Victoria University and the Victoria University of Manchester Court of Governors Archive

Scope and Content

Records of the Court of the Victoria University and the University of Manchester, 1880-2004.

The archive comprises minutes of Court 1880-2004 (UCT/1). Post-1996 minutes are signed and indexed. These include the minutes of the Court of Victoria University (1880-1903). There are also an incomplete set of attendance registers for Court (and Council) meetings 1938-1993 (UCT/2). The archive includes registers of members from the pre-1914 period (UCT/3) and appointments books (UCT/4) for the period 1903-1934 which contain letters of acceptance from those elected to the Court.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Court of Governors was the supreme governing body of both the Victoria University (1880-1903), and the Victoria University of Manchester (1903-2004).

The charter of the federal Victoria University, granted in 1880, established the Court as one of the University's governing bodies. Its membership was drawn from the constituent colleges of the University, initially, Owens College, and later University College, Liverpool, and Yorkshire College (Leeds). In 1903 the federal University was dissolved and the independent Victoria University of Manchester was established. Constitutionally, this body was held to be the direct descendant of the Victoria University, with a similar system of governance (this continuity was reflected in the use of the Victoria University records by the new University).

As well as being the supreme governing body, the Court acted as a forum for the University and its major stakeholders to discuss important issues and to oversee important legislative and regulatory changes in the running of the University. The Court had a range of powers and responsibilities, including: the power to amend the University's charter, to approve statutes and ordinances and to approve the annual report and accounts. In addition, the Court had formal responsibility for appointing the vice-chancellor, the lay members of Council, the University auditors, and emeritus professors. It also had power to confer honorary degrees and to remove individuals from office.

The Court of Governor's presiding officer was the University Chancellor. At various times, membership of University of Manchester Court included senior University officers, co-opted members of Council, Senate and Convocation, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, student representatives, members of local health authorities, local authorities and local corporate bodies like Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Manchester Law Society. The Court had a large membership: in the late twentieth century there were over 250 members, with a majority being lay members. The Court usually met twice annually; its deliberations were in general non-contentious, formally endorsing the decisions of the University Council.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

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.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies 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 records of the Court were maintained by the Deputy Secretary within the Registrar's Department until transferred to the University Archives.

The archive is owned by the University of Manchester.


No accruals expected.

Related Material

See also the minutes of VUM Council (UCO and Senate (USE) [access conditions may apply]. Minutes of the Court of Owens College (1870-1904) form part of the Owens College Archive (OCA). Minutes of the Court of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology can be found in the UMIST archives TGB/2/1 .

Geographical Names