Papers of the Lawson family of Leeds and Nottingham; 1826-1927

Scope and Content

The two sub-fonds relate to two different deposits of papers from the Lawson family. The record for each sub fonds gives more information on its contents:

Papers of John Lawson (1878-1969), first deposit (Ln).

Papers of the Lawson family, second deposit. Including papers of John Lawson (1878-1969), John Lawson (1845-1911), Thomas Lawson, William Stockwell Lawson, Faith Winifred Lawson, Hugh Lawson and Thomas Parker (Ln2).

Administrative / Biographical History

These papers refer to five generations of the Lawson family, originally of Leeds and later of Nottingham. The main focus of the papers is John Lawson (1878-1969) who was brought up in Leeds and trained as a pharmaceutical chemist working at Bostock and Sons in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, Hayes Cuningham and Robinson, Dublin and the Daisy Company Limited in Leeds before being asked by Jesse Boot to join Boots as a manager. Lawson moved to West Bridgford upon employment with Boots and remained in the city with his wife Faith Winifred Clokie (1880-1974) for the rest of his life, apart from a brief spell when he moved to be with his daughter in Wembley. Outside of work he was a very active Methodist, teaching in the Sunday School and was chairman of West Bridgford UDC for a number of years.

John Lawson (1845-1911), the father of John Lawson (1878-1911) was also born in Leeds. Aged 15 he joined William Cook, paperhanger as an office boy. At 18 he began travelling on behalf of the company as a salesman until he became more actively involved in his brother's carpet business in 1874. On 2 Feb. 1871 he married Sophia Parker Gardner (1842-1925), the niece and adopted daughter of Councillor Thomas Parker of Woodhouse Carr. He was also notable in Methodist affairs in Leeds.

Thomas Parker (b. 1808) was a dyer and stover in Leeds, employing 170 men and 75 boys in 1851. He was married to Sophia Law, daughter of Jesse Law and Johanna Jones and sister of Leah Law, mother of Sophia Parker Gardner. Leah Gardner died, leaving her children orphans and they were raised by Thomas Parker and his wife. He served as a Liberal councillor in Leeds, being first elected for the North West Ward in 1860.

William Stockwell Lawson (1848-1923), brother of John Lawson (1845-1911) and uncle of John Lawson (1878-1969) ran a successful carpet manufacturing business in Leeds. John Lawson (1878-1969) was an executor his will.

Thomas Lawson (1822-1877) was the father of John Lawson (1845-1911) and William Stockwell Lawson. He married Sarah Stockwell of Holbeck in 1843. She had been an orphan from an early age and was brought up by her aunts (née Conyers). Thomas Lawson's brother William Benjamin Lawson fled Leeds in 1851 for New Zealand and was part of the Australian Gold Rush. Thomas Lawson worked as a Mill Manager at Patent Woollen Cloth Co.

A few papers relate to John Lawson (1780-1837), father of Thomas Lawson who was a leading Methodist in Leeds.

Faith Winifred Clokie was born in 1880, one of 11 children to Hugh McDowall Clokie and Jessie Thompson. After attending a school in Leeds she trained in art at the Leeds School of Art before becoming a teacher at Granville College, Midhurst, Sussex and in Bristol. She married John Lawson in 1908. Her father, Hugh McDowall Clokie (1835-1903) married Jessie Thompson (1841-1916) in 1866.

Hugh Lawson was born in Leeds in 1912, the second son of John Lawson (1878-1969) and moved to Nottingham in 1915 where he attended Nottingham High School and University College Nottingham, obtaining a BSc in Civil Engineering in 1932. Initial employment was in Preston, Daventry and Bromley, Kent before he returned to Nottingham to work in the City Engineers Department in 1937. In this year he married Dorothy Mallinson, daughter of a Methodist minister. After service in Gibraltar during the second world war, Lawson stood successfully as a candidate for the Common Wealth party in 1944 in Skipton. He was appointed Deputy City Engineer on Nottingham in 1948 and Surveyor, remaining in this post for 25 years. He oversaw major developments in the road network in this period and was instrumental in the Eastcroft Incinerator and District Heating Schemes in the city. After 1973 he was made Director of Leisure Services for Nottingham, retiring from the council in 1976.


The papers have been arranged according to the two deposits - Ln and Ln2. Within Ln the collection is listed chronologically within sections which reflect the various stages of Lawson's career and associations. In Ln2 the papers have been divided into sub-fonds which relate to individual members of the Lawson family (Ln2/1-7) and then have chronological and thematic divisions.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers

Other Finding Aids

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

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue for Ln (first deposit) only, 15 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Typescript Catalogue for Ln (first deposit) only, 15 pp

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue accessible from the website for Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on 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

Custodial History

The first deposit (Ln) was given to the University Library in 1984 with a further accrual (Ln2) in 1998.

Related Material

University of Sussex, Special Collections, Papers of Hugh Lawson in the Common Wealth Archive (ref. SxMs9)