Thursday, 23 September 2021

Changes to our Service

Written by Gary Brannan, Keeper of Archives

As the autumn rolls in, it’s time for a new academic year here at the University of York. We’re pleased to say that we’re able to make the following changes to our opening times and services here at the Borthwick, as of the 27th September:

  • Onsite access to archives and microfilm resources remains Monday to Wednesday (9.30 - 4.30); but with extra researcher space, longer appointments, & improved document and resource access.

  • Introducing morning and afternoon appointment booking slots.

  • Additional microfilm research space and the reintroduction of self-service microfilm retrieval, plus self-service access to hard-copy searchroom documents.

  • Bookable access to the ESRC Safepod.

  • Resumption of paid research services, including elements of previous transcription and translation services, as part of a wider suite of services aimed at serving our remote research community. This will also involve new virtual consultations to solidify dedicated service for researchers who might never visit the Borthwick.

The pandemic has touched all of our lives in different ways, and we at the Borthwick are no exception. From our enforced onsite closure in March 2020, to the development of the York COVID-19 archive; to the various openings/closings through late 2020/early 2021, we have had to adapt to the pandemic’s impacts repeatedly over the last 18 months. 

The above changes have significant impacts - they more than double our daily onsite researcher capacity based on our pandemic-era occupancy, and means you can see the same number of documents each day as you could pre-pandemic, too. Changes in national guidance related to document quarantine mean we can now be more responsive and produce documents more frequently; and also reintroduce self-service for our microfilm resources and open access to our lists, indexes and onsite library resources.  

So - why aren’t we resuming our former five-day service? That’s a good question, and we wanted to be totally open with you about why that may be, as our experience is very common over the whole of the archives and special collections sector. 

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a marked and sustained increase in remote researcher demand and onsite demand for resources for teaching. In terms of remote researchers, this has led to long turnaround times for enquiries and reprographics, with our searchroom team becoming stretched to deliver services. We’re committed to taking a data-led approach to our planning, and so we thought we would share some of this with you.

Over the last quarter of 2020-21 

  • 227 onsite research visits (91% of our COVID-capacity); but 22,631 virtual visits to our online resources, leading to 401 income generating requests and 1,661 enquiries to the searchroom team. 

  • enquiries increased by 47% on the previous quarter,  77% increase on the same reporting period 2019/20, and 38% increase on the same reporting period 2018/19.

  • Most of these enquiries are about our remote services such as document copying, as opposed to visiting us here onsite. 

We also know from our data that on average 38% of our weekly researcher spaces were used pre-pandemic. Our offering at 3 days per week still provides more onsite research spaces per week than we needed pre-pandemic, while allowing us to ramp up our services for our global offsite audiences who may never be able to visit us here in York.

How big is the global Borthwick user community? We know from our web data that it has increased by over 50% since March 2020, with just short of 30,000 users in well over 150 countries around the world. Crucially, this increased online use is sustaining, with over 2,300 non-York users of our online catalogue in August 2021 alone. 

Beyond this, the archives and special collections research climate is changing, with a general move to an expectation of remote access and delivery via digital means by the research community, a change that was in evidence pre-COVID but one has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Changing the balance in this way also means that we can offer new opportunities in the future for volunteering, engaging with our collections, and designing new services which can help connect our global research community with the archives in our care. One thing remains certain, however - you’ll alway be able to access our archives onsite, for free, to get your hands on crucial pieces of our national story and undertake your research, whether it’s a large academic research  project or the crucial building blocks of your own family story. We’re looking forward to going on that journey with you.

Friday, 25 June 2021

The Enemy in the Archives: Managing Mould

By conservator Catherine Firth

If you arrive at the Borthwick to bring us new material for the archives, one of the first questions we might ask you is “where has this been kept?” We are not trying to be nosy - what we are really asking is what the environment might have been like. If it was in a basement it might have been cold and damp; if it was in the loft it might have been very hot and very cold; if it was stored next to a radiator it might have been quite dry. The most important question for us is whether the records have been damp. This is because mould enjoys living in damp places, and paper, leather and glues offer mould lots to live upon. We don’t want to introduce mould into our strongrooms. 

Mould is a living organism that belongs to the kingdom Fungi. Although they look like plants, they are actually not a plant or an animal. They cannot ‘make’ their own food, as plants do - but additionally they do not ‘eat’ food like animals. Instead they absorb nutrition from other organic substances. To do this, they secrete enzymes, which break down the substance into smaller organic molecules that can be absorbed. Mould uses spores to reproduce, and these can be found all around us. But they need the right conditions to germinate - the spores need moisture, the right temperature and a food source, such as archives. 

Bundle of paper documents affected by mould.

There are many different causes for moisture in our homes. Bathrooms and kitchens are obvious ones, but other occurrences could come from poor ventilation, garages and sheds with no buffer from the environment outside, leaks or even condensation on windows. This is why mould can commonly be found in houses. Unfortunately, as well as damaging our belongings, mould can also be dangerous to our health. Exposure to mould can cause respiratory issues, such as nose and throat soreness, irritation and congestion, and coughing, along with other symptoms if exposure is continued. It can be particularly dangerous to anyone who has existing respiratory problems or issues with their immune system. 

Various documents stained by mould and damp damage.

With this in mind, when we treat mould we make sure we are wearing the appropriate protective equipment. We wear nitrile gloves and face masks to FFP2 or FFP3 standards. For large-scale treatments we would wear goggles. We also have white coats that we can wear over our clothes, so that any spores that might land on us can be removed straight away. We are lucky enough to have a vacuum table in our isolation room, which sucks the air (and hopefully the spores) down and away from our faces while we are working. This, like our handheld vacuum, has a HEPA filter, so when we use the table or the mini-vac we know that the spores are being caught by the filter and not recirculated around the room. We also work in a room with the option of a window, for increased ventilation. 

Mould documents on a perforated air bench waiting to be cleaned. Also on the table are nitrile gloves, a mask, various snake weights, brushes and spatulas.

Our first task is to make sure that the mould is dry and inactive. If it is still slightly damp, and smeary, then the mould is still active and will not be easy to remove. We place dehumidifiers into the room, and fans to increase the airflow, and we air the mouldy material until it is dry and powdery to the touch. Once the mould is dry, it is a relatively straightforward task to remove any spores on the surface with soft brushes over the vacuum table. Sometimes we find that the mould has stained the paper, and this colour cannot always be removed. There are also occasions where the mould has damaged the paper to the extent that it has very little strength left - it can be rather tricky to handle it without causing more damage. We may consider ‘re-sizing’ these papers once the mould has been treated - adding a substance to them such as methyl cellulose or gelatine, to give them some strength back. 

A fragile mouldy document with large losses, opened out to be cleaned.

Obviously the best option is for us to avoid mould altogether! If you can store your important belongings in a cool, dry environment, with plenty of ventilation, then this is ideal. But we do not always have the luxury of these spaces for storage. If you come across mould at home, do take care. For smaller outbreaks, you may be able to manage it yourself. Isolate the item(s) from any unaffected material to prevent the spores spreading, and if you cannot treat it right away then seal it in a plastic bag or container. Ensure the mould is dry and powdery to the touch before attempting to treat it, by airing it well with cool air. Removal itself is best done outside in the open air, with gloves and a mask, and a soft brush. Keep the mouldy material and any treatment processes away from anyone with immune system or respiratory issues. And for any larger outbreaks or valuable items, do contact someone for help and advice - it may not be safe for you to do it alone. 

 Wishing you fungi-free archives!

Friday, 7 May 2021

Using press cuttings to understand the early history of the University of York

 By Victoria Taylor

Picture this: the year is 2546, and the University of York as it was in 1966 – and as we know it today, in 2021 – has long since ceased to exist. 

Only the ruins of the campus remain, with the lone surviving documentary evidence concerning the University’s origins to be found in the form of contemporaneous press headlines that have somehow survived the ravages of time. Perilously, you work to pull together broken pieces of a narrative, and your conclusions laid out are thus:

Article imagining the University's story based only on press headlines
UOY/PC/1/13/12, Yorkshire Gazette (October 1966)

Ironically, and rather meta-textually, I stumbled across this press cutting from the Yorkshire Gazette discussing how headlines might be used to help piece together history during my very own foray into press cuttings concerning the origins and early history of the University of York which I have been undertaking as part of my Public History MA placement at the Borthwick. Thankfully, the archive that I was working with contained both articles and headlines, allowing me to discover slightly more about the early days of York! 

Whilst some of 1960s humour might be lost on us today, the satirical sketch – which was performed by some of York’s staff and students as part of an historical exercise after the appointment of York’s very first honorary doctorates in 1966 – highlights the importance and limits of archival holdings, and one way in which a specific kind of archive – namely press cuttings – might be used to help us understand and remember the past, distant or not. 

Although excavation of York’s hypothetical ruins would reveal a certain amount of information relating to buildings’ dating and development, only so much would be able to be garnered about the people – and ideas – behind them. For this information, it is into the archives that we must – as the brave researchers of 2546 will do in the future – head. For it is in archives that we find stories from the past. 

* * * * * *

York’s early years: stories from the press cuttings

The prospect of a university in York was a hot topic from the late 1940s onwards; consequently, there are thousands of cuttings detailing various aspects regarding the development of the University. From the early days of the summer schools, when the hope of a University was nothing but a distant glimmer on the horizon, to the graduation of the very first cohort in 1966, the press reported on a multitude of subjects. It would be impossible to adequately summarise the vast scope of the holdings, but I will take a moment to highlight the versatility of the contents by picking out some of my favourite cuttings and the stories they reveal.

The enduring popularity of family history

Today, if one wishes to research their family then they can hop onto one of the many ancestry sites that have popped up over the recent years and trawl over a variety of records (from archives!) that have been digitised or request them through the post. In the past, the onus was on archival institutions to deal with such requests for genealogical information, and the Borthwick Institute – officially opened at St Anthony’s Hall in 1953 – was one such institution that was inundated with requests.

Headlines on popularity of family history
UOY/PC/1/13/30, UOY/PC/1/2/58: Northern Echo (June 1966), 
Yorkshire Post, Northern Guardian (November 1953)

Several cuttings in the archive are concerned with genealogical requests at the Borthwick, which – indicative of the 60s' opinion that family history was a less worthy historical research pursuit – apparently impeded the ‘proper’ historical research being undertaken at the Borthwick due to the sheer number of them. Requests came from far and wide, including America, and led to, quite possibly, my favourite piece of wordplay throughout the entire archive:

…it may not be possible to see the historical wood for family trees.

 A diverse student population

Picture of George Crofts and students outside Heslington Hall
UOY/PC/1/7/103, Northern Echo (October 1963)
If you were asked to guess at the relationship between the man and women in the adjacent picture, with the only context given that it depicted people linked to the University of York, a variety of conclusions could be reached. The most obvious answer, perhaps, would suggest that this was a lecturer talking to students. This explanation would certainly fit comfortably with traditional perceptions of what academics and students looked like. However, this was not the case. Every person in the photograph is a student: indeed, this is a group of students from the very first undergraduate cohort to pass through the gates of Heslington Hall in 1963. 

George Crofts – pictured seated – was 64 years old when he enrolled at the University of York to study Economics: he was, unsurprisingly, the oldest undergraduate. A World War I veteran and a pharmaceutical chemist, Crofts – following his retirement – moved from Newcastle to York to take up his place at the University and was successfully awarded his degree in Economics with Economic and Social History in 1966. 

Crofts was not the only mature student to enrol in 1963. Mary, a mother of four from the City of York, joined in her thirties to study Economic and Politics because she saw no reason for women her age being confined to making tea or knitting. Like Crofts, she was one of the first graduates of the University and set a fine example to her daughters. Anyone, seemingly, was welcome to study at York provided they had the qualifications: there was no conventional image of a ‘York student’ to be upheld. 

Picture of woman graduating in 1966
UOY/PC/1/13/37, Yorkshire Evening Press (July 1966)

Not only were mature students welcome, but so, too, were overseas students. Even in the earliest days of the Architecture and Archival summer schools, there had been a focus on establishing York as an internationally renowned place of study. In 1953, York was one of various cities cooperating with the British Council to host a yearly course in the spring entitled ‘Life in an Historic City’, which offered overseas students studying in UK universities the chance to experience the machinations of local government and life in British cities: a course which ran regularly in the following years. International students were commonplace in York, and it is unsurprising that there was talk of York becoming a ‘School of Britain’ at one point when it seemed as if the university dream was dead in the water. 

