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Records of U.K. Auxiliaries, 1810 - 2001

Reference Code: GBR/0374/BFBS/BSA/F1

Scope and Contents

Records of BFBS Auxiliaries were deposited with the Society at various times, often, but by no means always, when the Auxiliary was dissolved. Most Auxiliaries issued annual reports with lists of subscribers, but very few of these have survived. The most likely records to have survived are the Minutes of Auxiliary meetings and some accounts, as well as some registers of subscriptions and of Bibles distributed.


  • 1810 - 2001

Conditions Governing Access

Material less than 50 years old is not available to the public.

Biographical / Historical

From an early date, Auxiliary Bible Societies were set up throughout the United Kingdom to support the work of the BFBS. They saw themselves as distributing and fund-raising agencies. Quick to see the advantages of this development, the BFBS gave full publicity to the formation and constitution of these societies, holding them up as models for imitation elsewhere. The rapid growth of auxiliary societies in the decade 1810-20 caused alarm among those who saw the BFBS as a threat to the Established Church. This concern prompted the Society to regulate the work of the Auxiliaries more tightly. In 1821 Charles Dudley published his Analysis of the system of the BFBS, prescribing in some detail the way in which the various types of auxiliary society should function, together with specimen constitutions, minute books, account books etc. Auxiliary societies were at first arranged on an hierarchical system: Auxiliaries proper were usually based in larger towns, sometimes covering a whole county. Dependent on Auxiliaries were the Branches which tended to be based in smaller towns, while at village or parish level there were Bible Associations, which could be attached to a Branch or an Auxiliary and which did a great deal of the work of Bible distribution and door-to-door canvassing for subscriptions. Associations could also be of a specialised type, such as 'Juvenile' Associations, Associations for mechanics (i.e. factory workers), Marine Associations etc. By far the most wide-spread and successful associations were the Ladies' Bible Associations. In the 1870s and 1880s the Auxiliary system was perceived to be in decline, and various attempts were made to adapt to altered circumstances. In order to relieve the Auxiliary officers of the labour of supervising stock and keeping accounts, Trade Depots were established from 1882 for the sale of BFBS publications on a more commercial basis. The policy was carried to its logical conclusion in 1904, when the Trade Depots were discontinued and the Society threw its business open to the trade generally. The function of the Auxiliaries therefore became limited to fund-raising and publicity, and their activities tended to focus increasingly on anniversary meetings and services, bazaars and coffee mornings. In 1972 they generally became known as Bible Society Action Groups.


94 archive box(es) (94 boxes)

1 volume(s) (1 volume)

1 envelope(s) (1 envelope)

Related Materials

See also E4/1/7 (collection of Auxiliary reports, mainly 1942-8).

Related Materials

Many Auxiliary records have been deposited with County Record Offices or other local archives.


BFBS Auxiliaries

Finding aid date

2002-02-19 12:23:35+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom