The archive represents Thomas Coglan Horsfall's wide-range interests in social reform and education, and is relevant to anyone researching the various reform movements that sought to mitigate the deleterious effects of the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Manchester.
Horsfall's correspondence includes a numerous letters to and from notable politicians, senior clergy and other supporters, who wrote to him in response to the pamphlets and letters he sent to them, or to public addresses or newspaper articles written by him. Papers, pamphlets and newspaper articles are all included within this collection covering: the teaching of religion in schools; the benefits of an art education to the working-class poor; the introduction of outdoor games, military training and outdoor playing facilities for school children; the temperance movement; and improvements to housing conditions and town planning.
A subsection relating to the Horsfall Art Museum and the use of art works in schools includes letters from both teachers and pupils expressing their appreciation for the loan of artworks to schools and for visits to the Art Museum.
The archive is also potentially valuable for researchers interested in German models of reform before World War I, particularly in respect of town planning.