The Dale Papers include the personal papers of three members of the Dale family - James Dale (fl. 1810-1824), William Dale (fl. 1874-1898) and Alan Dale (1891-1981) - and records of the family firm, Messrs William Dale & Sons, agricultural engineers of Sandle Bridge near Alderley Edge, Cheshire. Of the personal papers, the most interest items are a journal and account book of James Dale, a servant of Lady Warburton of Arley Hall, who accompanied her on a tour of Europe in 1818. The records of William Dale & Sons comprise thirty-four ledgers, 1794-1921, which provide detailed information on the workings of the firm, and on the wider agricultural economy of Cheshire.
Alan Dale (1891-1981) was a local historian, who collected old records relating to the parish of Alderley and the surrounding district. The collection therefore contains an important minute book of the Alderley Society friendly society, 1752-1774 (DP/3/1/1); records of the Overseers of the Poor and Surveyors of Highways and taxation and electoral records for Marthall with Little Warford, together with papers relating to the Government Evacuation Scheme and the Ollerton and Marthall Comforts Fund during the Second World War, 1729-1945 (DP/3/2); rate books and charity records for the townships of Ollerton, 1907-1918, and Over Peover, 1865-1947 (DP/3/3-4); and records of the Overseers of the Poor and Parish Council of Great Warford and of the Wesleyan Day School there, 1702-1923 (DP/3/5). There are also printed catalogues for the sales of nine estates in Cheshire, 1842, 1917-1938 (DP/4); and numerous printed catalogues for auctions of farm stock, agricultural implements, machinery and household goods, mainly in Cheshire, 1922-1932 (DP/5).
The collection contains much material of interest to local historians of Cheshire, and to social and economic historians. It is particularly relevant to studies of the Poor Laws, friendly societies and other charities, and of the workings of local government in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.