Editorial Correspondence of C.P. Scott

Scope and Content

The series contains 12,933 items of correspondence exchanged between 1879-1969, with 1381 correspondents. Owing to the inclusion of copy letters, both correspondence from and to Scott is included in the collection, providing evidence of both sides of the exchange which takes place. Items in the series also include newspaper cuttings from the Manchester Guardian and a variety of other publications, internally and externally generated memoranda, pamphlets, flyers, and staff index cards, providing details of employment history.

Scott's editorial correspondence contains letters exchanged with figures of historical importance and eminence in almost every imaginable field, from politics and economics, to history, science and the arts. These individuals often contributed articles to the paper, and met with the editor to discuss current events and affairs. Examples of correspondents include politicians such as Herbert Asquith, David Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald and Winston Churchill, and also Marion Phillips, first woman organiser of the Labour party, and Mary Agnes Hamilton, politician and broadcaster. Campaigners for women's suffrage are represented in the correspondence by Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst, and Charlotte Despard, amongst many others.

The Liberal perspective of Scott and the Manchester Guardian can be seen in the interactions between Scott and Roger Casement, Irish nationalist, Rabindranath Tagore, poet and educationist, Emily Hobhouse, social activist and charity worker, Chaim Weizmann, Zionist, and social reformers Eleanor Rathbone and James Joseph Mallon. Scott creates a dialogue with these individuals about their fields of expertise, using the paper to provide a platform for the promotion of their views and causes. The editors and proprietors of other newspapers are also featured in the correspondence, including William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook of the Daily Express, and James Louis Garvin of The Observer. Their correspondence includes discussion of current events and politics, and also expressions of admiration for Scott and the Manchester Guardian.

Literary figures also feature in the correspondence, such as George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, William Butler Yeats, Harley Granville-Barker and Arthur Ransome. Prior to writing Swallows and Amazons, Ransome acted as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian in Russia and Estonia, also writing a long running column for the paper on fishing.

In addition to occasional and expert contributors, there is a vast array of correspondence with members of staff of the paper, relating to editorial, technical, business and staffing concerns. Also included is correspondence with distinguished members of staff and with the notable editorial team assembled by Scott, including C.E. Montague, L.T. Hobhouse, W.T. Arnold, Allan Monkhouse, Neville Cardus, J.L. Hammond, and James Bone. These letters provide insight into the operation of a newspaper, alongside an impression of the colossal impact of events such as the First and Second World Wars. The correspondence also provides evidence of discussion of a vast range of national events of political and historical import, including the Boer War, the General strike 1926, the Easter rising, and the fortunes of the Liberal party. The exchange of views on international events also feature heavily, including the treaty of Versailles, negotiations for peace and disarmament following the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, and the rise of Fascism in Italy and the Nazi party in Germany.

Threaded through Scott's correspondence is material relating the influence of the paper's location in Manchester, and the significance of the Manchester Guardian in the history of the city. It can be seen in the paper's approach to trade and industry, to the arts, and to education. The centrality of trade and industry in Manchester meant that these subjects became a focal point of the Manchester Guardian. Such was the Manchester Guardian's influence, that by 1920, Scott was able to employ the renowned economist John Maynard Keynes to produce a series of supplements for the Manchester Guardian Commercial on proposals for the reconstruction of Europe following the First World War.

Scott believed in the importance of producing a high quality of articles and reviews on the arts, and ensured coverage in the Manchester Guardian for literature, art, theatre and music. This would lead to a close relationship between the paper and Manchester's resident symphony orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra. Scott would also become a supporter of the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Manchester Art Gallery, and of the production of Ford Madox Brown's Manchester murals for the city's town hall.

