Manuscripts and Special Collections

Trade and Commerce Associations

Often involving business leaders and sometime government officials, trade and commerce organisations were set up to represent and promote the interests of a particular trade.

We hold only a handful of collections representing the interests of business and commerce, predominantly representing mining and agriculture, and all from the twentieth century. They vary enormously in scope, completeness and strategy.

Access to some of these records is restricted as they have not been fully catalogued. Please contact us for further advice.

Photograph of insecticide spraying of cotton plants in Antigua, 1958 (Ref: CRC image 2)


Cotton Research Corporation

The largest and most international of the commercial association collections, this organisation encouraged cotton production in countries within the then British Empire, chiefly in Africa, between 1921 and 1976.  Recognising the need for specialist knowledge, the Corporation directed its attention toward research and extended its area to the improvement of the agricultural economies. During the final ten years before it was formally dissolved in 1976, the CRC's agricultural scientists collaborated with overseas governments in research programmes, supplying advice and practical help on cotton growing to developing countries. The papers cover scientific, economic, climatic and other factors affecting the growing of cotton in a wide range of countries from Africa (the Sudan in particular) to the West Indies and the Indian sub-continent. There are extensive research reports and records of field trials, including research papers on cotton breeding and cotton pests. There is an especially noteworthy collection of photographs from research stations.

• Papers of the Cotton Research Corporation, 1921-1976 (catalogue record)

National Coal Board

The National Coal Board was established on 12 July 1946 following the nationalisation of the British coal industry. This collection consists of the reports and translations formerly held at the NCB's research library at Bretby, Derbyshire. The publications cover a wide range of subjects such as mine safety, mining equipment, the science of coal, geology, the coal industry, and coal field procedures. The translations of technical reports, into English, relate to similar subjects and have been made from a wide variety of non-English speaking countries, particularly those in Europe, with the intention of furthering the NCB's interest in the European Community (as was). There are some publications produced by other organisations that were kept for reference, for example the Health & Safety Executive.

  • Printed reports and translations of the National Coal Board, 1937-1989 (catalogue record)

Nottingham Chamber of Commerce

The smallest collection, but also the one with perhaps most local relevance, Nottingham Chamber of Commerce was established to represent and promote business in Nottingham and locally-produced goods. This collection constitutes chance survivals and contains none of the administrative records that would usually survive in an organisation's archive. The whereabouts of other records is unknown. The records that do survive relate to specific initiatives that it was involved in, such as the gravel and coal industries, and teaching.

Carpet Manufacturers Association of England and Scotland

The Association began as the Carpet Manufacturers' Association of Northern England before amalgamating with the Scottish carpet manufacturing group to form the Carpet Manufacturer's Association of England and Scotland. As a trade association it was concerned with price maintenance in factories throughout the UK.

This small collection of minutes, agendas, correspondence and price lists are the only extant material relating to the organisation. By 1905 changing working practices and pressures from other manufacturers who were not adopting the price maintenance schemes of the Association led to its gradual disbandment.

  • Papers relating to the Carpet Manufacturers Association of England and Scotland, 1869-1905 (catalogue record)

Next page: Trade Unions

Manuscripts and Special Collections

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