Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Shaw & Shaw Collection

January 3rd, 2011 at 12:01

In the second of his posts, our recent Talent Builder intern, Isaac, talks about his work cataloguing some tradesmen’s bills from Shaw & Shaw cotton spinners (MS 876).

The Shaw and Shaw Collection is a collection of trader’s bills sent to the cotton spinners Shaw and Shaw, based in Milnsbridge, Huddersfield.

The collection had only recently arrived at the University, and I was asked to arrange the documents according to the company they originated from, research into the correspondents, and catalogue the papers.

Most of them were bills and receipts, and a couple were really quite interesting. Firstly, there was correspondence from a lace manufacturer called The Lehigh Manufacturing Company, based in Philadelphia. They had strong contacts with Nottingham, and in fact much of their machinery had come from the city. A merchant who was acting as a middle man notes that he dealt a lot of with English yarn for the lace trade.

Another interesting bit of correspondence was a dispute between Shaw and Shaw and a hosiery manufacturer, Davis Moore & Co. The dispute is over the lending and returning of spools, and although there are four letters, the issue is not resolved.

The Shaw & Shaw collection is intriguing as what was originally quite an extensive archive survives in only a handful of locations. It demonstrates the vulnerability of business archives and how upon the sale or liquidation of a company the records can simply vanish and with them the history of a whole community. The Shaw & Shaw Collection is now ready to view in the reading room at Kings Meadow Campus.

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