Stockport Libraries holds an extensive collection of original and unique archival materials.

""Stockport Archives holds an extensive collection of original and unique archival materials for researching any aspect of the history of the present day Stockport area, including local authority records, local public records, religious, family and business records.

An important collection is that of Stockport Sunday School, once the largest Sunday School in the world and a vitally important source of education for the working people of Stockport.

The importance of Stockport’s archive collections can not be over estimated. Many of the records are vital to an understanding of Stockport’s cultural history and heritage.

An increasing number of people want to research into the history of Stockport and its people and Stockport Local Heritage Library and Archives have many of the records which enable them to do that.

Stockport Archive Service came into being as a natural extension of the work of the Local Studies Library. Archive collections and individual documents began to be deposited in Stockport Central Library.

Initially, library staff were able to cope with the additional work generated by the archives, but by 1974 and Local Government reorganisation, it was necessary to employ a professional archivist to deal with the archive collections.

The collecting policy of the Archive Service is straightforward: to collect, preserve and make available for public use as much documentary material as possible relating to the present day Stockport Metropolitan Borough area.

What is an archive?

A useful definition of an archive is: - the records of an individual or an organisation which have come into being through the carrying-out of the day to day functions of that individual or organisation, and which are no longer in current use.

Archives are, therefore, usually a unique record. Stockport Archive Service also collects “artificial collections”, that is, papers, volumes, etc which have been brought together for a specific purpose; for example, local history research or a one name study in family history.

Although our aim is to make as many archives as possible available for use, there are collections, or parts of collections, which are not, at present, open to the public.

In some cases, this is because certain types of records are closed by law until they reach a certain age; e.g. school records are closed for thirty years, hospital records for 75 years.

This is usually because of the potentially sensitive nature of some of the information contained in the documents.

All types of archive material are held among the archive collections – local public records such as hospital and Magistrates’ Court; local government records of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and its predecessor authorities; church records from various denominations including Methodist; business and trade including Christy’s hat manufacturers’ family including the Bradshaw-Isherwoods of Marple; institutional including Stockport Sunday School and other, miscellaneous material.

Public Records are the papers of Government institutions which would normally be deposited with the National Archives, had the TNA not appointed a local repository to take custody of records of a purely local significance. They include, therefore, County and Magistrates’ Courts records and hospital records.

Official papers are those records of local government which are still in the care of the authority which created them or its successor, here the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport. They include the records of Urban District Councils which were incorporated into Stockport Council.

Private records are papers which have moved from the care of their originating body to be deposited with the Archive Service. They include records of Christy and Co.

It is noticeable that there is a preponderance of records relating to the former Borough of Stockport over the former Urban District areas. This is partly a matter of chance, survival of records etc., and partly because Stockport Library began to collect archives before the creation of Stockport Metropolitan Borough.

Stockport Local Heritage Library’s holdings complement the archives; it is especially advisable to check its holdings for annual reports and minutes.

*** Please note that access to the material in Stockport Libraries Archives is available upon request by contacting Stockport Local Heritage Library, and that material can be viewed during normal Stockport Central Library opening hours. You can contact using the Stockport Central Heritage Library details shown under related contacts.