Document ReferenceDe Wm
TitlePapers of Sir William T. Denison (1804-1871), Colonial Governor in Australia and India, and his family
Extent2 boxes
AbstractCorrespondence and related papers of Sir William Thomas Denison and his family, relating both to his career as colonial governor and his domestic and family affairs, 1819-1915.
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistorySir William T. Denison, brother of John Evelyn Denison, Viscount Ossington, was educated at Eton College, and by a private tutor, the Rev. C. Drury. He entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1819. An engineer, he worked for the Ordnance Survey in the early 1820s, before being commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1826. He was involved in the construction of the Rideau Canal in Canada between 1827 and 1831. He returned to England in 1831, and in 1837 took charge of the works at Woolwich dockyard. He was knighted in 1846 and in the same year was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania], then a penal colony. In 1854 he was promoted to Governor of New South Wales, Australia, where he consolidated the colonial system of public works and education. He became Governor of Madras, India, in 1861. He retired in 1866 and returned to England.
Custodial HistoryThe papers first came to the University of Nottingham Library in 1980 for microfilming, with the originals returning to private hands. In 1992 the archive itself was transferred to the University, where the associated papers of the Denison family and Viscount Ossington were already held.

The University was granted a JISC (Non Formula Funding) award to support detailed cataloguing of the Denison collection, with a focus on the political papers, in 1995.
DescriptionThe bulk of the correspondence is dated 1855-1858 and was sent by Sir William T. Denison, his wife Caroline Lucy, and many of their younger children to the two eldest sons, William Evelyn and Frank George, who were studying in England. It concerns the minutiae of everyday life of the family of Sir William T. Denison during his Governorships of the colonies of Van Diemen's Land, New South Wales and Madras. There is extensive correspondence with other family members in England, giving details of the Denisons' domestic and social lives. The influence of religious belief on the upbringing and education of the Denison children is evident.

There is also some correspondence of Sir William T. Denison with political figures such as Sir Charles Wood. The correspondence deals in part with matters of colonial government and administration. This includes information and opinions on such subjects as road building, transportation of convicts, labour supply, education and public works.

Other groups of correspondence include letters mostly to Clementina Denison, née Baillie-Hamilton, second wife of W.T. Denison's elder brother Edward Denison, Bishop of Salisbury, 1836-1870 (De Wm C 2 - De Wm C 36); letters mostly to Miss Louisa E. Denison, daughter of Edward Denison and his first wife Louisa Seymer, 1836-1910 (De Wm C 37-55); and two letters to Lady Elinor Denison, wife of W.E. Denison, 1905-1937 (De Wm C 84-85).

The collection also contains notices of official appointments of members of the Denison family, items concerned with the family estate including household inventories, and items relating to the genealogy of the family. There are close links between elements of this collection and the Denison of Ossington estate archive (De).
MgtGroupPolitical and diplomatic papers
ArrangementThe letters are arranged by correspondent, predominantly in chronological sequence. There are sections at the end to cover estate papers, family papers, official papers, plus a miscellaneous section.
TermFamily - England - 19th century
Great Britain - Politics and government - 19th century
Great Britain - Colonies - Australia - Administration - History - 19th century
Religion and society - Great Britain - 19th century
Great Britain - Colonies - India - Administration - History - 19th century
Australia - History - 19th century
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 86 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Old version of typescript catalogue, 25 pp. Please note that the current online catalogue (and the typescript version at King's Meadow Campus) has been considerably enhanced and upgraded with details of the content of each item, and should be used in preference to the NRA catalogue. Online: Online catalogue accessible from the Manuscripts and Special Collections website. Family and Estate Resource relating to the Denison family and their records, published on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website:
ReprodnNotePhotocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only. depending on the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialPapers of John Evelyn Denison, Viscount Ossington (reference: Os)
The estate papers of the Denison Family of Ossington (reference: De)
Papers of Lee and Pemberton, Solicitors, arising from the estate of John Evelyn Denison, Viscount Ossington (reference: DL)
Related RecordOs

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA207Denison; William T. (1804-1871); Sir; colonial governor brother of J.E. Denison knighted 18461804-1871
NA208Denison; Caroline L. (1818-1899); Lady Denison; née Hornby wife of William T. Denison1818-1899
NA199Denison; J. Evelyn (1800-1873); 1st Viscount Ossington; M.P. Speaker of House of Commons 1857-72 created Viscount Ossington 18721800-1873
NA209Denison; William E. (1843-1916); Captain; son of W.T. Denison1843-1916
NA210Denison; Frank G. (1844-); son of W.T. Denison1844-
NA211Wood; Charles (1800-1885); 1st Viscount Halifax; Secretary of State for India 1859-66 created Viscount Halifax 18661800-1885
NA207Denison; William T. (1804-1871); Sir; colonial governor brother of J.E. Denison knighted 18461804-1871
NA75931Denison; family; of Ossington, Nottinghamshire
NA8626Denison; Clementina (-1894); Mrs; née Baillie-Hamilton 2nd wife of Edward Denison-1894
NA8625Denison; Edward (1801-1854); Bishop of Salisbury; brother of J.E. Denison1801-1854
NA215Denison; Louisa E. (1841-1919); daughter of E. Denison1841-1919
NA8763Denison; Elinor (1850-1939); Lady; née Amherst wife of W.E. Denison1850-1939
PL122/New South Wales/Australia
PL123/Van Diemen's Land
PL122/New South Wales/Australia
PL123/Van Diemen's Land
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