Archive of Dalton-Ellis Hall

  • Reference
      GB 133 HDH
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      4.5 li.m. 231 items Some items damaged; evidence of water damage and damaged bindings.
  • Location
      University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library

Scope and Content

Dalton Hall archive contains information about the administration and daily life of Dalton Hall for over a century and charts its management, first by the Society of Friends and later the University. The archive provides interesting insights into the development of student residential life, and the relationship between the University and the private organizations which originally ran the halls of residence.

The collection contains most of the Hall's main administrative records, including minutes of Hall governing bodies (HDH/1) [note: pre-twentieth century records not present]; financial records (HDH/2); Principal's files relating to major administrative issues, including commissioning of new buildings, relations with the student body and Dalton alumni (HDH/3); records relating to students and staff (HDH/4); records relating to catering services, including menu books and food suggestions books (HDH/5); records relating to the administration of the Hall Library (HDH/6); promotional material such as prospectuses (HDH/7), published materials relating to the Hall (HDH/8), annual reports (HDH/9), a significant collection of photographs (HDH/10), including photograph albums with student groups from the 1870s to the early twenty first century. HDH/11 comprises Principal Sutherland's papers relating to his book Dalton Hall: A Quaker Venture, (1963), and HDH/12 is a very varied collection of Hall ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dalton Hall was established in 1876 as the Friends Hall in temporary accommodation in three newly-built houses in Lloyd Street, Greenheys, Manchester. An all-male hall of residence, it was begun as a social experiment by the Society of Friends (Quakers) for students at Owens College (now The University of Manchester). As such, the Hall is the oldest continuously existing student residence in Manchester, although it was preceded by the short-lived Church of England Hall, 1870-1875 (which was later refounded as Hulme Hall). It was owned and administered by the Preparatory Committee of the Manchester Meeting of the Society of Friends, although run on non-sectarian lines. The Hall opened in October 1876 with nineteen students, fourteen of whom were Quakers.

The venture was deemed successful and the decision was made in 1879 to move to a larger and permanent building in Conyngham Road, Victoria Park. This building, designed by Manchester architect, G. T. Redmayne, was officially opened on 3 July 1882 and was renamed Dalton Hall after John Dalton the famous chemist who had been a member of Manchester Meeting.

The Hall was governed by a committee of eleven members of the Preparatory Committee, known as the Schools Committee. In 1879 the School Committee was renamed the Education Committee and was given charge of all the education establishments and endowments belonging to the Meeting. In 1910 the Education Committee, which had been relieved of the administration of the School Fund, was re-named the Dalton Hall Committee. After the First World War, representatives of the Central Education Committee of the Society of Friends and the University sat on this committee. Internally, the Hall was managed from 1876 by a Finance Committee, which later became the Finance and Executive Committee, and was eventually known as the Executive Committee. Day-to-day running the of the Hall was in the hands of a Principal.

The Hall did not provide only accommodation for its students; from its beginnings it offered students support with their studies. A system of resident and non-resident tutors grew up in the 1880s, and continued to be an important feature of the Hall's services into the twentieth century ; for example, in the University Calendar for 1951-52, Dalton Hall offered its residents "friendly oversight, tutorial assistance, and other educational and social advantages of College life".

With growing student numbers, the Hall built new accommodation; in 1893 twelve new rooms were added. In 1892, Eaglesfield House (named after the birthplace of John Dalton) was acquired, and was redeveloped as a student annexe in 1901. In 1911 it was let as a nursing home due to falling student numbers, but was reoccupied in 1922 due to pressures on accommodation from men returning from the War. In 1926 Neild House adjoining the Hall's main building had been furnished as a second annexe but this was replaced in 1935 by a new wing added to the main building named Neild Wing.

At a very early stage the student body had organized itself into a Students' Association. The Hall was notable for the degree of autonomy it permitted its student members in organizing their affairs. In 1902 a Students' Council was set up (later renamed the Hall Council) as an executive body of the Students Association. It met fortnightly with the Senior Student as presiding officer, together with the Secretary and Treasurer of the Association, the secretaries of various Hall committees, and three representatives elected by the General Meeting. In 1926 a liaison body between the Hall Council and the Principal was set up called the House Committee. It consisted of the Principal, the tutors and four student representatives and it met fortnightly after the Hall Council. The Hall had numerous committees for social, cultural and sporting activities, the secretaries for which were also elected by the General meeting. The students held a dramatic performance every year from 1932, and published a magazine, The Daltonian.

The Hall also built up close relations with its alumni. An Old Students' Association was formed in 1882, and assisted with appeals, held annual reunions and published an annual bulletin.

