One of the library's more unusual special collections is the Richard L. Hills History of Technology Collection, which is a particularly valuable resource for 19th century studies. It comprises a wealth of material on subjects such as transport, wind and water power, steam engines, mining, textiles, papermaking and many other aspects of industrial history.
The collection was generously donated by the Revd Dr Richard L. Hills, founding curator of the (North Western) Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Richard has had a varied and distinguished academic career specialising in the history of technology, and has published numerous works in his fields of expertise. He first came to Gladstone's Library in the 1980s, to undertake ordination training for the Anglican priesthood. Richard's fondness for the Library inspired him not only to give his precious collection, but also to endow The Richard L. Hills Scholarship, which is awarded for research into Theology and Science/Technology.