Gregson Memorial Institute Collections
Collections transferred from the Gregson Institute, including papers of Matthew Gregson (1749-1824), medieval manuscripts, children's books, local Liverpool history, fine bindings and Victorian literature
Tradecard in SPEC G40.2
The medieval manuscripts are LUL MS.F.2.5, MS.F.2.18; the book collection includes children's books, local history and fine bindings, notably the vellum-bound Catalogue of the Liverpool Library (1801) with a fore-edge painting of the Lyceum Library. Gregson prints, silhouettes and other art objects were transferred in 1987 to the University Art Collections. GR relates to Gregson's scheme for teaching boys drawing and design.
Matthew Gregson, a Liverpool businessman and antiquarian, played an important part in developing Liverpool's public institutions, especially the Blue Coat School, the Liverpool Library, the Royal Institution, the Botanic Gardens and the Academy of Art. He is credited with introducing to Liverpool the art of lithography, which he used in his Portfolio of Fragments relative to the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster (1817); this work led to his election to the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries. Gregson died at the age of 75, after a fall from a ladder in his library. Matthew Gregson's own library of books, manuscripts, prints, drawings and paintings was sold at a seven-day auction in Liverpool (816 lots) 18th-26th October 1830. The Gregson collection includes marked-up copies of the catalogue with prices.
The Gregson Memorial Institute in Garmoyle Road, Wavertree was erected by Isabella Gregson in 1897 in memory of her parents, and other family members, to include accommodation for lectures, an art gallery and museum `for the promotion of Literature and the Arts and Sciences'. The collections were given to the University in 1906 and gradually transferred to the City Museums and University from 1933, before the sale of the Institute building to Liverpool Corporation in 1936. In 1938, the exhibition room in the newly-built Harold Cohen Library, furnished and equipped with funds from the Gregson Foundation, was designated the "Gregson Room" to store and display items from the collection.
Sources: Obituary in The Gentleman's Magazine, October 1824; Dictionary of National Biography.
The Gregson collection features on the Special Collections and Archives blog Manuscripts and More in the post Forming a picture of the past: recording provenance in the Gregson Memorial Institute collection.