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Archival description
Social History
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Spence Watson (Robert) Collection

  • SWL
  • Book Collection
  • 1698 - 1900

The Robert Spence Watson Collection is a collection of 500 volumes on the subject of English literature, consisting largely of the publications of literary societies such as the Shakespeare Society, the Spenser Society, the Ballad Society and the Chaucer Society, presented to the Library in 1908 by Robert Spence Watson, who was also one of the founders of the Durham College of Physical Science, and President of Armstrong College.

Watson, Robert Spence, 1837-1911, Politician and Reformer

Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive

  • CPT
  • Archive Collection
  • 1761 - 1965, bulk 1870-1960

This archive includes content accumulated and created by both Charles and Mary, and other family members. It reflects the family's personal activities from Charles' childhood in the 1870s to Mary's death in 1966, but also includes some content from Charles' professional life. It can support research into a broad variety of areas, including political history (particularly the Liberal and Labour parties, socialism and international relations), World War I (particularly dissent and the peace movement), childhood and education (from both a personal and political perspective), domesticity, class and landed estates.
This extensive personal archive is mostly comprised of correspondence. This includes: Correspondence to Charles in his role as MP Correspondence to and from Charles relating to the operation of the Union of Democratic Control Correspondence to and from Charles relating to his positions in government Correspondence relating to the management of the Wallington estate and the donation to the National Trust Correspondence between members of the Trevelyan and Bell families, much of which is domestic in tone Correspondence to and from Charles and Mary's children from their early childhood to adulthood Correspondence from visits abroad including North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Russia and Germany The correspondents include family members such as Charles' brothers George Macaulay Trevelyan and Robert Calverley Trevelyan, Mary's sister and brother in law Elsa Richmond and Admiral Sir Herbert William Richmond. Other correspondents include Sir Winston Churchill, J Ramsay MacDonald, E D Morel, Arthur Ponsonby, Walter Runciman, Herbert Samuel, George Bernard Shaw and Jennie Lee.

Other documents include: Papers relating to Charles, Mary and their childrens' educations, including exam papers and school ephemera Personal Diaries, in particular a short run of Mary's personal diaries as a young woman Official political papers, including Cabinet Conclusions, draft bills[?] and copies of Hansard Pamphlets and leaflets written by and collected by Charles, many relating to socialism and the UDC Transcripts of speeches given by Charles and Mary in professional and personal capacities Personal notebooks with draft speeches and essays Family photograph albums and glass negatives, recording family events, daily life, and Charles' political career Press cuttings and scrapbooks relating to family events and Charles' career

Trevelyan, Lady Mary Katharine, 1881-1966, Justice of the Peace, nee Bell, known as Molly

Williams (Ethel) Archive

  • EWL
  • Archive Collection
  • 1781-1969

34 items. Includes letters from contemporaries of Williams, including letters sent in support of job applications. Also includes a number of photographs of Williams throughout her life, objects connected to the suffrage movement, and selected information about Williams collected after her death.

Williams, Ethel, 1863-1948, doctor and suffrage campaigner

Spence Watson/Weiss Papers

  • SW
  • Archive Collection
  • c. 19th Century - 1950

Consists mainly of letters to Robert Spence Watson. Topics include, but are not limited to, British politics and the Liberal party, contemporary Europe, Armstrong College (later Newcastle University), the Peace Society, lectures at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, and contemporary literary and scientific achievements. Other regular recipients of letters include Elizabeth Spence Watson, Frederick Weiss, and Charles Prestwich Scott.

The Spence Watson's wide-ranging public activism, make their correspondence a valuable source of opinions on the social and political matters of the day from a wide range of prominent persons.

Watson, Robert Spence, 1837-1911, Politician and Reformer

Sopwith (Thomas) Diaries

  • TS
  • Archive Collection
  • 1825 - 1879

The diaries of Thomas Sopwith (1803-1879), mining engineer, land surveyor and philanthropist in the north-east of England, cover the period 1828-1879. We hold both the original diaries, and a copy of the material held on 16 reels of microfilm. They form a meticulous account of the professional life of Sopwith, detailing his work, projects and his travels both for business and for enjoyment. The diaries also include sketches and illustrations of people, views, and buildings and often include descriptions of lectures and conversations with people Sopwith met on his travels.A particularly notable aspect of the diaries is Sopwith's descriptions of journeys he made by rail, often along newly-opened railway lines in a period where rail travel was in its early stages.

Sopwith, Thomas, 1803-1879, English Mining Engineer.

