The Department of the History of Art was established in 1933, when Reginald Wilenski was appointed special lecturer in the subject. He was succeeded by Laurence Haward in 1946, and by A.C. Sewter, an expert on Victorian stained glass, in 1949. In the late 1950s, members of the Pilkington family endowed a chair in the subject, to which John White was appointed in 1959 (he was also director of the Whitworth Art Gallery). In 1966 White was succeeded by the eminent medievalist Reginald Dodwell (1922-1994).
The file includes a number of memoranda and reports on the development of the department including a detailed report by Charles Sewter on departmental accommodation (dated 5 September 1950), another memo. by Sewter from May 1959 which discusses the Department's teaching activities, and a report by Dodwell, dated 7 November 1966, on "Art history in Manchester", which is a valuable account of the Department's history until that date.
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