International students on York's architectural summer schools, 1940s-1950s Summer
UOY/PC/1/1/24, 160, Northern Echo (August 1949), Yorkshire Gazette (August 1952).
(L) Michael Onafowokan of Nigeria, studying architecture at Glasgow University, undertakes measured drawing at York Castle in 1949 as part of a York Summer School on architecture. (R) Students from the UK, Malaysia and Sudan sketching and measuring features at the Treasurer's House, 1952.

Overseas students on courses in York visit the York Press
UOY/PC/1/3/66, Yorkshire Evening Press (April 1966).

The first cohort of students in 1963 was not lacking in international students but, unsurprisingly, they were in the minority. Students arrived in York from India, Kenya, the USA, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Iraq, Sudan, France, and Germany, to name but some of the countries. A name that may be known to those already familiar with the University’s early history might be Pradip Nayak, a student from Kenya studying Economics and Politics, who was elected the first president of the Students’ Representative Council in 1964. Nayak was actively involved in student politics, with the Yorkshire Post describing him as “a leading light of the student movement”.

Following its official establishment, it did not take long for York to actively seek to develop its international links. In 1964, links were established with, what was then Northern Rhodesia, Zambia; in the 1964/1965 academic year, York – in association with the Ariel Foundation – hosted several African students studying Economics. The Zambian contingents of this group even celebrated their country’s independence at King’s Manor a day early so that they could travel to London the following day to take part in official celebrations.

Students celebrate Zambian independence
UOY/PC/1/9/99, Yorkshire Post (23 October 1964)

Student activism

Universities in the 1960s were well-renowned for their student activism, and, despite York’s climate being tamer than some of the more radical establishments, York students proved to be just as committed to their causes.

In 1964, for example, students from the University of York and St John’s College joined together to protest the life sentences that had been handed down to South African anti-apartheid activists by holding an all-night vigil in King’s Square.
Student protest: Mandela vigil
UOY/PC/1/9/21, Yorkshire Evening Press (June 1964)

York students also took to the streets in the winter of 1965 to condemn Rhodesia’s Universal Declaration of Independence (much to the chagrin of some York residents who were out to see Father Christmas). 

Protest against Rhodesian UDI
UOY/PC/1/11/155, [unattributed cutting] (November 1965).

The Vietnam War was also a point of focus throughout the early years: in 1965 York’s Debate Society passed a motion condemning American aggression in Vietnam demonstrations were planned, and signatures were collected for a petition to be sent to the Prime Minister that urged the government to encourage a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In 1966, some York students got into hot water with the British Legion for giving out white poppies for others to wear on Armistice Day in recognition of the impact of the Vietnam War.

Indeed, so fed up with the image of the protesting student in mid-1965, two York students protested the protests that had been taking place, positing contrary opinions on several subjects that had other University of York students up in arms!

It was not all protests, however. Students were often behind fundraising attempts. The York University Movement for Racial Equality worked in tandem with Keighley International Friendship Council in 1965 – as well as the Linguistics and Education departments at York – to help teach English to immigrants in Keighley. The Movement launched an appeal – which was successful – for £1,000 that was to pay for the upkeep of a rented social centre that would enable the scheme to develop. 

Students help immigrants in Keighley
UOY/PC/1/11/150, Telegraph and Argus (November 1965)

'Sporting’ endeavours

Forget the annual ‘Wars of the Roses’ competition with Lancaster University: the hottest sporting action to be found in the archives concerns the University of Hull’s challenge of a Winnie the Pooh contest in 1966. Posted on University of York’s noticeboards, Hull students challenged York students to a game of Poohsticks and Pooh hums – for those uninitiated, Poohsticks is a game that involves two sticks, a body of flowing water, and a bridge (what better campus than York’s for such a competition with its largest plastic-bottomed lake in Europe and bridges, one might ask; one with faster running water, one might answer), and Pooh hums were to be songs that would be judged on their “Poohishness”. 

Sadly, I could find no articles discussing whether any courageous York students took up this most daring of challenges – should the University of Hull, or any students of the time, be able to clarify any information, I would gladly welcome it. [1

* * * * * *

Limitations and lacunae: memory and forgetting in the archives

Whilst there are many and myriad benefits from examining the archive to gain an understanding of the University of York’s early history, it is also necessary to recognise the archive’s limitations. The 1966 sketch acknowledged that, in the distant future of 2546, there would be no evidence of the sketch having taken place, and this observation highlights the fact that archives, no matter how varied their contents, cannot record everything, which can have a significant impact on what and who is remembered. 

The art of selection

In fact, archives contain only brief slivers of a vast, expansive past. For the researchers of the future to be aware that the sketch had taken place, an account of the sketch would have to have been documented in a newspaper headline. This would require: a journalist to decide the moment was worth documenting in the first instance; the volume’s compiler to decide that the cutting was worth including; an archivist to decide to keep the volume in an archive; a useful finding aid to be created to search through the surviving cuttings; and it would require this archive to be cared for to survive into the future (whether this survival would be in paper or digital form is a question for another day). For survival, selection is imperative at every point. 

Selection highlights just how easy it is for an event, a person, a group of people, to be consigned to the cutting-room floor: to be forgotten even in the quest for memory. The necessity of selection has, in the past, created lacunae in archives, and it is frequently the least powerful in society that suffer from this lack of documentation and lack of representation in the archives. Thankfully, action has been taken – is being taken – to redress this wrong: whether in state archives, or in more local, community archives, efforts are underway to preserve the histories of the most marginalised groups on their own terms.

Selection at work in the press cuttings archive

In terms of where selection fits into the archive that I have been working with, it is not necessarily a case of archival selection that delimits the contents – in fact, the collection process seems to have been rather indiscriminate, with the only criteria necessitating that articles must mention the University in some capacity – but rather the nature of the archive itself. It is an archive of press cuttings and press cuttings alone, which ultimately means that its contents reflect the interests of the press throughout the 1950s and 1960s. 

Stories included in the press cuttings can vary from the mundane to the scandalous, but there is little doubt that they do not – indeed could not – report on every minute happening concerning the University. Selectivity at work once again. Moreover, the articles often tease at information that they cannot further elucidate on. A case in point: a 1966 Yorkshire Evening Press article discussed an Eboracum article written by a first-year student concerned with the relationship between overseas and home students and the existence of unofficial segregation. The cutting acknowledges the existence of this tension but does nothing more to explore the matter: there are no interviews with international students documenting their experience at the time, for example. 

