Personal papers of factory inspector Samuel Hird. This is an unusual archive of documents relating to the work of a senior factory inspector in the first half of the twentieth century.
The existence of the collection owes much to the fact that Samuel Hird was an enthusiastic writer, who wrote about his life and work experiences on many different occasions. Most importantly, towards the end of his life, he wrote a memoir, intended for publication, which is an extremely detailed and informed account of the work of the factory inspectorate (HIR/1/1). It is interspersed with more general observations about life in industrial Lancashire and the West Midlands (where Samuel held his first post). It is as such a unique document in providing a non-official but expert account of the factory's inspector's work in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Hird's papers include copies of his various writings, including some substantial essays as well as briefer occasional pieces. Many of his writings were responses to viewpoints found in books, newspapers, radio broadcasts and public lectures (HIR/1/2-5). There are also diaries and journals, many of which record his thoughts and opinions in a manner similar to his essays (HIR/2); a series of notes and notebooks, miscellaneous in nature, but which were used for his writings (HIR/3). Correspondence in the collection is mostly confined to routine correspondence with friends and family, and largely excludes work related matters, with the exception of his appointment to the Inspectorate, and letters of congratulation on his promotion to superintending inspector in 1935, and on his O.B.E. in 1942 (HIR/4).
The archive includes some work-related documents (HIR/5), which Samuel seems to have retained. This includes several of his notebooks, compiled during inspection work, some papers relating to investigating trading with the enemy during the First World War, papers concerning his involvement with civil service staff associations, as well as documents which cover his long-standing interest in issues of industrial health.
The Hird family retained a large and diverse collection of family documents (HIR/6). This includes Samuel Hird's identity cards, driving licence, passport etc. There are also documents for his wife, Mary, and for her family (the Bardsleys and Hiltons). These documents date back to the mid-19th century.