Fonds HOUG - Papers of Lord Houghton

Identity area

Reference code



Papers of Lord Houghton


  • 1801–85 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

160 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Richard Monckton Milnes was born on 19 June 1809, son of Robert Pemberton Milnes, MP for Pontefract, and his wife Henrietta Maria Monckton, daughter of the 4th Viscount Galway. Milnes was admitted to Trinity College Cambridge in 1827 and graduated MA in 1831. While at Cambridge he was one of the founding members of the Cambridge Conversazione Society (The Apostles) and was a friend of Tennyson, Hallam and Thackeray. He was to pursue and active literary life, both by publishing in prose and verse and maintaining an active correspondence with many of the prominent writers of the age. His regular breakfast parties also played a part in bringing many figures of note from all walks of life together

Milnes was son and grandson of Members of Parliament and in 1837 Milnes was elected to the Commons to represent his father's old constituency of Pontefract. Initially a follower of Peel he moved towards the Liberal side of the House, and became a supporter of Lord John Russell. Though never rising to high office, he was prominent in legislation concerning copyright, the Deceased Wife's Sister Marriage Bill and the abolition of capital punishment. In 1845 he succeeded in getting a pension paid to Tennyson

Having courted Florence Nightingale, Milnes married Annabella, daughter of the 2nd Baron Crewe. He was created Baron Houghton in 1863. He held the posts of President of the Statistical Society from 1865 to 1867 and Secretary for Foreign Correspondence of the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1885. Amongst the academic honours he received were DCL (Oxford) 1855, FRS 1868, FSA 1876 and LLD (Edinburgh) 1877. He died in Vichy in 1885.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

A first accession was given to Trinity College by Lady Crewe in 1959, a second was given by her daughter the Duchess of Roxburghe in 1974.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Houghton's archive includes Cambridge papers 1827-30, a voluminous correspondence, literary papers, publications 1834-73, political papers 1837-80s, business papers, papers relating to travels 1828-85, papers relating to clubs and societies, commonplace books 1838-65, press cuttings 1801-78, diaries of Lady Houghton 1855-72, papers of R P Milnes, other family papers.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The two accessions are arranged very differently. The first, containing the majority of the correspondence is essentially a box-by-box item list. The second accession is arranged hierarchically and contains more subject-related material.

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Finding aids

A printed finding aid of the first accession and an incomplete one of the second accession are available at Trinity College Library.

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