In addition to A.P. Wadsworth's own notebooks and papers concerning his researches into the textile industry, Manchester Sunday schools and the history of Rochdale, there are significant original materials collected by him. These include letters from Mrs Linnæus Banks, author of The Manchester Man, 1882-95 (Eng MS 1202); correspondence of Isaac Hawkins Browne the younger, 1788-1802 (Eng MS 1195); miscellaneous letters and papers of Rev. William Robert Hay, vicar of Rochdale and prebendary of York, 1781-c 1836 (Eng MS 1196); a collection of papers relating to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, including original placards and notices collected by Hay who was chairman of Salford Hundred Quarter Sessions and a leading figure on the magistrates' side (Eng MS 1197); a minute book of William Hough of Chorley, Lancashire, attorney, 1783-1836 (Eng MS 1198); and ledgers, stock books and inventories of Lancashire cotton manufacturers, Messrs Cardwell, Birley & Hornby of Blackburn, 1768-1858, Nathaniel Dugdale & Bros of Padiham, 1807-51, and the Ashworth Cotton Mills at Eagley near Bolton, 1831-79 (Eng MSS 1199-1201).
There are 51 notebooks made by Wadsworth from various manuscripts, printed sources and early newspapers concerning economic and social history, partly in shorthand (one notebook is missing); and 19 notebooks relating specifically to the cotton industry from the mid 18th to the early 19th centuries in various hands. The collection also includes papers, extracts and cuttings relating to the textile industry and used for The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire.