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Binninobam Collection


Public Libraries. Reference Department



Birmingbam Collection


Printed Books and Pamphlets, Manuscripts, Maps, Views, Portraits, etc.

Compiled under the direction of

WALTER POWELL {Chief Librarian)



Published for the Public Libraries Committee by


, ^-^^ A


List of Contents . .

Committee and Officers

Preface, by E. Marston Rudland . .

Introduction, by Howard S. Pearson

Note on the Catalogue, by Walter Powell


Catalogue of the Birmingham Collection —

Part 1. General

Part 2. Books i^rinted in Birmingham, but not otherwise
relating to Birmingham

Part 3. Books published in Birmingham, but not otherwise
relating to Birmingham




, . ix-xiii
. . xiv-xv





Public Libraries Committee.

The Rt. Hon. THE LORD MAYOR (Alderman Sir DAVID BROOKS, G.B.E., J.P.).
Mk. Alderman J. S. PRITCHETT, M.A., B.C L. {Chairman).
Councillor W. B. FEATHERSTONE, M.D.








Mr. a. H, COLEY.

Professor E, de SELINCOURT, M.A., D.Litt. (Oxon).

Officers :

Chief Librarian : Mr. WALTER POWELL.

Deput7j Chief Librarian : Mr. H. M. CASHMORE.

Inspector of Lending Libraries : Mr. GEORGE HARRISS.

Chief Assistant : Mr. ERNEST J. PACKER.



As Chairman of the Public Libraries Committee when the printing of this catalogue
was begun, my colleagues have honoured me by asking me to write a preface on its com-
pletion. Present circumstances make it impossible for me to write more than a brief
note, but this is unimportant in view of the excellent historical introduction by my friend
and colleague, Mr. Howard S, Pearson, which follows.

It is obvious that in every district there is produced a certain amount of literature
which will pass out of existence entirely if not preserved in a well-organized public library.
Much of it is of purely local interest, but it is nevertheless invaluable to the historian of
the future.

There is no reason to doubt that the Public Libraries now recognise their obligations
in this direction, and that in the most important districts, the public have access to the
principal local material.

In the formation of such collections, many debatable points must arise. How far,
for instance, is it wise to select or discriminate, as opposed to the policy of collecting all
local literature ? What are the boundary limits to prevent adjoining districts from over-
lapping, and what are the best methods of classifying, cataloguing and preserving the
material collected ?

A general settlement of these and many other points should lead to even better
results than the present, and if provision were made for local collections for all districts,
the net result would be, in effect, the establishment of a huge national local collection,
located in different parts of the country. The catalogues of such collections, produced
on a uniform plan, would constitute an invaluable record of local material.

Of our own collection the Committee are, I think, legitimately proud. There are
still gaps to be filled, as is inevitable in a collection of such recent growth, but they are
neither, serious nor numerous. That the collection contains so much that is rare and
valuable, is largely owing to the genius of the late Mr. Sam Timmins, whose invaluable
collections were acquired for the library in its early days.

The catalogue now issued cannot claim to be a Bibliography of Birmingham, but it
is the nearest approach to such a work that has ever been issued, and I am sure the Com-
mittee will not rest satisfied until future supplements make it possible to claim the work
as a Bibliography of Birmingham literature.

Chairman of the Public Libraries Committee, 1913-15,




{Chairman of the Reference Library Book Sub- Committee).

The Public Reference Library of the City of Birmingham will soon contain 300,000
separate items. A complete printed catalogue of a library so extensive as this might be
too large to be manageable or practically useful ; and separate catalogues of some of the
more important divisions may, perhaps, be all that can be profitably undertaken. Of
these the Birmingham Collection, while far from being in any sense the most really
valuable, is certainly the one which most pressingly calls for a catalogue. It is the one
department in which a modern and provincial library may, and must, be expected to be
supreme. In many directions completeness may be beyond its means or out of its power ;
but as regards the life and history of its district it is reasonably expected to be the final
authority. The very bulk of the present volume will bear witness that, from the beginning,
this duty must in Birmingham have been recognised and faithfully performed.

