William Jack (1912-2004) was employed by Chatterley Whitfield Colliery from 1928 until 1957, though his family connections to the Whitfield Colliery Company go back as far as 1870. Bill’s interest in the history of the colliery led to further study of the North Staffordshire mining and railway industries. In the 1920s and 1930s in particular, he bicycled all over the north of the county photographing working and derelict colliery and railway structures, later collecting the work of other photographers to add to his collection.
The William Jack Collection comprises 21 albums of approximately 2000 captioned photographs depicting North Staffordshire collieries, railways, canals and iron furnaces between the late nineteenth and mid twentieth centuries. In addition, there are Chatterley Whitfield minute books 1874-1926; reports, registers, diaries and account books 1778-1946; scrapbooks and typescripts of Bill Jack's own contributions to North Staffordshire railway and mining history; objects such as brass letter-head plates, a sovereign-weighing device, ‘clocking-in’ and ‘clocking-out’ tokens and a Transport Manager’s whistle.
William Jack donated his collection to the University in 1996. There are no restrictions on access.
An online exhibition of photographs from the collection can be viewed on the Staffordshire Past Track website.