The Archive of the Booth Charities

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 418 Booth
  • Dates of Creation
      17th century-20th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English ; Latin
  • Physical Description
      62 boxes, 36 series

Scope and Content

The Booth Charities Archive primarily consists of title deeds and various records relating to property ownership, financial records, legal records and correspondence. The archive also contains various miscellaneous records which give insight into philanthropy and charitable benefactions between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Booth Charities were established in the first quarter of the seventeenth century when Humphrey Booth the Elder (born 1580; died 1635) a rich fustian merchant of Manchester and Salford, granted lands which comprised of 5 fields and a barn, then worth twenty pounds per annum, to trustees by a deed of feoffment dated 18 February 1630/31 (reference: Booth/2/1/1/1). This deed stated that the income from these lands should be used for the relief of the poor, aged or impotent persons dwelling in the town of Salford, and the Charity originally made small money grants and provided clothing or blankets for the poor.

The lands granted in the 1630/31 deed of feoffment are now covered by buildings around Piccadilly and Oxford Street. In 1776 an Act of Parliament enabled the Booth Charity Trustees to let their estates on building leases for terms up to 99 years long (reference: Booth/2/1/3/1). Houses were being built on the land around Piccadilly by 1790, and thus through the centuries the value of the lands increased steadily, enabling the trustees of the charity to adapt their income to changing needs.

As well as aiding the poor and elderly of Salford financially, Humphrey Booth the Elder was also concerned with their spiritual welfare and had been determined to provide the inhabitants with their own parish church. He had been a churchwarden at the parish church of Manchester, now the cathedral, and had built a gallery in it for his fellow Salfordians. But he still wanted them to have their own church, and he funded and founded the first church in Salford, Trinity Chapel, shortly before his death. He laid the foundation stone in 1634 and the chapel was completed on 16 May 1635. The chapel, built on the western outskirts of what was then a small town, was created a parish church in 1650 due to the huge population increase experienced by Salford.

Although a sum of twenty pounds had been set aside as the annual stipend for the minister, Humphrey Booth the Elder died before he could plan for the maintenance and repairs which Trinity Chapel would inevitably require. Four decades after Humphrey Booth the Elder's death in 1635 his grandson, Humphrey Booth the Younger, followed his philanthropic example. In his will of 1672 Humphrey Booth the Younger left lands in Salford to provide for the future of the Chapel. His will stated that "in case there be any overplus then my Will and Mind is that it shall be distributed amongst the Poore of Salford, Att a Christmas as the Money's left by my Grandfather is" (reference: Booth/2/2/2/2). Documents relating to Trinity Chapel, its rebuilding in the 1750's and partial rebuilding in 1874, form a considerable part of the Booth Charity Archive.

At the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century it was beginning to be realised that the health of elderly people was an important factor in their welfare, and accordingly the Distributors of the Booth Charities were authorised to help certain sick individuals or those requiring convalescent holidays. The Charities also began to support hospitals, nursing institutes and dispensaries. The Booth Charities continued to support medical charities which primarily helped elderly Salford people, until they were centrally financed by the National Health Service in 1948. After World War II the Charity also built almshouses to help ease the problem of the growing number of elderly Salfordians needing housing following the extensive war damage endured by Salford.

The Booth Charities are one of the oldest and one of the most effective charities operating in the North West. They have developed an extensive archive dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth century which is of enormous potential value to social and economc historians, and which provides substantial material for the study of philanthropy and welfare in Salford and Manchester.


During the arrangement and listing of the Booth Charities Archive, care has been taken to adhere to the principles of provenance and original order. Unfortunately, the original order of the documents deposited in Chetham's Library during 1969-1970 had been disrupted. The documents appeared to have been placed into boxes according to their size and shape and not according to any logical archival order. Care was taken to place the documents back into their correct sub-subgroups and classes, following an analysis of the individual documents and the organisational structure and functions of the body which created them.

