Gordon Manley Papers

Scope and Content

The majority of Manley's papers are held at Cambridge University Library. This collection contains some of his research material relating to the historical records of British weather, some of his published articles, notably those he wroteregularly for the Manchester Guardian and teaching materials such as lantern slides.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gordon Manley was born in 1902, and grew up in Blackburn. He studied geography at Cambridge University, graduating in 1923, then worked for a year for the Meteorological Office, and was a member of the 1926 Cambridge Expedition to East Greenland.He was a lecturer at Durham University from 1928 to 1939, becoming Senior Lecturer and Head of the new Department of Geography. He was Curator of the University Observatory from 1931-1939.

He then moved to Cambridge University, until in 1948 he became Professor of Geography at Bedford College (University of London). In 1964 he moved to the newly-founded University of Lancaster until 1967, when he retired and moved back toCambridge. His studies of meteorology and the measurement and recording of weather, especially the British climate, still form the basis for the study of historical British weather records, especially that for central England. He combined directobservation, such as that in the North Pennines during his work on the Helm Wind at Cross Fell, with careful archival research into the weather records collected in previous centuries.

During his time in Durham, Manley began work on the Durham University Observatory temperature series ( The Durham meteorological record 1847-1940, Q. J. R. Met. Soc. 67, 1941, 363-80). He took up this interest again in retirement, when he travelled frequently from Cambridge to Durham,working on the extension of a temperature series for Durham back to 1794, using similar methods to those used in creating the Central England Temperature Series mentioned above. He died in 1980, before publishing the results, and his working papersincluding those on his earlier work on the Durham record are in the Cambridge University Library, but a series of letters to Joan Kenworthy, detailing the methods he was using and his interim results, is deposited in Durham University Library PalaceGreen (DUL ADD-851). See also J. M. Kenworthy, The Durham University Observatory record and Gordon Manley’s work on a longer temperature series for north-east England, Chapter 2 in Tooley and Sheailop cit, 17-38, and M. Eglise, A monthly temperatures series for Durham from 1784, PhD. Thesis (2003), Durham University.


Arranged by subject.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Professor Manley's widow, via Prof. M. J. Tooley, 1993 (Misc. 1993/94:1).

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue, available at online catalogue

Separated Material

Cambridge University Library: ADD 8386. G. Manley Papers.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Durham University Observatory Records.

Additional MS 851 - correspondence between Manley and Joan Kenworthy about the Durham meteorological record.

Records of the Moor House National Nature Reserve (North Pennines).


Michael J. Tooley & G.M. Sheail, The climatic scene (London, 1985) G. M. Sheail, The papers of Professor Gordon Manley, Weather 40, no.1 (January 1985), 22-3.