Drunks, dentures and dung: The Dunham Massey pamphlet collection

The Library at Dunham Massey, which is one of the least changed of the 18th century interiors

The Library and Instrument Room at Dunham Massey, Cheshire, are among the least changed of its early 18th-century interiors. The fitted oak bookcases contain the dynastic family library, but also many of the books collected by the creator of the room, George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington (1675-1758). Hidden away in the Instrument Room, however, is a less spectacular but equally important book collection: 2,500 pamphlets, collected by the family in the 18th and early-19th centuries.


Ed Potten, has recently completed a major project on the pamphlet collection. In an extract from an interview in the National Trust’s Arts, Buidlings, Collections Ed Potten outlines the history of the collection:

“The majority of the Dunham pamphlets were printed between 1780 and 1820, and most were acquired by George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford (1737-1819). They were not really collected; they came to Dunham by a variety of means. Many were sent to George Harry Grey as gifts from local authors seeking patronage, some came from the many philanthropic societies which the Booths and the Greys supported, and others were sent as advertisements: posters for local or national sales, or subscription notices for proposed publications. Many relate to the Greys’ political activities, either locally or in Staffordshire. Most country houses would have had similar collections, but in many the pamphlets were disposed of. What makes Dunham special is the decision to store them all in boxes and keep them.”

The full interview can be found at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/documents/abc-bulletin-autumn-2017.pdf

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