Shaw Letters

Scope and Content

A collection of letters of the Shaw family of Wolverhampton comprising letters between John Shaw and his wife, Elizabeth (ne Wilkinson), 1810-1839 which also include several letters from John prior to their marriage. Other letters to John are from his mother, brother and sister and from an employee. The collection also includes correspondence between Elizabeth and her parents, 1815-1836; several letters to Elizabeth prior to her marriage from a friend, W. Lomax; and a single letter from her daughter.

The letters, many of which are extremely detailed, contain much information about the Shaw family and their domestic lives, including their own and their children's health, the children's schooling, their religious views on Calvinism and church attendance, employment of servants, maintenance of the house and garden and news of their neighbours and extended families. The correspondence also includes much information about John Shaw's business affairs in which his wife was involved. She forwarded business correspondence, sent her husband details of orders, news about the warehouse and employees and copied out bills.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

Prior to her marriage to John Shaw in c. 1814, Elizabeth Wilkinson lived with her parents, Mr and Mrs Thomas Wilkinson in Rochdale, Lancashire where her father was an ironmonger. Her parents subsequently moved to Colne, also in Lancashire. Elizabeth and John Shaw lived in George Street, Wolverhampton and had several children: Edward, Thomas, John and Elizabeth (known as Betsey). As a hardware salesman, John Shaw travelled widely on business, particularly in the north of England, where he regularly visited Liverpool, Manchester and Wrexham. The Shaw and Wilkinson families were both nonconformist, probably Methodists.

Reference: Deposit information


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in 1966/1967.

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.