The greatness and commercial importance of Birmingham are of modern growth,
but the town itself is an ancient one. It is at least a thousand, and probably twelve
hundred years old ; and, as in all such cases, the earliest records are mainly documentary
and legal, each separate item being unique and correspondingly difficult to obtain.
Here it is that the effects of the lamentable fire of 1879 were most fatal. The printed
books that were lost have long since been replaced, but the manuscripts in the Staunton
the Hamper and the Archer collections have left gaps which can never be filled.

Every effort, however, has been made to form a fresh collection, and nearly a
thousand deeds ranging from the years 963 to 1800 are in the library. Some few of these
are careful transcripts, but the great majority are original documents. These deeds,
very briefly described, occupy some forty pages of the catalogue, and it is interesting
to find the names of some of our old streets — High Street with its many aliases, Dale
End, Bull Street, Moor Street, New Street — in ink which has been dry for five hundred
years. Though scarcely literary, those legal documents are often inspiring. The thir-
teenth century must have been one of remarkable energy and enterprise in Birmingham.
Within a hundred years nearly coincident with this century, a handsome parish church
was built, the ecclesiastical rights over that portion of the parish of Aston which adjoins
Birmingham were purchased, and the church of St. John, Deritend, was erected as the
actual property of the people concerned. Gilds were founded both in Deritend and in
Birmingham, the latter of Avhich still survives in the Grammar School of King Edward,
a well-endowed Priory was established, and a charter was obtained for a four-days Fair.
These were no mean achievements in a single century for a mere market town.

X Introduction

Many deeds referring to the history of these establishments are in the Library,
and chief a'mong them the two deeds relating to the foundation of St. John's Church,
documents of ahnost unique interest, having few parallels in the ecclesiastical history of
our country.

The mvention of printing in the middle of the fifteenth century is a landmark of vital
significance in the history of human life, and though it preceded the foundation of the
Birmingham Pubhc Library by four hundred years, the two events stand in the relation
of cause and effect. In its earUer advances our city had no share. Birmingham with all
its energies was a quiet and secluded place. It stood upon one only highroad, and that
not an important one. It had no great house, no ecclesiastical foundation of any magnitude,
no school of note, and was of no account as a military position. It was probably centuries
after the invention of printing before it possessed a single printing press, yet it is intimately
connected with one of the most important books ever issued from the press. John Rogers,
a Deritcnd man, who presumably worshipped at St. John's and was educated at the school
of the Deritcnd Gild, became the coadjutor of Tyndale in his translation of the Bible into
English. After the treacherous arrest and execution of Tyndale, Rogers completed the
preparation of the book, bore its cost, and under the assumed name of Matthew, published
it at Antwerp in 1537. For a short time, this was the first really complete English Bible
authorised by Government, and when the troublous days of Mary came, Rogers became
the first martyr to fall by her persecutions. A fine copy of this notable book is among
our treasures.

The first book known to have been printed with special reference to Birmmgham
is Nye's Almanack for 1642,

" Calculated exactly for tne faire ami populous Towiie of Bimiicham in Warwickshire, where the
Pole is elevated above the Horizon 52 degrees, and 38 minutas,"

and Nye himself was in all probability a Birmingham man. In that year the Civil War
broke out, and three separate tracts were published describing the assault on Birmingham
by Prince Rupert and the partial destruction of the town.

Thomas Hall must also be mentioned as a man who wrote books in Birmingham
but had them printed elsewhere. He was a militant puritan, well known in his day and
somewhat of an extreme partisan, but a lover of learning. At one time he was lecturer
at St. Martin's, and then Perpetual Curate of King's Norton, and in both places he
diligently fostered the formation of public libraries. That which belonged to Kings
Norton is now carefully preserved on the shelves of our library.

