P.W. Petter Collection

Scope and Content

The collection is made up of booklets, pamphlets and leaflets produced by P.W. Petter. There is also a biographical essay and a bibliographical essay produced by Stuart Braga, the husband of Patrica Braga (Petter's granddaughter). The bibliographical essay is based partly on prior access to a collection of Petter's publications held by a relative, which has not survived.

There is also a CD-ROM containing scanned copies of the whole collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Percival Waddams Petter was born on 26 May 1873 to James Bazely Petter an ironfounder in Yeovil, Somerset, and Charlotte Waddams (née Branscombe). Both parents had been raised in the Exclusive Brethren, but broke with them in 1883, after which they attended the local Anglican church. 'Percy' Petter maintained an ambiguous commitment to Brethrenism despite an allegiance to the Church of England.

Educated at Yeovil Grammar School, he married Emily Jane Kennan in 1904, and they had two sons and four daughters. Along with his brother he produced an early internal combustion engine car in 1895, but it was not a commercial success. In partnership with his brother he set up Petters Ltd in 1901 producing stationary and marine oil engines. During the First World War they set up Westland Ltd to produce military aircraft, which they continued to do after the war. The businesses were eventually sold in 1936, when both brothers went into retirement. Percy was Mayor of Yeovil in 1926-7. His wife Emily died in 1935, and he was married to Ruth Penson-Harris in 1946. Percy was an active preacher and publisher of tracts for much of his life. He died on 15 September 1955 aged 82.


The collection has been separated into two series: the pamphlets and booklets which have been listed alphabetically, and the modern contextual material (along with the CD-ROM).

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Patrica Braga

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 University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The pamphlets belonged to Patricia Braga who was the granddaughter of P.W. Petter.