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Full helpers description

Brougham Papers

University College London Special Collections


An enormous correspondence collection of about 60,000 letters to the Brougham family (mostly to Henry Peter Brougham, who was Lord Chancellor 1830 -- 1834). All the letters are catalogued by sender. While some of the letters were from dignitaries and the upper social strata of the time, many are from commoners asking for his help or advice.

This correspondence is a valuable family history resource as the cataloguing makes it very easy to find if your ancestor wrote to the Broughams, and the letter they wrote is likely to contain an address and other useful contextualising information. The collection also contain a lot of information about Westmorland (where the Broughams lived) and may therefore be a useful local history tool for those interested in Westmorland.

Detailed usage description

The Brougham family maintained an enormous correspondence (60,000 letters), mainly that of Henry Peter Brougham (who was Lord Chancellor 1830 -- 1834) and his brothers William, James and John.

The collection is particularly interesting as the correspondence was not just between the Broughams and other nobles and dignitaries, but included a huge amount of letters written by commoners local to the Broughams' estate in Westmoreland and from the parliamentary constituencies that the Broughams represented. Many of these letters are simply begging letters, many many others ask for the Broughams' intercession in local or family disputes, or ask for their advice, or lobby them on political issues.

The correspondence is fully catalogued by sender, with each catalogue entry containing a date and a short summary of the letter. This level of cataloguing makes it very easy to find out if you have a relative who corresponded with the Brougham's and if you have, then the letter is likely to provide at least an address for them, if not very rich contextualing information about their interests, social position, etc.

The collection would also be of particular interest to local historians with an interest in Westmorland, as much of the correspondence comes from locals. James and William both managed the Brougham estates and much of their correspondence deals with the management of Brougham Hall, and local issues such as the railway, police force, and so on.

How to tell if the collection is useful

You may email a query to the , stating the name of the relative that you believe corresponded with the Broughams (and possibly a short note explaining why you believe that they did so). If correspondence exists you will probably need to view it in person.

If you plan to email the archivist with a query we suggest that you read our tutorial on how to do this most effectively.

Access arrangements

Access to UCL Special Collections is open to all, but you need to book an appointment. Details on how to do so are on the UCL Special Collections website.

More Information

There is a collection level description on AIM25 and the collection is also described on the UCL Special Collections website.

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Abstracting information

Usage Themes Geographic area covered Size of collection Dates
  • Family history
  • Local history
  • Correspondence
  • Contextualising information

Mostly Britain, with a particular emphasis on Westmorland.

The collection is very extensive: over 60,000 letters.

1800 -- 1932


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