Campaign keeps historic archive in Lancashire’s Record Office

21 January 2015

A major archive which covers the period between 1199 and 1947 will remain in Lancashire after a successful fundraising campaign.

The Hulton Archive is significant both regionally and nationally. It contains a major collection of medieval deeds and other material from the Middle Ages. It includes the only known surviving document relating to the Augustinian priory at Cartmel in Cumbria.

The extensive 17th century correspondence of William Jessop, clerk to the Council of State and to the House of Commons during the Restoration, incorporates many contemporary references to the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, and much fascinating detail on Caribbean trade.

Lancashire was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The collection sheds valuable light on the industrial development of the region. It features correspondence with George Stephenson about the construction of the Bolton to Leigh railway which opened in 1828 and was the precursor of the Liverpool & Manchester railway.

After the owners of the collection decided to put it up for sale, the Friends of Lancashire Archives campaigned to raise £95,000 to keep the Hulton Archive in Lancashire Archives, which is part of Lancashire County Council. Over 100 people and organisations in Lancashire and beyond made generous donations and, as a result, the fundraising target was reached.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "We have had the honour of caring for this historical archive in Lancashire Archives since 1943. Its significance cannot be over-stated; it dates back more than 800 years.

"The archive has been used by university academics as well as local historians. There's huge scope for increasing wider awareness of archives and heritage. For example, the superb illuminated manuscript from Cartmel Priory is currently used to inspire children in The Scribe and the Seal education session, a project which won a Sandford Award in 2013.

"Huge credit should go to The Friends of Lancashire Archives for running such a successful campaign. They started fundraising in July of this year and, within five or six months, had raised all the money needed to preserve the collection in our archives."

Funding for the collection was received from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, the Trustees of the Pilgrim Trust and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund which is administered by Lord Shuttleworth.

The Peel Group, which owns the Hulton Park Estate in Bolton, the Hulton family home from the 12th century, has also contributed to the appeal. The group's archivist, Dr Alexandra Mitchell, said: “We are pleased to have made a donation towards the purchase of the Hulton Archive to help retain the collection for current and future generations.

"We recognise the outstanding local importance and national significance of the Hulton Archive and believed that it was important the collection remained in the region in the safekeeping of Lancashire Archives, where it has been looked after for so many years. The success of the appeal is excellent news.”

More information on Lancashire Archives is available online. Visit and search for 'archives'.


Notes to Editors


This major family and estate archive of the Hulton family of Hulton near Bolton was deposited for safekeeping in Lancashire Record Office on 24 July 1943 by Sir Roger Hulton, 3rd baronet and 29th lord of Hulton. For the past 70 years it has been stored in the best conditions and has been freely available to the public for research and exhibition.

Lancashire County Council has ensured that the collection is preserved for posterity. Archivists have catalogued the core collection, and created draft lists of more recent deposits, while conservation work has been carried out on many individual items.

The Hultons were among the leading gentry families in North West England from the 12th century and many of them held public office in Lancashire as justices of the peace, deputy lieutenants, High Sheriff (in 1789 and 1810) and constables of Lancaster Castle. Sir William W B Hulton, created a baronet in 1905 in recognition of his service to local affairs, was elected to the first Lancashire County Council in 1889 and chaired the Main Roads and Bridges Committee from then until his death in 1907, demonstrating a continuing service to the local and regional community. The Hultons were rooted in Lancashire life for hundreds of years and it was therefore entirely appropriate that when the Lancashire Record Office was established in 1940, this family was among the first to make its papers available for public access in the new repository.

The Peel Group:
The Peel Group is proud of its heritage drawn from individuals, families and companies, which have played key roles in the economic history of North West England since the eighteenth century.
It is owner of the Hulton Park Estate located in Bolton. It has its own collection of historic information and also works with many other libraries and museums, which hold the records of companies associated with the Peel Group.

V&A Purchase Grant Fund:
The V&A Purchase Grant Fund is a government fund that helps regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries in England and Wales to acquire objects relating to the arts, literature and history.
It was established at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 1881 and continues to be part of its nationwide work.
The annual grants budget, currently £750,000, is provided by Arts Council England (ACE).
Each year, the Purchase Grant Fund considers some 200 applications and awards grants to around 100 organisations, enabling acquisitions of over £3 million to go ahead.
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For further information please contact: Stephen Axon on 01772 533 194

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