The finances of Dalton Hall were never particularly robust and by the 1950s it was facing acute financial problems (in common with Manchester's other independent halls). It had relied a great deal on help from the Manchester District Meeting, which was now facing its own financial problems. This coincided with the University's plans to significantly increase the number of residential places for its students. Unfortunately, independent halls of residence were not eligible for grants for capital building projects from the University Grants Committee. Although the University tried to negotiate some financial assistance from the U.G.C., it was concluded that University ownership was the only effective means for the halls to get new money. On the 1 August 1957, the Hall was transferred to the ownership and control of the University.

The assumption of University ownership brought changes to the Hall's government. A new University committee, Dalton Hall Committee, was established (including many former members of the old Hall Committee), and in 1969, another University committee, Dalton Hall Council was set up to provide more general oversight for the Hall.

Once the transfer had been effected the University was able to improve the existing facilities and provide new accommodation. In October 1961 a new building called the Graham block was opened to accommodate for forty four students and a tutor. A new and larger dining hall with a modern servery and kitchens was built as an extension of the main building, overlooking the gardens.

From the mid-1970s, the Hall began a close association with Ellis Llwyd Jones Hall, concluding in the merger of the two halls in 1987. Ellis Llwyd Jones Hall had been founded in 1919 as a female hall of residence, and was located in Old Trafford, Manchester. In 1976, its site became subject to a compulsory purchase order, necessitating the search for a new location. Eventually it was agreed to relocate to a site adjacent to Dalton Hall, occupying the former Sunnyside Nursing Home and taking over Dalton's Graham Wing, which was renamed the Fiddes building. A new building called Ewings containing 57 study bedrooms was built between Sunnyside and Anson Road, together with a new dining hall and kitchen. The basement and ground floor of Eaglesfield was converted to form a joint amenity for the Halls, with study bedrooms for Dalton Hall located above. A new study bedroom block was built between Eaglesfield and the main Dalton building to accommodate Dalton students displaced from Graham and Eaglesfield. This was named the Graham block, and opened in 1981. In 1987, Dalton and Ellis Llwyd Jones Hall began the process of amalgamation, with a unified administration being introduced in 1989, together with a new name, Dalton-Ellis Hall.

Further building projects were undertaken in the 1990s, with the opening of the Sutherland building and the self-catering Pankhurst Court in 1994.

Principals of Dalton Hall 1876-2018:

  • Theodore Neild, 1876-1897
  • John Graham 1897-1924
  • George 'Jock' Sutherland 1924-1958
  • Peter Bromley 1958-1965
  • Edward Fox 1965-1976
  • A.D.Yates 1976-1980
  • Timothy Stibbs 1980-2018


Archive has been arranged by series reflecting the original organisation of the records:

  • HDH/1 Governance Records
  • HDH/2 Financial Records
  • HDH/3 Principal's Files etc.
  • HDH/4 Hall administrative records
  • HDH/5 Catering Records
  • HDH/6 Library Records
  • HDH/7 Promotional Material
  • HDH/8 Publications
  • HDH/9 Reports
  • HDH/10 Photographs
  • HDH/11 Papers relating to "Dalton Hall: A Quaker Venture"
  • HDH/12 Other Records

Dalton-Ellis Hall has been referred to as Dalton Hall throughout this catalogue.

Access Information

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, 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.

Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA and other legislation. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Archives by the Hall on 19 December 2008. Additional deposits of material were made by the Manchester Meeting of the Society of Friends in 2011 and 2012; this material had been retained by the Meeting after the Hall had passed to the ownership of the University. A further accession was taken from the Hall in April 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

The archive is owned by the University of Manchester.

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive 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.

Appraisal Information

An appraisal of the archive was made by the University Archivist. Material not selected for archival preservation is recorded in appraisal report App.HDH.

Custodial History

This material was maintained by Dalton-Ellis Hall until transfer to the University Archives in December 2008 and April 2019, apart from some material held in custody by the Manchester Society of Friends until 2011-12.


Further accruals expected.

Related Material

UML also holds the papers of a former Principal of the Hall, John William Graham (JWG), which include some incidental material about the Hall. Minutes of the Dalton Hall Committee and Dalton Hall Council, created after the University assumed responsibility of the Hall, form part of the Committees of Council and Senate archive ( USC/42) - these minutes are not complete. Annual reports of the Principal from 1957 to 1996 can be found in the University's Reports of Council (UOP/2). The Vice-Chancellor's archive (GB 133 VCA) includes files relating to the running of the Hall - VCA/7/42, VCA/7/384) and VCA/7/968).

Records of Ellis Llwyd Jones Hall prior to the merger are a separate collection within the University Archives (HEJ).


Sutherland, G.A., Dalton Hall: A Quaker Venture, (Bannisdale Press, London, 1963).