Catalogue description BURY (COTTON FAMINE) RELIEF FUND

This record is held by Bury Museum and Archives

Details of GRL
Reference: GRL

A/1 Minute Books (4 items) 1862-1865


2 Account Books (4 items) 1862-1874


3 Stores Records (6 items) 1862-1865


4 Sewing School Wage Book (1 item) 1862-1863


5 Reports and Returns (5 items) 1862-1865


6 Miscellaneous Records (5 items) 1862-1875


GRL/B Congregational Relief Fund (Castlecroft)


1 Relief Report Books (3 items) 1862-1864


2 Relief Payments Lists (4 items) 1862-1864


3 Receipts and Payments Books (2 items) 1862-1863


4 Central Committee Notices (1 item) 1862-1863


5 Miscellaneous Records (3 items) 1830-1889

Date: 1862-1887
Held by: Bury Museum and Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Bury Relief Fund, Lancashire

Physical description: 38 items/38
Custodial history:

The records of the relief fund were formerly held at Bury Central Library (ref. A27.2 REL), and were transferred to the archive service in 1993 and 1996. In addition to the records of the Bury fund, they included a quantity of material relating to the activities of a separate fund established by the Congregational churches to assist church members affected by the cotton famine. Although this fund evidently gave assistance through all the congregational churches in the town, these documents all relate to the church at Castlecroft (for additional records of Castlecroft church see CCA). There are also a few miscellaneous items unrelated to the relief funds. It is unclear how these items came to be with the Bury Relief Fund material, but they may have been personal papers of Richard Butcher, who was a member of the stores committee. They have been included on this list as a separate sub-group.

  • Bury, Lancashire
Administrative / biographical background:

The failure of cotton supplies during the American Civil War led to widespread distress in the cotton manufacturing districts of Lancashire, and as official poor relief was not designed to cope with mass industrial unemployment charitable funds were established to meet the crisis. The Bury Relief Fund was formed at a public meeting at the Athenaeum on 10th September 1862 and operated (apart from a brief interval from June to October 1864) until March 1865, the accounts being finally wound up in 1874. It assisted persons not receiving official poor relief from the Board of Guardians through a variety of means, including the issue of clothes and food from a central warehouse at Silver Street, the organising of 'workfare' projects for the unemployed such as a sewing workroom for women and girls, and the provision of free access to local schools. In addition to local subscriptions, grants were also received from the Manchester- based Fund for the Relief of Distress in the Manufacturing Districts and the Lord Mayor's Mansion House Fund in London.


In addition to the general committee, there were finance, stores and distribution committees, and local distribution of relief was carried out by four district committees for the Central, St.John's, St.Paul's and Elton areas. Grants were also made to churches and smaller relief committees in the vicinity, including those at Birtle, Gigg, Walshaw Lane and Woolfold, for carrying out their own relief activities.

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