W.D. Pink's Research Papers on Members of Parliament

Scope and Content

Papers collected by William (John) Duncombe Pink mainly in connection with an unpublished biographical dictionary of Members of Parliament. Papers include indexes of and biographical notes on MPs in the Tudor and Stewart periods, notes on London MPs from the 13th to the 19th centuries, notes on the Long Parliament and Pride's Purge, transcripts of poll books, and miscellaneous notes and papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

William (John) Duncombe Pink (1842-1923) was a well-respected local and parliamentary historian. He was born on 19 December 1842, the son of William Pink and his wife Mary Ann, and was baptised at Saint Leonards, Shoreditch, London, on 18 May 1845. He began his antiquarian work when he worked as a bookseller and accumulated a library of antiquarian books and manuscripts. From the 1880s onwards Pink lectured on and published a large number of papers on the history of Lancashire and Cheshire places and families. He was on the council of the Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1908-1909.

Pink devoted much of his leisure time to collect material for a biographical dictionary of Members of Parliament. Although a prospectus was published for a Dictionary of members of parliament, 1485 to 1708, the dictionary itself was never published. In the process, however, Pink had become a recognised authority on parliamentary history. In 1889 he published with the Reverend Alfred B. Beavan, The parliamentary representation of Lancashire, (county and borough), 1258-1885: with biographical and genealogical notices of the members (London: H. Gray, 1889), in a limited edition of eighty copies. This work was a revision and expansion of articles published in the Leigh Chronicle in the 1870s and 1880s.

Pink lived for many years in Leigh, Lancashire. Many of his lectures and articles concerned the locality, and in 1899 he was commissioned to design a coat of arms for Leigh. In 1903 he became a borough magistrate there. The same year he was appointed Librarian of Leigh Public Library, a post he held until his retirement in 1922. He presented his own library to Leigh Library shortly before his death. In 1919 Pink was awarded an honorary MA by the Victoria University of Manchester. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He died suddenly at Newton-le-Willows, on 13 October 1923, aged eighty.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the John Rylands Library by the executors of William Duncombe Pink in September 1928.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MSS 296-333).

Related Material

Northamptonshire Record Office holds W.D. Pink genealogical correspondence and papers, c 1909-1910 (ref.: GB 154 C840-41).

Manchester Archives and Local Studies holds 12 letters from Pink to William Farrer, 1902-1906 (ref.: GB 127 L1/58/3/361-373 ).