Library Archive Database

The library archive contains a wide ranging collection of material donated to the museum, and dates back to 1232. Around two thirds of the material is linked to the work of Osborne (the museum’s curator from the 1990s to 2003), Reid (a former honorary editor and secretary of the WNHAS) and Serel (a noted Victorian antiquarian).

 

There is also the noteworthy Balch Archive, which is mainly a collection of Herbert Balch's notebooks. Balch was a self-taught naturalist, caver and geologist, and founded the museum in 1893. He was its curator for 60 years.

 

The Osborne section (sections 1-3) is mainly a collection of historical items about Wells and the local region, such as on Wells churches, houses in Wells, people, archaeology, local photographs and postcards.

 

The items listed under the Reid reference (sections 1-10) cover an enormous range, including articles in newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters and property advertisements, as well as histories of local places. There a wealth of fascinating material such as leases in the Vicars' Close from the 17th century, and information on the Almshouses in Wells. There is also documentation on over 30 Somerset families, and details of streets and buildings covering the period 1232 to 1869.

 

The Serel section has notes, articles, letters and books linked to the work of Thomas Serel, who was a noted Victorian antiquarian and warden at St. Cuthbert’s Church in the late 19th century.

 

The Clare’s History section (sections 1-3) is an archive of material from the Clares (Engineering) Company in Wells, and was given to the museum when the business closed in March 2007, having started in the early 1900s. The company was involved in many ventures, including a drapery business, dairy and textile manufacturing, and production of laboratory and scientific equipment, as well as its own cheesemaking business.

 

The Wells & District section has a collection of the Wells Cathedral School Magazines from 1923-1958, and copies of the Wellensian, the magazine for its alumni organisation for former pupils. These cover 1928-1936 and 1966-1085.

 

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