Fonds GB 0210 VIVIAN - Vivian Papers

Diary kept by Odo Vivian while he was an officer in France during the First World War, referring ... Diary kept by Odo Vivian while he commanded the 23rd Entrenching Battalion (Feb.-April); the 36th...

Identity area

Reference code



Vivian Papers


  • 1601-1959 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.609 cubic metres (19 boxes, 10 volumes, 2 rolls).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Vivian of Truro had an interest in the Cornish copper industry. His second son, John Henry, extended the family copper interests from Cornwall to the Swansea area of Glamorganshire, where he opened a copper smelting works near local coal sources. John Vivian's eldest son, Richard Hussey, had a distinguished army career and was eventually elevated to the peerage as 1st Baron Vivian of Truro, but the youngest son, Thomas, died at the early age of 21. John Henry Vivian expanded his business interests in Swansea, and extended them further afield to Liverpool, Birmingham and London from 1810 until his death in 1855. During the last fifteen years of his life he was assisted in his work by his eldest son Henry Hussey Vivian. Like his father, Henry Hussey Vivian became an MP and divided his time between the family copper business and the House of Commons. He was raised to the peerage in 1893, taking his seat in the House of Lords as 1st Baron Swansea. He died in 1894. He married three times. His first wife, Jesse Dalrymple Goddard, whom he married in 1847, died in 1848 shortly after the birth of their son Ernest. He later married Caroline E. Cholmeley in 1853 but she died in 1868 after being an invalid for many years. He lastly married Averil Beaumont in 1870.
H. H. Vivian was succeeded by his eldest son, Ernest, of whom there is little or no mention in this archive. He died in 1922 leaving no direct heir and was succeeded by his step-brother Odo Vivian. The latter inherited a declining family business which he had run since his father's death in 1894. Ernest Vivian had shown little or no interest in the company's affairs.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by Sir John Hussey Hamilton Vivian, 4th Baron Swansea, Caer Beris, Builth Wells, in September 1966.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of the Vivian family, later barons Swansea, of Cornwall and Swansea, including records of the copper industry in Cornwall and Swansea (the Hafod works), 1720-1934; estate papers, 1853-1909; business and personal correspondence, 1807-1934, notably that of John Henry Vivian (1785-1855), and Henry Hussey Vivian, 1st Baron Swansea (1821-1894). The archive is a major source for the 19th century history of Swansea.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records deposited at NLW have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into correspondence of the Vivian family, 1807-1934 (excluding H. H. Vivian); papers and diaries of the Vivian family, 1608-1934 (excluding H. H. Vivian); correspondence, papers and diaries of H. H. Vivian, ist Lord Swansea, 1763-1894; family wills, settlements and other documents, 1810-1934; industrial records, 1720-1934; estate papers, 1853-1909; pedigrees and personalia, 1601-1930s; household and private accounts, 1847-1921; miscellaneous, 1720-1959; maps and catalogues, 1767-1914; and printed matter, late 18th cent.-1910.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at NLW and HMC.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The maps and plans formerly numbered J 194-197, 199, 242a-b, and K 1-12, and drawings and prints numbered J 184-193 and 200 were transferred to NLW map and picture collections respectively, May 2018.

Further papers relating to the barons Swansea are Hampshire Record Office, 28M78; some papers are also held at the University of Wales Swansea, Archives, Library and Information Services.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

May 2002.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Mair James.

Archivist's note

The following source was used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Vivian Papers;

Accession area