Geographical Association, Manchester Branch archive

Scope and Content

Surviving records of the Manchester branch of the Geographical Association. The archive includes an incomplete set of minutes of the Committee and general meetings (GAM/1 and GAM/2). There are also secretary's files for the period from the 1980s to the present day.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Geographical Association is an organization which promotes education and general public interest in the subject of geography. It has particularly strong links with secondary schools, but also has promotes geography in primary schools, universities and other learning institutions. It was founded in 1893, and has branches all over the UK. Its headquarters is in Sheffield.

The Manchester branch is believed to have been founded around 1909. In its early years it sponsored lectures and excursions, and school teachers appear to have been targeted for membership. The branch was not the only organization promoting geography in the Manchester area: Manchester Geographical Society , founded in 1882, had a large membership, and played an important role in promoting geography in the wider scholarly community.

By the 1930s, the membership of the branch had expanded as geography became a staple subject in both schools and universities. In 1930 the University of Manchester appointed its first professor of geography, H J Fleure (1877-1969). Fleure was a very active in the Geographical Association at both national and local levels, and brought the Association's central office to Manchester, where it remained until 1948 (its offices were in the former Manchester School of Commerce in Princess St.).

In the post-war period, the branch's activities were strongly geared to secondary schools, and the Association gave particular attention to promoting geography-related events to sixth formers, in part to encourage future recruitment to university courses. In 1968 the branch initiated a sixth-form conference, and sixth form students formed a significant block of the branch's membership. Lectures were held at the University of Manchester and the Geographical Society's headquarters (later at the Mather College). The branch also continued to offer a range of excursions and visits, and prizes were awarded to students, including the Ogden Prize for performance in A level examinations. The branch also contributed to the national body's Worldwise quiz for schoolchildren. The branch has also held a number of training events for school teachers, particularly since the introduction of the National Curriculum in the 1980s. The branch celebrated its centenary in 2009.


  • GAM/1 -Committee minutes
  • GAM/2 - AGM minutes
  • GAM/3 - Financial records
  • GAM/4 - Secretary's files
  • GAM/5- Programmes
  • GAM/6 - Miscellaneous

Conditions Governing Access

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, 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.

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 on indefinite loan by the Manchester branch in 2014.

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.


Accruing archive.

Related Material

The records of the central Geographical Association are held by Sheffield Archives MD7890.

The Library also has custody of the archive of the Manchester Geographical Society MGS, which are also very informative on the promotion of geography in the Manchester area.


The Manchester Branch of the Geographical Association: the first 100 years (2012)  is a history of the branch; it has been used to compile the administrative history in this catalogue.

Geographical Names