Correspondence, personal and official papers, business records and deeds of the Galton family of Birmingham and of other families related to them by marriage, including the Strutt family of Belper, Derbyshire. The bulk of the papers in this collection date from the mid eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth century, although many of the deeds date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and there are also a few medieval manorial records.
The deeds and associated papers primarily relate to inherited holdings of the Galton family in Somerset, some of which were acquired through intermarriage in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and to estates subsequently purchased by members of the family in Worcestershire, principally Hadzor and Warley, and in Somerset. The collection also includes some deeds relating to properties in Birmingham; Staffordshire; Devon and Cornwall. Personal papers include official documents such as certificates, passports, wills, settlements, bonds, indentures, financial accounts, diaries and journals and other narrative accounts created by or relating to members of the family.
The substantial family and business correspondence forms probably the most significant material in this collection, comprising letters written to and from members of the Galton family, and other families related to them by marriage, including the Farmer family, the Abrahams family, the Douglas family and the Strutt family. Business correspondence of Samuel Galton and James Farmer, in particular, together with the largely financial business papers of Farmer & Galton, are a rich source for the study of the eighteenth century gun trade in the context of the fluctuating fortunes of this Birmingham based firm, and contain detailed information about the organistaion and management of the business, and its clients, who for the most part were merchants involved in the triangular trade. Also significant in this area is the correspondence of William Archibald Douglas, an officer in the company of merchants trading to Africa in the 1790s, who provides details of his trading activities at Cape Coast castle and schemes to improve his financial status.
Other correspondence is rich in detail about family and social life, and is a source for the study of childhood and family life, women's history, social networks in Birmingham and Derby, connections with other Quaker families, the involvement of various family members in public and charitable works, the interest of Samuel Galton jnr and his wife in popular education, and of Joseph Strutt in political reform, travel in the United Kingdom, particularly to seaside resorts such as Scarborough, Blackpool, Brighton and Sidmouth, but also to Bath, Yorkshire, Scotland and the Lake District, and in Europe, particularly in Italy, but also in France, Germany and Spain.