Gregson Royal Institution Collection,

Scope and Content

A collection of printed and manuscript items relating to the foundation of the Liverpool Royal Institution, its lecture courses and collections, compiled by Matthew Gregson (1749-1824).

Administrative / Biographical History

Matthew Gregson (1749-1824) was a Liverpool businessman and public figure, particularly associated with the Bluecoat School, the Liverpool Library, the Royal Institution, the Botanic Gardens and the Academy of Art. He is credited with introducing to Liverpool the art of lithography, which he used in his Portfolio of Fragments relative to the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster (1817); this work led to his election to the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries. Gregson died at the age of 75, after a fall from a ladder in his library. The Gregson Memorial Institute, Garmoyle Road, Wavertree was opened by Isabella Gregson in 1897 in memory of her parents and other family members, to include accommodation for lectures, an art gallery and museum `for the promotion of Literature and the Arts and Sciences'. The collections were given to the University in 1906 and gradually transferred to the City Museums and University from 1933, before the sale of the Institute building to Liverpool Corporation in 1936. Material transferred from the Institute later occupied a specially equipped `Gregson Room' in the newly-built (1938) Harold Cohen Library.

Sources: Obituary in The Gentleman's Magazine, October 1824; Dictionary of National Biography.


Arranged in 5 sections A-E as listed by Kenneth Povey c. 1954.

Access Information

Access is open to bona fide researchers

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Gregson Memorial Institute, Wavertree in 1938 .

Other Finding Aids

Printed items are also entered separately in the library catalogue

Alternative Form Available

Additional copies of some of the printed items are noted in the library catalogue

Archivist's Note

The Gregson Royal Institution material was originally described in separate library catalogue records

Separated Material

Special Collections and Archives holds printed and manuscript items transferred from the Gregson Memorial Institute, including:

  • MS.26.65(1-65): Manuscript drafts and c.58 autograph letters to and from Matthew Gregson concerning his scheme for teaching boys drawing and design proposed in a circular of 1813; subscribers lists, sample drawings, printed circulars and leaflets, press-cuttings, etc. 1808-1817
  • University Archives D136: Inventory (1915) of the contents of The Gregson Memorial Institute
  • University Archives S2740; S2742-S2743: Minute and Report books of the Gregson Memorial Institute Committee
  • University Archives D15/2: Volume of notes believed to be by Matthew Gregson
  • Printed books (not kept in a separate sequence)

The Gregson papers from the Gregson Memorial Institute, except the file relating to Liverpool Royal Institution, were transferred from the University to the Liverpool Record Office in 1954.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and licensing rules available on request

Appraisal Information

Not known

Custodial History

Gregson, Matthew (1749-1824)


There are no anticipated accruals

Related Material

Special Collections and Archives also holds the archive and library of the Liverpool Royal Institution (LRI).


Ormerod, Henry ArderneThe Liverpool Royal Institution: a record and retrospectLiverpool University Press 1953