Autograph Album from the Royal Jubilee Exhibition in Manchester

Scope and Content

The album contains autograph signatures and letters of members of the Royal family, leading Manchester dignitaries and other notable persons, collected by Sir Joseph Cocksey Lee on the occasion of the Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition, of which he was chairman.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Jubilee Exhibition of Manchester in 1887 celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, commemorating the industry and art of fifty years of Victoria's reign. The Manchester Exhibition was the largest of the jubilee exhibitions; it was held on a thirty-three acre site in Old Trafford, and attracted over four million visitors. The size of the Exhibition was probably motivated by the desire to promote the Manchester Ship Canal project; three quarters of the guarantors of the exhibition were supporters of the project and the exhibition included as 32-foot scale model of the canal. The exhibition was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 3 May 1887 and was open until November 1887. The chairman of the exhibition was Joseph Cocksey Lee (1832-1894), a cotton spinner and merchant of Manchester.

Unpublished history: M.F. Harrison,The Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, Manchester Polytechnic MA thesis, 1988.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the John Rylands Library by Lennox Bertram Lee in January 1923.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, with reference to Alan Kidd, "The Industrial City and its Pre-industrial Past: The Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887", Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, vol. 89 (1993), pp. 54-73.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 203).

Custodial History

The book originally belonged to the chairman, Sir Joseph Cocksey Lee. His widow, Lady Lee, gave it to their son, Lennox Bertram Lee (1864-1949), in 1897.

Geographical Names