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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY
Series One: The Boulton & Watt Archive and the Matthew Boulton Papers from Birmingham Central Library

Part 9: Journals, Notebooks and Diaries of Matthew Boulton

  • There are seven large journal volumes covering the period from 1776 to 1815. These give details of Stock, Cash Receipts, Wages and Expenses at Soho.
  • Matthew Boulton's manuscript notebooks cover a wide range of different subjects. Some 96 volumes span the period c.1751-1808. Topics include Engines and Mining, Notes and Observations on Steam Engines, the monthly performance of Cornish Engines, reports from Holland and Paris, experiments with Carronades, thoughts on Carriages, Cornish Adventurers, Copper, the manufacture of Copying Ink, Coinage, the Royal Mint, Soho Mint, Iron, the Metal and Rolling Trades, Lathes and Turning, Corn and Meal Grains, Buttons, Buckles, Canals, Population statistics for towns with numbers of inhabitants, Soho House and Garden.
  • Matthew Boulton's diaries cover the period 1766 to 1808.
  • Letters and other papers include 'Directions for erecting an engine', instructions regarding 'Drainage' and various plans and drawings of Soho estates.

This material offers good detail on the daily running of the Boulton and Watt business and on the innovative inventions which were to form a fundamental part of the Industrial Revolution. The papers contained within this part are a perfect adjunct to the Watt material covered in early parts and are an excellent source for economic and social historians researching the successes of Boulton and Watt.  

Sketch of Long Benton Draining Machine

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