Political correspondence of Arthur Wells (1815-1882), Nottingham solicitor, 1844-1866

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection consists of political correspondence, sent to and acquired by Arthur Wells (1815-1882), solicitor, together with related financial and business papers. It includes the following series:

Correspondence from Edward Strutt to Arthur Wells relating mainly to parliamentary and constituency business. More specific subjects include: subscriptions and donations to local causes such as Nottingham Hospital and People's College; privileges and patronage; the Reform Bill; Lord Canning, the Postmaster General; Sir William Clay's candidacy for M.P. of Nottingham; health of Strutt's family; fireworks for a fete at Kingston, Leicestershire; Lord John Russell; and Wells' losing the business of Mr Paget. 1853-1859 (Wp 1);

Correspondence from John Mellor to Arthur Wells relating mainly to parliamentary and constituency business, 1859-1862 (Wp 2);

Correspondence mainly addressed to Arthur Wells concerning the Liberal Committee for Nottingham. Subjects include: payment of accounts and favours by the Liberal Committee; Liberal candidates for election as Members of Parliament for Nottingham; and alleged bribery and violence at the 1865 election in Nottingham, 1852-1866 (Wp 3);

Assorted financial and business papers of the Nottingham Liberal Committee, c.1844-1866 (Wp 4);

Copies of poetic texts in various hands and by various authors, presumably collected by Arthur Wells, undated (Wp 5);

Book listing deeds in a safe, presumably of Arthur Wells, 1859 (Wp 6).

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Wells (1815-1882) was a Nottingham solicitor and clerk of the peace. He is recorded in trade directories for the town as a solicitor from 1842 until the 1880s. He set up the law firm of Wells and Hind in Fletcher Gate, Nottingham with Jesse Hind some time between 1866 and 1869. Wells taught at the Sunday School of Castle Gate Congregational Church, Nottingham and was a deacon of the church. He was actively engaged in local politics, playing a major role in the business of the Nottingham Liberal Committee. A keen traveller, he was made a Fellow of the Geographical Society. He left his valuable collection of jade carvings to the South Kensington (now Victoria and Albert) Museum and bequeathed £40,000 to charities, including the London Missionary Society.

Edward Strutt (1801-1880) was born in Derby, the only son of William and Barbara Strutt. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1823, M.A. 1826) and was admitted as a student of law in Lincoln's Inn in 1823 and Inner Temple in 1825 but was never called to the bar. He was a Liberal Member of Parliament for Derby from 1830 to 1847. In 1851, he was returned to Parliament for Arundel, Sussex. In the following year, he exchanged the seat for Nottingham, which he retained until his elevation to the peerage in 1856 as Baron Belper of Belper, Derbyshire. His positions of public office included chief commissioner of railways (1846-1848), high sheriff for Nottinghamshire (1850), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1852-1854), and Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire (1864).

John Mellor (1809-1887) was born in Oldham, son of John Mellor, mayor of Leicester. He was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, admitted as a student of law at Inner Temple in 1828 and called to the bar in 1833. He became a queen's counsel in 1851 and leader of the Midland circuit as well as having a London practice. He was a Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth from 1857 to 1859 and for Nottingham from 1859. He was knighted in 1861 and retired in 1879.


The collection has been divided by document type into six series. Within these series, items have been arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to The University of Nottingham.


Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Custodial History

The collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in February 1994.

Related Material

Nottinghamshire Archives: Correspondence and papers of Edward Strutt, c.1807-1879. Reference: DD BK/7-8