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POTTER, Richard, 1778-1833, politician

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0097 COLL MISC 0146
Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science
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Full title: POTTER, Richard, 1778-1833, politician
Date(s): 1793-1941
Level of description: collection
Extent: 15 Volumes
Name of creator(s): Potter | Richard | 1778-1833 | politician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Richard Potter MP (1778-1842) was the brother of Sir Thomas Potter (1773-1845), MP and first Mayor of Manchester (1838). They grew up on their father's farm at Tadcaster, North Yorkshire and collaborated both in business and politics in Manchester. They helped found the Manchester Guardian newspaper in 1821, which became The Guardian in 1959 to reflect its national distribution and news coverage. The Potter brothers also founded the Times(Manchester), later called the Examiner and Times, and established the wholesale house in Manchester trade which became known as "Potter's". This place became a rendezvous for political and philanthropic reformers. In 1830 Richard Potter joined a group campaigning for parliamentary reform. The group proposed that the seats of rotten boroughs convicted of gross electoral corruption should be transferred to industrial towns. In 1831 Absalom Watkin (fl 1807-1861) drew up a petition asking the government to grant Manchester two Members of Parliament. As a result of the 1832 Reform Act Manchester had its first two Members of Parliament. Richard Potter was returned as Liberal MP for Wigan in 1832, 1835 and 1837. He later unsuccessfully contested Gloucester. His political views earned him the nickname "Radical Dick". Richard Potter's son, also called Richard, was President of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada and Chairman of the Great Western Railway (1817-1892),and his granddaughter Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), daughter of his son Richard, was a prominent social reformer and wife of fellow reformer Sidney Webb, Baron Passfield (1859-1947). His publications include: "To the independent inhabitants of the Borough of Wigan" (1831).


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection contains Richard Potter's diaries, accounts, parliamentary journals, correspondence and miscellaneous papers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English. volumes 3 and 13a are partly written in French.

System of arrangement:

In 15 volumes:
Volume 1. Memorandum book, 1793-1799.
Volume 2. Diary, 1800-1801.
Volume 3. Diary, 1801-1838.
Volume 4. Diary, 1824-1828.
Volume 5. Account book, 1798-1812.
Volume 6. "The Regent, or Royal Tablet of Memory for 1824, 1825, 1830, 1834 and 1835", with an almanac containing entries in Potter's hand.
Volume 7. "The Merchant and Tradesmen's Remembrancer", containing Potter's journal of the Parliamentary Sessions of 1833 and 1834.
Volume 8 The Merchant and Trademen's Remembrancer", containing Potter's journal of the Parliamentary Sessions of 1835 and 1836.
Volume 9. Parliamentary diary, 1833-1835.
Volume 10. Parliamentary diary, 1836-1837.
Volume 11. Book of newspaper extracts on political and social issues.
Volume 12. Letter book, 1800-1838.
Volume 13 a. Letter book, 1798-1833.
Volume 13 b. Letter book, 1833-1834.
Volume 14. Letters and newspaper articles relating to Richard Potter and his descendants, 1869 - 1941. Includes postcards of Tadcaster.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:


Finding aids:

Printed handlist available.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 8, 2002

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