University of Manchester, Faculty of Economic and Social Studies Archive

Scope and Content

The archive comprises minutes of the main Faculty committees including the senior committee, the Faculty Board (FES/1), together with the committees which supervised undergraduate and postgraduate education (FES/2-5). Also present are minutes of the Policy and Resources Committee (but not the Faculty Development Sub-Committee) (FES/6), the staff-student consultative committee (FES/8) and the Faculty library committee (FES/9).

The archive also includes material on the fundraising campaign (FES/10), which helped establish the Faculty in 1903. FES/11 comrpises the minutes of the Faculty's Computer Users Committee, which was a joint body with the Faculty of Law.

Administrative / Biographical History

Faculty organization was introduced in 1903 with the creation of the independent University of Manchester. The general functions of the Faculties were set out in the University charter of 1903, while specific powers and responsibilities were determined by ordinances of the University. Faculties were essentially groups of academic departments in related areas, which worked together over admissions, curricula and examinations. Initially, there were five faculties: arts, science, law, music and medicine. They were joined by theology and commerce in late 1903, technology in 1905 (for the university courses of the Manchester College of Technology), and education in 1914.

Each faculty was headed by a dean, who chaired a faculty board, composed of all academic members of faculty above the level of assistant lecturer. Faculty boards could recommend to Senate regulations for courses of study and the appointment of examiners. Faculty bureaucracy became more complex over time, with a number of standing committees being created. By the 1990s, these might typically include a library committee, a computing committee, a staff-student consultative committee, respective committees for postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, a research committee, and a dean's advisory committee. In the late 1960s faculty development sub-committees were established to oversee financial management within the faculties, particularly over staff appointments; these committees reported to the Joint Committee on University Development (JCUD), a University-wide committee, rather than to the Faculty Boards.

The Faculty of Commerce was established in 1903 to oversee the subjects of economics, commerce and industrial administration. The Faculty had been established with the assistance of the Manchester business community, which was keen to support subjects with practical application to local commercial life. A link was maintained with the business community through an advisory committee, which included businessmen, which supported the Faculty in its early years. One of the smaller faculties, it was known as the Faculty of Commerce from 1903-1920, and the Faculty of Commerce and Administration from 1920-1944. In June 1944 it was renamed the Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, to reflect the growing importance of the social sciences.

In 1904, the Faculty had just eleven students, but this figure had grown to several hundred in the 1950s. The main department in the Faculty before 1939 was economics, and the Faculty offered degrees of Bachelor of Arts (Commerce) and Bachelor of Arts in Administration, plus the masters equivalents of the same degrees. It offered certificates in administration and commerce, and a diploma in social study. The Faculty also taught courses for business bodies such as the Banker's Institute and the railway companies. Students in other faculties, especially arts and law, also took economics modules as part of their courses.

The Faculty greatly expanded in the post-1945 period, as politics and social sciences became increasingly important academic disciplines. New departments - government and administration, social anthropology, accountancy, social administration, sociology, decision theory and agricultural economics - were established. In 2000, the Faculty merged with that of Law to form the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. This Faculty was disbanded on the creation of the new University of Manchester in October 2004, and a School of Social Sciences was established within the new Faculty of Humanities.


The Faculty archive is arranged into the following series:

  • FES/1 - Minutes of the Faculty Board
  • FES/2 - Minutes of the Ph.D. Committee
  • FES/3 - Minutes of the Board of Graduate Studies
  • FES/4 - Minutes of the Graduate School Committee
  • FES/5 - Minutes of the Board of Studies Undergraduate Studies
  • FES/6 - Minutes of Policy, Planning and Resources Committee (Law and Social Sciences)
  • FES/7 - Minutes of the Board of Studies for the MA in European Community Studies
  • FES/8 - Staff/Student Consultative Committee Minutes
  • FES/9 - Minutes of the Library Committee.
  • FES/10 - Records relating to the establishment of the Faculty of Commerce
  • FES/11 - Faculty Comouter Users Committee minutes.

Access Information

Access conditions apply to a number of items in this archive; some material is closed to public inspection.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Some of this material may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of that Act. Such restrictions will be indicated at the relevant description in this catalogue.

The open part of the collection and this catalogue may also contain personal data about living individuals. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The Library holds the right to process such 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. Readers 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 them. In accordance with the DPA, the UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Archives from the School of Social Sciences, 13 April and 17 July 2006.

Conditions Governing Use

The archive is owned by the University of Manchester.

Photocopies, scans 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 University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Appraisal Information

Collection has not been appraised, although duplicate minutes have been removed.


Further accruals are expected.

Related Material

Annual reports of the Faculty are contained in the Reports of Council to Court, part of the University official publications collection (UOP). The Vice-Chancellor's Archive contains three files on the Faculty, VCA/7/359 (1924-1944), VCA/7/357 (1944-1953) and VCA/7/380  (1953-1974).

Archives for the (pre-2004) departments within the Faculty are not believed to be extant.

Geographical Names