UOY/PC/1/12/89, Yorkshire Evening Press (March 1966)

Combating selectivity

How do archives avoid complacency and recognise the gaps in the historical record? I already mentioned the efforts that have been taken elsewhere in archives to combat the impact that such selectivity can have, and similar principles might be applied here. The early years of the University of York’s history are still within living memory, and this means that steps can be taken to counter archival gaps, helping to guarantee that the archival record will be more inclusive and representative of everyone involved in the University of York’s history. 

In other words, let us hope that the exploration of a press cuttings archive can be used to start conversations about the early years of the University of York as opposed to finishing them, creating a comprehensive and inclusive archive that might survive into 2546 and even beyond. 

[1] Do you know if York accepted the challenge? Do you have a photographic record of the events or an original 1966 Hum or rhyme? If so, please contact the Borthwick and let us know!  

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Lady Mary Arundell and the Italian Convent at Loughborough

By Sally-Anne Shearn

In June 1845, The Morning Post reported that the residents of Loughborough had been witness to an ‘imposing spectacle’ of a funeral, ‘amid rites and observances of a nature so unusual as to well merit the fullest notice’. The deceased was Lady Mary Anne Arundell, the widow of James, 10th Baron Arundell of Wardour Castle, and the observances were Roman Catholic, presided over by the Italian Father Pagani, Superior of nearby Ratcliffe College.  

The funeral, and the rather saintly qualities of Lady Arundell, was reported on in great detail in The Tablet, a Catholic paper, as well as The Morning Post, but another source of information about the life and death of Lady Arundell, and her contributions to Loughborough, exists at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, thanks to the survival of the letters of her ‘most attached’ friend Henrietta Crewe.  Henrietta’s letters to her sister and confidante Annabel Crewe, later Annabel Milnes, wife of Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton, provide a window into the life and personality of Lady Arundell, her decision to move to Loughborough, and the events that followed when she set out to bring an Italian convent and school to a small Leicestershire town.

Lady Mary Anne Nugent-Temple-Grenville was born in 1787, the only daughter of the 1st Marquess of Buckingham and a granddaughter of George Grenville, Prime Minister between 1763 and 1765.  Although her father, the Marquess, was a Protestant, an 1886 Life of Antonio Rosmini Serbati, Catholic priest, theologian, and founder of the Institute of Charity, claims that her mother, Mary Nugent, the daughter of the Irish Viscount Clare, was Catholic and that it was by her example that the young Lady Mary was first introduced to the faith.  

Lady Mary Anne Nugent-Temple-Grenville by John Hoppner (19th century) Wikimedia Commons 

She converted formally to Roman Catholicism in 1810 and in 1811 she married the Catholic James Arundell, then heir to the 9th Baron of Wardour.  He succeeded as the 10th Baron in 1817.  Lady Arundell and her husband travelled widely on the continent, and it was in Italy in the early 1830s that they made the acquaintance of Rosmini himself and were first introduced to his Institute of Charity.  The institute was then still in its infancy, having been founded in 1828.  It was dedicated to charitable work in all its forms but focused particularly on pastoral and spiritual care, education, and care for the sick, poor, and marginalised, work that greatly appealed to Lady Arundell.  The Institute was approved formally as a religious congregation by Pope Gregory XVI in 1838.

Rosmini wrote to Lady Arundell personally in 1834 when Lord Arundell died unexpectedly at Rome, leaving her a widow at the age of only 47.  She returned to England alone, and at some point in the next few years moved to Bath to take up residence at Prior Park, the Roman Catholic college established by Bishop Peter Augustine Baines in 1828.  There too, she found the influence of Rosmini, who had sent members of his Institute to teach at the college at Baines’ request.  The first was Father Luigi Gentili, followed later by Dr Pagani.  A novice from Ampleforth Abbey who studied at Prior Park, Moses Furlong, would also later join the Institute and become spiritual advisor to Lady Arundell.

Francesco Hayez, Ritratto di Antonio Rosmini (1853) Wikimedia Commons

It seems to have been at Prior Park that Lady Arundell met and became friends with Henrietta Crewe.  Despite their differences in age (Henrietta was 21 years her junior), the two women had much in common.  Like Lady Arundell, Henrietta was born to a wealthy and well-connected Protestant family, she was the granddaughter of the 1st Baron Crewe and his wife Frances Anne Greville, and she was also a convert to the Catholic faith.  Between 1829 and 1836 she had lived at Liège in Belgium with her estranged father, the 2nd Baron Crewe, and it was here that her interest in the Catholic faith led her not only to convert but also to make plans to join a convent - an ambition which was ultimately forbidden by her family.

Henrietta had already made several visits to Prior Park in the early 1830s during her regular trips back to England, but in 1836, following the death of her father, she returned to England for good and took up residence at The Priory, a house in the grounds.  In these decades Prior Park would seem to have been something of a haven for a small circle of well-bred Catholic ladies who were regular visitors, staying either in Bath or at the college itself, and deeply devoted to the colourful and charismatic Bishop Baines.  Some, like Henrietta, even invested money in the enterprise, although few saw a return on their investments.  It is not clear from Henrietta’s letters when she and Lady Arundell first met.  In a letter of 1841 Henrietta mentions Lady Arundell’s visit of two years previously ‘before she had been quite able to settle about returning.’  

Evidently, she had made up her mind by May 1840 when Henrietta writes of her familiarly as a fellow resident and close friend.  The accounts of Lady Arundell’s funeral describe her as a ‘rigid Catholic’, living a life of ‘extraordinary self-denial and charity’, but it is clear from Henrietta’s letters to her sister that she was far more than this rather pious epithet suggests.  Attempting to sum up her ‘darling friend’ in 1843, Henrietta writes of the ‘freshness, & originality, & fun, & supremely delightful nonsense of her’, recalling ‘happy Monday evenings’ spent together reading aloud from the latest serialised novel by Charles Dickens, long conversations that ‘she always contrived to render merry’, and regular lively visits from her younger brother Lord Nugent and his family to whom Lady Arundell was very close.  ‘There never was such an attachment,’ Henrietta had written in an earlier letter, ‘as between that brother & sister’. 

