Sir Henry Barkly (1815-1898), had a long career as a colonial administrator, being respectively Governor of Guinea (1848-1853), Jamaica (1853-1856), Victoria (1856-1863), Mauritius (1863-1870) and Cape Colony (1870-1871). The letters of eminent Victorians contained in this collection were assembled by Barkly and his wife from their own official and personal correspondence, and through friends and auction purchases. The letters passed into the hands of Barkly's wife's family, the Timins, after his death and were deposited at Marylebone Library in June 1943 by the Ministry of Supply's Department of Salvage (who had rescued them from the Library of Douglas Timins, former Mayor of Marylebone).
This letter collection spans the entire 19th century, although predominantly from the second half of the century and are arranged in groups according to the field of work of the correspondents. Many well-known names from Royalty, politics, the armed forces and the arts appear, although in many cases the items included are simply envelopes or signatures.