Papers of Mark Hovell

  • Reference
      GB 133 HOV
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.6 li.m.; 64 items
  • Location
      Collection available at the University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

The papers of Mark Hovell (1888-1916), historian of Chartism.

The collection is mainly personal papers of Mark Hovell concerning his academic work between the years 1906-1915. It includes his undergraduate lecture notes, research notes and private correspondence between himself and his fiancée, Francis Gately, during his period at the University of Leipzig, Germany. There are a few additional items created after his death by family and acquaintances close to him, relating to his unfinished book, The Chartist Movement, including a cuttings book of reviews.

Besides Hovell's work and views on Chartism, the collection provides an insight into German life and higher eduction in the early 20th century from the perspective of a young English academic. Hovell's letters sent to his fiancée also provides glimpses of his views on international and colonial matters in the period immediately before the First World War. The collection contains Mark Hovell's thesis on Richard II and Ireland, which Tout deemed to be quite remarkable for an undergraduate work, and was considered to be worthy of publication (although in the event this did not happen). There is a small collection of letters from Sir Michael Sadler, professor of education at the University of Manchester, with whom Hovell seems to have been working in 1911. Finally, the papers include Hovell's research notes for The Chartist Movement, which are useful for showing the sources he used for his study.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mark Hovell (1888-1916), schooled at the Manchester Grammar School, was a student in history at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he graduated in 1909 with first class honours. During his period as an undergraduate he had been awarded the Hulme Scholarship in 1906 and the Bradford Scholarship in 1908, the University's highest undergraduate distinction in history.

Between 1910 and 1912, after completing a teachers' diploma, he was employed by the University as a junior assistant lecturer in history with special charge of W.E.A. (Workers' Education Association) classes associated with the University's extra-mural programme. Hovell's research interests included military history, but it was to social history that he devoted most attention, beginning work on an original study of Chartism. Mark Hovell was undoubtedly influenced in this area by his colleagues, primarily T.F. Tout (1890-1925), professor of modern history, Sydney John Chapman (1871–1951), professor of political economy, George Unwin (1870–1925), professor of economic history, and Hugh Owen Meredith (1870–1925), lecturer in economic history at Manchester from 1904-1908.

In 1912-1913 Hovell was an assistant lecturer in English history at the University of Leipzig, Institut für Kultur- und Universalgeschichte [Institute for Culture and Universal History] (he had secured this post through offices of Sir Adolphus William Ward) . The Institut was headed by the controversial historian, Professor Karl Gotthard Lamprecht (1856 – 1915). Hovell's correspondence in this period with his fiancée, Francis Gately, is full of insights about German higher education and the work of the Institut.

After his period in Germany Hovell spent a year in London furthering his research on Chartism while at the same time working for the W.E.A. During the summer of 1914, Hovell was completing work on 'The Chartist Movement', as well as lecturing on military history at the University. The outbreak of war disrupted these plans; Hovell was gazetted in July 1915, serving as an officer in the Sherwood Foresters, (Nottingham and Derby Regiment) from August 1915. He fell on 12 August 1916 at Vermelles on the Western Front. His book, The Chartist Movement was completed for posthumous publication by his mentor Thomas Frederick Tout. Hovell's study of Chartism as a social movement, combining social, economic and political history, was pioneering for its time, and reflected the reputation that the University of Manchester was developing in this area.


There was no clear system of arrangement prior to cataloguing which allowed the provenance of all the material to be accurately identified. However, the collection as it stood appeared to be arranged into Mark Hovell's academic university work and notes, correspondence between himself and Francis Gately during his period in Germany and items and correspondence associated with his book and life written after his death. This arrangement was for the most part adhered to with correspondence and academic work placed in chronological order unless otherwise stated.

  • HOV/1 - Papers relating to academic studies and research
  • HOV/2- Hovell's letters from Leipzig
  • HOV/3 - Papers relating to the The Chartist Movement
  • HOV/4 - Printed material
  • HOV/5 - Letters from Michael Sadler

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

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 Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The majority of the collection belonged to Mark Hovell. On his death (August 1916), it came into the custody of his wife, Francis Hovell ( née Gately) . Thereafter a large part of it was handed over to Tout in 1917 in order to help publish Hovell's incomplete work on The Chartist Movement. Following publication, this manuscript material was transferred to the custody of the Christie Library (Manchester University Library) in 1918, with further material added in the 1920s. However Hovell's correspondence and other material appear to have been retained by Francis Hovell, and this was transferred to the John Rylands University Library in 1975 by Norman Clifford Jaques (husband of Majorie, Mark Hovell's daughter).

In 2012 a further deposit of papers was made by the School of Arts, Histories, and Languages (SALC). These had originally been given to the Department of History by Eileen Edmondson, and it is believed the papers had been entrusted to her by Majorie Hovell.


No further accruals expected.

Related Material

The Library holds the papers of other members of the University history department with whom Hovell was acquainted, including T. F. Tout, James Tait and George Unwin. The papers of T. F. Tout includes correspondence between Tout and Mark Hovell, Mark's wife Francis Hovell (formerly Gately) and also Mark's mother, Hannah Hovell (references TFT/1/543 , TFT/1/544, and TFT/1/545) respectively.


Hovell's book has been published in several editions including Mark Hovell, The Chartist Movement(Manchester University Press, 1970) , and most recently, in 2007, by Kessinger Publishing.

Geographical Names