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Kays

Kays Archive

Deposited by the Kays Heritage Group, the archive of Kay & Co Ltd provides a window through which to see how consumers embraced aspirational living throughout the 20th century.

Kays rose from its origins as a watch & clock shop, founded in 1794, to become a pioneer of mail order shopping and a national institution.  Kay & Co Ltd was a major employer in Worcester from 1890, when William Kilbourne Kay formed the company, until its closure in 2007.

Offering interest-free cash credit, Kays ensured that any customer could acquire the lifestyle on show in the catalogues and the growing film and media industries.

In 2011, the Research Team won funding from JISC to create World of Kays, a website featuring 1500 digitised images from the catalogues, 1913-2000, poetry and audio reminiscence from local residents and former Kays staff, and films made by undergraduates from the University’s Digital Media Production degree course.

As well as material relating directly to Kays, the archive also contains material related to other companies which have a connection with Kays. For example, the Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company.

The Kays Archive is a valuable resource to researchers in:

  • Cultural and Social History. Explore the changing representation of men, women and children, and the range of everyday goods from clothes and crockery to tea and tinsel.
  • Business History. Board minutes, company accounts and correspondence demonstrate Kays’ business model of agency selling and continuous credit.
  • Economic History. Compare the range and cost of goods available over the representative 100 years.
  • Manufacturing History. Kays promoted the development and use of artificial textiles and plastics, and sources stock from all over the world.
  • Fashion and Design. Illustrated by the layout of the catalogues themselves as well as the images of clothing, textiles and household items.

Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company - Board of Director's Minute Books

The Kays Archive contains the board of Directors minute books of the Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company covering the period from the registration of the Company in 1946 through to 1965 when the mail order operation was sold to Great Universal Stores, the owners of Kays.

As a placement project, history undergraduate Niall Herbert, created a timeline from the minute books highlighting significant people and events in the company's history. 


Additional Information

Post War Glasgow Context

The ‘Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society’ S.C.W.S

Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. v. Meyer (1959)

Great Universal Stores

Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company - Board of Director's - Minute Book - 20th May 1946 to 22nd December 1952

7th May 1946:

  • The STMC is registered as a company

20th May 1946:

  • First meeting of the directors of the STMC takes place at 94 Commerce Street Glasgow, which is to be the registered address of the company. In attendance are Messrs, Aitchison, Davidson, Steel, Lucas, Meyer, Douglas and Tait.
  • Messrs, Aitchison, Davidson and Steel are nominees for Board of Directors from the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society (SCWS):
  • Mr. John Aitchison appointed Chairman; Mr. John Douglas appointed Secretary
  • George Meyer and Ronald Joseph Lucas appointed Joint Managers
  • The secretary will be the person in charge of the minutes and subsequent minute books of the STM
  • Share Capital of the STMC is £25,000

14th June 1946:

  • People in attendance are Messrs, Steel, Aitchison, Douglas, Meyer and Tait
  • It is recommended that £5,000 of share capital be called up in order to purchase 12 looms.
  • The STMC has receive authorisation from the Treasury for the issue of capital (Certificate ref. 6000/01/20 dated 28th May 1946)

11th July 1946:

  • There are talks of obtaining the licence needed for 24 looms which the STMC is confident of securing.
  • First 1,200 lb of material is brought from India Mills to be delivered to Falkland

26th July 1946:

  • The STMC wants an increase of capital from the original £5,000 to be increased to £7,450

31st July 1946:

  • National bank of Scotland endorses the cheques created by the STMC

27th August:

  • The first 3 looms are placed in to working order

2nd September 1946:

  • The prices of materials from companies are submitted from Joint managers Lucas and Meyer. Meyer promises to draw up a copy of all financial documents he is involved with, which are to be submitted to the secretary from now on

27th September 1946:

  • Goods are placed on order (India Mills, Moorefield Spinning Mill, T. Thomson and W. Lumsden) and it is noted by Meyer that the STMC was making satisfactory progress.

4th November 1946:

  • Trade production begins with 9 looms in working operation

5th December 1946:

  • The STMC continues to grow. There is also a meeting at Morrison Street, a change from the usual offices of Commerce Street.

14th January 1947:

  • Davidson resigns from SCWS because of ill health and is replaced by director Mr. Daniel Hay who is now director of the board.
  • Meyer is greatly pleased with the STMC’s progress during the first 8 months, with the only set back being that the STMC had been unable to obtain the 24 looms as originally promised. However, the company does now have 10 looms in working operation
  • Share capital is increased from £7,450 to £7,900.