The date at which the art of printing actually began to be practised in our town
cannot be definitely stated, but it was probably long before any book was produced here.
In his Life of Johnson, Boswell remarks that ' ' Warren was the first established bookseller
in Birmingham," and adds that ' 'there was [before his time] not even one in Birmingham,
in which old Mr. Johnson used to open a shop every market day," to which Macaulay
gratuitously adds that not a Bible or an almanack could be purchased in 1685, yet as
already stated an almanack had been specially compiled for Birmingham nearly half a
century before. From whom Boswell acquired his information it is impossible to say,
but certainly it was not from Johnson, whose own uncle was a bookseller here for thirty
years. These statements were not only false, but even absurd. The names of no less
than seven booksellers in Birmingham before 1717 have been recorded in Mr. Joseph Hill's
admirable work, The Book Makers of Old BirmingJmm. Thomas Hall's well known book
The Font (juarded with XX Arguments was printed in London for a Birmingham book-
seller in 1652. Three of these booksellers appear in the old Church Books of the district
as having provided Prayer Books, Psalm Books and Bibles. An excellent engraving of a
Newcomen Engine is in the Boulton and Watt Collection in the Reference Library. This,
from a copy hi the Salt Library, Stafford, appears to have been printed and engraved by
Henry Butler in New Street, 1719. One does not so much blame Boswell for his item of

Introduction xi

loose gossip ; but it seems strange that Macaulay, a man of encyclopaedic knowledge,
should have forgotten that the opening of shops or stalls for the sale of books at fairs or on
market days was a custom as old as the invention of printing, and universal in all civilised
countries. William Hutton followed that very plan much later in the eighteenth century.

The first tWo books known to have been actually printed in Birmingham are A
Sermon on the Martyrdom of King Charles the First, printed and sold by Matthew Umvin,
1717, and A Loyal Oration composed by James Parkinson, Chief Master of the Free
School of Birmingham, with the same date. The only question which arises is whether
Birmingham was before or behind the times in this matter, and that is answered by a
passage in the autobiography of Thomas Gent, a noted bookseller of York. Speaking of
the year 1714, he says " there were few printers in England, except in London, at that
time — None then, I am sure at Chester, Liverpool, Whitehaven, Preston, Manchester,
Kendal, and Leeds." It has also been conclusively proved that Johnson's first work,
a translation of The Voyage of Father Lobo to Abyssinia, a book of considerable size, was
printed here by Warren in 1735, although with the imprint of London publishers.

It is impossible here to do more than mention the memorable work of Baskerville,
which lasted from 1750 to 1775. By this work, the more remarkable because Baskerville
started with absolutely no knowledge of printing, Birmingham became world-famous as
the metropolis of the art, and a place of pilgrimage to all who cared for the making of the
book in its perfection. The subject occupies five pages in this catalogue.

Here we may briefly chronicle the beginnings of the newspaper press in Birmingham.
The Birmingham Journal was first published by Warren on November 14th, 1732.
A single copy of a single number, that for May 21st, 1733, is all that is known to survive.
It is in the possession of the Proprietors of the Daily Post, who have presented a photo-
graphic facsimile to the Reference Library. With Aris's Birmingham Gazette, which
began on November 16th, 1741, the case is very different. It exists even to the present
day, and. owing chiefly to the kindness of the present proprietors, a nearly complete set
in 222 volumes has been placed in the library, an altogether invaluable storehouse of the
detailed history of our town.

It would be obviously impossible to attempt here any description, or even analysis,
of the actual literature properly so called, vast in volume and often excellent in quality,
which has been produced in Birmingham. It must suffice to say that practically the whole
of it is upon our shelves. All local books are added to the library as a matter of course,
and those which are lacking are only so because they are for some reason unobtainable.
Much more to the purpose is it to give some idea of the enormous store of what may be
called the historical records of the life of our city. In some respects, these are analogous
to the manuscripts and deeds which are our only guide to the remote past, although the
majority are now in printed form.