During the listing of bundles each item within the bundle was analysed and generally placed into chronological order, unless evidence was available for some other system of arrangement. An attempt was made to restrict the size of bundles to no more than 25 items or pieces. Certain large bundles were split to make them manageable as archival units, although no attempt was made to split bundles if this would affect their original order. Wherever possible, a detailed listing of each individual item or piece has been given in the list.

The archive has been arranged into 2 subfonds, 11 sub-subfonds and 36 series.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to this collection. Viewing is by prior appointment. Please contact

Acquisition Information

Two accessions during Nov 1969 and Jan 1970. Further accession Jun 1997.

Custodial History

Since the nineteenth century the Charity has been administered by two bodies: the trustees, who were initially named in the original deed of feoffment which created a self-perpetuating trust for the continued maintenance of the Charity, and the distributors of Charity funds. The distributors were originally the two constables and the churchwarden of the township of Salford, but the task of distribution is now undertaken by Charity officials based at Midwood Hall in Salford. This administrative and physical division created two distinct sub-fonds within the primary fonds: the Distributors of the Booth Charities, Booth/1, and the Trustees of the Booth Charities, Booth/2.

The majority of the records were deposited in Chetham's Library in two large accessions during November 1969 and January 1970 by the solicitors Taylor, Kirkman and Mainprice, who were then acting as Charity trustees. Mr. Mainprice was clerk to both Chetham's Library and the Booth Charties, but the choice of repository also reflects the Library's historic connection with the Charity. The deposit came at this time as a result of the solicitor's relocation from John Dalton Street, Manchester, to Bramhall, Cheshire.

Taylor, Kirkman and Mainprice retained a considerable number of documents for legal purposes. This meant that the Booth Charities Archive was physically split and housed at three separate locations. After liaising with the Distributors, an accession was collected from Salford in June 1997, closely followed by an accession from the Trustees. Once the three major accessions had been brought together, the task of arranging and cataloguing the archive could begin.


Further accruals are expected.

Related Material

A number of documents remain at the offices of Taylor, Kirkman and Mainprice in Bramhall. A list of these documents has been produced and can be viewed at the Library. Researchers wanting access to any of these documents must first approach Chetham's Librarian.

An interim list of the documents collected by the archivist from the offices of Taylor, Kirkman and Mainprice, Bramhall, in June 1997 has been produced. This is based on a list created by the solicitor's office and is not of an archival standard.

Humphrey Booth the Elder's will (proved at Chester, 17 Oct 1635) is held at Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2RE (reference: WCW 1635). A facsimile of this will is located in the archive of the Booth Charities housed at Chetham's Library. It is part of the later accession of documents belonging to the Booth Charities, and is listed in volume II of the catalogue (old reference: C. 1. 2a).

Humphrey Booth the Younger's will (proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1676) is held at the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. A facsimile and a manuscript copy of this document is located in the archive (reference: Booth/2/2/2/2).

Salford Archives Centre holds a number of maps and plans which show property belonging to the Standley Barn Trustees and the Salford Chapel Charity Trustees (1823-1824). The Archives Centre also holds an account book for John Caldwell's Charity (1759-1960, reference: U40/F1), and a number of documents relating to the Overseers of the Poor (18th and 19th century), which are located with the records of Salford Township. A full listing of these records can be consulted at Chetham's Library.

The Local Studies Service at Manchester Central Library holds a number of documents which contain reference to the Booth Charities, Booth Charity land, Salford Chapel Charity and Trinity Chapel. These include a "plan showing Booth's Charity land, c. 1850" (reference: MS F 942.72 R121 v. 49 p. 13), and "Accounts and names of Trustees, 1862" of the Anne Openshaw Charity (reference: MC=L49/6/2). A number of records relating to Trinity Chapel are held at the Local Studies Archives due to its status as the Diocesan Record Office for Manchester. Trinity Chapel holds registers going back as far as the 1890s, whilst the Local Studies Archives Service holds the registers for earlier dates.


  • John J. Barber, A History of the Church of the Sacred Trinity, Salford: with some notes on the Ministers, Humphrey Booth and his Descendants and the Booth Charities (Salford, 1966).
  • V. I. Tomlinson, Charity Change in Salford from 1630 to 1988 (Salford, 1988).