But Lady Arundell could not be fully content with her life at Bath, busy and enjoyable as it was.  As she revealed to Henrietta, she had long cherished hopes of founding a convent in England and perhaps even joining it herself.  She had talked of it with her husband during their marriage and they had both agreed that whoever should survive the other would embrace a religious life, she as a nun of some sort and he as a Jesuit.  Her plan was initially to establish a convent near Bath, where the sisters could run a school for the poor, but finding an affordable house proved difficult and her choice of religious order unexpectedly contentious.  Bishop Baines, according to Henrietta, favoured the Sisters of Charity or Sisters of Mercy, but Lady Arundell had her heart set upon the Italian ‘Suore della Providenza’ or Sisters of Providence of Rosmini’s own Institute of Charity, commonly known as the Rosminian Sisters of Providence.  

It is likely there was more to Baines’ opposition than Henrietta knew or wished to reveal to Annabel, who had a persistent suspicion of all things Catholic.  By 1840 the relationship between Baines and Rosmini was strained.  Baines’ biographer Pamela J. Gilbert characterises Baines as something of a flawed genius, a brilliant educationalist but obstinate, antagonistic, and as likely to create enemies as loyal followers like Henrietta.  It was certainly so with Rosmini and his followers at Prior Park.  When admission numbers began to fall in the 1830s Baines blamed the strict regime introduced by Father Gentili and set about limiting his authority and finally removing him from the college altogether.  In 1838 he sent him to a convent at Stapehill and then to another at Spettisbury near Blandford.  Rosmini was forced to appoint the relative newcomer, Dr Pagani, as Superior of the Institute at Prior Park in his place and withdraw Gentili back to Italy.   After a brief period there however, Rosmini sent Gentili to England to take up residence as chaplain to Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps, a Roman Catholic convert, disliked by Baines, who was active in the Catholic revival movement in England.  From Phillipps’ home at Grace Dieu manor, near Loughborough, Gentili ran a hugely successful Catholic mission and was credited with converting several hundred people to the faith.  In August 1842 Rosmini took the decision to withdraw all remaining Rosminian brethren from Prior Park and to establish a new foundation in Leicestershire in the Midland District.  Fathers Pagani and Furlong left Prior Park later that month and joined Father Gentili in Loughborough at the first house of the Institute of Charity in England.  

Letter 243 from Henrietta Crewe to Annabel Crewe, Milnes Coates Archive

It is perhaps unsurprising then that when Lady Arundell’s plans for a Bath foundation were abandoned she would turn her attention instead to Loughborough, now the centre of Rosminian work in England.  In March 1843 Henrietta was finally able to write to her sister to reveal all, for ‘the embargo has been taken off and my lips unsealed - Before...I was under both orders and a promise not to mention it to any one.’  Lady Arundell had indeed settled upon ‘the little stocking-weaving Town’ of Loughborough for her convent.  The presiding Bishop, Bishop Walsh, had no objection to Lady Arundell’s choice of religious sisters, Rosmini himself approved, and a house was found ‘in every respect adapted to the purpose’ and evidently cheaper, ‘financial difficulties’ being ‘not so great in that neighbourhood’.  

Lady Arundell left Bath on the 22nd of February and Gilbert writes that Baines felt Lady Arundell’s defection from the college sorely, although Henrietta describes how the Bishop appeared at the door of Prior Park at the last moment to give her his blessing.  Her leaving was evidently a painful subject for Henrietta, and for Lady Arundell too who wrote that no words could express what she felt and always should feel on the matter.  ‘I, who have so few friends! at leaving one who I feel is one of the best!’ 

After a stay of several weeks with the Phillipps’ family at Grace Dieu, Lady Arundell finally took possession of her new home in Loughborough.  She wrote to Henrietta soon after her arrival and regularly thereafter.  Her first weeks were spent ‘shopping- furniture-buying, & arranging’ the house, in what she unfortunately calls the ‘worst & roughest paved town in England’.  She was accompanied there by her butler and cook, a Mr and Mrs Doughty who had been in her service for more than thirty years.  The house was called Paget’s House and was situated on Woodgate.  After her first visit later in 1843 Henrietta described it to Annabel.  It was a half modern, half Elizabethan house with ample accommodation for a community of six or eight Sisters of Charity, besides Lady Arundell’s own apartment, and a room which had been converted into a chapel for daily mass.  Lady Arundell’s drawing room and bedroom looked out over the ‘quiet shady garden’ at the rear of the house ‘where the Sisters will be able to breathe a little fresh air and recreate from their labours being unlooked’.  At present the garden was only a lawn but Lady Arundell had plans to plant some flower beds in the autumn.  The garden door opened on to a road leading into the country and the country thereabouts was, to Henrietta’s unflattering surprise, ‘extremely pretty - the whole district of Charnwood Forest forming a sort of oasis in the otherwise ugly county of Leicestershire’.  

By Henrietta’s second visit Lady Arundell had made a few additional alterations, particularly to her drawing room where she had created a little greenhouse ‘full of flowers and birds’ with the ‘prettiest effect imaginable’ by adding a second sheet of glass in front of the lower half of the large window.  The addition was practical as well as pretty for Henrietta reports that the rest of the house was noticeably cold, with no carpets due to ‘Conventual simplicity’. 

Henrietta greatly enjoyed her first visit to Loughborough in September 1843.  As well as seeing the new house, she visited Grace Dieu and met the ‘cheerful’ and welcoming Phillipps family, dined with Lady Arundell and Father Gentili (‘a very superior person’ as she wrote to Annabel) and saw the new Catholic church at Shepshed, designed by Augustus Pugin.  She also drove out to the recently founded Cistercian monastery at Mount St Bernard, whose permanent buildings were also designed by Pugin.  It was a place she had long wished to see, and she professed herself even more gratified than she had expected at the sight of the flourishing farm amidst the ‘smiling landscape’ and the charitable works of the brothers, a much needed alternative, in her eyes, to the grudging aid offered by the union workhouses.

The Milnes Coates Crewe correspondence

She was disappointed however, on this occasion, not to meet any of the Sisters of Providence who were to labour alongside Lady Arundell.  The two ‘ladies from Milan’ chosen by Rosmini to begin the convent and run the school, Sister Maria Francesca Parea and Sister Maria Anastasia Samonini, were still ‘waiting for a boat’ and would reach Loughborough the following month after a journey of twelve days.  It was in mid-October then that two Roman Catholic nuns appeared on the streets of Loughborough for the first time in their black habits and stiff white veils, to the outrage of many of the town’s Protestant residents.  ‘Already they have been obliged to have black poke bonnets and veils concocted for going out of doors’, Henrietta wrote just a few months later, ‘as the three times that they ventured forth in their white head gear, they were regularly mobbed.’  The last time was ‘the worst of all, and the poor little things were a little frightened as well as incommoded by the crowd’ that the change of clothing was deemed a necessity.  

