The Chetham Society Archive

Scope and Content

The deposited papers represent the entire official records of the Society, with the exception of the minute book in use and other related papers which remain in the hands of the Society's Honorary Secretary.

The collection comprises of newspaper reports and cuttings concerning the Chetham Society, minute books, accounts and financial papers, information concerning members, and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Chetham Society is the oldest history society in North West England and was one of the first in Britain. It was founded in Manchester in 1843 by a group of gentlemen, of 'a literary and historical turn', who wanted to promote interest in, and access to, the rich historical source material of the region. The formal object of the Society was therefore to publish 'Remains Historical and Literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancashire and Chester', although since the 1870s the literary element has been dropped and the work of the Society has concentrated entirely upon the publication of history.

The Society held its first meeting in Chetham's Library, established in 1653 by the will of Humphrey Chetham, and it continues to meet there today. The founders chose to adopt Chetham's name for the new Society because he was a patron and benefactor of learning in the region.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to this collection. Viewing is by prior appointment. Please contact

Acquisition Information

F.6.10 (1-4) were deposited by Dr Alan Crosby on behalf of the Chetham Society in Jun 1993. F.6.11-F.6.15 were deposited by John Holden, Hon. Treasurer of the Society, in Mar 1994. Dr Crosby deposited F.6.16 (a & b) in Nov 2005.

Related Material

Administrative material relating to the Society compiled by members and officers can also be found in the Crossley papers (E.3.3-6), the Corser papers (E.3.2), the Raines collection (E.4.5-E.5.7), William Fleming MS (A.1.19), and in the collections of J.E. Bailey, G.H. Tupling and J. Harland.

Other relevant material may be found in the Crossley and Harland papers held by the archives department of Manchester Central Reference Library.


  • Alan G. Crosby, 'A Society with No Equal': The Chetham Society, 1843-1993, Chetham Society, 3rd series vol. 37 (1993).
  • James Tait, 'The Chetham Society: a retrospect', Chetham Miscellanies vol. 7, Chetham Society, new series vol. 100 (1939).