The government and management of a vast city such as ours accumulates these
'records in ever increasing numbers. They are seldom read, but they must always be in
place for reference. A few examples will show their nature. There are 323 local Acts of
Parliament relating to transit by road, canal, or rail, alone. Miscellaneous Acts fill
fifteen pages of the catalogue, which, we may say, averages about thirty entries to the
page. Of volumes relating to the Poor Rate, we have no less than 830, placed in the
Library for public reference, and these are sometimes invaluable, as necessarily containing
references to every individual house.

The educational work of the city in the direction of art alone fills 12 pages ; Libraries
and the Midland Institute each occupy 12 pages, and King Edward's School 6 pages,
and Education generally 7 pages. Fourteen pages are required to chronicle the stormy
episodes of Priestley and the Riots ; there are thirty-four novels based on Birmingham

xii Introduction

life, and tliroo pages are required for the titles of the poems it has inspired. The extra-
ordinary niuuber of 20 pages are occupied solely by items commencing with the word
" Saint " and really chronicling the multifarious work of our churches.

Then there are other records not official in origin, but in their way equally valuable.
Directories b€^in in 1770 and fill 8 pages. Guides require half the space. Maps fill no
less than 14 pages. Information which might in many cases be sought elsewhere in vain,
is contamed in local and amateur magazines. In these, Birmingham has always been
rich, and the air seems to suit them for they live long. To give a few instances, the Central
Literary Magazine has been published for forty -five years ; the Institute Magazine for
thirty-five years ; Edgbastonia for thirty -seven ; and the 42nd volume of the Transactions
of the Birmingham Archceological Society has been published. The Town Crier ceased to
exist in 1903 in its 42nd year. The others are still living and vigorous.

Happily our city has long been notable for the industry and care with which
local enthusiasts have collected every scrap which they could find, whether in word or
picture, relating to its history and life. Among these, the names of Hutton, Hamper,
Clarke, Timmins, Joseph Hill, Osborne, Rabone, Malins, Bickley and Wright Wilson
deserve special mention. That which was destroyed in the great fire excepted, almost
the whole of their collections are in the librarJ^ The local newspapers have also for long
periods published weekly articles dealing with the same subject, and often illustrated.
These are continued even among all the difficulties of the present time, and are valuable
as preserving innumerable personal recollections which are full of interest and which could
only by this aid have been placed on permanent record. Among these collections may be
mentioned thirteen folio and nine quarto volumes of cuttings from local newspapers,
chiefly due to the care of Mr. Sam Timmins ; nearly fifty volumes of various sizes dealing
mainly with the history of Handsworth and the district, collected by Mr. G. H. Osborne ;
twenty-one volumes of manuscript and other records collected by Dr. Wright Wilson
for his " Life of George Dawson," and presented by him ; and very numerous collections
of views, portraits and maps, many of which are rare or unique. No fewer than ninety -six
separate subjects are referred to in the Catalogue as being illustrated by collections- of
cuttings, gathered together by the care of some one interested therein.

Even so brief a sketch as this must be, of the local treasures of the Reference Library,
would be very incomplete without some grateful recognition of the private enthusiasm
to which its wealth in local records and reminiscences is so largely due. In many cases
the collections accumulated with so much care have been as generously presented to the
city as they were laboriously gathered in its interest. No public expenditure and no public
exertion could have obtained what has here been garnered in illustration of the annals
of our great city ; and no public gratitude can exceed the value of the service. It is true
that many of the details are mere trifles, but they are trifles which refer to our own work,
our own history, and our own familiar streets, and to us, few if any of them can be quite un-
interesting. Indeed it is hard to say what fact can be regarded as trifling, when our Chief
Librarian has only recently been summoned to produce in a Court of Law a mere play-bill,
on the evidence of which a sum of thousands of pounds might have depended.

Many of our literary and other societies have presented their Minute Books and
other archives. Among these are the Central Literary Association, the Midland Arts
Club, the Clarendon Art Fellowship, and the Dramatic and Literary Club, and it is hoped
that other societies will follow their example, and place in safe keeping records of so much
interest and value to coming generations.