11th February 1947:

  • Meyer notes how the STMC are finding it difficult to obtain yarn in the country. Therefore, yarn is shipped from USA at a more expensive cost

11th March 1947:

15th April 1947:

  • Sales from February were £1,810, now they had reached £3,154. Debtors in February £1,752, now in April £3,154.
  • 24 looms are now working at the Falkland Line Company
  • Meyer and Lucas are extremely happy with the company’s progress, from May 1946 - March 1947 with sales of £15,641 and a profit so far of £411 for the STMC

12th May 1947:

  • Balance sheet officially ended for the first 11 months. This is approved by the chairman

15th May 1947:

  • Aitchison is reappointed chairman 
  • There are thoughts of increasing stock and production because of growing trade

10th June 1947:

  • Sales for the last 2 months had reached a staggering 72% of last years.
  • There is a new practise of the secretary checking the stock with accountant once every 3 months.

17th June 1947:

  • t is debated, and accepted, that Meyer on his holiday would visit weavers in Switzerland and would get a proportion of his holiday funded by the company; due to it being beneficial for the company that he establishes old trading connections. 

8th July 1947:

  • 87% of the company’s product is exported with only 13% being sold on the home market. This highlights the growth of the company in a short space of time.

12th August 1947:

  • It is estimated that because of an increased turnover, sale figures could be guaranteed to the end of the calendar year.

9th September 1947:

  • Meyer and Lucas get a pay rise and the company are investigating the possibility of expanding through the acquisition of a factory in Germany. Lucas is being sent to inspect the condition of the factory.

14th October 1947:

  • The STMC is 1 year into production and has gone from “nothing to more than 5,000 yards weekly.”
  • Total sales of £35,394 for this period

10th November 1947:

  • Cotton export increases from 25% to 50% by the ‘Export of Bayon Goods’

9th December 1947:

  • Chairman John Aitchison officially retires. A new Chairman/ director is to be appointed.

13th January 1948:

  • Mr. G.T Nicholson is appointed director; Mr. Hugh M. Steel is appointed as chairman
  • Sales for 1947 reach £62,298
  • Offices at Commerce Street are under threat as SCWS have decided to sell it, the STMC inform them to notify them of any offers they receive with the view of buying the offices on a permanent basis.

10th February 1948:

  • The export market continues to deteriorate with additional fears on home market trade.

9th March 1948:

  • March 1947 there are sales of £15,641.  A year later sales are at £73,302

13th April 1948:

  • Meyer is pleased with what has been achieved so far this year; however, is disappointed that production did not expand at the rate the STMC anticipated.

18th May 1948:

  • Exports are now declining, while home imports are increasing slightly. Furthermore, Meyer after his visit to Italy and Switzerland is concerned that long term, the company will not be able to keep up with the production capabilities of the Looms/manufacturing in Switzerland.
  • Crucially, prices in Switzerland fall, while prices in Britain are still rising.

10th August 1948:

  • The STMC has sold out production until Christmas. Despite prices dropping the company remain satisfied.

14th September 1948:

  • Mr. Sterling is to be a substitute director of the Company while Mr. Steel is in North America.
  • The STMC have now further sold out until Feb 1949; furthermore, the deposit account with the SCWS bank is increased from £12,000 to £14,000.

14th December 1948:

  • Sales from March rise to £43,604.
  • Director Daniel Hay retires and is replaced by Mr. Donald Dow.

11th January 1949:

  • Dow is officially unveiled as Director and in the last few weeks of 1949 production of the STMC had increased.  
  • There are also high hopes from the board for 1949

31st January 1949:

  • The plans to increase share proposals after being reviewed, are rejected

12th April 1949:

  • The STMC production continues to grow: 70,650 Yards in 1946/1947 rising to 385,425 Yards in 1948/1949
  • It is approved that Meyer will go on another business convention to Paris and Brussels, to keep in touch with old contacts. Once again, this visit is to be funded by the STMC

25th April 1949:

  • Trading profits has increased.

17th May 1949:

  • Mr. G.T. Nicholson takes the place of Interim chairman while Mr. Steel is in Rhodesia.

6th June 1949 (Third Annual General Meeting):

  • Meyer is re-elected as director of the company

10th June 1949:

  • 70% of goods are being exported with the remaining 30% going to the home market.

12th July 1949:

  • There’s a worry from Meyer about indications of falling prices in the market.