By the time Henrietta met the nuns in person in early 1844, they were settling into their new life.  Henrietta reports that the elder of the two, Superiora, was still struggling with the language, but the younger, Suor Anastasia, was making better progress.  They already had two English postulants, a widow and a young girl, who would soon commence their novitiate.  The first postulant took the habit on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1844 and the small community began its life with Suor Maria Francesca as Superior and Suor Anastasia as Mistress of Novices.

The nuns formally took charge of the school in March 1844, becoming the first religious sisters to run a Catholic day school in England in the nineteenth century.  An article in the Catholic Herald in 1985 provides some details as to the layout of the school.  Lady Arundell had adapted the stables of the house for an infants’ school and made the loft above the coach house into a classroom for the older girls.  Before the nuns took charge, lessons were being given by a Mrs Moon, a ‘kind mistress’ who Henrietta notes had ‘the best that Loughbro’ could supply, but very far from what is requisite’, and Lady Arundell herself who devoted an hour or two each day to it.  Now the nuns would begin to teach the school ‘according to their own method’, although given the language barriers Henrietta writes that they accepted there might be a few ‘spropositi’ (an Italian word for blunders) along the way.

Whatever spropositi there might have been, the school and convent continued to grow and to thrive, particularly after the arrival of Mary Barbara Amherst as a postulant in 1845.  The sister of the Bishop of Northampton, as Mary Agnes Amherst she would become the first English Superior of the Sisters of Providence and a central figure in the growth of the order’s work in England.  

Sadly, Lady Arundell would not live long enough to see these developments.  She died in June 1845, only two years after her arrival in the town and before she had seen her dream of erecting a proper convent building realised.  On hearing of her friend being suddenly taken ill, Henrietta immediately set out for Loughborough but arrived too late.  ‘You did not, could not know how very dearly I loved her’ she wrote to Annabel that night, from her room at the convent, ‘or how immense a loss it is to me’.  She describes the arrival of Lord Nugent, whose ‘voice and manner’ she would never forget, and the long and arduous day of her funeral when she resolved to follow her ‘darling Mimi’ with her prayers to her last resting place. She couldn’t help but note that the route along the streets to the little Catholic chapel was the same one they had so often trodden together to attend prayers.   Lady Arundell left money to continue her work in Loughborough and instructions to be buried at the nearby Ratcliffe College, recently established by Rosmini and Father Gentili.

After Lady Arundell’s death Henrietta mentions Loughborough only rarely, but it is clear she kept up with the progress of her friend’s work there and in 1848 she made another visit.  Writing afterwards from her brother’s grand home at Crewe Hall in Cheshire she calls the busy house party there her ‘little penance after the delights of dear Loughboro’.  In answer to Annabel’s concern, she assures her that ‘it is scarcely sad to go there, my dearest, I cannot explain to you what it is - I only know that it is luxury. I feel as if I had her still when I am in those darling scenes where we have so often prayed together - where we last parted - where she still lives in all these good works which it has pleased God to bless in so very wonderful a manner’.  To Henrietta’s delight ‘her Nuns’ had increased in number from 3 to 17 and a ‘charming convent building’ was being built just out of the town, on the Park Road.  

Our Lady’s Convent School would open in 1850 and today, more than 170 years on, the work begun by Lady Arundell and the Italian sisters lives on as Loughborough Amherst School.


Milnes Coates Archive, Borthwick Institute for Archives

‘Importing the Rosminians’, in The Catholic Herald, 25 October 1985

Sister Maria Bruna Ferretti, The Rosminian Sisters of Providence, ed. J. Anthony Dewhirst (2000)

Pamela J. Gilbert, This Restless Prelate: Bishop Peter Baines 1786-1843 (2006)

William Lockhart, Life of Antonio Rosmini Serbati, Founder of the Institute of Charity, Volume II (1886)

John Morris, A Selection from the Ascetical Letters of Antonio Rosmini, Volume II 1832-1836 (1995)

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Rowntree Colonial Histories: A Statement

As custodians of the archives of Rowntree & Co, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) we welcome today’s acknowledgements from The Rowntree Society and Trusts of the company’s historic involvement in colonialism and racial exploitation.

The archives of the Rowntree company, family and trusts document their lives, work, and beliefs and are an important resource that enables us to examine - and re-examine - how their wealth was created. The statement of the Rowntree Society and Rowntree Trusts draws on archives which are available to researchers here at the Borthwick Institute and which can be searched through our online catalogue Borthcat.

We will continue to collaborate closely with our research community, including the Society and Trusts, to facilitate, encourage and undertake research into colonialism and exploitative practices as well as challenging ourselves by critically interrogating our own curatorial practices and assumptions.

Archives are important repositories of our collective heritage. We have a responsibility to acknowledge the full cultural importance of the records in our care, and to direct our efforts to ensure that the voices of those who have been dismissed and marginalised are recognised, heard and amplified - now and in the future.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

My Year as an Archive Trainee

By John-Francis Goodacre

As my year as Archives Graduate Trainee comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my time at the Borthwick and what I’ve learnt along the way. The last twelve months have been a fantastic experience and a great introduction to working in archives. Special thanks go to my manager Amanda, and to all the Archives Assistants for their helpfulness and willingness to share their expertise.

Working with the wills and inventories in the Borthwick’s probate collection was at the heart of my year, and this gave me great insight into a wide range of archival skills and processes. I developed my understanding of how the documents were created, their archival history, and what they can reveal to researchers today. I learned to use the finding aids (both analogue and digital), retrieve documents from the strongroom, and collaborate with our conservators who clean and flatten the tightly-rolled bundles. Last but not least, I made digital copies of many hundreds of these documents to send to researchers around the world. Following up my own interests, I even researched and wrote two blog posts about the probate collection - one concerning a seventeenth-century book owner, and one about Charles Dickens.

I also worked in the searchroom, where I helped students, family historians, academics, television companies and even the university’s own Vice-Chancellor to find and use archival material. This gave me a taste of the bewildering variety of enquiries that archivists get to answer, as well as an appreciation for how important access to archives is. On top of this I have helped with packaging projects, updating the online catalogue, and attended conferences and training events across the country.

