Birmingham City Council

Galton Papers - introduction

The collection [MS3101]

The Galton Papers consist primarily of business and personal correspondence of the Galton family dating from about 1750 to about 1830. The Galtons were Quakers and merchants who manufactured guns, and they lived in Birmingham from the mid 18th century. The collection also includes financial and legal papers, miscellaneous personal papers and title deeds relating to properties held by the family in the West Midlands and Somerset. The correspondence contains a wealth of material for studying the Birmingham gun manufacturing family business and its links with the contemporary African trade, as well as many other topics including family and social life during the 18th and early 19th centuries, childhood, and travel in the United Kingdom and Europe.

How it was catalogued

The Galton Papers have recently been catalogued as part of the Pay & Power project. This is a consortium project of 14 West Midland Archive Organisations and MLA West Midlands: the regional council for museums, libraries and archives, supported by a £378,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant and a West Midlands Archives Forum grant of £5,000. The Pay & Power project catalogued and promoted collections from local archive services in the West Midlands, selected for content that reflects aspects of the political and economic development of the region.

Availability of catalogues

The resulting catalogues will be made available online, on the Access to Archives database. Check their pages for news about the availability of the Galton Papers catalogue. A printed catalogue will also be available at Archives and Heritage Service, together with guides to persons associated with the collection and family trees showing the relationships of members of the Galton family.

Examples of the Galton Papers

Please click on the links below to see some of the material in the Galton Papers. They contain images of documents chosen for their particular interest for the study of 18th and early 19th century economic issues and social life.

Slave trade and the Galton family


The Galton Papers - slave trading in Africa

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The Galton Papers - the gun trade

Etching Galton family house at Dudson

The Galton Papers - family life at Dudson

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The Galton Papers - slave trading in Africa
The Galton Papers - the gun trade
The Galton Papers - family life at Dudson
Sources for the study of the slave trade
Guide to the Collections in Birmingham Archives and Heritage
Photographic and other Special Collections in Central Library

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