Archive of the Manchester Surgical Society

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MSS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.3 li.m 83 items
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main John Rylands University Library.

Scope and Content

Institutional records of the Society, including a minute book, by-laws, lists of members, financial and administrative records. The Society did not produce annual reports.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Manchester Surgical Society was founded in 1922. One of its main aims was to bring together surgeons from MRI and the non-teaching hospitals in the Manchester area, particularly Ancoats Hospital and Salford Royal Hospital. Surgeons from Ancoats and Salford were keen to promote surgical education and had helped arrange teaching for the final fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. This had aroused some opposition from MRI's surgical staff and the faculty of medicine of the University of Manchester.

A group of surgeons met in April 1922 at MRI to discuss the formation of a surgical society, which, they hoped, would create a more constructive attitude to surgical teaching and research in the city. A small executive committee was set up in May to discuss a constitution drafted by the orthopaedic surgeon, Harry Platt (1886-1986). The first full meeting was held at MRI on 29 May 1922. Twenty two surgeons attended the original meetings and invitations were sent out to other surgeons in the region. Arthur Burgess (1874-1948) was elected first president of the Society, Gilbert Warburton was treasurer and Platt acted as secretary.

Platt had drawn on his experience in setting up the British Orthopaedic Association in 1918 to frame the constitution. Membership was made up of honorary members, full members and associate members (the latter being mostly junior surgeons). The founding members were hand-picked by those establishing the Society, and included practitioners from the periphery of the Manchester area as well as surgeons in the major city hospitals. They included gynaecologists and otolaryngoloists. The Society had thirty nine members on foundation, and this number more than doubled in the following decade.

The Society was very active in its early years, owing much to the enthusiasm of its secretary, Harry Platt. The Society's main activities were lectures, discussions, clinical meetings, operations meetings and visits to counterpart societies in Liverpool and Leeds. There were also annual lectures from a distinguished member of the profession. Committee meetings were held by the president usually at his home or in a local club. Meetings were suspended during the Second World War. The Society played an important role in publicising developments in surgery in the North West region. In 1950 the Society merged with the Manchester Medical Society, becoming the Section of Surgery.


The archive is divided into the following series:

  • /1 Laws of the Society
  • /2 Records of meetings
  • /3 Membership records
  • /4 Administrative records
  • /5 Financial records
  • /6 Addresses

Former reference: Manchester Medical Collection H 2 e

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

This finding aid may contain personal or sensitive personal data about living individuals. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) has the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately, according to the Data Protection Principles.

Individuals have the right to make a request to see data relating to them held by the JRUL which falls under the provisions of the DPA. Access requests must be made formally in accordance with the provisions set out in the DPA and all enquiries should be directed to the University's Data Protection Officer.

Other Finding Aids


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 University Library, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PP.

Custodial History

The archive was maintained by the Society until it amalgamated with the Manchester Medical Society in 1950. The MMS then took over custody of the archive until it was transferred to JRUL at a later date.

The collection is held on deposit at JRUL on behalf of the MMS.

Related Material

See the Manchester Medical Society (MMS ) archive for the records of the Section of Surgery.

Harry Platt wrote a brief history of the MSS, delivered as a paper to the Manchester Medical Society's Section of Surgery, 10 November 1970, see Harry Platt Papers, PLA/5/11/10.