The Brightwater Archive

Uncovering the secrets of the Brightwater Archive

Month: August, 2013

The Lost Investigator – Roger Mullins


Professor R. Mullins went missing on Black Meadow in 1972. He was one of the first to request information from the Brightwater Archive and was the only person given access until it was finally opened earlier this year.


Reply from Brightwater to BM Casualty

bri letter

This letter refers to a petition that was sent to Brightwater in the Autumn of 1931.
Currently there are no other references to such a document, though the archive is quite expansive.
It is very possible that this Mrs Gordon is related to Samantha Gordon who went missing on 17 February 1929.

Punch Magazine Villifies Lord Brightwater


Punch Magazine – December – 1931 (This has been restored from an original print.)


One of the less unpleasant cartoons lampooning Lord Brightwater and his work for the people around Black Meadow.

Published in December 1931 it deliberately uses a print from David Copperfield and casts Brightwater in the role of Mr Peggotty (a Yarmouth Fisherman). This is not a simple lazy use of old prints (Punch often did this) Peggotty is seen as being of pagan descent and Brightwater’s investigations were seen by some as meddling in the old religions.

The text is simplistic and plays on the old prejudice that London had of the North. Using the phrase “going native” when talking about Yorkshire recasts the north as a foreign landscape. Having the returned Brightwater cast as a pauper and speaking in northern dialect also suggests that he has changed “for the worse” and has lost his intellect.

This is a blunt piece of satire and one that caused a lot of upset for the Brightwater estate for some time.

Record of Preliminary Investigation

table There are several pieces of paper just like this throughout the archives that highlight names, dates and positions of individuals last seen.

The Brightwater Archive – New Access Rights


In 1968 Professor Roger Mullins of the University of York gained access to the Brightwater Archive. The archive contains a wealth of material on the Black Meadow disappearances between 1911 and 1930. Following Lord Brightwater’s resignation in the early 1930’s the files were seized and held by the Home Office until the late 1960’s when they were opened up at the request of Professor Mullins for a research project.  When Professor Mullins disappeared whilst exploring Black Meadow in 1972 the files were closed. Under the Freedom of Information Act the public are now allowed access to these files. Over the next few years we will be sifting through and publishing pertinent information on one of the greatest cover-ups of the 20th century.