Gareth Lloyd writes:
One of the world’s most important research collections documenting the history of British Methodism and the 18th-century Evangelical Revival has been deposited at the Library, greatly enhancing the existing resources of the Methodist Archives and Research Centre (MARC).
The special collections of the former ministerial training establishment of Wesley College in Bristol comprise material created or collected by the college and its predecessor institutions, Headingley and Didsbury. In addition to college records from the 19th and 20th centuries, the collection contains personal papers of iconic figures from evangelical history including John and Charles Wesley, John and Mary Fletcher and George Whitefield, as well as rare and unique items from chapels and Methodist-related organizations.
The collection spans over 300 years and has broader significance than the purely religious, including autograph letters by William Wilberforce, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel.
The collection is deposited in Manchester as part of a partnership between The University of Manchester and the Methodist Church of Great Britain, whereby the archives and early printed material of the Church are deposited in the MARC for preservation and public access. The resources of the MARC are considered to be the world’s finest for the study of the Evangelical Revival.
The archives and manuscripts part of the Wesley College collection is now open to the public and an itemized catalogue, originally compiled by Diarmaid MacCulloch, is available to download. The collection also contains 3,600 early printed volumes and periodicals, which will likewise be opened to readers in due course.