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McConnel and Kennedy Archive

Date range: 1795–1888.

This important archive documents a major cotton-spinning company in Manchester at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

The partnership of McConnel & Kennedy was founded in 1795 by two natives of Kirkcudbrightshire, James McConnel (1762–1831) and John Kennedy (1769–1855).

The firm was originally involved in both machine making and cotton spinning, but by the close of the eighteenth century it was devoted exclusively to cotton spinning, becoming the largest such concern in Manchester in the early nineteenth century.

On the retirement of John Kennedy in 1826, McConnel took his two eldest sons into partnership and the firm became known as McConnel & Co.

In 1898 McConnel & Co. joined several other firms in the formation of the Fine Cotton Spinners and Doublers Association and the company lost its independent identity after the First World War.

The collection comprises:

  • twenty-three copy letter-books recording all the firm’s correspondence until 1836 and a further volume covering 1868–69
  • a large quantity of original letters and bills sent to the firm, 1795–1826
  • financial records including day books, ledgers, sales journals, etc., 1795–1888
  • a small quantity of title deeds relating to the firm’s property
  • detailed inventories recording the value of buildings, plant, fixtures and furnishings

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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