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George Unwin Papers

Date range: c.1900–25.

George Unwin (1870–1925) held the chair of economic history at the University of Manchester – then the only one of its kind in the British Empire – from 1910 until his death in 1925.

He was a prominent figure in the development of economic history as an academic discipline.

He wrote a number of works on British economic, social and business history, including Industrial Organization in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1904), and The Gilds and Companies of London (1908).

He also made a study of Samuel Oldknow and the Arkwrights.

Unwin’s papers comprise notebooks and loose notes relating to his research and publications, and also typescripts of some of his lectures.

Included in the collection are research notes for The Gilds and Companies of London, as well as notes on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century economic history.

A small file consists of his draft application for the lectureship he was awarded at Edinburgh in 1908, providing biographical details and including references from Leonard Courtney and Sidney Webb.

Of particular interest is a bound volume of letters, weekly reports and associated papers relating to the activities of a trade union for Journeymen Mechanics in Bolton, and specifically to their strike action in the 1830s; this was presumably collected by Unwin for its historical interest.

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