Brewis Diaries

  • WB
  • Archive Collection
  • 1833 - 2007

Consists of fifteen diaries of William Brewis of Mitford, and two items of contemporary published material relating to the diaries.

There is one diary for every year between January 1833 and January 1850, aside from 1835, 1836 and 1844. These provide a first-hand account of rural life in the Morpeth and Ponteland districts, as Brewis describes visits to hiring fairs and markets, current sale prices for crops and animals, and farms available to rent. He also regularly observes weather conditions, which were unusually severe between 1837 and 1855 due to the advance of Icelandic glaciers, and their effect on the growing seasons and harvests. Brewis remarks on how his farm is affected by a ‘distemper’ amongst the livestock, similar in nature to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, as well as his own illness during the outbreak of influenza in 1837.

Brewis documents dining with leading members of the community and gives an insight into the relationships between farmers, local landowners and businesses in the area. His diaries make note of events in the local community including the execution of Ralph Joyce, a 24 year old man charged with the murder of his own father who was hung in Morpeth gaol in 1846.

Like many other farmers of the time, Brewis took a keen interest in national and international news. In his diaries he notes and makes frequent comments on national political and societal events. These include the death of King William IV, whom Brewis was fond of, and the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, whom Brewis often criticised. There are also entries on Chartism and the Chartist rising in Newport led by John Frost, as well as notes on India and the war against the Sikhs in April 1846.

Brewis, William, 1778-1850, farmer

Trevelyan (George Otto) Archive

  • GOT
  • Archive Collection
  • 1838-1928

Comprising most of family correspondence, with some content relating to estate and property and George Otto Trevelyan's political career. Also includes autographs and cuttings of notable figures.

Trevelyan, Sir George Otto, 1838-1928, 2nd Baronet, statesman, historian

Alnwick Union Workhouse Archive

  • AUWH
  • Archive Collection
  • 1851 - 1859

Report of the Workhouse Committee upon the subject of the charges brought by Mr Carr, the Clerk of the Board, against Mr Johnson, the Master of the Workhouse, in regards to misappropriation of food intended for the inmates.

The examined evidence includes a vastly detailed record of the finances and the purchases of the workhouse over a six-month period, such as the weekly consumption of different commodities from bread and beef to split peas and soap, which could be of considerable interest to the social and economic historian. Other material includes the detail of Carr's charges, minutes of the meetings at which they were considered, witness statements and documents revealing the care with which Alnwick Workhouse was managed.

Alnwick Union Workhouse

Alnwick Corn Exchange Archive

  • ACE
  • Archive Collection
  • 1861 - 1880

These papers were originally accumulated by the office of William Dickson, overseer of the Alnwick Corn Exchange from its opening in 1862 until 1880. Dickson, a solicitor in Alnwick and local benefactor, in fact raised the money for the building of the Alnwick Corn Exchange, and then oversaw the building of the Exchange, before then taking responsibility for its running for the next twenty years. These papers are particularly fascinating as the Exchange was used not only as a market but also as a venue for entertainment, and both the accounts and correspondence files contain much information about the acts which were booked druing this period.

The archive contains, in roughly chronological order, correspondence and legal agreements relating to the purchase of the site and the subsequent building programme; correspondence about similar markets in Berwick and Kelso, a Broadside announcing the opening and detailing the functions of the new Exchange, accounts for the period 1862 - 1880, correspondence for the period 1862 - 1880; details of the Exchange's sale in 1880.

Dickson, William, dates unknown, workhouse overseer

Bosanquet (Bernard and Helen) Archive

  • BBHB
  • Archive Collection
  • 1865 - 1924

The Bosanquet Papers consist of archive material relating to Bernard Bosanquet, the idealist philosopher (1848-1923), and to his wife, Helen Bosanquet, née Dendy (1860-1926), a member of the 1909 Poor Law Commission. Material relating to Bernard Bosanquet comprises correspondence, research notes, drafts and manuscripts of publications, as well as offprints from journals and other publications by Bosanquet himself.Material relating to Helen Bosanquet includes notes and correspondence for her memoir of Bernard Bosanquet, offprints from publications, correspondence relating to Helen Bosanquet's family and relating to public work, journals of travel, drawings, literary notebooks, photographs, engagement diaries and some undated miscellaneous material. A particular highlight is Helen Bosanquet's notebook which contains diary notes on Poor Law Commission meetings attended by her in 1909.

Bosanquet, Bernard, 1848-1923, Philosopher.

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