Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Leveson-Gower family played an important role in the progress of industry in Staffordshire and beyond.
Documents surviving in the Sutherland Papers belonging to Sir John Leveson-Gower, Earl Gower (1694-1754), Granville Leveson-Gower Marquis of Stafford (1721-1803) and George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) tell us about the development of canals and railways during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. From the late 1750s the family were instrumental in the development of navigable waterways, involved with the civil engineer James Brindley (1716-1772) and Francis Egerton the third Duke of Bridgewater (1736-1803). In the 1820s the first Duke of Sutherland invested in the development of railways ensuring the family’s influence over transport and industry throughout the nineteenth century.
From the late seventeenth century onwards the Leveson-Gowers exploited the mineral resources on their estates in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Scotland through coal mining. Many documents relating to the history of the North Staffordshire coalfield survive in the Sutherland Papers, from time and wages books for Knowles Colliery in 1794 to memoranda relating to Florence Colliery in 1901. The North Staffordshire Mining History Group have used their specialist knowledge to interpret documents relating to mining history in the Sutherland Papers including correspondence relating to mining in Brora, Sutherland and resolutions involving Staffordshire earthenware manufacturers.
Technological innovations in transport during the nineteenth century led to the invention of new products such as bicycles, motorcars and yachts. Successive Dukes of Sutherland were enthusiastic owners of these new inventions, from Amulet Bicycles to Daimler Cars and the family’s famous yacht the Ondine. In the late nineteenth century George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (1828-1892), the third Duke of Sutherland, was publicly involved with experiments in aeronautical science.
Click on the links below to learn more about Progress in the Sutherland Papers
Canal & Railway Investment
Bicycles, Cars, Aeroplanes & Yachts