13th September 1949:

  • Trade on the export market is declining. In contrast, in the home markets has increased by 62,000 yards more than last year. Furthermore, there are discussions about establishing trading links with factory in Muchen Gladbach.

12th October 1949:

  • Demand on the export market starts to increase again. In addition, orders on hand are 51% higher than last year.

13th December 1949:

  • Mr. Hugh Steel is retiring as director and chairman of the STMC

9th January 1950:

  • Mr. Robert Taylor is appointed Director with Mr. George T. Nicholson elected as chairman.

21st March 1950:

  • Meyer requests and again gets the approval for his visit to the continental trade fair. However, this time he will be accompanied by a director of the STMC

18th April 1950:

  • 1949/1950 financial year records were very satisfactory. Turnover rose by 15.25% from £60,805 to £70,136. Additionally, there was an increase in Yarn sold from 385,415yrds to 490,422yds. This is a 27% increase.

23rd May 1950 (4th Annual General Meetings):

  • Financial year ends 31st March (repeats each year). Once again, like most of the previous years, the directors are each payed remunerations of £100
  • Mr. Ronald Lucas is reappointed as director of the STMC. He and Meyer are still the joint managers of the company

19th June 1950:

13th February 1951:

  • George Meyer requests and gains his regular approval for spring journey to France, Germany and Switzerland on business terms. Once again, a company director will accompany him.

6th March 1951:

  • Meyer gains approval for a journey to USA and Canada on behalf of the STMC in order to view the latest textile developments in factories.

17th April 1951:

  • It is confirmed that the chairman and Meyer will be out of contact until the end of June.

23rd July 1951:

  • Both Lucas and Meyer are given a pay rise by the rate of £150 per annum, bringing their salaries to £1,300 and £1,650 respectively.

20th August 1951 (5th Annual General Meeting):

  • Remuneration of £200 is payed to each director of the STMC. This is an increase from the previous year when it was £100 that was payed to each director.
  • Mr. G.T Nicholson is re-elected as chairman for the STMC.

18th December 1951:

  • Lucas and Meyer are inquiring about the possibility of adding additional shares within the company and it is reported that Chairman Nicholson may retire at the start of the New Year.

15th January 1952:

  • John. S Patterson replaces Nicholson as director, and Donald Dow replaces Nicholson as active chairman of the STMC.

19th February 1952:

  • Limited changes in export and home market, except finishers announcing a minimal increase of 10%.
  • Meyer is continental visits from 19th Feb – no later than 4th March.

29th April 1952:

  • There is a delay in finalising the draft accounts and balance Sheets for year ending 1952

28th May 1952:

  • Meyer has approval to go to Germany for 3 days to investigate the sale of Ettrick Mill Cloth

17th June 1952:

  • Meyer in a letter requests for longer than 3 days to pursue the purchase of Ettrick Mill Cloth. The request is initially placed on hold and later approved June 28th on a vote of 3:2

15th July 1952:

  • The Final details of draft balance sheet and accounts are to be called during 19th August, 1952 minutes.

16th July 1952:

  • Meyer urges the company to build on business relations within Germany

19th August 1952:

  • The Company is taking legal action against ‘Silkella Limited’, London, who have “refused acceptance of contract with our company” and declined to take up goods remaining in the company’s possession.

16th September 1952:

  • The Company approve Meyer’s wishes to try and sell cloth in Germany.
  • Mr. J. Cameron is made an Auditor of the company

6th October 1952 (Sixth annual general meeting):

  • Directors are paid remunerations of £200 each.

Mr Donald Dow is re-elected as a director of the company

20th October 1952:

  • Meyer reports back from his visit to Germany in order to try and sell cloth over there, notes that if the company want to compete in the German market that it need more ‘up-to-date designs at very competitive prices’

17th November 1952:

  • Chairman Patterson had become ‘indisposed’ on the eve of his departure for Canada and North America and consequently Donald Dow is placed as acting Chairman.  

22nd December 1952:

  • The STMC is held into abeyance until Meyer’s report has been received. Because of ‘inter alia’ with contract with Ettrick Cloth which has said to have been concluded between the company and the SCWS.
  • 1952 licensing system ended by government - Leads to ‘Meyer and Lucas v. Scottish Textiles and the SCWS

Key Thoughts from Volume 1 of Minutes

  1. The company has had a successful growth in its first 6 years of operations with an increase in profit each year; despite a slow start in acquiring looms.
  2. There are signs that the STM are doing well, which can be seen from the increase in remuneration payments to directors
  3. In 1952 indications of how the company grew can be drawn from the attempts to expand in the German markets.
  4. The most key person who is mentioned and who seems to be involved in every aspect of the company is joint managing director George Meyer à Runs a lot of the financial accounts for the company and involved in all of the foreign expedition on company business.
  5. There has been a lot of rotation of the position of Chairman.
  6. However, and most importantly, in December 1952 the company go into abeyance and the earliest recorded minutes after this are in November 1954!

Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company - Board of Director's - Minute Book - 19th November 1954 to 6th October 1964

October 1954:

  • There are several correspondences with Meyer (Lucas supporting Meyer’s view) and the secretary Douglas. All starts with Meyer requesting a copy of the minutes from last meeting, which is rejected initially by Douglas. What ensues is a series of letters between the two in which high tensions arise in the following month.
  • For the year ending March 1954 the STMC make a loss and not a profit of £480

19th November 1954:

  • Patterson is still chairman of the STMC, Douglas is still secretary and Lucas and Meyer are still joint managing directors
  • The company indicates to Rayon Weaving Association of its resignation as a member
  • The Secretary is instructed to write to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce after Meyer did so unauthorised defending the interests of the company. Meyer writes about the testing of cloth which has been criticized and looks to defend the STMC as he sees it as a prerogative of a joint managing director.

11th January 1955:

  • There is a lengthy meeting with the Board of directors regarding Meyer’s letter from 19th November 1954. The letter is withdrawn from the Chamber of Commerce.

15th March 1955:

  • There are still tensions between Meyer and Douglas in which the board appear to favour the side of Douglas. This leads into the following months of the case of ‘Meyer and Lucas v. Scottish Textiles and the SCWS’

15th November 1955:

  • The tensions are still prevalent and ongoing between Meyer and Lucas with the secretary Douglas. Another series of letter correspondences transpires.

14th May 1956:

  • There is a long detailed listing of financial records from November 1955 – May 1956

15th November 1956:

  • Business within the STMC carries on as usual; although, there are still indications of Meyer and Lucas and the company not being on the same page with regard to business and financial matters.

30th July 1957:

  • No sales have been recorded in the last 7 months, with the exception of the month April 1557.
  • There are further disagreements between Meyer and Douglas over the financial fees that need to be settled with other companies.

7th October 1958:

  • It is announced that on 13th August 1958 that Meyer has handed in his resignation as a joint managing director of the STMC. Furthermore, it is announced that on 20th August 1958 that Lucas also hands in his resignation as a joint managing director of the STMC, both resignations are accepted by the board.

21st November 1958:

  • After a letter from the SCWS the STMC will be doing a reconstruction of the board. Additionally, the company shall now be operating as a marketing company.

16th December 1958:

  • Mr. J. Aitchison is elected chairman. John A. Sterling is elected secretary. The company thanks Douglas and Patterson for their work for the company over their many years of service. Mr. J. Wands continued as a manager for the company.

27th January 1959:

10th February 1959:

1st September 1959:

  • Sterling retires as secretary and is replaced by the previous secretary of the STMC Douglas, who will be active in the role from 12th September 1959.
  • The STMC has moved on and is now trying to market blankets, with hotels being a key target customer.

10th November 1959:

  • There are still efforts being made to gain customers and produce sample orders. The company is still aiming for clients in the hotel market.

9th February 1960:

  • Mr. J Aitchison retires as chairman and is replaced by Mr. W. Wallace Ferguson.

12th July 1960:

  • Sales to the hotel market have gone well and there are further hopes that sales will continue to grow.

8th November 1960:

  • Printed catalogues are being designed with the help of the SCWS printing department in order to further expand trade and progress sales

20th December 1960:

  • There a talks of removing current directors and secretary due to the STMC’s future developments in mail order.

4th January 1961:

  • Mr. Tom Taylor replaces Ferguson has chairman of the STMC for the calendar year.

24th January 1961:

  • Mr Aitchison is replaced by Mr. G.T. Nicholson as a director of the STMC.

14th February 1961:

  • 100,000 catalogues have been produced for the mail-order trade advertising a range of the company’s products, 51,000 of these catalogues are sent to branches of the SCWS

13th July 1961:

  • Sales and profits had increased impressively from the first few months of its mail order catalogue.

8th August 1961:

  • There are plans for the distribution of more catalogues to boost already positive sales.

