File: "The Future of the College"

Scope and Content

The file relates to a dispute which broke out in 1920 between the College administration and Spurley Hey, Director of Education for Manchester and some members of Manchester Council (primarily those in the Labour Party). The dispute had several aspects, but centred on attempts by the Council to give preferential access to the children of Manchester ratepayers in admission to the College. Some councillors had been concerned the College was diverging from its original objectives to provide a wide range of vocational and training to local youth, and was instead concentrating more on higher level teaching and research in its role as the Faculty of Technology of the University of Manchester. At the time, debate was summarised as "University College or technical School" which reflected deeper concerns about curriculum and funding for an institution that was effectively performing two separate educational functions. The file includes correspondence between Principal Garnett, Spurley Hey, Cllr R J Davies and former Principal J H Reynolds (who supported Garnett), copies of minutes of the Council committees involved in the dispute, and various memoranda submitted expressing different views over the subject. Garnett was eventually forced to resign over the issue.


The issue is described in Colin Lees and Alex Robertson, “Manchester University and the City: aspects of policy-making in higher education, 1900-1930” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1999, Vol.81(1), 85-112.