Libraries Second World War archives

Local records

The main local sources about the Second World War are listed. The references will take you to the relevant page on our archives catalogue. To view the materials listed in the catalogue, note the reference and make a appointment to see them in the search room.

Air Raids

  • Plans of air-raid shelters in Manchester, n.d. (ref GB127.MISC/949)
  • Register of air raid shelters in Manchester , 1939-1945 (ref GB127.MISC/1016
  • Manchester Fire Brigade - Fires in Manchester due to enemy action, 1939-1941 (ref GB127.M1/17/1)
  • Article in Odds and Ends on the ‘Bomb Squad’, 1940 (ref GB127.M38/4/2/80)
  • Article in Odds and Ends on ‘December 22 and 23 1940 in Manchester’, with photographs of bombed buildings, 1940 (ref GB127.M38/4/2/82)
  • Article in Odds and Ends on ‘Fire Watchin’’, 1941 (ref GB127.M38/4/2/81)
  • Articles in Odds and Ends ‘The Bomb’ on ARP services; ‘Inter Arma Caritas’ on the Red Cross, 1944 (ref GB127. M38/4/2/84)
  • Returns made by Manchester Corporation re damage to property by air raids, 22 to 23 December 1940 (copy), 1940 (ref GB127.M564/1-3)
  • Chest of index cards on property damage for rest of city and wartime, c.1941 (ref GB127.MISC/1192/8)
  • Charts showing ‘Alert Periods and Air-Raids over a North West Town ’ [Manchester], August 1940 to December 1942 (ref GB127.M673/1/1-3)
  • Manchester Public Libraries air raid policy, fire watchers’ notebook, shelter libraries, and other records (ref GB127.M740)

Civil Defence

  • Levenshulme Local Defence Committee, Red Cross and John Penny-a-Week Fund, minutes, 1940, 1942-1945 (ref GB127.MISC/512)
  • Correspondence of Manchester Transport Department re Civil Defence, air raid precautions, rationing etc. (ref GB127.M29 files 546-7; 605d/5 and 7; 152R, T, AA; 531K, H; 537A)
  • Town Clerk’s correspondence on fire prevention, 1941 to 1944 (GB127.M248)


Conscientious Objectors

  • Conscientious objectors’ applications to Manchester and Salford Council of Social Service for social work, 1940 to 1941 (ref GB127.M184/Box 26)
  • Transcriptions of Lancashire Tribunals on conscientious objectors, Manchester Town Hall, 1940 to 1941 (ref GB127.M547/2/1-24)
  • Papers re application of Lionel Cowan of Wilmslow to be placed on the Register of Conscientious Objectors, 1940 to 41 (ref GB127.M599/1/1-41)


  • Log-book of City Road Senior Girls School when evacuated to Ingersol, c.1940 to 1941 (ref GB127.M66/18/4/1/2)
  • Log-book of Gaythorn County Primary School , evacuated to Oldfield Brow, Altrincham, 1939 to 1940 (ref GB127.M66/25/5/1/3)
  • Admission register of Heald Place , Rusholme, Senior Boys, evacuated to Blackpool , 1939 to 40 (ref GB127.M66/33/4/2/3)
  • Log-book of Varna Street , Openshaw, Senior Mixed School , evacuated to West End Central, Glossop, 1939 to 40 (ref GB127.M66/89/5/1/3)
  • Admission register of Holy Trinity, Platt, Rusholme Mixed and Infants School , evacuated to Blackpool , 1939 to 40 (ref GB127.M66/97/4/1/1)
  • Log-book of Claremont Road , Moss Side, Senior Girls School , evacuated to Cheadle, 1939 to 40 (ref GB127.M66/98/1/1/2)
  • Gorton Street, Collyhurst, Branch No. 60 admission registers of school when evacuated to Ashburton Road , Blackpool , 1939 to 40 (ref GB127.M66/120/1/5/5)
  • Education department circular re education in evacuation areas, 1939 (ref GB127.M100/2/50/136-38)


  • Personal files and financial papers of the Jewish Refugees Committee, Manchester, Guarantee Sub-Committee, who helped refugees from Nazi Germany to get to the USA, 1939 to 52 (ref GB127.M102)
  • Papers of Dr. I. W. Slotki re provision for Hebrew and Jewish religious instruction for Jewish evacuees, 1939 to 45 (ref GB127.M191/6)
  • Evacuation of Jewish children from Manchester and Salford, papers re provision for their education, 1939 to 41 (ref GB127.M350/4/2/1-16)
  • Barash Papers - Papers relating to Mrs Barash’s work with refugees 1938 to 1960 (ref GB127.M533)
  • Records of Mad Hatters Castle, Board Residence, Whalley Range, Manchester. Mabel Butt (commonly known as "Mother") ran a boarding house called Mad Hatters Castle at 25 Demesne Road. During the war she took in many Jewish refugees. (ref GB127.M727)
  • Minutes of the Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad, Manchester, 1945 to 48 (ref MF 2833, on microfilm, no appointment needed)

More records

Some family papers from the Second World War survive including diaries, letters and photographs. Many organisations kept records of war activities like fire-watching, air raid precautions, rationing and evacuation. Search our archives catalogue.

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