Scott also used the Manchester Guardian to champion the importance of access to education, evident in his work as a trustee of Owens College, which would become the University of Manchester. Scott was also one of the founders of Withington Girls School, established in 1890. This belief in the importance of education for women may be seen as an element of his more general perspective on women's rights, which would lead to his influential support of the women's suffrage movement.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Guardian is one of Britain's leading newspapers, with a long standing reputation as a platform for Liberal opinion, and an international online community of 30.4 million readers. Founded in Manchester in 1821, it was created by John Edward Taylor, a cotton manufacturer. In the wake of the Peterloo massacre, the paper was intended as a means of expressing Liberal opinion and advocating political reform. Over the next 100 years, the paper originally known as the Manchester Guardian would be transformed from a small provincial journal into a paper of international relevance and renown.

This transformation was largely owing to the leadership of Charles Prestwich Scott (1846-1932). Scott was born in Bath in 1846, attended Clapham Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and, as a nephew of John Edward Taylor, began work at the Manchester Guardian in 1871. He became editor of the paper in 1872, cementing the Liberal editorial philosophy of the paper, and ensuring a consistently high standard of journalism and journalistic integrity. He championed causes including women's suffrage, home rule for Ireland, and the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Scott stood out against Britain's policy in South Africa during the Boer war, and conscription during the First World War, supporting the formation of the League of Nations and negotiations for peace in Europe. He became the owner the Manchester Guardian in 1907, and was also a Liberal MP for Leigh (1895-1905). In 1929, in his eightieth decade, Scott retired, and was made a freeman of the city of Manchester in 1930. Scott died on the 1st January, 1932. On his death, his shares in the paper passed to his sons, John Russell Scott, manager of the Manchester Guardian, and Edward Taylor Scott, who inherited the editorship of the paper from his father.

Many of them items in the series begin with letters exchanged with C.P. Scott, but also include correspondence with later editors of the Manchester Guardian, as the relationship between the correspondent and the paper continued after Scott's retirement. The dates of the material included are therefore at times far later than the period of Scott's editorship. The series includes a considerable amount of the editorial correspondence of Edward Taylor Scott and William Percival Crozier, and a smaller quantity of Alfred Powell Wadsworth and Alastair Hetherington.

Edward Taylor (E.T.) Scott, son of C.P. Scott, was employed as a member of the editorial department of the Manchester Guardian, focusing upon the paper's economic, financial and commercial coverage, and became editor of the paper in 1929. It appeared that E.T. Scott was preparing to follow in his father's footsteps in terms of the editorial policy and direction of the Manchester Guardian, but his leadership was short lived, owing to his early and accidental death in 1932 in an accident on Lake Windermere.

William Percival (W.P.) Crozier was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Trinity College, Oxford, and joined the staff of the Manchester Guardian in 1903. He became a member of the editorial staff, and was responsible for the paper's foreign news coverage, and the development of features for the paper. He became editor in 1932, and continued to follow the Liberal ideology on which the Manchester Guardian was founded, until his death in 1944.

Crozier was succeeded by Alfred Powell (A.P.) Wadsworth, editor from 1944-1956, who was in turn succeeded by Alastair Hetherington, who edited the paper until 1975.


The arrangement of the material in the archive was imposed on the collection some time before it came to the University of Manchester. This arrangement has been retained for C.P. Scott's editorial correspondence, which is listed at item level alphabetically by correspondent, and chronologically within each item.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection may include 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.

Other Finding Aids

Two catalogues providing a list of the Guardian Archive as a whole are available in PDF format from the Guardian page in the Library's Guide to Special Collections.

Archivist's Note

This catalogue was produced with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.

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 correspondence was generated by C.P. Scott in his role as editor of the Manchester Guardian, and forms part of the Guardian Archive. The Guardian Archive was given to the University of Manchester in 1971 by the Guardian Ltd, following the move of the Guardian's main editorial offices and production facilities to London in 1964. There have been several subsequent accruals.


The Guardian archive was used extensively by David Ayerst in his official history, Guardian: Biography of a Newspaper (London: Collins, 1971). See also: Peter McNiven, 'The Guardian Archives in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 74 (1992), pp. 65-84; Geoffrey Taylor, Changing Faces: A History of the Guardian, 1956-88 (London: Fourth Estate, 1993) and J.L. Hammond, C.P. Scott (London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd) 1934.

Geographical Names