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Documents relating to the Albright family of Edgbaston


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Reference MS 1509
Covering dates 1604 - 1959
Held by Birmingham City Archives
Extent 7 series
Archival history The collection appears to have been assembled by Rachel Patience Albright who possessed a keen interest in family history. She was carried for in her latter years by Mr D. Hampton, who deposited the collection in the Library after her death.
Source of acquisition Documents relating to the Albright family of Edgbaston deposited by Mr D. Hampton
Creators Albright family of Edgbaston, Warwickshire
Arrangement Because many of the documents described below were collected by Miss R.P. Albright, this collection displayed very few traces of any original archival order, and the present arrangement has been determined during cataloguing.


Administrative history:
The Albright family were Quakers and appear to have settled in Charlbury, Oxfordshire in 1767. A pedigree of the family without dates is in the collection MS 1509/6/29. The papers mainly concern members of the family living during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially Rachel and Arthur Albright of Edgbaston, Birmingham. Arthur Albright, grandson of the William Albright who originally settled in Charlbury, was born in 1811 and was one of nine children. After being sent to school in Rochester, he was apprenticed at the age of sixteen to his uncle, a Bristol chemist and druggist, for five years. He moved to Birmingham after the death of John Sturge had made a vacancy in the firm of J. and E. Sturge, manufacturing chemists, of Wheelers Lane. The surviving partner, Edmund Sturge, had married Lydia Albright of Charlbury, Arthur's sister.
In 1848, Arthur Albright married Rachel Stacey of Tottenham who was descended from the Braithwaite family of Kendall, moving first to a house in George Road, Edgbaston and in 1871 to "Mariemont" in Westborne Road, Edgbaston. They produced eight children, one of whom Wilhelmina died young in 1872. In 1877 the family acquired Finstall Farm in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire which was later occupied by their only unmarried daughter, Maria Catherine Albright, an active Quaker missionary. Rachel Patience Albright, who assembled the collection, was one of three daughters of Alfred Beaumont Albright, the youngest of Arthur Albright's eight children.


Contents:
The earliest documents relate to the Albright family interest in land and property at Charlbury, Oxon MS 1509/1-3; see below. Of special archival interest is the writ of non Omittas; propter libertatem, although it is not known what connection, if any, this has with the Albright family and hence how it came to be included in the collection.
Clearly the family never forgot their roots in Charlbury and the archive includes a number of historical accounts and recollections of this branch of the Albright family. The rest of the collection forms a delightful and interesting mixture of family letters, sketch books, photographs and commonplace books illustrated to an exceptionally high standard. Also deserving of special mention is the series of correspondence between Rachel Lloyd nee Braithwaite and her daughter Deborah MS1509/4/5-14. Although most of this is of a domestic and routine nature, the letters document the everyday early nineteenth century life of a Quaker household. Isolated in religious matters, the family clearly drew upon their own company and actively corresponded with their many cousins. The Albright family also travelled widely and there is much interest to be found in letters addressed home. Apart from those diary-letters written by Maria Catherine Albright from the Quaker mission centre in Madagascar, MS1509/4/66-67 another notable series comprises the letters written by Arthur Albright when travelling on business MS1509/4/46. In 1849 he began to concentrate on producing amorphous phosphorous which entailed regular journeys to Turkey, often returning via Italy. In 1851 the phosphorus business separated from the other concerns and a new works was set up as Oldbury, the business dividing in 1851 when Arthur Albright went into partnership with John Edward Wilson. For records of the firm of Albright & Wilson see MS1724, but there are no other business records in this collection and there is also curiously little concerning Arthur Albright's known interest in the cause of anti-slavery or the Peace Society, apart from incidental references MS1509/4/13, 5/69




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