Cochrane Family papers, 1777-1957 and undated 5.5 Linear Feet — 4125 Items
The Cochrane Family Papers span the years 1777-1957, with the bulk of the papers being dated between 1850 and 1905. The collection consists of correspondence; legal and financial documents; personal, naval, and technical notes and other writings; notebooks, diaries, and almanacs; clippings and other saved print material; and photographs, maps, charts, drawings, diagrams, and other visual materials preserved by the Cochranes. The majority of these documents pertain to two members of the Cochrane family: the brothers Admiral Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane and Admiral Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane. The bulk of the papers deal with three principal subject areas: the naval careers of the brothers; family matters and finances, particularly the finances of their Redcastle Estate in County Donegal, Ireland; and business papers and correspondence relating to the family estates and the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Company, established by Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, and continued by his son Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane. The collection is particularly rich in documenting the beginnings of the asphalt industry in Trinidad and land-use issues in Ireland during the 19th century. In addition, Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane was stationed off the coast of West Africa during much of the 1850s and 1860s, and the collection contains a number of documents relating to the British attempts during that time to suppress the African slave trade, an effort in which Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane was active. The collection is divided into three series, the Family Papers Series, the Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane Series, and the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Series, each of which are divided into subseries by format. This division retains the original division of the collection, but researchers should be aware that there is significant crossover between the subject areas of the Family Papers Series and the Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane Series, and those interested in one of these series should be aware that there may be pertinent material in the other.
The Family Papers Series, the largest of the three, documents two main subject areas: the naval careers of Ernest Grey Lambton and Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, and the family finances relating to the Redcastle estate. The former of these is documented primarily in the Correspondence subseries and the Notes and Writings Subseries, while the latter is most heavily represented in the Legal and Financial Documents Subseries, which contains a number of rental and account books pertaining to the Cochrane and Doherty family estates in Ireland. The Cochranes were all active inventors, and the Legal and Financial Documents Subseries also includes patent forms for a number of inventions, including means of laying telegraph wire and ships' boilers and propulsion. The Notebooks and Diaries Subseries is comprised primarily of bound volumes of writings by Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, documenting his daily activity and travels, although it does contain two notebooks used by Thomas Cochrane for surveying during his travels in the 1850s and an Irish Land Commission notebook belonging to Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane as well. The two remaining subseries, Print Materials and Visual Materials and Artifacts, are much smaller in size, and contain materials pertaining to both brothers, and to the family more generally.
The Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane Series contains material accessioned separately from the rest of the collection, which documents Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane's naval life and activities off the Western coast of Africa; his correspondence with Richard Doherty (whose daughter he later married) about financial and estate matters in County Donegal; and his time spent as a landlord in County Donegal, where he became High Sheriff and a member of the Grand Jury after retiring from the navy. The Correspondence Subseries contains Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane's correspondence with Samuel W. Blackwall of Sierra Leone; Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane; Thomas Barnes Cochrane; Richard Doherty; and others. Of the other subseries, the Legal and Financial Documents and Visual Materials subseries relate primarily to his life in County Donegal, while the Notebooks and Diaries and Notes and Writings subseries deal more extensively with his earlier naval career and time in West Africa. This series was kept separate from the Family Papers Series to preserve the original order of the documents. As should be clear from this description, however, many of the subject areas of this series overlap with those of the Family Papers Series, and researchers interested in the naval career of Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane or the Cochranes' role as landlords in Northern Ireland should also consult that series.
Finally, the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Series documents the Cochrane family's involvement in the early asphalt industry in Trinidad. The vast majority of the papers included here are those of Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, who took over the job of overseeing the Cochrane properties and interests in Trinidad after he was invalided during the China wars. However, there are also materials of Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, pertaining to the company. To be found here are business correspondence pertaining to the export of asphalt and bitumen from Trinidad, shipping arrangements, experiments conducted on the potential uses of bitumen from Pitch Lake, and other matters related to the establishment and operation of the business; notes relating to experiments conducted, and to the climate and area; legal documents establishing the company and documenting the extent of the Belle Vue, Mon Plaisir and Esperance Estates in Trinidad; maps and plans of these estates and of Pitch Lake; and two printed volumes and other miscellaneous items pertaining to Trinidad. The material contained in this series should be of interest to those researching the development and early stages of the asphalt industry, and to those interested in colonial business, finance, and resource use during the 19th century.