Gibby Papers

Scope and Content

Research and teaching materials assembled by Gibby during the course of his career, relating chiefly to the history of the North-East of England. The material reflects his wide-ranging historical and antiquarian interests, his perseverance and dedication to his researches, his keen eye for oddities and absurdities and his sharp awareness of character and anecdote. Among the papers are:

  • manuscript and typescript notes for his lectures, courses, tours and publications
  • numerous transcripts and copies of archival items as well as some original documents; pedigrees
  • some photographs (including a number of black and white prints from his own negatives)
  • a series of maps (mainly copies but some originals), chiefly of Co. Durham and Durham City
  • many printed items, including pamphlets, offprints and press-cuttings

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr. Clifton William (Jack) Gibby (1902-1989), a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, was associated with the University of Durham from 1926 until 1989: between 1926 and 1967 he served as a lecturer in Chemistry and from 1968 until his death was an Honorary Research Associate of the Department of Archaeology. This latter appointment reflected not only the training in archaeological conservation which he provided but also his long standing enthusiasm for and contribution to the study and teaching of the history, architecture and archaeology of the North-East of England, during the course of which his collection of papers was amassed.

Gibby, who was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, was greatly involved with the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, first as secretary and then, from 1969 to 1980, as President. He was a founder member and trustee of the City of Durham Trust and a member of the Durham Diocesan Advisory Committee for the care of churches. He also served as chairman of the Trustees of the Freemen of Durham and was himself admitted a Freeman of Durham City in 1986.

Among his publications were pamphlets entitled A Short Tour of Durham (by B. Colgrave and C.W. Gibby) and A Short History of Durham which went into several editions.

Above all Gibby was an inspiring and indefatigable lecturer. He helped to pioneer adult education classes throughout County Durham, particularly in the fields of local and family history, and continued to research and conduct such courses until the time of his death. He also gave a remarkable series of public lectures over many years, usually illustrated from his large collection of lantern slides, and conducted numerous tours and excursions.


Provisionally classified under the following headings:

  • A. Personal items relating to Dr. Gibby and his career.
  • B. Biographical files.
  • C. Topographical files.
  • D. Ecclesiastical History subject files.
  • E. General subject files.
  • F. Pedigrees.
  • G. Rubbing.
  • H. Maps.
  • I. Printed works.

Access Information

Most items in the collection can now be made available provided that arrangements to consult them are made in advance.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed by Dr Gibby (died 5 June 1989) to the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic of the University of Durham (from 1990 part of the Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections department of Durham University Library). Many items among them had, however, been housed with the Department at an earlier period as the result of numerous small deposits or donations made by Dr. Gibby from the 1960s onwards; in particular a significant accession of plans (chiefly copies) and pedigrees was received on 9 September 1986.

After the death of Dr. Gibby a number of supplementary donations were received, one, of 4 September 1989, from C.R. Hudleston, and the remainder, made between 12 September 1989 and 1 September 1993, from Mrs. A.N. Gibby (died 1995), the widow of Dr. Gibby.

Other Finding Aids

A draft catalogue of the bulk of the collection has been keyed, but not yet checked; the section on maps needs revision to take accountof the latest deposits.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Durham University Library holds the originals of many of the plans of which there are copies in this collection.

Gibby collection of photographs and negatives (mainly of Durham City), and glass lantern-slides (local and national subjects)

Add.MS. 1390/1-3: Dr. Gibby's recorded reminiscences.


Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, n.s., 6: Studies presented to C.W. Gibby (1982)