14th November 1961:

  • Mr. G.T. Nicholson retires as a director and is replaced by Mr. Gavin Shearer

13th February 1962:

  • A new 320-page catalogue is planned to be completed by April 1962 with products such as footwear, drapery, and furnishing goods; however, the STMC are warned by Rutherglen Society about the infringement their new ventures in the mail order trade has on their business and the business of fellow commercial partners. Consequently, they order the STMC to cease trade in the mail order areas in which they are situated.

8th May 1962:

  • The new 320-page catalogue is ready to be issued within the following fortnight

28th August 1962:

  • The sales have continued to increase and there are talks of additional schemes to further increase sales.

13th November 1962:

  • The Company plan on inaugurating a national scheme for mail orders with the issuing of the new catalogue for 1st September 1963. Consequently, the company start a pilot scheme in the T.W.W (welsh region) through the medium of television.
  • The company expect that when the national scheme begins that substantial profit will develop as a result.

18th December 1962:

  • Mr. W.W Ferguson hands in his resignation as chairman. Mr Hugh Steel, Lundin Lea, Lundin Links, Largo, Fife are appointed directors of the STMC in place of Ferguson.

12th February 1963:

  • Mr Tom Taylor is appointed chairman of the STMC

6th June 1963:

  • Due to expansion, the Company appoints two people to help run the company’s mail order operations. Mr. G. Webb as senior mail order executive and Mr. L.J. Cutler appointed in a senior administrative capacity.

20th August 1963:

  • A new 420-page catalogue will be published by the end of August 1963

1st October 1963:

  • New strategy of television advertising is a success and the STMC are keen to further improve and boost sales. 

22nd October 1963:

  • The STMC appoints Mr. G.C. Grangle as outside sales manager. The television advertising had proved to a success, but it is seen as a costly method in obtaining agents needed for the STK. It was hoped that the appointment of Grangle would boost sales at less and save money

19th November 1963:

  • The sudden death of director Mr. Hugh. M. Steel is noted with ”deep regret”

25th November 1963:

  • Mr. David Izatt is appointed a director of the STMC in the place of Mr Robert W. Benzie who died on 9th September 1963.

3rd December 1963:

  • The STMC appoints a warehouse supervisor because of the increase in staff within the warehouse.

21st January 1964:

  • John. S Grieg appointed as a director of the company in place of Mr. T Taylor. Furthermore, Mr. George E. Gay is appointed chairman following the resignation of Mr. T. Taylor.
  • Indications from the STMC statistics indicate that the company are producing good quality products. This conclusion has been drawn up by the company by the extremely low level of products which have been returned from customers.  

18th February 1964:

  • A new spring catalogue is to be launched in 4 weeks.

24th February 1964:

  • Mr Ronald Hall is appointed a director of the STMC in the place of Mr. Hugh M. Steel who died 16th November 1963

2nd March 1964:

  • There is a clearing out of debts in the STMC in relation to mail order trade. This clearance of debts is viewed as a ‘regular occurrence.’

17th March 1964:

  • Sales did remain high for the month of March.
  • Mr. G.C. Grangle resigns as outside sales manager of the STMC

21st April 1964:

  • After successful advertising and the producing of catalogues, trade in the mail order section has increased dramatically.
  • Mrs. Youngman is appointed as the new outside sales manager for the STMC

5th May 1964:

  • Draft accounts and balance sheets that ended 31st December 1963 are to be sent to the auditors for auditing.

27th May 1964:

  • ‘Singer Sewing Company Limited’ inquiries about whether or not the STMC is up for sale or failing that whether a financial interest could be secured. At the least, ‘Singer Sewing Company Limited’ ask whether a trading relationship could be established between the two companies. The STMC inform ‘Singer Sewing Company Limited’ they are prepared to pursue the matter.
  • Furthermore, the company proceed with making of the autumn-winter catalogue with the Park Advertising Company.

2nd June 1964:

  • Mr Cutler, who is employed a senior administrative capacity at the STMC gets appointed with an assistant in the form of Mr. W. Larkin.

11th June 1964:

  • The STMC has to arrange an overdraft of £20,000 with the SCWS bank in order to meet wages and other costs.

10th July 1964:

  • ‘Singer Sewing Company Limited’ is no longer interested in the proposed project from 27th May 1964.

1st September 1964:

  • There has been satisfactory progress of sales from the Autumn/Winter catalogue and it is hoped that sales would increase even more.

6th October 1964:

  • Sales did remain positive and the STMC state they are in a ‘excellent’ condition should there been an even greater increase in sales.
  • The plans for the Spring/Summer catalogue for 1965 remain on course.

Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company - Board of Director's - Minute Book - 16th October 1964 to 28th December 1965

16th October 1964:

  • The Wages of the company are now being paid by cheque

27th October 1964:

  • Contact is made by ‘S.G. Warburg and Co. Ltd’ about the possibilities of acquiring the mail order side of the STMC.  inform ‘S.G. Warburg and Co. Ltd’ that they are prepared to enter negotiations ‘to discuss all aspects of the Company’s affairs’ 

3rd November 1964:

  • The Printing department for the STMC is well ahead for the spring/summer Catalogue 1965. Additionally, sales in ladies fashion are the STMC’s largest seller.

15th December 1964:

  • Mr. George R. Gay resigns as a director and chairman. Mr. John Aitchison takes his place as director and Mr. David Izatt is appointed chairman.

2nd February 1965:

  • The sales for the first 3 weeks of the year were viewed as ‘much better than had been anticipated.’

2nd March 1965:

  • The STMC applies for a wine and spirits licence in the mail order section in order to keep up with the competition that sells wine and spirits already. The wine and Spirit licence: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1964/26

5th April 1965:

  • The Company miss the deadline for the application of a license to sell wines and spirits. They are told it would now not be till October 1965 till the proposal would be considered. The company continue to investigate the matter.
  • Furthermore, the STMC grant the authority for the purchase of a mini-van in order to collect mail from the general post office 3-4 times a day. The van will transport orders and other correspondences after they have been processed through the agency.

4th May 1965:

  • The sales from this time last year have increased drastically at just under 200% and the company now feel they have established themselves in the mail order market. The company plan on taking steps to further increase the strength of the agency.

3rd August 1965:

  • The STMC is granted an application from the licensing agencies in which if they sign they will be given an off-sales licence for the mail order scheme.

15th October 1965:

  • Discussions are ongoing with ‘a certain company’ regarding the sale of the mail section of the STMC.

29th October 1965:

  • The negotiations with ‘a certain company’ regarding the sale of the mail section of the STMC have now progressed and both companies have come to an agreement.

7th December 1965:

  • There is a report from the manager indicating the various aspects of the STMC which will be affected by the takeover.

17th December 1965:

  • The STMC that is taking over the mail order section is ‘G.U.S’. Otherwise known as ‘Great Universal Stores’.

21st December 1965:

  • The ‘Articles of Association’ of the STMC are rewritten

28th December 1965:

  • Is the last recorded minutes of the company.
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WAS

Worcestershire Archaeological Society Collections

The Library of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society (WAS) is housed at the University.  The collection comprises of rare books, research materials and newsletters concerning the history and archaeology of the county.

Founded in 1854, WAS promotes the study of archaeology and local history in the county to Society members, researchers, students and the public.

The Society supported this study in two ways: by collecting rare books on the history and archaeology of the county and by publishing its own research materials and newsletters.

Since it began, the Society has published its Transactions, the archaeological journal of record for Worcestershire; reports on archaeological fieldwork and the study of historic buildings; and regular newsletters, all of which also form part of the collection.

The WAS collection can be consulted by both society members and the public.

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History

Eighteenth Century Printed Books

On loan from Worcester City Library, this collection of antiquarian books dates from the late 17th to the late 19th century, and covers chiefly history, both ancient and modern, local and international; and contemporary social commentary.

One of the earliest publications found so far is a copy of The Florentine History in VIII Books by Nicholas Machiavel, printed in London in 1674.  The latest publication in the collection dates to 1897.  Some of the later works are reprints of earlier publications.

Among the collection are:

  • Samson Agonistes, by John Milton, published in London in 1688; and Paradise Lost by the same author, published in 1695
  • A complete set of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 1791; and an edition of Johnson’s Dictionary, 1824
  • Histories of France (1805, 1824 etc); the French Revolution, (1792, 1794 and 1800); and the Battle of Waterloo, (1836)
  • The Antiquities of India and History of Hindostan by Thomas Maurice, 1794; and numerous other histories of the Saracens and Hindoo/Hindu nations (1790s)
  • Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, edited by ‘Boz’ [Charles Dickens], 1839
  • Five volumes of Oxberry’s Dramatic Biography & Histrionic Anecdotes, 1825-27
  • Reprints of the 18th century diaries of Madame D’Arblay (alias Fanny Burney), 1842
  • The History of the Revolutions in Spain, 1724; and a history of the American Revolution, 1781

In addition to various publications about the history and exploration of India, Persia and southern Asia, there are works relating to Africa, France and the French Revolution, and the rest of the Mediterranean world.

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