Archive of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology Students Union

Scope and Content

Archive of the UMIST Students Union, mainly comprising minutes of governing committees, including Council, Executive Committee, Finance Committee and General meetings from foundation in 1910 to the 2004 merger. There are also membership registers, and a small number of Union publications. Some of the early minutes of the Union are missing, including all the records of the General Section Executive Committee. The archive documents the major activities and decisions of the Union, and provides invaluable background on the social history of the student body.

Administrative / Biographical History

The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) had a complex institutional history. It began life in 1824 as the Manchester Mechanics' Institution with the aim of providing artisans and mechanics with the means "to become acquainted with such branches of science as are of practical application in the exercise of that trade." In 1883 the Institution was refounded as the Manchester Technical School and the Manchester Mechanics' Institution. In 1891-2, it was briefly under the control of the Whitworth Institute, but in 1892, it was taken over by Manchester City Council, which was keen to play an active role in developing technical and vocational education within the city. Its name was changed to the Manchester Municipal Technical School, and it reopened in an elaborate new building at Sackville Street in 1902. In 1918, it was once gain renamed, this time as the Manchester Municipal College of Technology.

From 1905 the College provided a home for the University of Manchester's Faculty of Technology (an arrangement which lasted until 1994). Students were divided between those studying for university degrees, and those undertaking vocational courses, often in evening classes, and until the 1950s the latter group comprised the great majority of the College's students. In 1956 municipal control came to an end with the creation of the Manchester College of Science and Technology, a chartered institution which received University Grants Committee funding and focused almost exclusively on university-level education. In 1966, the MCST became the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). By the 1990s most links to the University of Manchester had been relinquished, and UMIST was to all intents and purposes an independent university. In 2004, UMIST amalgamated with the Victoria University of Manchester to form a new university called The University of Manchester.

This division within the College between university and vocational students was reflected in their associational life, with sharp demarcations between the two groups. The Students Union was established for university students within the Faculty of Technology in 1910. It was commonly referred to as the "Tech" Union, to distinguish it from the University of Manchester Students Union, a body from which it was wholly independent. Technology students were eligible for associate membership of the University Union, but in general a sharp rivalry existed between the two bodies, which was sometimes manifested in rowdy conflicts during Rag week. Non-university students at the College were eligible for associate membership of the Tech Union, but mostly it was university students who predominated.

The Union was originally governed by a Committee, later a Council, comprised of a president, secretary, treasurer and student representatives from each department. The Union Council was originally responsible for three sections: Technical, General and Athletic, each of which was run by an executive committee. Each section was made up of particular student societies: the Technical Section comprised departmental societies such as Engineering, Chemistry and Textile Chemistry; the General was made up of non-academic societies such as Photography, Student Christian, Chess and Music; and the Athletic Section consisted of the College's sports clubs. This arrangement appears to have persisted until the 1940s. The Union Council was responsible to its membership through the General Meetings. Over the years, this governing structure became more complex, with Executive and Finance Committees being established, which reported to the Council.

The Union was originally located in the main UMIST building, but in the 1960s moved to new premises in the Barnes Wallis building. The Union included a bar, shops, meeting rooms and sports and social facilities. Over the years, UMIST Union took an active part in Student Rag, and published newspapers and magazines such as Technowledge/T.N.T. and Grip, as well as an Alternative Prospectus. Student Union officials were also represented on certain UMIST governing bodies. In 2004, with the creation of the new University, the UMIST Union amalgamated with the University of Manchester Students Union.


The archive is arranged into the following series

  • TSU/1- Union Committee/Council minutes
  • TSU/2 - General Meetings minutes
  • TSU/3 - Executive Committee minutes
  • TSU/4 - Finance Committee minutes
  • TSU/5 - Events Committee minutes
  • TSU/6 - Student Advice Centre minutes
  • TSU/7 - Manutech minutes
  • TSU/8 - Technical Executive Committee minutes
  • TSU/9 - Finance Committee (1910-1915) minutes
  • TSU/10 - Membership registers
  • TSU/11 - Union publications

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader unless otherwise stated..

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. UnderSection 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 sensitivepersonal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attemptto ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfullyand accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by therequirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

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

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Archives on 17 January 2005 and 28 February 2008.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for privatestudy purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

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

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

Appraisal Information

The collection has not been subject to appraisal.

Custodial History

The archive was maintained at the UMIST Students Union until its transfer to the University Archives.


Further accruals of post-1995 committee minutes expected; it is also possible that additional Union publications may be acquired.

Related Material

There will be information on the Union's relations with UMIST administration in the UMIST Governing Bodies archive (TGB). See also the archive of the University of Manchester Students Union (SUA) which traditionally had close links with its UMIST counterpart. The records of the UMIST Athletic Union are maintained as a separate archive (GB 133 TAU). Union newspapers such as T.N.T. and Grip aremaintained as part of the UMIST publications collection(TOP) .

Geographical Names