The Glazebrook-Rylands project

Heritage & Archives Officer Philip Jeffs introduces a new series of blogs, exploring the history of one of Warrington’s famous families …

Over the next few months I will be putting up posts about the Glazebrook-Rylands Collection held at Warrington Museum.

The collection consists of the personal archives of the Rylands family of Warrington. They go back as far as John and Peter Rylands of Risley in the 1720s and come as far forward as George Chapman Rylands of Lymm in the 1940s. The collection also contains fascinating records of the Kirkland and Glazebrook families, connected to the Rylands family by marriage.

Most of us, on hearing the name Rylands, would think of their wire works in the town, but these collections are not business records. The archives instead give a wonderful insight into the everyday lives of an upper middle class family throughout 200 years of Warrington’s history.

Having begun to sort through and catalogue the collections, I found myself constantly turning up curious, and often comical, little snippets. I couldn’t bare not sharing these items with everyone I met. I was at the point of stopping people in the street to say to them “just guess what Dr. Kirkland’s cure for piles was!”, when it struck me, why not let people know about the collection without shouting in the street? Why not put them on the Museum’s blog? And so that is what I am doing now.

In the following blog entries, you will hear about many of the Rylands family’s obsessions, including medicine, science, weather conditions, religion, fashion, genealogy, bookplates, and of course socialising.

P.S. If you have read on hoping for a cure for piles, you will just have to keep checking back for future posts (I need some way of keeping a captive audience).

Rylands Family Coat of Arms, as designed by John Paul Rylands (1846 – 1923).