Galton Papers

This record is held by Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service

Details of Galton Papers
Title: Galton Papers
Reference: MS3101
Description:

Correspondence, personal and official papers, business records and deeds of the Galton family of Birmingham and of other families related to them by marriage, including the Strutt family of Belper, Derbyshire. The bulk of the papers in this collection date from the mid eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth century, although many of the deeds date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and there are also a few medieval manorial records. The deeds and associated papers primarily relate to inherited holdings of the Galton family in Somerset, some of which were acquired through intermarriage in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and to estates subsequently purchased by members of the family in Worcestershire, principally Hadzor and Warley, and in Somerset. The collection also includes some deeds relating to properties in Birmingham; Staffordshire; Devon and Cornwall. Personal papers include official documents such as certificates, passports, wills, settlements, bonds, indentures, financial accounts, diaries and journals and other narrative accounts created by or relating to members of the family. The substantial family and business correspondence forms probably the most significant material in this collection, comprising letters written to and from members of the Galton family, and other families related to them by marriage, including the Farmer family, the Abrahams family, the Douglas family and the Strutt family. Business correspondence of Samuel Galton and James Farmer, in particular, together with the largely financial business papers of Farmer & Galton, are a rich source for the study of the eighteenth century gun trade in the context of the fluctuating fortunes of this Birmingham based firm, and contain detailed information about the organistaion and management of the business, and its clients, who for the most part were merchants involved in the triangular trade. Also significant in this area is the correspondence of William Archibald Douglas, an officer in the company of merchants trading to Africa in the 1790s, who provides details of his trading activities at Cape Coast castle and schemes to improve his financial status. Other correspondence is rich in detail about family and social life, and is a source for the study of childhood and family life, women's history, social networks in Birmingham and Derby, connections with other Quaker families, the involvement of various family members in public and charitable works, the interest of Samuel Galton jnr and his wife in popular education, and of Joseph Strutt in political reform, travel in the United Kingdom, particularly to seaside resorts such as Scarborough, Blackpool, Brighton and Sidmouth, but also to Bath, Yorkshire, Scotland and the Lake District, and in Europe, particularly in Italy, but also in France, Germany and Spain.

Date: 1250-1882
Held by: Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service, not available at The National Archives
Arrangement:

The papers have been arranged into five series reflecting the form of the record and are divided as follows: MS3101/ A: deeds and associated papers relating to property and estates; MS3101/B: personal and official papers; MS3101/C: correspondence; MS3101/D: business papers; MS3101/E: miscellaneous papers.

Language: Arabic, English, French, Italian, Latin
Extent: 26 boxes
Custodial history:

These papers are likely to have been collected by John Howard Galton. He is the recipient of by far the largest amount of correspondence, and the collection also includes a significant number of his personal papers, correspondence to his wife, Isabella Galton (nee Strutt) and to their children, as well as substantial papers of the Strutt and Douglas families, which are likely to have come into Isabella Galton's possession following the death of her father, Joseph Strutt. Earlier material is likely to have been passed to John Howard Galton from his father, Samuel Galton jnr and grandfather, Samuel Galton. This collection eventually came into the hands of John Howard Galton's grandson, Ewan Cameron Galton. There are few indications of how this material was stored by the family; dockets of some correspondence, particularly that of Joseph Strutt, are labelled in his handwriting, and other sequences of letters have been numbered, but there does not appear to have been any systematic arrangement of the collection as a whole. A basic catalogue of the collection was compiled shortly after it was received by Birmingham City Archives, probably sometime in the 1940s, but the material was not described in any detail.

Accruals:

No further accruals are expected

Administrative History:

These papers are likely to have been collected by John Howard Galton. He is the recipient of by far the largest amount of correspondence, and the collection also includes a significant number of his personal papers, correspondence to his wife, Isabella Galton (nee Strutt) and to their children, as well as substantial papers of the Strutt and Douglas families, which are likely to have come into Isabella Galton's possession following the death of her father, Joseph Strutt. Earlier material is likely to have been passed to John Howard Galton from his father, Samuel Galton jnr and grandfather, Samuel Galton. This collection eventually came into the hands of John Howard Galton's grandson, Ewan Cameron Galton. There are few indications of how this material was stored by the family; dockets of some correspondence, particularly that of Joseph Strutt, are labelled in his handwriting, and other sequences of letters have been numbered, but there does not appear to have been any systematic arrangement of the collection as a whole. A basic catalogue of the collection was compiled shortly after it was received by Birmingham City Archives, probably sometime in the 1940s, but the material was not described in any detail.

Unpublished Finding Aids:
  • Brief biographical guides for persons associated with this collection, genealogies of the Galton and Strutt families, and a table of new and previous reference numbers are available at Birmingham City Archives

Publication Notes:
  • Publications based on analysis of material in the collection include: B. D. Smith "The Galtons of Birmingham: Quaker gun merchants and bankers, 1702-1831" Business History IX no 2, 1967: 132-150; W. A. Richards, The Birmingham Gun Manufactory of Farmer & Galton and the Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century. Birmingham University MA thesis 1972

Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • Deposited as a gift by Ewan Cameron Galton via the British Records Association to Birmingham Reference Library in April 1938. Supplementary papers were deposited at a later, unspecified, date by M. G. Copeland on behalf of Messrs Blount & Petre, London.

Conditions of access:

There are no restrictions on access to or use of the Galton papers. However, fragile items or those in a poor state of repair may not be served at the discretion of the Duty Archivist. Coloured items such as drawings, items that are tightly bound, or fragile items may not be photocopied; consult the Duty Archivist for details.

Note:

Material in the collection was previously catalogued using a consecutive numbering system.These reference numbers have been replaced with a new hierarchical system of numbering, but cross references are provided to the old reference numbers throughout this catalogue.

"
Related Material:
  • Birmingham City Archives holds other material particularly relating to members of the Galton family, including Samuel Galton jnr's correspondence with Matthew Boulton, Matthew Robinson Boulton and James Watt in the Archives of Soho (MS3782 and MS3219), deeds, wills and settlements in the papers of Wragge & Co, solicitors (MS28), property documents relating to Samuel Galton's lease of the house at Great Barr in the papers of the Scott family of Great Barr (MS3883) and notes relating to the will of Samuel Galton jnr (MS250). Significant material relating to the Galton family and to members of families that they intermarried with includes: papers of Sir Francis Galton, including material relating to the history of the Galton family, at University College London (Galton); papers relating to the Wheler-Galton family of Claverdon Leys, Warwickshire, and to Loxton, Somerset, with papers relating to the Galton family of Hadzor House at Warwickshire Record Office (CR1198); papers relating to John Galton, Graffin Prankard and Caleb Dickinson at Somerset Record Office (Dickinson papers DD/DN); papers of the Strutt family of Belper, Derbyshire at Derbyshire Record Office (D3772)

Sharing will require cookies. Show details

Found an error?

If you find an error with this record description let us know

Fields marked with * are mandatory.

Your details

If you provide your details, we will contact you within 10 working days if we cannot act on your suggestion