Bradshaw's timetables

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Senex

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Does anyone here happen to know if Manchester City Library still holds the Bradshaw & Blacklock company archive, including a pretty complete run of the timetables? Some forty years ago I referred to these in the Central Library (St Peter's Square) and found it a much pleasanter way of accessing the information than using the British Library's microfilms. But now I can't find any trace in the Manchester library's on-line catalogue, in the main collection or in the special collections, of anything to do with Bradshaw and his timetables (or indeed of various other railway works I should have expected to find in the library holding of a city like Manchester). I'm left wondering whether it's just a question of my not being able to use the on-line catalogue properly or whether the Bradshaw archive has been disposed of.
 
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WesternLancer

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Does anyone here happen to know if Manchester City Library still holds the Bradshaw & Blacklock company archive, including a pretty complete run of the timetables? Some forty years ago I referred to these in the Central Library (St Peter's Square) and found it a much pleasanter way of accessing the information than using the British Library's microfilms. But now I can't find any trace in the Manchester library's on-line catalogue, in the main collection or in the special collections, of anything to do with Bradshaw and his timetables (or indeed of various other railway works I should have expected to find in the library holding of a city like Manchester). I'm left wondering whether it's just a question of my not being able to use the on-line catalogue properly or whether the Bradshaw archive has been disposed of.

This is a long shot because I don't actually know but could it be with Bolton Archives now?
As I found this reference when searched
(Bit I am not convinced the entry relates to a whole company archive)

Other thought i had is could it have been transferred to a local archive service that is not part of the library service any more?

In my city the archives have become an independent charitable trust and thus separated, I believe, from the local authority, which still runs the library service. Ids there a Manchester Archive service who could have inherited it?

I have to say disposal would have been a great shame (esp since we have Mr Portillo giving weekly promotional films for the Bradshaw product!!)

Staff in the library local studies section might know what became of it if you rang or called in and asked, I tend to find library staff often long service careers, and almost always with a good degree of knowledge about things beyond their immediate work area, so they may know what has happened to it.

Not sure how helpful these thoughts are but good luck!
 

Bevan Price

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I notice the OP quotes York as his location. Surely the NRM at York must have a set of Bradshaws and other timetables / documents, etc.
 

Senex

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Thanks, WesternLancer — I've put an e-mail query in to Manchester, having failed again to get any sense out of either their library or their archives catalogue. (It was so much easier to find things with the old-fashioned catalgues!) It's an interesting idea that the collection might have gone to one of the other libraries in the system — I hadn't thought of that one, but it's certainy a possibility to consider. Though one might have hoped if that's the case that a collection of national importance might have been kept in the most central location.

Bevan Price — The NRM has quite a lot of Bradshaws and of other timetables too, but by no means a set. Way back when records and relics were divided and the records went into BTHR (and later into the PRO), the timetables ended up in BTHR, so it's now at Kew where you find most of the early company timetables that survived and a good run of Bradshaw, but that's not a set either. I always understood that the only three near-sets were those in the company archive, in the British Library, and in the Bodleian Library. If you just want a snap-shot of a train service in a particular year, then an incomplete run may well be adequate, but if you're trying to track down when specific services ran or when particular lines or stations make their first appearances, then you need a complete set. As it happens, the NRM has none of the issues for the year in which I'm particuarly interested at the moment. The British Library give you the microfilms to work with and they're not a nice set of microfilms to work with at all, with some very distorted or invisible inner page-edges.
 

WesternLancer

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Thanks, WesternLancer — I've put an e-mail query in to Manchester, having failed again to get any sense out of either their library or their archives catalogue. (It was so much easier to find things with the old-fashioned catalgues!) It's an interesting idea that the collection might have gone to one of the other libraries in the system — I hadn't thought of that one, but it's certainy a possibility to consider. Though one might have hoped if that's the case that a collection of national importance might have been kept in the most central location.

Bevan Price — The NRM has quite a lot of Bradshaws and of other timetables too, but by no means a set. Way back when records and relics were divided and the records went into BTHR (and later into the PRO), the timetables ended up in BTHR, so it's now at Kew where you find most of the early company timetables that survived and a good run of Bradshaw, but that's not a set either. I always understood that the only three near-sets were those in the company archive, in the British Library, and in the Bodleian Library. If you just want a snap-shot of a train service in a particular year, then an incomplete run may well be adequate, but if you're trying to track down when specific services ran or when particular lines or stations make their first appearances, then you need a complete set. As it happens, the NRM has none of the issues for the year in which I'm particuarly interested at the moment. The British Library give you the microfilms to work with and they're not a nice set of microfilms to work with at all, with some very distorted or invisible inner page-edges.
Thanks Senex - good luck. I too have found online catalogues for places where they really deal with a lot of info hard to use. I had a work task a few years ago where i had the pleasure of commissioning some work that required archive access, and I was lucky enough to have a budget to employ a professional local historian (complete with an MA degree in local history). I'd suggest things to him that might make interesting stories to include and suggest local archives may have documentary evidence, and very quickly he'd come back with exactly the references and copies of the materiel needed - I was always very impressed!

It would seem odd for an archive to accept a company document set like that and then dispose of it, but I expect that does happen on occasion.
 
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