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National Library of Wales
Robertson, Henry, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 HROBSON

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Henry Robertson Papers

Short Title: Robertson, Henry, papers

Creation date(s): 1786-1911

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.915 cubic metres (65 boxes, 18 volumes)

Name of creator(s): Henry Robertson


Administrative/Biographical history: Henry Robertson (1816-1888) from Banff, Alberta, Canada, was a civil engineer, ironmaster, coalmaster as well as company director. He was an MA graduate of Aberdeen University. His early interests revolved around mining engineering, but he later devoted himself mainly to railway engineering and construction. He came to Wales in 1842 (at just 26 yeras of age) to restructure and to revitalise the coal and iron concerns of John Wilkinson - the famous Brymbo ironworks. He is credited with reviatlizing the decaying industrial area of Denbighshire. Realizing that, in order to ensure the success of the iron-works and collieries, a railway to this area was essential, he and his friends promoted the North Wales Mineral Railway - the first of a number of measure which Robertson piloted through parliament. He was the Liberal MP for Shrewsbury between 1862 and 1865, and again between 1874 and 1885 and for Merionethshire between 1885 and 1886. Later he seceded from the Liberal Party on the introduction of Gladstone's Irish Home Rule Bill. He was later to concentrate on railway construction and was responsible for the railway from Chester to Shrewsbury. and other rail links. He also maintained a number of other commercial enterprises. In 1869, he bought the Pale estate, Llandderfel, Merionethshire and he was the founder of the Brymbo steel works in 1884. His nephew John William Dean inherited his money, papers and plans and his son Henry Beyer Robertson the remainder of his estate. Henry Robertson was also one of the trustees of the Wynnstay estates.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of Henry Robertson, comprising personal and estate papers, 1829-1907; records of a very large number of Welsh railway undertakings, 1786-1911, comprising books of reference, surveryors' notebooks, acts of parlimaent, bills and estimates, conveyances and other title deeds, specifications and tenders, prospectuses and miscellaneous papers; office papers, correspondence and miscellaneous professional papers, 1824-1903; papers relating to several clubs and societies, 1888-1907; and printed books and papers, 1786-[c.late 19th cent.].


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: personal and estate papers; professional papers arranged by alphabetical order of individual railway companies; office records, correspondence and miscellaneous professional papers; unassignable survey books; ppaers relating to various clubs and societies, printed books and papers.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Physical characteristics: Many of the papers are in poor condition, having been affected by rodents, dirt as well as damp. Some of the papers are brittle. Some of the papers are unfit for production.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history: The papers were accumulated by Henry Robertson during the course of his professional life and career and subsequently retained within his family until after World War Two.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Henry Robertson of Pale, Llandderfel, Merionethshire, Henry Robertson's grandson, in 1949.


Related material: The Library also holds two volumes of correspondence, 1881-1888, between Henry Robertson and Benjamin Piercy of Marchwiel Hall, Denbigh, civil engineer, with whom he was associated on several railway projects (NLW MSS 9794-5E). Further business and estate papers of both Henry Robertson and his son Henry Beyer Robertson are in the Llantysilio Hall Papers in the Denbighshire Record Office. Further papers relating to the Palé estate can be found in the Palé Papers (see NLW, Minor Lists and Summaries, 1993, p. 61) and in the Dolgellau Area Record Office. A number of maps, drawings and sketches were transferred to the former Department of Pictures and Maps (reference = Henry Robertson Collection 1-147).


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Henry Robertson Papers, 1996, Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Clubs | Wales, North
Railway companies | Wales, North | Archives
Railway engineering | Designs and plans | Wales, North
Railways | Wales, North
Robertson, Henry, | 1816-1888 | Archives
Societies | Wales, North
Transport | Wales, North

Personal names
Robertson , Henry , 1816-1888

Corporate names
Pale Estate (Wales)
Wynnstay Estate (Wales)

Merioneth (Wales)
Shrewsbury (England)

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