Owens College/University of Manchester Medical School

  • Reference
      GB 133 MMC/5/7
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 F 4 l
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      240 items

Scope and Content

Documents relating to the University medical school. The section contains some general material relating to the Owens College and University of Manchester. The archives of the Medical School are maintained as part of the University archives.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Medical School of the University of Manchester was originally founded in 1872 when the Royal Manchester School of Medicine was amalgamated with Owens College. This merger had come about for several reasons; Owens College required the prestige of a medical school as part of its bid to become an independent university; there was a growing need for university-type education for medical students; and the need for a properly-equipped medical school. In November 1873 plans for a new medical school devised by Alfred Waterhouse were approved by the College. The building located at the Oxford road site were opened by T.H. Huxley on 2 October 1874. Medical students continued to attend the old MRSM school in Pine Street until this building was complete. The original building located in Coupland St. comprised two lecture theatres, a library, a museum, a dissecting room and a physiological laboratory.

The first group of medical teachers at the School were George Southam, professor of surgery; William Smith, physiology, Arthur Gamgee, professor of practical physiology; Morison Watson, professor of anatomy and Edward Lund, professor of surgery. In 1881, Julius Dreschfeld was appointed professor of materia medica and Daniel Leech professor of pathology. In 1882, the School building was extended with the addition of physiological, pathological and other laboratories. This was followed by a major extension in 1894 on the south side of Coupland St., which doubled the size of the School, and provided new laboratories for pathology, toxicology, bacteriology, histology and physiology. Women students were finally admitted to the School in 1899.

The University had one of the largest medical school in the UK in the twentieth century. In the inter-war period, efforts were made to develop full-time programmes of medical research, and to create new full-time posts for medical professors. These did not really come to fruition until the National health Service was established; when close working between the Medical School and local teaching hospitals became the norm. By the 1960s the existing medical school did not appear adequate to deal with the extra number of medical students that the University was expecting to train in future decades. A new medical school on the opposite side of the Oxford Road and closer to the MRI, St Mary's Hospital and the Royal Eye Hospital was constructed and opened in 1973. This is known as the Stopford Building and when it opened it was the largest medical school in Europe.


  • MMC/5/7/1 - Owens College/ Manchester University General
  • MMC/5/7/2 - Formation of the Medical School
  • MMC/5/7/3 - Medical School General
  • MMC/5/7/4 - Photos and Plans of old Medical School
  • MMC/5/7/5 - New Medical School (Stopford Building)
  • MMC/5/7/6 - Examining Bodies
  • MMC/5/7/7 - Administration of the Medical School
  • MMC/5/7/8 - Curriculum and Teaching
  • MMC/5/7/9 - Staff
  • MMC/5/7/10 - Examinations
  • MMC/5/7/11 - Admissions
  • MMC/5/7/12 - Lectures
  • MMC/5/7/13 - Departments of the Medical School
  • MMC/5/7/14 - Medical Sciences Colloquium
  • MMC/5/7/15 - Lister House
  • MMC/5/7/16 - Clinical Teaching
  • MMC/5/7/17 - Museums
  • MMC/5/7/18 - Darbishire House Health Centre