Macdonald Inquiry

Scope and Content

This collection consists of archive material relating to the activities of the Macdonald Inquiry and supporting documentation. The archive contains papers recording the process of the Inquiry including guidelines and procedures, and details of witnesses and interview schedules. Correspondence relates to the recording of statements and evidence and the publication of the Inquiry, including letters to individual witnesses and members of the Inquiry panel. Sources of information used for the Inquiry include papers relating to Burnage High School and other Manchester schools, and reports and recommendations from a number of organisations involved in education and race relations.

The collection also contains newspaper articles about the Inquiry and wider educational issues, and publicity relating to the Inquiry itself. A large proportion of the collection consists of witness statements and evidence taken from pupils, parents, teachers and individuals and groups involved in education and relate both to the death of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah and issues concerning multiculturalism and racism in Manchester schools.

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Administrative / Biographical History

The Macdonald Inquiry into Racism and Racial Violence in Manchester was set up by Manchester City Council in 1987 following the death of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, aged 13, who was killed by a fellow pupil in the playground of Burnage High School on 17 September 1986. The Inquiry opened on 21 May at Longsight Library chaired by Ian Macdonald QC, leading barrister and specialist in immigration and race relations law. He was assisted by three assessors, Lily Khan, Gus John and Reena Bhavnani.

Manchester City Council initially appointed Jack Thornley as independent solicitor to the Inquiry, who was subsequently replaced by Robert Lizar Solicitors. Statements and evidence were taken from a wide range of individuals and groups involved in education including pupils, teachers, parents, community organisations, social workers and youth workers.

The key objectives of the Macdonald Inquiry were to examine the extent to which there was a racial aspect to the circumstances surrounding the death of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, the extent to which there were racial aspects to problems of violence and discipline in Burnage High School and other Manchester schools and to recommend actions intended to eliminate or reduce racial harassment, racial violence and racism in schools.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

1. Correspondence 2. Burnage High School 3. Inquiry guidelines, procedures and administrative papers 4. Newspaper cuttings 5. Supporting documentation 6. Inquiry Proceedings: Evidence of witnesses 7. Statements 8. Reports and publications

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please: Contact the archive

Acquisition Information

The collection was transferred from the office of Robert Lizar Solicitors, Moss Side, Manchester, in 2014. Robert Lizar was appointed as independent solicitor to the Macdonald Inquiry in 1987.

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the AIU Resource centre

Related Material

Available in Manchester Central Library: Macdonald, Ian, Murder in the playground: the Burnage report, the report of the Macdonald Inquiry into racism and racial violence in Manchester schools (London: Longsight Press, 1989)