Grenfell Family Papers and Business Records

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 217 LAC/45
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      12 boxes, 94 vols

Scope and Content

Partnership agreements, company records and office papers, 1803-1897; account books, ledgers and financial papers, 1830-1897; raw material records, 1783-1892; Swansea title deeds and estate papers, 1828-1892; Grenfell family settlements and miscellanea, 1812-1892; trustee accounts and papers, 1836-2890; Taplow Court Estate accounts and papers, 1866-1883; South Norwood Estate, 1865-1868; William Grenfell records, 1809-1891; letters received by Sir Robert Meade, 1841-1860; letter and telegrams on Sir Robert Meade's death, 1898; miscellaneous letters and photographs, 1830-1898.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Grenfell family rose to prominence through the industrialist and politician Pascoe Grenfell (bap.1761, d.1838), as well as by marriage. Originally from Cornwall the Grenfell family were heavily involved in the copper industry in Cornwall and Wales.

Pascoe Grenfell (bap. 1761, d. 1838), was involved with family members in dealing in tin and copper ores. He later developed a business relationship with the copper magnate Thomas Williams, and his son Owen. After the death of Thomas Williams in 1802 Owen Williams and Pascoe Grenfell took over the smelting works in Swansea - Middle and Upper Bank. In 1829 Owen Williams withdrew his interest and the firm became Pascoe Grenfell and Sons.

Pascoe Grenfell was MP for Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, 1802-1820, and MP for Penrhyn, Cornwall, 1820-1826. Grenfell was a commissioner of the lieutenancy for London and governor of the Royal Exchange Assurance Company.

Grenfell was first married to his cousin Charlotte Granville (d.1790). They had two sons, the younger of whom, Charles Pascoe Grenfell (1790-1867) served as MP for Preston 1847-52 and 1857-65. As well as being a senior partner in Pascoe Grenfell and Sons between 1846 and 1848 he was chairman of the London and Brighton Railway Company.

The second wife of Pascoe Grenfell was Georgiana St Leger (m.1798, d.1818). They had two sons, Pascoe St Leger Grenfell (1798-1879) and Riversdale William Grenfell (1807-1871). Both were closely involved in Pascoe Grenfell & Sons and became prominent figures in Swansea, with Riversdale William Grenfell being the first member of the family to be resident. The family were known for being concerned with the welfare of their workers and were involved in many philanthropic works.

Although the family retained a financial interest in the company the deaths of Pascoe St Leger Grenfell and Riversdale William Grenfell marked a change. In 1890 it became a limited company. In October 1892 the firm went into voluntary liquidation and was taken over by Williams, Foster and Co into the newly formed Williams, Foster, and Pascoe Grenfell.

For more information on the Grenfell family and their connections to Swansea see Edmund Newell, 'Grenfell family (per. c.1785-1879)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; online edn, Sept 2013; and M. E. Chamberlain, 'The Grenfells of Kilvey', Glamorgan Historian, 60 (1973), 123-42.

Sir Robert Henry Meade (1835-1898) was the second son of Richard Meade, third earl of Clanwilliam and Lady Elizabeth. He was educated at Harrow School and Exeter College, Oxford. He began his career in the Foreign Office, being involved with special missions and accompanying governmental and royal visits abroad, and ended his career as was permanent under-secretary for the colonies. He became CB on 21 March 1885, KCB in 1894, and GCB in 1897.

The connection between Sir Robert Henry Meade and the Grenfell family was through his second marriage, on 13 April 1880, to Caroline Georgiana, daughter of Charles William Grenfell MP. The couple had a son, Charles Francis (1881-1975).

For more information on Sir Robert Meade see C. A. Harris, 'Meade, Sir Robert Henry (1835-1898)', rev. Luke Trainor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008.


The catalogue is arranged into 13 series. LAC/45/A-D relate to copper manufacturing in Swansea and related business transactions; LAC/E contains papers relating to Upper Thames Street, London; LAC/45/F relates to the Grenfell family; LAC/45/G contains Trustee accounts and papers; LAC/45/H comprises of Taplow Court Estate, Buckinghamshire, accounts and papers; LAC/45/J - South Norwood Estate; LAC/45/K contains records relating to William Grenfell; LAC/45/L-M relate to Sir Robert Meade, husband of Caroline Georgiana, daughter of Charles William Grenfell; LAC/45/N comprises of miscellaneous letters and photographs.

Access Information

Accessible to all researchers by appointment. Please note that some collections contain sensitive information and access may be restricted

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of this catalogue is available in the Richard Burton Archives reading room

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply

Related Material

At the Richard Burton Archives other collections related to copper manufacturing, Pascoe Grenfell and associated firms, include the Kirkam Manuscripts (LAC/57); the papers of Cecil Lewis (LAC/61); Strick and Bellingham collection (LAC/140); and Yorkshire Imperial Metals (LAC/126)

Other material relating to copper manufacturing and Pascoe Grenfell (and associated firms), and the Grenfell family, is held at other archive services including Bangor University (BMSS COPP - Records of Williams and Grenfell's Copper Smelting Firm, 1829-1834); Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (D-GR - Grenfell Family, Barons Desborough, of Taplow); Berkshire Record Office (D/EG - Grenfell papers); Cornwall Record Office; and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.