Sutcliffe Papers

Scope and Content

The archive is a collection of items relating to the Sutcliffe family of Stalybridge, between 1857 and 1909. It is separated into two sub-fonds, documents relating to William Sutcliffe, and those of his son, John.

It consists of a range of sources including letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings and diaries. The diary and handwritten notes in particular are uncommon. This is official correspondence relating to William Sutcliffe's appointment as a certifying factory surgeon, and John's papers include correspondence with his mother during his visit to Egypt in 1878-79.

The archive provides useful material relating to individuals in the medical profession during the nineteenth century. It provides insight into career progression for such individuals, as well as details of their medical knowledge and efforts to expand this.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Sutcliffe was born on the 15th March 1824, in Slatter Ing, near Hebden Bridge. However, most of his career was spent in Stalybridge, where he lived from 1850 until death. After qualifying as a surgeon shortly after his move, William Sutcliffe practiced as a Certifying Surgeon to cotton mills in the local area, under the Factories Act. In 1860, he received his Diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons. Sutcliffe passed away in 1892, aged 68 after a brief illness. He was buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard in Stalybridge. His daughter went on to marry a surgeon, and his son, John, became a doctor himself.

John Sutcliffe, born in 1854, was listed as a medical student in October 1875. He was an Honorary Surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary between 1879 and 1880. Between 1880 and 1897, he took up general practice in Stalybridge alongside his father, taking over his duties after William's death. In 1897, he was appointed to the resident medical staff at Cheadle Royal Hospital, later becoming Officer Superintendent in 1921. John Sutcliffe specialised in mental diseases, often being asked to give talks to audiences of students and professionals.


  • SUT/1/1 William Sutcliffe; Biographical
  • SUT/1/2 William Sutcliffe; Factory Notices
  • SUT/1/3 William Sutcliffe; Testimonials
  • SUT/2/1 John Sutcliffe; Biographical
  • SUT/2/2 John Sutcliffe; Personal Notes
  • SUT/2/3 John Sutcliffe; Letters to Mother
  • SUT/2/4 John Sutcliffe; Photographs

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The archive was probably donated by Miss Sutcliffe to the University Library at unknown date in the post-war period.

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 archive was amassed largely by William Sutcliffe's granddaughter, Miss J. Sutcliffe.


No further accruals expected.

Related Material

Files for William and John Sutcliffe are present in the Manchester Medical Collection Biographical series, MMC/2/Sutcliffe

Geographical Names