Other archive collections

With such a large and diverse collection of archives covering all aspects of Liverpool’s history it is impossible to list every collection or topic.  Some of the key themes are given below but we also have archives relating to significant Liverpool cultural figures such as the archives of George Garrett, James Hanley and Norman Ellison. We also have a small archive of Beatles related material which was uncovered in the Lord Mayors Correspondence. Important institutions in the city have also deposited their archive such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society which has archives dating back to the early 19th century.  Our local studies collection of printed material is a treasure trove and includes a large collection of theatre programmes and playbills which complement our Playhouse Archive.

To find your own archives of interest search the catalogue and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.

Local authority records

Included in the collections are Liverpool Common Council, Liverpool Borough Council and Liverpool City Council Minute Books from 1550-1997 (reference 352 MIN/COU). The collective memory of Liverpool Council can be seen in these records.

Types of records include parliamentary acts and bills, lieutenancy records, general administrative with plans, engineers’ photographs, housing initiatives, legal records, ordnance survey maps, criminal records, magistrates records, coroners reports, town clerk and surveyor deeds.

Local business and trade

There are several notable local business collections in the archive. These include the records of Walker-Cain/Peter Walker Brewers, Crawford Biscuit Factory, architect Edmund Kirby & Sons, Ogden-Imperial Tobacco (with many of their famous cigarette cards), chartered accountants and cultural institutions such as the Playhouse.

Liverpool’s long history of trading with international ports earned it the reputation as the ‘Second City of the Empire’ during the 19th century, it was a centre for commerce, immigration and emigration. Cotton began being imported in Liverpool during the 18th century, by the 19th century it was a major import, with the cotton goods made in Lancashire mills becoming a significant export. Brokers from many countries settled in Liverpool to trade in Liverpool Cotton Exchange. The records of the Liverpool Cotton Association, now the International Cotton Association Ltd (reference 380 COT) are among the many business records held in Liverpool Record Office.


Liverpool Record Offices actively collects archives of Merseyside LGBT+ communities. Two significant collections which have been deposited are the Sandi Hughes archive and the Sahir House archive.

LGBTSandi Hughes is a feminist film-maker, her collection (reference 306 HUG) includes photographs, nightclub flyers, posters and magazines that capture some of Liverpool’s marginalised and diverse groups of people known to Sandi during 70s, 80s and 90s. Their stories which express and define their cultural identity were obtained by Sandi.

For the last 30 years Sahir House has been Merseyside and North Cheshire's HIV charity, for people living with and affected by HIV. The archive includes business records of Sahir House, as well as community documents, and collections of newspaper cuttings. The archive (reference 362 SAH) predominantly deals with the Merseyside area, but the wider HIV/AIDS environment is also evidenced through the national publications of key HIV/AIDS organisations and government reports.

The Merseyside LGBT collection is mostly comprised of miscellaneous printed material promoting LGBT venues along with minutes of Merseyside Lesbian and Gay Community Forum, photocopies of photographs and newspaper articles, (reference 306 MD).

Black history

The position of black ex-servicemen, seamen and factory workers stranded or left destitute in Liverpool after the First World War is evidenced in the Correspondence Related to Repatriation and Race Riots collection (352 MAY).  It includes letters and testimony from soldiers and merchant seamen from Africa and the Caribbean, who had fought for England on land and at sea during the Great War of 1914, or had worked in factories to support the war effort. The documents reveal a plight of daily racism and loss of jobs because of the boycott by white workers, a boycott often supported by the trades unions.  Liverpool City Council Multiracial Promotions Library Unit contains research and exhibition material  related to the Muslim community in Liverpool and also items from The Rialto Exhibition of June 1995  held in Toxteth Library to mark rebuilding of the site of the Rialto cinema and ballroom in Upper Parliament destroyed in the 1981 Toxteth Riots (352 RAC).

Women's history

Several collections relate to women’s history and women’s rights in Liverpool and give an insight into the changing roles and expectations of women. The Merseyside Women’s Liberation Movement (reference 305 WLM) documents the movement from 1960-2002, while other collections demonstrate the promotion of women’s rights, work life, healthcare and childcare.

Women workers at the bomb factory

Collections demonstrating the changing situations of women in Merseyside include The Liverpool Rescue Society and House of Help (reference 362 HOU) that opened in 1890 to provide shelter for women and girls who had ‘fallen into sin and to those hovering on the brink of ruin’. There was also the Liverpool branch of the Vigilance Association (reference M326 VIG) which was originally set up in 1908 to meet and help women and girls travelling through Liverpool who were vulnerable to exploitation. Women’s roles in various professions are evident with records for women in teaching, nursing and the police.

The Women's Health in Liverpool collection (reference 613 GAR) demonstrates the endeavours for improvement in the provision of adequate healthcare for women both locally and nationally. The collection contains articles, correspondence and press cuttings of Dr Katy Gardner, a GP working 1970s -1990s in Liverpool 8 who was an active feminist and socialist.

Women’s History - Women’s Lives (reference 305 WHL) was a course run by Liverpool Community College that began by looking at the lives of working class women. The Merseyside Equal Opportunities Project 1981-1986 (reference M351 EOP) collection demonstrates promotion of equal opportunities at work for women.

Merseyside Women’s Liberation (reference 305 WLM) gives an excellent timeline and picture of some of the Women’s Liberation Movement activities in Merseyside and includes early minutes, newsletters and campaign material.

Military records

World War One promotional poster

Records include those of Liverpool and Lancashire soldiers in World War One. There is also a noteworthy collection of World War One recruitment posters.

Records include those created by Lt. General Sir Hugh S. Jeudwine, KCB, KBE (1862-1942). They comprise of certain divisional records retained by him, together with his personal papers, and his notes and correspondence on the history of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division in the First World War which included many men from Liverpool (reference 356 FIF). The records of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of The Kings (Liverpool) Regiment are also available (reference M356 RIF).

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