Some of the absolutely unique possessions of the Reference Library have been
incidently mentioned. To these may be added the following :— Autograph letters of Dr.
John.son and of the Withering famUy ; the famous letter of Baskerville to Horace Walpole ;
manuscript collections of Mr. W. C. Aitken, of Mr. R. J. W. Davison of Moseley, of

Introduction xiii

Mr. Andrew Deakin, and of William Creighton, an employe of Boulton & Watt ; original
drawings and sketches by J. Vincent Barber, Samuel Lines, Warren Blackham, W.
Tarlington, and others ; also the only known perfect copy of Bradford's great view of
Birmingham, which would seem for some reason never to have been published. Pre-
eminent among all the gifts to the Library is that of the vast Boulton and Watt Collection,
presented by the munificence of Mr. George Tangye, J.P., together with a generous con-
tribution to the cost of installing it in a special room. This priceless collection is of
world wide interest, and is in itself sufficient to make our Reference Library famous.

We conclude with an earnest appeal to those who are the depositants of ancient
deeds and documents referring to local history or of local interest to follow the example
of so many liberal donors and present them to the Public Reference Library. It would
be an act which would enrich our stores, and yet in no way impoverish the donors. When
m our possession, such documents are carefully read, docketed and catalogued, a id are
kept in a fire-proof room where they are, humanly speaking, exempt from all fear of fire
or loss. They can be consulted at any hour when the library is open, without delay or
difficulty, and if needed for legal purpose at any time, are at once available, since the
Library is bound to produce them to any Court when required for evidence. Our Reference
Library is a monument of public generosity as well as of public spirit — a surprisingly
large proportion of its treasures is of the nature of a private gift for public purposes, and
the more we give to it, the more interest we shall feel in our institution, which stands high
among the legitimate sources of our civic pride.




Reference to page 558 of this work will show that this is the fourth catalogue
of the Birmingham Collection that has been issued since the opening of the Reference
Library in 1866. or the third since the great fire of 1879, in which the original collection
was almost entirely destroyed. The first catalogue of the present collection was a tem-
porary list (40 pages) issued during the busy period of the reconstruction of the Library,
and this was superseded in 1885 by a volume of 94 pages which formed part of the complete
Catalogue of the Reference Library, but was also issued as a separate publication. In the
interval between 1885 and 1918, the Collection has naturally grown to a very considerable
extent, though perhaps not quite so much as the difference in the size of the past and
present Catalogues would imply.

In the former editions the Collection was roughly classified under such headings as

Acts of Parliament.

Corporation and other Official Documents.


History, Topography, Guides, etc.

Institutions and Associations.

Maps, Views, etc.

As very few books were entered in more than one section, many important subjects
were divided. The Society of Ar^s, for instance, appeared in "Exhibitions" and "Institu-
tions"; Wallis on the Art Manufactures of Birmingham, appeared in "History";
while many pamphlets on Birmingham Art were practically lost in the huge collection of
pamphlets, where they appeared only under their authors' names. It is difficult to under-
stand why "Pamphlets" was introduced at all as a section in a classified catalogue,
seeing that the size or form of a work has nothing to do with classification.

Apart from these matters, however, the cataloguing had passed through so many
hands in the long interval, that when it was decided to issue a new edition it was found
desirable to re-catalogue the whole collection. After careful consideration, the Dictionary
form of catalogue was adopted. In the present catalogue, therefore, all books are entered
under the names of the authors, and also under the subjects if of local interest. Anonymous
works are entered under the first words of the titles.

It should be observed, however, that subject headings are only admitted so far as
they are of local interest. Thus : —

Salt (T. P.) Phrenology : a paper read for discussion to the members of the
Birmingham and Midland Institute
will be found at " Salt " and at " Midland Institute," but not at " Phrenology," which
heading would appear only in the complete Catalogue of the Reference Library. From
this it follows that analytical entries (which are introduced for the first time) are made
only for articles of local interest. Thus, the articles in such local periodicals as the Central

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