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Libraries and Special Collections in County Durham

Business and Economics

From medieval accounts to Sudan Government finances, the research collections in the region of Durham cover a vast range of topics relating to business and economics.



Banking and investment

Material relating to banking and investment can be found in the Durham University Archives and Special Collections

The Backhouse Papers relate to the family of Jonathan Backhouse junior (1779-1842), Quaker banker of Darlington, and include correspondence, papers, accounts, bills, ledgers and vouchers relating to business and banking matters. 

Other relevant collections include the Baker Baker Papers, the Baring (Howick of Glendale) Papers and the Papers of Charles Robert, 5th Earl Grey.


Local business records

Local business records can be found in a number of research collections throughout the region of Durham.

Relevant collections held by Durham University Archives and Special Collections include the Backhouse Papers, which include the business records of the Backhouse family from Darlington, and the Baker Baker Papers, which relate to the business affairs of the Baker family of County Durham.

The Bowes Museum also houses numerous records relating to the business transactions of John Bowes, who built the museum in the nineteenth century, whilst the Ushaw College archive contains largely unexplored material concerning the business affairs and financial administration of the College, which was largely self-sufficient during its time as a Catholic seminary. 

Local business records can also be found in the Durham County Record Office, which holds the estate papers of the Londonderry family, the Salvin family of Croxdale, and the Earls of Strathmore. The records reflect landowning and business interests as well as estate management.

Other local business records can be found under industry and engineering.


Financial administration of the Church of England

A considerable volume of material relating to the financial administration of the Church of England can be found in the Durham University Archives and Special Collections.

The Durham Cathedral Muniments provide a crucial insight into the economic history of the north-east of England. The medieval muniments date from the eleventh century and largely relate to the financial administration of Durham Cathedral prior to 1539. The post-medieval muniments record the financial affairs of the bishop of Durham and the Dean and Chapter, the largest landowners in the north-east.

Other collections relate to the financial administration of the Palatinate of Durham prior to the nineteenth century. These include the Durham Palatinate Mint Coin Collection and the Church Commission deposit of Durham palatinate and bishopric records

The Papers of Charles Robert, 5th Earl Grey shed crucial light on the financial administration of the Church of England during the nineteenth century, including papers relating to the Church Assembly and the Central Board of Finance, as well as clergy pension schemes and the abolition of the tithe rent charge.


Financial administration of Africa

The Sudan Archive, held by Durham University Archives and Special Collections, contains a substantial amount of material relating to the financial administration of Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The papers of Shuqair, S. relate to Sudan Government finances, the Bank of Abyssinia, and Palestine and Syria finances 1918-1919 whilst the papers of Cummins, J. W. include official documents relating to Sudan finance during periods of war. 

Other relevant collections include Carmichael, J. and Bulkeley, R. I. P. 


Durham University Business School

Durham University Business School is one of the longest established business schools in the UK and was recently ranked 4th in the UK by the Sunday Times University Guide 2013.

Durham Cathedral Archive

Dating back to the eleventh century, the Durham Cathedral Archive is the largest archive to survive at any English Cathedral. It provides an invaluable resource for the study of medieval economy and society as well as the business affairs of the Church.