The Manchester Collection
This collection consists of 609 indentures, ranging in date from 1700-1849, most of which were promoted by the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of Manchester and their successors, the Guardians of the Poor of the Manchester Union. The full title is Manchester Overseers of the Poor Apprenticeship Indentures.
Also included are 68 indentures made between private parties, the apprentices not necessarily being children or paupers, and 14 promoted by the overseers of places other than Manchester. Many of these record apprenticeships to Manchester tradespeople. Others have no apparent relevance to the work of the Manchester Overseers of the Poor.
The indenture usually gives:
- Name of the apprentice
- Name of the master
- Length of the apprenticeship
Ages are not stated in the early indentures. The first instance in this collection of noting a child's age is in No. 42 (item number within the Manchester Archives records), 1730. Here it is given in the form "now about eleven years of age". Ages are stated with more certainty from 1810 (No. 390).
The spelling of personal names during much of the period covered by this collection seems to have been a matter of individual usage. There are many instances where the clerk's spelling of a name differs from the signatory's rendering and some where the clerk has written the same name in two different ways. It would be impossible to suggest even a general date by which usage and increasing literacy had established one spelling of a name over another.
The original records are held by Manchester Archives and Local Studies (ref: GB127. GB127.M3/9). Please note that our search returns records for Masters as well as Apprentices.