: historical, legal and biographical notices of the bleaching, dyeing and calico printing industry, 1930s, 13 vols. (C.7.53 & C.7.56)

Education/Charitable Foundation

Chetham’s Hospital. Records from 1653 to the present day include minute books of governors, admission registers and papers concerning staff, finances and administration. (Access to these documents is restricted and readers wishing to consult the records of Chetham’s Hospital must first apply in writing to the Librarian).
Nicholls Hospital. Founded in 1881 in Hyde Road, Ardwick as a charity school for poor boys living within a five mile radius of Manchester. Nicholls amalgamated with Chetham’s in the 1950s. This collection includes minute books of the governors, account books and letter books.