University of Manchester, Department of Medical Genetics Archive

Scope and Content

Extant archive of the University of Manchester, Department of Medical Genetics. The records in this archive were compiled by Professor Rodney Harris during his tenure as head of department.

The papers are arranged in the following subseries: A: Bursar, consists of Harris’s correspondence with the University Bursar, 1968-1969. B, Dean of the Medical School, presents Harris’s correspondence with successive Deans and spans the period 1969-1987. As well as typical matters such as staffing and finance, a wide range of Departmental and Faculty of Medicine business is covered. C, miscellaneous papers including Departmental ‘Policy’ documents 1970-1972; correspondence and papers relating to the extension of the Department of Medical Genetics in St Mary’s Hospital, 1982-1986; and papers concerning a proposed new biomedical research centre within the University, 1983. Some Chromosome Laboratory data and miscellaneous papers are also included.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Department of Medical Genetics can be said to date from 1965, when Alan Emery was appointed to a readership in medical genetics. Emery had been appointed as a lecturer in the previous year. In 1967, he was given the additional title of Director of the Sub-Department of Medical Genetics (a sub-department of the Department of Medicine). The department was based at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester. It primarily undertook research, but did increasingly provide instruction to medical students.

After Emery was appointed to a chair at Edinburgh, he was succeeded by Rodney Harris as reader in 1968. Harris was appointed to a chair in medical genetics in 1980. The department was part of the Faculty of Medicine for academic governance purposes.


At present, the archives comprises one overarching series, Head of Department's files (DMG/1), which is further divided as follows:

  • DMG/1/A -Bursar's correspondence
  • DMB/1/B - Dean's correspondence
  • DMG/1/C - Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader, unless otherwise stated.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) holds the right to process 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. Users of the archive 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 themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Cardiff University on 23 September 2011.

Archivist's Note

The work in compiling this catalogue was made possible through a grant from the Wellcome Trust Research Resources in Medical History Programme. The project was hosted by Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives and headed by Mr Peter Keelan. JRUL is grateful to the Wellcome Trust, the Wellcome Genetics Archives Project and Cardiff University for funding, hosting and undertaking this work.

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

Custodial History

The archive was originally part of the papers of Rodney Harris (also catalogued as part of the Wellcome Genetics Archives Project, 2011). Harris's archive became the property of St Mary's Hospital, Manchester, on his retirement and was received by the NCUACS at the University of Bath in July 2008. Following the establishment of the Wellcome Project at Cardiff University in 2010, Harris's archive was sent there to be included in year 2 of the Project. On the request of the University of Manchester, the archive was divided into two: Harris's personal papers (ROH) and the Department of Medical Genetics papers, Series 1 (DMG/1). The archive was transferred to the custody of the John Rylands University Library in September 2011, where it forms part of the University Archives.


Further accruals possible.

Related Material

The Department's annual reports (from 1965/6 to 1996) can be found in the Reports of Council (UOP/2). The Faculty of Medicine archive ( FME) may include reference to any curriculum matters relating to the department. The Vice-Chancellor's archive has a file on a planned appointment of a chair in medical genetics in 1967/8; in the event, this was not taken forward (VCA/7/706).

Rodney Harris's personal papers ( ROH have a close connection with the departmental archive, both by provenance and subject matter.

Geographical Names