Manuscript material from The Briggs Collection of Educational Literature,1744-1974

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

  • A collection of eighty-six notebooks containing samples of school work, 18th-19th century;
  • Bills for education of S.G. Beal at Exeter College Oxford, 1864;
  • Bills for education of Sir Henry and Alleyne Fitzherbert at St. John's College Cambridge, 1802-1836;
  • Bills for education of Anthony and John Fitzherbert at Rev. Francis Hodgson's school in Bakewell, 1830-1832;
  • Bills for education of members of the Pole family 1743-1839, and an item of correspondence with enclosures of William Chandos Pole 1847, 1839-1847;
  • Bills for education at a variety schools, 1780-1889;
  • Letters from school age members of the Gibbs family to their parents, 1810-1831;
  • Loose prints of landscape and nature together with a few original sketches in pencil, chalk and watercolours, c.1744-1775;
  • Printed prospectuses of schools and colleges, 1772-1882;
  • Account book for Radbourne and Muggington Schools, both in Derbyshire, 1748-1764;
  • Various other manuscript papers relating to schools and education in England includingDerbyshire, c.1798-1899;
  • Correspondence relating to the gift of the Briggs Collection of Pre-1851 Educational Literature to The University of Nottingham, 1949-1974.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Gerald Briggs (1885-1975), for whom the collection is named, was educated at WakefieldGrammar School and Malvern College Oxford, graduating in 1907. He became assistant inspector ofhigher education for the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1911. He was appointed the Assistant Directorof Education for Derbyshire from 1919-1933, and Director from 1933-1948. Dr Briggs was a member ofThe University of Nottingham's Council from 1939 to 1973, Vice-President of Council from 1948 to1963, and Pro-Chancellor from 1962 to 1973. The University conferred an honorary Doctor of Lawsdegree upon Briggs in July 1961.

Dr Briggs combined his professional interest in education with a passionate personal interest inthe history of pedagogy in its broadest sense. He was an avid collector of published works relatedto this subject, both those used in formal education, and in literature which supported personalprogrammes of instruction and self-improvement. His acquisition of miscellaneous related manuscriptsforms a very small element within this broader collection.

The Reverend Francis Hodgson (1781-1852) was educated at Eton College and Cambridge Universitybefore being ordained in 1815. He was the vicar of Bakewell, Derbyshire from 1816-1836, Archdeaconof Derby from 1836-1840, and Provost of Eton College in 1840. He was related to the Coke family ofBrookhill Hall, Pinxton, Derbyshire, ran a school in Bakewell, and was a close friend of LordByron.

German Pole, of the Chandos-Pole family of Radbourne Hall in Derbyshire, is the earliest instance of a member of that family in this collection. He is recorded donating money for the education of poor children of Radbourne, Derbyshire in 1743. Sacheverell Pole was born in 1769 and assumed the added name of Chandos in 1807. The name Edward Sacheverell Pole refers to two individuals in the collection. The younger was born in 1792 and was still alive in 1847. His son, William Chandos Pole (1833-1895) was educated at Eton College. He was ordained and became the rector of the church at Radbourne, Derbyshire.

Sir Henry Fitzherbert of Tissington Hall, Tissington, Derbyshire (1783-1858) was the third baronet of a line created in 1784. He was succeeded by his third son, Alleyne Fitzherbert (1815-1860), who was ordained and became the rector of Warsop, Nottinghamshire. Sir Henry and Rev. Sir Alleyne were both educated at St. John's College Cambridge. Anthony (1818-1855) and John (1820-1894) Fitzherbert were the fourth and fifth sons of Sir Henry.


The collection has been divided into series by subject. Within these series, items have been arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to registered readers only by advance appointment and some series are restricted pending full cataloguing.

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the whole collection. Details of thestudent notebooks are available to readers in the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections.A draft bundle list has been prepared for the rest of the collection. Copyright in the descriptionbelongs to The University of Nottingham.

Separated Material

Other collections relating to individuals and places mentioned in this description arerecorded on the National Register ofArchives.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of any material from this collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email TheDepartment will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but this can be difficult and theresponsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishingto publish.


Custodial History

Dr Briggs' educational library was transferred to the University's care in 1950. It consisted primarily of published works of instruction for children from the 16th century to the early 19th century. An endowment allowed for the collection's continued development, with the active encouragement of Dr Briggs until his death in 1975. In 1989 the manuscripts in the collection were transformed to the archival series of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. They form an artificial group, from a number of different sources.

Related Material

The University of Nottingham; Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections: The Briggs Collection of Educational Literature, principally a printed book collection containing some 1800 items. The contents are listed on the University's on-line catalogue, UNLOC.


Geographical Names