Victoria University and the Victoria University of Manchester Council Archive

Scope and Content

The archive comprises minutes of the University Council only. The University of Manchester continued to use the minute books of the Council of the federal Victoria University when it was created in 1903.

Council minutes are a key source for information about the activities of the University, and are one of the core records of the University of Manchester Archives. Given Council's mandate, the minutes will typically include information on a very wide range of issues.This includes: the University's finances, its management of its estate including capital building projects, the authorisation of posts, appointments and resignations, the University's relations with government, funding bodies and research councils, reports from Senate, sub-committees of Council and the Vice-Chancellor.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Council was the chief executive and financial body of the Victoria University of the Manchester, and the custodian of its Common Seal. Council was described in 2000 as "the University's Governing Body and (it) carries ultimate responsibility for its overall strategic direction and future development, and for the management of its finances, property and affairs generally" ("The Role of Council as Governing Body", endorsed by Council 11 October 2000). Council was ultimately responsible for the overall management of the University's administration, staff, finances, audit and estates.

Council was empowered "to exercise all the powers and discretions of the University" except where these are exercised by Court or Senate, and it had powers to make, amend, and repeal University Ordinances and Regulations. It was ultimately responsible for the appointment of most senior officers of the University. As part of its financial responsibilities, Council submitted an annual statement of accounts and report to the Court of the University.

The Council was instituted by the 1903 charter of Victoria University of Manchester. Under the terms of the 1973 Supplemental Charter the University had a membership of thirty, with a built-in majority of lay members. Its membership consisted of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Principal of UMIST, officers of the Student Union, fifteen members of Court, one of whom was appointed from the Manchester City Council members, and two from Convocation, eight members of Senate (four professorial) and three members of Court elected by the Assembly. The officers of the Council (chair, deputy chairs and treasurer) were appointed by the lay members. Council was responsible for a number of sessional committees over the years, either directly or jointly with Senate and latterly, two standing sub-committees, Audit and Remuneration. In its early years, Council would meet up to fortnightly during the academic session, but in the late twentieth century Council usually met at least three times per academic session.

Meetings of Council were chaired by the chairman of Council. The chairmen of Council of the University of Manchester were:

  • Sir Frank Forbes Adam, 1904-1924
  • Arthur Henry Worthington 1924-1934
  • Sir Christopher Needham, 1934-1941
  • Ernest Simon, Lord Simon of Wythenshawe, 1941-1957
  • Sir Raymond Streat, 1957-1965
  • Alan Vyvyan Symons, 1965-1972
  • Sir George Kenyon, 1972-1980
  • Norman Quick, 1980-1983
  • Donald Kirkman Redford, 1983-1987
  • Sir John Zochonis, 1987-1990
  • Christopher George Kenyon, 1990-2000
  • Rodger Pannone, 2000-2004

Council was dissolved in 2004, and its responsibilities were transferred to the Board of Governors of the new University of Manchester.


Arranged chronologically.

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 2018. Under the Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and 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 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.

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

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.


No accruals expected.

Related Material

The Reports of Council to Court form part of the University of Manchester official publications collection (UOP/2). The minutes of committees of Council and joint Council/Senate committees form part of the archive of University Sessional Committees of Senate and Council (USC). The joint Court and Council attendance registers form part of the Archive of the Court of the University of Manchester. see also the minutes of Court (UCT) and Senate (USE)

Geographical Names