University of Manchester, Department of Adult Education Archive

Scope and Content

The archive comprises the extant archival records of the former Department of Adult Education. These include minutes of the department's main committees - staff meetings (DAE/1), the departmental board (DAE/2), and staff-student consultative committee (DAE/3). DAE/4 comprises a series of files from the 1960s and 1970s relating to the department's courses, research projects and involvements with external agencies. Information relating to course content for the various masters and diploma degrees can be found in DAE/5 and DAE/6. The course information in DAE/5 is particularly detailed for the department's main diplomas, and includes valuable information on course content and teaching methods.

It appears that most of the material in the archive was accumulated by heads of the department up to 1976. There is very little material for the period 1976-1984.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Department of Adult Education was set up in 1949 within the University's Faculty of Education. Its purpose was to teach and research the theory and practice of adult education. The Department was the first of its kind in the UK. Ross Waller (1899-1988), who was also director of extra-mural education, was appointed first professor and head of department.

The Department was not involved directly with the delivery of the University's extra-mural education programme. Its role was to provide teaching and training to those who provided adult education, and to research relevant issues in this area.

The Department initially provided courses for the general diploma in education, but during the 1960s, a diploma in adult education was introduced, to which the department added diplomas for community development, industrial education and training, and education of teachers overseas. The Department also provided courses for the diploma in advanced study in education. A small number of students undertook Ph.D.s in adult education subjects.

Departmental staff were active in research, and undertook work on teaching media, distance and home learning, the organisation of regional education, and the training of adult educators. In later years, the department undertook research into the teaching English as a foreign language. A member of the Department also edited the Annual Bibliography in Adult Education. The Department was involved with a number of national and international agencies, including the National Institute of Adult Education, the Overseas Development Administration, UNESCO, OECD and the EEC. The Department also undertook training and consultancy work for public and private bodies.

In 1976, the department merged with the Colleges of Education Division of the Faculty of Education to form the department of adult and higher education. In a further restructure in 1984/5, the departments of education, physical education and adult/higher education were united into a single department of education.

  • Ross Waller, 1949-1966
  • George Weddell, 1964-1976 (C D Legge acting head 1973-76)
  • John Turner 1976-1984


Arranged by series as follows:

  • DAE/1 - Staff meetings minutes
  • DAE/2 - Departmental Board minutes
  • DAE/3 - Staff-Student Consultative Committee minutes
  • DAE/4 - Administrative files
  • DAE/5 - Course documentation
  • DAE/6 - Promotional literature
  • DAE/7 - Reports

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 University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process 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. 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. 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.

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 Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Appraisal Information

Archive has been appraised. Appraisal report available on request.

Custodial History

Retained at the School of Education until transferred to the University Archives on 26 April 2010.


Further accruals possible.

Related Material

There is relevant related material in the Faculty of Education archive (FED) and in the Department of Extra Mural Studies archive (DEM). The Department's annual reports 1950-1984 can be found in the reports of Council (UOP/2).

The Vice-chancellor's archive has two files on the department, which cover the period 1947-1980 - VCA/7/575 and VCA/7/612. The Department's newsletter forms part of the University Publications collection, UMP/1/9.


Alex Robertson, A century of change: the study of education in the University of Manchester (Manchester 1990).

Geographical Names