Scope and Content

Business papers as a pharmacist,1947-1987 ; personal papers, 1972-1991; Buckley and district collieries and brickworks, 1847-1991; potteries and brickworks, 1890-1985; nonconformity, 1909-1992; railways, 1876-1992; programmes, posters, etc, 1911-1992; plans and drawings, (17th cent.)-1991; notes and articles, c.1955-20th.cent; miscellaneous papers, 17th-20th cent.; photographs of Buckley, c1870-1994, and other local areas, 1890s-1994; mounted items,1969-1991; negatives, 1874-1908; water colours paintings,1875-1991; accounts, 1937-1954

Administrative / Biographical History

James Bentley, MPS, has for many years been the local historian of Buckley, yet he was not born in the area and moved to Buckley to open his own pharmacy only in the 1950s. He had always been interested in industrial archaeology, however, and soon after arriving in Buckley he became friendly with the late Harold Gregory of Gregory's Aerated Water Works, a fellow enthusiast. Together they set about making a thorough investigation of the industrial remains of the area.

At first they concentrated on the old colliery and pottery sites, but James Bentley's unbounded energy and enthusiasm led him on to excavate tramways, railways, brickworks and, indeed, anything else that aroused his curiosity. He very soon established a reputation for being a most knowledgeable and entertaining local historian and he delighted in passing on his knowledge and enthusiasm to others. Over the years he has published numerous articles and mounted many displays and exhibitions relating to various aspects of Buckley's history, but his dream was to establish a permanent industrial museum in the town. In 1970 he succeeded, with Harold Gregory, in setting up an outdoor display in the grounds of Hawkesbury Hall, but it was plagued by attacks of vandalism. Eventually, in 1976, a new display was erected in a quadrangle at the Elfed High School where it was hoped involving the pupils in the project would help to secure its future and win wider recognition of its educational value. Much of the material is still in situ, though an outdoor site is not ideal and staff changes at the school have resulted in less use being made of the display as a teaching resource than was perhaps hoped for at its inception.

Now retired, James Bentley continues to write, to paint and to take an active interest in the work which he has inspired others to undertake in the field of local historical research. The Buckley community owes him an enormous debt.


Arranged into the following : business papers; personal papers; Buckley and district; collieries; potteries and brickworks; nonconformity; programmes, posters, etc; plans and drawings; notes and articles; miscellaneous papers; photographs; paintings; accounts

Access Information

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Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: Flintshire Record Office, Catalogue of the James Bentley MSS; Buckley (www.buckleysociety.org.uk) viewed 14th September 2004.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of this catalogue is available at Flintshire Record Office.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW project, updated by Steven Davies of Flintshire Record Office.

The following sources were used to compile this description: Flintshire Record Office, Catalogue of the James Bentley MSS; Buckley (www.buckleysociety.org.uk) viewed 14th September 2004.

Conditions Governing Use

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Usual copyright restrictions apply

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Flintshire Record Office have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Further records are at Flintshire Record Office, D/DM/947/22 and D/DM/1102.

Geographical Names