A HISTORIC collection of documents covering the period between 1199 and 1947 has been saved for Lancashire.

The Hulton Archive, of great significance both to the North-West and nationally, has been looked after by Lancashire County Council since 1943.


It contains a major collection of medieval deeds and other material from the Middle Ages and documents which shed light on Lancashire as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

The documents include many regarding the development of the county’s cotton industry and railways.

They also include correspondence with Victorian engineer George Stephenson.

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

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, next to County Hall Preston.

Bosses are now looking at options to bring parts of the collection to other areas of the county on a temporary basis.

Over 100 people and organisations in Lancashire and beyond made generous donations and, as a result, the fundraising target was reached.

County council culture boss and councillor for Padiham and Burnley West, Marcus Johnstone 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 and of this year.within five or six months, they had raised all the money needed to preserve the collection in our archives.”

Funding for the collection was received from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London’s Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, the Trustees of the Pilgrim Trust and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, administered by Lord Shuttleworth.

The Peel Group, which owns the Hulton Park Estate in Bolton, the Hulton family home from the 12th century, also contributed.