Brethren Lantern Slides

  • Reference
      GB 133 BLS
  • Dates of Creation
      n.d. [19--?]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      100 items Lantern Slides Some of slides are cracked and others broken.
  • Location
      Collection available at the University Archive and Records Centre, Main Library.

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of 100 lantern slides that depict missionary activity from around the world. Places depicted in these slides include Africa, India, Russia, Iraq, Jamaica, Italy, and Spain. They also include some of the important individuals within the Brethren including A. N. Groves and J. N. Darby. Some of the slides are from the set produced by the London Missionary Society: 'The Life and Work of David Livingstone'. However, some of the images in this collection are slightly different versions (for instance, here BLS/5 contains a photograph of King Khama, wheras the LMS version at the National Portrait Gallery contains a coloured drawing).

The depictions on the slides vary, and range from photographic content to drawings of scenes and people. They also include maps, religious verses and collages of brethren members.

The slides contain much of interest to those studying Christian mission in general and missionary activity abroad. It may also be of interest to anthropologists wanting to look at the role and impact of missionaries in traditional and post industrial societies.

Administrative / Biographical History

The slides were used for raising the profile of missionary activity related to the Plymouth Brethren tradition. The title 'Plymouth Brethren' is the name often given to a group of independent autonomous Christian congregations, which trace their origins back to Ireland in the 1820's. Although widely known as the Plymouth Brethren, or just Brethren, many members dislike such titles because they suggest that they are a denomination. The Brethren have seen themselves as returning to an earlier tradition of worship as practiced in the New Testament, before the creation of formal churches and denominations. The Brethren movement split in two in 1848 and the two wings are often referred to as the 'Open Brethren' and the 'Exclusive Brethren'. The slides were produced by individuals within the 'Open' branch of the movement which has always had a strong evangelistic and missionary thrust. In consequence, there are 'Brethren' congregations in up to 130 countries in the world.


The slides arrived roughly sorted into country order. The principles of provenance and original order have been followed.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The archive is comprised of of lantern slides, originally derived to be shown on a lantern slide projector. They cannot currently be displayed in this manner. However they can be viewed using a light box in the Archive and Record Centre.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The archive was sent by James G Hislop, son of William Hislop. James G Hislop originally acquired the slides from Margaret Cochrane of Newmilns in Ayrshire.

Related Material

The Library holds the papers of Echoes of Service the Brethren missionary service organisation (GB 133 EOS).

The National Portrait Gallery have a complete set of the 40 lantern slides produced by the London Missionary Society: 'The Life and Work of David Livingstone'.


Tim Grass, Gathering to his name: the story of the open brethren in Britain and Ireland (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006)

Neil Dickson, Brethren in Scotland 1838-2000 (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2002)

Donald Simpson, Missions and the Magic Lantern', International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 21.1 (January, 1997), pp. 13-15.

Corporate Names