A real achievement has been learning to read and interpret the handwriting in some of the Borthwick’s oldest documents. Over the course of the year I took two palaeography modules alongside history postgraduates, and a course in medieval Latin. It’s a great feeling to be able to read documents that seemed impenetrable only one year ago, and I hope to put these skills to use in the future.

A document from our probate collection

As a literature graduate with a love of early printed books, I particularly enjoyed the opportunities to work with York University Library’s staff and collections. I was part of the team that organised the Library and Archives’ student enterprise competition LibInspo, and I helped bring archives and rare books together for Wonders on Wednesday exhibitions. One of the highlights of my year was developing a hands-on bookbinding activity for one of these events.

Sewing a facsimile of The Strange and Wonderful History and Prophecies of Mother Shipton, a chapbook printed by James Kendrew of York in 1809

Running the Borthwick’s social media gave me lots of opportunities to find intriguing stories and new ways of presenting archives to a wider audience. Having a pandemic-related tweet go (mildly) viral was certainly something I didn’t expect from this year!

As my final four months were spent working from home, I was glad to return to the strongroom one last time before leaving. I'm now looking forward to beginning my masters degree and the next stage of my career, and I wish all the best to my colleagues and to anyone considering working in archives.


Tuesday, 9 June 2020

‘Where there’s a will’: Charles Dickens and York’s Church Court Records

By John-Francis Goodacre, Archives Trainee

On the 12th of October 1850, an exposé reprinted in the York Herald sparked a small controversy in the city. Criticising the way that York’s ecclesiastical records were kept, the article generated a flurry of accusations and denials in the city’s newspaper over the subsequent weeks. However, no attempts were made to draw the author into this dispute, perhaps as the piece had appeared without direct attribution. We now know that the article, which was the second in a series of four under the title ‘The Doom of English Wills’, was written by the 38-year-old Charles Dickens and had first appeared in his weekly journal Household Words. But what made Dickens, one of Victorian England’s best-loved authors, so interested in the storage of historical records - the same records that are now housed at the Borthwick?

As the Borthwick’s current Graduate Trainee, a large part of my time has been spent providing access to the centuries of wills and probate records in the York Diocesan Archive. I was fascinated to learn that Dickens wrote about the very pieces of paper and parchment that I have been handling day to day. The tightly rolled documents, often covered with a layer of smoky residue that obstinately coats the fingers, sometimes feel like they belong to a Dickensian world of candlelit intrigue.

Rolled probate bundles from the York Diocesan Archive

Katharine Longley has already written a fantastic account of all four ‘Doom of English Wills’ articles and their place in record-keeping history in the Journal of the Society of Archivists. However, this left me curious about how they fitted into Dickens’ career as a writer. I am fascinated by the way Dickens brought his skills as a novelist to the investigation of York’s historical records, while exploring issues that would play a central role in his novels of the early 1850s.

The Doom of English Wills

The article that appeared in the Herald (subtitled 'Cathedral Number Two’) was the second in a series of journalistic investigations into the keeping of England’s historic records. A young lawyer and antiquary named William Downing Bruce had made expeditions to four of England’s great ecclesiastical registries (the church archives of the time), and Dickens, together with his assistant editor William Henry Wills, turned Bruce’s experiences into articles for his newly-established magazine Household Words.

Charles Dickens in 1850 (Wikimedia Commons)

Dickens gives Bruce the pseudonym ‘Mr William Wallace’, and narrates his experience in York. Wallace goes in search of the registry, where he wishes to look at some documents for the purposes of historical research. When he finally finds the registry, a shed sticking to the outside of the Minster ‘like a dirty little pimple’, his research is thwarted by its obstructive management. The Deputy Registrar questions Wallace’s motives, refuses to let him see any wills from after the year 1500, and repeatedly claims that the records he wants to see have been lost or stolen. After a week of apparently fruitless struggle, Wallace is forced to ‘beat a dignified retreat’.

Corruption and reform

Until 1858, the Church of England had jurisdiction over matters of probate in England and Wales. This meant that a small number of civil law courts had the (often lucrative) job of approving wills and giving grants of administration if a testator had died intestate - that is, without leaving a will.

Dickens was already familiar with the technicalities of these legal processes. After leaving school, he had worked for a year as a junior clerk in a law office, and spent a subsequent four years as a freelance legal reporter at Doctors’ Commons, the London Inn of Court for civil lawyers which played host to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Doctors’ Commons and its record office even appeared in one of Dickens’s first forays into legal satire, an episode of his Sketches by Boz which appeared in the Morning Chronicle in October 1836.

The registries that housed the wills and other records created by the courts had an important function. The documents could be vital evidence in settling inheritance disputes, not to mention being rich historical sources. Public access was thus a serious matter. Yet despite parliamentary debates and inquiries throughout the 1830s and 40s, and the passing of the Public Record Office Act in 1838, the conditions of storage and ease of access to such documents was haphazard. Additionally, it was suspected that some registries were charging extortionate fees for their own gain.

In his novels of the 1850s, Dickens turned his attention to antiquated institutions that in his view were keeping England stuck in a morass of corruption and bureaucracy. David Copperfield, which was reaching the end of its monthly serialisation when ‘The Doom of English Wills’ appeared, gave him an initial chance to satirise the apparent corruption of the registries. David, who is apprenticed to a proctor (the civil law version of a solicitor), gets to observe the registry where the wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are stored. He remarks that the office is 'rather a queerly managed institution', where registrars with 'magnificent sinecures' store the public’s wills haphazardly, ‘having no object but to get rid of them cheaply'. 

Wallace’s misadventures in York take us deeper into these charges of corruption. With characteristic irony, Dickens claims that the registry generates ‘about ten thousand a year for the Registrar who does nothing, and the like amount for his Deputy who helps him.’ Dickens also intersperses the narrative with anecdotal accounts of York’s records being sold as waste paper or being used as a private source of income by the registry’s clerks. 

While ‘The Doom of English Wills’ portrays the immediate consequences of inadequate storage for records, Dickens would depict the wider repercussions in his next novel. Bleak House, published serially between 1852 and 1853, presents a dysfunctional society whose problems can be traced back to legal corruption and poor record-keeping. The novel’s central characters are all ensnared in the web of a legal case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, that has been going on for years and has become ‘so complicated that no man alive knows what it means’. The impasse stems from the multiple conflicting wills left by a testator. 

