Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)Shaw
TitleShaw Letters
Extent119 items
DescriptionA collection of 119 letters of the Shaw family of Wolverhampton comprising letters between John Shaw and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Wilkinson), 1810-1839, which also include several letters from John prior to their marriage. Other letters to John are from his mother, brother and sister and from an employee. The collection also includes correspondence between Elizabeth and her parents, 1815-1836; several letters to Elizabeth prior to her marriage from a friend, W. Lomax; and a single letter from her daughter.

The letters, many of which are extremely detailed, contain much information about the Shaw family and their domestic lives, including their own and their children's health, the children's schooling, their religious views on Calvinism and church attendance, employment of servants, maintenance of the house and garden and news of their neighbours and extended families. The correspondence also includes much information about John Shaw's business affairs in which his wife was involved. She forwarded business correspondence, sent her husband details of orders, news about the warehouse and employees and copied out bills.
ArrangementThe letters have been arranged as follows:

Shaw/1-39: Letters from John Shaw to Elizabeth Shaw, 1810-1839;
Shaw/40-78: Elizabeth Shaw to John Shaw, 1813-1836;
Shaw/79: Elizabeth Shaw to her father, Thomas Wilkinson, 1832;
Shaw/80-81: Thomas Wilkinson to Elizabeth Shaw, 1815-1816;
Shaw/82-84: Elizabeth Shaw to her mother, E. Wilkinson, 1828-1836;
Shaw/85-96: E. Wilkinson to Elizabeth Shaw, 1822-1829;
Shaw/97-101; W. Lomax to Elizabeth Wilkinson (Shaw), 1810-1812;
Shaw/102: Miss H Hickcox to Mary Shaw, sister of John Shaw, 23 February 1807;
Shaw/103-105: Mary Shaw to John Shaw, 1805-1822;
Shaw/106-107: E. Shaw to her son, John Shaw, n.d.;
Shaw/108: E. Shaw to her son, William Edward Shaw, 4 September 180-;
Shaw/109-111: William Edward Shaw to John Shaw, 1808;
Shaw/112: Letters to Elizabeth Shaw, n.d.;
Shaw/113: Elizabeth Shaw to her mother, Elizabeth Shaw, 8 September 1836;
Shaw/114-119: H Crane to John Shaw, 1818-1823.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.

A transcript of the letters, compiled by John Malam in 1988, is available at the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections (reference: r f DA 529).

There is also a transcript of the Wilkinson (Colne, Lancashire) and Shaw (Wolverhampton, Staffordshire) family letters 1799-1831, held at Wolverhampton Archives, compiled by John Malam (reference: r f DA 529).
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryPrior to her marriage to John Shaw in April 1813 Elizabeth Wilkinson kept house for her bachelor brother, Thomas Wilkinson, at his ironmonger's shop in Rochdale, Lancashire. Her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Wilkinson, lived in Colne, Lancashire where they kept a grocery and drapery shop. John and Elizabeth had six surviving children, her first two pregnancies ended in either miscarriage or the child's death shortly after birth. The children were John, Elizabeth (known as Betsey), Thomas, Edward, Richard and Mary.

As a hardware salesman, John Shaw travelled widely on business, particularly in the north of England, where he regularly visited Liverpool, Manchester and Wrexham. The Wilkinson family were Methodist, the Shaws non-conformist [possibly also Methodist]. John and Elizabeth attended Queen Street Congregational Chapel, Wolverhampton.

Sources: Shaw letters; information supplied by researcher and available in deposit file
AcquisitionThis collection was purchased in 1966/1967.