University of Manchester Student Ephemera Collection

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

Scope and Content

The Student Ephemera Collection is a unique collection of documents relating to the activities of University of Manchester students between 1969 and 1976.

In this period, members of staff of the University of Manchester Library decided to collect copies of student publications, leaflets, flyers and posters, which were being issued at the Students Union or handed out at sites across campus. Material was collected randomly, without particular regard for content or type of document. Nevertheless it does appear that the upsurge in student political activity at this time was a major motivation to institute the collection, and political material is a very important component of the Collection.

The majority of items relate to the notification of events - lectures, political, religious, social or cultural meetings, organised by students. There are a number of publications by student societies, including their constitutions, minutes, accounts, meeting announcements or magazines. Some of the major student political campaigns of the era are well covered: for example, protests against the tour of the South African Springbok rugby team in 1969-70 (including posters and song sheets); protests about the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, Arthur Armitage in 1970; the "dossier" issue of 1970-1, when the University was accused of keeping and then destroying information on the political activities and affiliations of certain students; and the "Arblaster affair", concerning a contested appointment in the Department of Philosophy. There is also material relating to various student "occupations" , including the famous occupation of the Whitworth Hall (commemorated in the Insitter pamphlet, present in this collection.) Other campaigns documented include opposition to changes to government funding of student unions (1971), campaigns against South African investments of the University in 1973, and support for the miners' strikes in 1974. In general, there is much material relating to left-wing student political groups, but relatively little relating to other political allegiances.

The bulk of the collection relates to 1969-1971 and 1973-74, with a small amount from 1975-76, and one folder of undated material (some of which may predate 1969). No material appears to have been collected in 1972. Material does not appear to have been collected from UMIST sites. A number of flyers are written in non-western scripts and languages.

The Student Ephemera Collection is important for the study of students' political, social and cultural activities at Manchester in the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly for the ideas, activities and methods associated with student political campaigning. The very range of materials provides valuable data for broader studies of linguistic analysis and visual representation of a wide range of ideas and beliefs within the student body (e.g. cartoons present in leaflets and pamphlets).

Administrative / Biographical History

See Scope and Content note.


The Ephemera collection is arranged chronologically. In very few cases will items have a date of publication or issue.

The former UAS reference will be replaced by the SEC reference. Material is referenced by the year of issue e.g. SEC/70.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Alternative Form Available

It is possible that copies of some items in this collection may exist at other locations.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Custodial History

The collection was accumulated by members of the University of Manchester Library, and has been kept at the Library since creation.

Related Material

The University of Manchester Publications Collections contains student newspapers and magazines from this period, UMP.

Informative material on the relations between the students and the University authorities in this period can be found in Vice-Chancellor's Archive (VCA) and in the Students Union Archive (SUA).


Student activities in this period are discussed in Brian Pullan, A history of the University of Manchester 1951-1973 (Manchester 2000), and A history of the University of Manchester 1973-1990 (Manchester 2004).

Geographical Names