Dickens leads us to believe that the crucial will, which will allow the case to be resolved, is in a rag and bottle shop in the shadow of Lincoln’s Inn, filled with 'heaps of old crackled parchment scroll, and discoloured and dog’s-eared law-papers'. The shop is presided over by a grotesque and illiterate alcoholic named Krook who obsessively hoards documents that he has no means of understanding. To drive the point home, Krook is known by his neighbours as the 'Lord Chancellor' and shop as 'Court of Chancery'. This is Dickens’s nightmarish vision of a dysfunctional record office taken to its extreme - a place of filth and disorder where nothing can be found and documents lose their meaning.

Smoke and fire

When he first steps into the registry, Wallace finds himself in a ‘confined den’ with a ‘pestilent little chimney in it, filling it with smoke like a Lapland hut'. This first impression, its outlandish imagery contrasting starkly with the descriptions of York’s opulent mansions, primes us for the article’s other serious criticism of the registry - that the documents were at risk of smoke and fire. Despite the specific complaints made by an 1832 Ecclesiastical Commission, Wallace finds that the registry has done nothing to fire-proof itself. Reflecting on the prospect of spending a week there, he remarks that he ‘did not enjoy the notion of being smoke-dried; and of returning to the Middle Temple a sort of animated ham.'

Dickens was well aware of the danger that fire posed to historical records. He had been working as a journalist in London in 1834 when Parliament was consumed by fire, destroying centuries of procedural records for the House of Commons. It is quite possible he saw the blaze with his own eyes. Major fires at York Minster in 1829 and 1840, in which York’s records were rescued by local bystanders, are unlikely to have escaped his notice.

The Palace of Westminster on Fire, 1834, unknown artist (Art in Parliament)

Speaking about the burning of Parliament in an address to the Administrative Reform Society in 1855, Dickens dwelt on the irony that the fire was itself a product of poor record-keeping practice. The blaze had started when two cartloads of tally sticks - small notched pieces of wood used as tax receipts since the twelfth century - were used as fuel in a heating furnace designed to burn coal. Dickens mocked both what he saw as the ‘obstinate adherence to an obsolete custom’ well into the nineteenth century, and the perverse decision to incinerate them rather than distribute them to locals in need of fuel.

Yet for Dickens, the cause of Parliament’s incineration had a metaphorical significance that surpassed mere fire safety. The moral he drew was that ‘all obstinate adherence to rubbish which the time has long outlived [...] will some day set fire to something or other’. In other words, the failure to reform England’s stagnant institutions and outdated systems would lead to disaster. 

This image of a corrupt system consuming itself in flames is one that Dickens used to great effect in Bleak House. Krook, the ‘Lord Chancellor’ of the rag and bottle shop who parodically embodies the ills of Chancery, apparently dies of spontaneous combustion ‘engendered in the corrupted humours of the vicious body itself’. Smoke too, together with the thick London fog, is one of the abiding images of the novel, evoking the confusion and opacity that shrouds the lives of its characters. 

Krook’s smouldering remains, illustrated by Hablot Knight (Flickr Commons)

Humour and humanity

Finally, it is worth acknowledging quite how funny ‘The Doom of English Wills’ is. Dickens takes what could be a dry subject - the appropriate storage of historical documents - and makes it engaging, satirising corruption and using narrative intrigue and memorable characters to humanise the issue.

There is of course a real person behind the mask of ‘Mr William Wallace’, but Dickens takes advantage of the pseudonym to craft a likeable novelistic protagonist in the vein of David Copperfield. Rather than depicting Wallace as a hard-headed investigative journalist out to expose corruption, Dickens endows him with a naive optimism about the state of York’s ecclesiastical records. After listing the historical distinctions that make York the second city of England, Wallace exclaims 'this is surely the place for an unimpeachable Registry!'. 

We know from the start that Wallace isn’t going to find the flawless institution he is dreaming of, so his search among all of York’s grand buildings takes on a comic futility, and all of his efforts lead up to one big punchline. Unable to find his way to the registry, Wallace reflects that 'there must surely be a flaw in the old adage, and that where there was a will (and a great many wills) there was no way at all'. Having finally located the registry and started the arduous task of finding the information he needs, Wallace takes on the quixotic role of a ‘kind of knight-errant in the matter of rescuing ancient documents from their tombs of filth’.

The other ‘characters’ in the article seem to have stepped out from the pages of a novel: from the ‘farmer-looking man’ with the comedy Yorkshire accent who finally points Wallace to the registry, to the officious Deputy Registrar who laughs incredulously at the idea that Wallace might actually want to see the documents himself. (Dickens describes this reaction in a way that recalls the disbelief of Mr Bumble when Oliver Twist asks for more gruel.)

While Dickens is writing reportage here, describing people and events that have a basis in reality, his persuasive techniques are quite comparable to the ones he uses in his fiction. He could have advocated for reform using argumentative and factual prose (as William Downing Bruce would go on to do). Instead he uses characterisation and narrative to highlight the injustices of the situation. In the words of social historian David Vincent, 'Dickens’s fundamental claim [is] that contemporary abuses are best understood and communicated by means of an intense imaginative engagement with individual lives'. 

Dickens’s articles, along with the sustained campaigning of Bruce and certain sympathetic politicians, did help bring about reform. Efforts were made to improve the storage conditions in York’s registry, and in 1858 the entire probate system was reformed, transferring jurisdiction from the church courts to a new centralised Court of Probate with specific registries for the new records. 170 years on since the publication of ‘The Doom of English Wills’ (and 150 years to the day since Dickens’ death), the records are now kept safely in the Borthwick strongroom - but the persistent layer of smoky residue on some of the wills reminds us of this chapter in their long history.


Dickens, Charles, Bleak House (London: Penguin, 2003).

Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield (London: Penguin, 1996).

Dickens, Charles, Sketches by Boz (London: Penguin, 2006).

Dickens, Charles, Speeches Literary and Social (London: Chatto and Windus, 1880).

Dickens, Charles, and William Henry Wills, ‘The Doom of English Wills: Cathedral Number Two’, Household Words, vol 2, pp. 25-28.

Longley, Katharine M, ‘Charles Dickens and the “Doom” of English Wills’, Journal of the Society of Archivists, 14.1 (1993), 25-38.

Vincent, David, ‘Social Reform’, in John Jordan, Robert L. Patten, and Catherine Waters, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 420–435.