Langdale Hall Archive

  • Reference
      GB 133 HLH
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1.5 li.m.;  157 items
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

These records relate to the governance of the Hall and the operations of the Langdalian Association. The records of the Hall are arranged separately from those of the Association. The records of the Hall (HLH/1) contain information regarding the administration of the Hall over almost a century and chart the changes in its management, first by the Church and later the university. They are arranged in series which reflect as far as possible the governance and financial transactions of the Hall and include both photographic and promotional material. The records of the Langdalian Association (HLH/2) contain a substantial amount of information relating to the changes in student life in Manchester throughout the 20th century. These are arranged to reflect the activities of the Association and its members.

Administrative / Biographical History

Langdale Hall was the second hall of residence established in Manchester for women students. The Victoria Church Hostel, as it was originally known, aimed to provide accommodation for women who were students of the day training college in the university, members of the Church of England, and who wished to become teachers in Church schools. When it opened on 12th October 1904 it accommodated only one student at its premises at 266 Oxford Road, close to the main University building. This small house had been lent for the purpose by Mr. R. Joynson who also helped to furnish the sparse accommodation that it offered. The Hostel was opened officially, by the Duchess of Buckingham and Chandos, on 12th October 1905. Although it only provided accommodation for a few students, the Hostel was licensed as a Hall of Residence by the Board of Education.

The Hall was managed by an independent Council of fifteen members, and although the Council was dominated by Anglican clergymen, it also included representatives from the University. These were mainly academics and included T. F. Tout, the Professor of History. By 1909 the Hostel had a total of twenty students and had been extended on the upper floors by breaking through into an adjoining property and annexing some of its rooms for dormitories. By this time it was clear that the accommodation offered by the Hostel was less than ideal; one student recalled the 'steep staircases, uncompromisingly austere rooms, the continuous clang, clatter, ting-a-ling of trams' at the site.

During the 1910/11 Christmas vacation the Hostel moved to 'Langdale,' its new premises in Victoria Park. This large house, set in two and a half acres of land, had been built sometime before 1850 by Edward Riley. It was purchased by the Council from G. W. Fox, a solicitor, on 4th December 1910 and it became known as Langdale Hall. By 1912 the Hall had seventeen students and their daily routines included study circles and compulsory daily prayer. Plans for the first extension to the Hall were agreed in the spring of 1914 and, despite the effects of war, the new wing and large dining room were opened in January 1915. During the war the women staff and students of the Hall played their part, working in the hospitals and supply depots, and on station duty when the trains of wounded men arrived from the Front. In order to alleviate the strains of wartime, rationing, the staff and students began work on the garden to provide fresh vegetables whenever possible. One student during this time recalled that 'My first meal in Langdale consisted of bread and black treacle!'.

During the inter-war period the Hall continued to expand and flourish. It took in larger number of students and the social events it organised became increasingly frequent. The most important of these were the Halloween party, the Christmas Informal and the Lent Term Formal. Joint social and sporting events were also held with St. Anselm's Hall. On 10th January 1920 a meeting of former students of the Hall and its present fourth years was held to discuss the formation of an association of old students. This meeting resulted in the founding of the 'Old Langdalians Association', which continued actively until the closure of the Hall in 2002. The membership of the Association was made up of past members of the Hall and those in their final year. Initial subscription fees were 2/6 for former students and 2/- for present students. These fees covered the cost of the magazine, later a newsletter, which was published annually up to the closure of the Hall in 2002.

With the outbreak of the Second World War the Hall continued to take in students although its appearance was much changed. The cellars were converted to shelters and students took up ARP duty. By the late 1940s the Hall was in an extensive state of disrepair and efforts were made to restore the interior fabric and furnishings of the building. The existing library was moved and a fully consecrated chapel was created. In January 1946 the Lord Bishop of Manchester dedicated it, on what he described as 'a happy and impressive occasion'.

By the post war period the Hall's Anglican past was less significant and the diocese of Manchester was finding it increasingly difficult to provide funding for projects. At this time the University was looking to increase its capacity to accommodate its students. University Grants Committee provided funds for Halls under the direct control of the universities. In 1957 the ownership of the Hall was transferred to the University and this involved some changes in the governance of the Hall. The Langdale Hall Committee was set up in 1957 to oversee the day to day running of the Hall and its administration. The House Committee acted as a sub-committee of the Committee. Langdale Hall Council was set up in 1964. It consisted of all members of the Hall Committee and three members of the Senior Common Room who were not members of the Committee, plus any other members who may be elected by the Council from time to time. The Council was responsible for overseeing the running of the Hall and was chaired by the Bishop of Manchester.

During the early 1960s the Hall saw extensive expansion. Land at the rear of the main building, formerly the kitchen garden, was developed into 3 new accommodation blocks, a dining room extension and new kitchens. Building was completed by 1961 and the Hall could now house 116 students. Changes continued apace at the Hall, and during the 1970s the Committee was under financial pressure to replace in-house catering staff with outside caterers. In the 1976 the university introduced its 'First Year Guarantee Scheme'. This meant that 60 percent of accommodation had to be retained for freshers, this was not a problem for the Hall as its intake had been heading in this direction for some time.

In 1990 the first male students were admitted and the Hall became a mixed residence. The 1990s brought increasing financial difficulties as fees income from students declined and the volume of conference trade using the Hall was much reduced. In 1997, as a result of a decision by the HEFCE (successor to the UGC) to cease to financially support old-style halls of residence, the university decided to begin the process of closing the Hall. There was much opposition to this decision from both present and past residents and staff , however despite continued student applications to the Hall, it was closed on October 2002 .


No discernible existing arrangement was evident for this archive.

The archive has been divided into the following sub-groups:

  • HLH/1 - Records of Langdale Hall
  • HLH/2 - Records of the Langdalian Association

Access Information

Access restrictions apply to some records containing personal data.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

The Archive was transferred to The John Rylands University Library in August 2002 following the closure of the Hall. The main body of the records are University of Manchester property. The records of the Old Langdalians Association were given to the Library as a gift in August 2002 through the office of Mrs. Barbara Smith, the last secretary of the Association. Some records were transferred to the University in 2000.

Conditions Governing Use

The archive is owned by the University of Manchester.

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The archive was maintained by Langdale Hall and the Old Langdalians Association until the closure of the Hall in 2002.

Related Material

The University of Manchester Archives is responsible for the official archival records of the University.

Annual reports by the Warden of the Hall can be found in the Reports of the Council to the Court, 1905-1996 in the University of Manchester Archives ( UOP). The minute books for the Langdale Hall Council, from June 1964 to October 1968, and for Langdale Hall Committee (2 volumes), October 1957 to September 1960 and October 1960 to October 1965, can also be found in the University Archives USC/20.


The standard history of the Hall, A History of Langdale Hall, was produced by the Old Langdalians Association in 2002.

Geographical Names