A brief history is presented here of the activities of the three most notable collectors of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts from Quaternary river terrace deposits in the Trent Valley, derived from archival material that has been largely ignored by previous research. Two, Mr. Fred W.G. Davey and Mr. George F. Turton, were local amateur collectors who did not publish the results of their work themselves and were reliant on collaboration with established archaeologists. The third, Mr. A. Leslie Armstrong, was an archaeologist best known for his work at Creswell Crags and Grimes Graves. Armstrong also made many Palaeolithic discoveries in the Trent Valley but published few details of his own material. Although such details of early Palaeolithic research in the Midlands and North of Britain are predominantly of historical interest only, they nonetheless provide a number of insights into the apparent lack of interest shown in areas north of the 'Severn-Wash Line' by collectors of Palaeolithic artefacts. Importantly, the dataset assembled by the Trent Valley Palaeolithic Project(TVPP) and summarized here is the only complete record of the known artefacts and archival material from the Trent, a proportion of which is now unavailable to the research community, having entered unknown private ownership since being studied. The second part of the paper relates this early research to Current knowledge of the British Palaeolithic at its most northern fringes and to recent developments in reconstructing the Quaternary evolution of the River Trent. Crown Copyright (C) 2009 The Geologists' Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.