The north’s Public Records Office has taken ownership of the ‘Londonderry Papers’.
The ‘Londonderry Papers’ – archives from the estate of Lady Mairi Bury of Mount Stewart – contain a range of documents from 1670 to 1950.
At the core of the collection are the papers of the Marquesses of Londonderry and their estates in Counties Down, Donegal and Derry.
These include a detailed record of title deeds, leases and rentals which provide a valuable source for tenants’ names.
The records will be kept at the Public Record Office (PRONI).
Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín - whose department paid £665,000 for the collection - says the archive “includes a wealth of information spanning almost three centuries.”
These papers have been stored at PRONI for many years and have enjoyed wide usage by researchers, historians and members of the public.
“PRONI has the facilities and expertise to maintain this collection and make it as accessible as possible to people here and further afield. It is important not only to keep this archive intact but also that we preserve this part of our past for future generations.”
The collection contains considerable political correspondence relating to a range of issues from the 1880s to 1920s, from figures including Edward Carson, James Craig, Sean O’Casey and Winston Churchill.
The Minister added: “Alongside the factual information, the letters contain the colour and texture of first-hand sources. The documents provide an insight into a very different time, and are all the more significant for this reason. It is important that, just as we look towards a shared future, we all have access to our past.
“History belongs to us all and I encourage everyone to make use of this valuable resource. It joins the wealth of material at PRONI and adds another facet to our public archives.”
More information is available online at www.proni.gov.uk