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Series Four: Sources from Record Offices in the United Kingdom

Part 1: Papers of Boulton & Watt, Wedgwood and Harvey & Co of Hayle from Cornwall Record Office

This fourth series brings together significant records relating to the industrial revolution from record offices all over Britain.  We commence with three sets of papers from Cornwall Record Office in Truro.

  • The first set of papers describe the relationship between Boulton & Watt in Birmingham, their agent, Thomas Wilson, in the West country, and local entrepreneurs such as Hornblower, Williams, Vivian and others.  This correspondence is important as Cornwall ordered more steam engines than anywhere else and these letters are not in the Birmingham Archives.
  • The second item is a transcript of Josiah Wedgwood’s diary of 1775, describing his visit to Devon and Cornwall.  The timing is significant for the patent of Cornish entrepreneur William Cookworthy controlling the use of China Clay for porcelain manufacture was about to expire.  The diaries describe the industrial landscape of Cornwall and have much social detail.
  • The third set of papers is by far the most voluminous and comprises the incoming letters of Harvey & Co of Hayle, who were one of Cornwall’s most important industrial concerns,  The correspondence covers mining (Cornish and foreign), shipping (deep-sea and coastal), and engineering.

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