University of Manchester IT Services Archive

Scope and Content

The archive comprises surviving records of the ACU (UIT/1): the minutes of the policy and users committees. RCC records are incomplete (UIT/2), but include the Cyber project papers of the 1970s/1980s, the Interactive systems project of the same period and an incomplete set of RCC newsletters and local service newsletters(earliest ones are missing). the records for Manchester Computing Centre include the minutes of the National Users committee (UIT/3/1), the internal Users Policy group (UIT/3/2), and an external group, the North West Microprocessors Cooperation Group (UIT/3/4).

Administrative / Biographical History

The University's IT services had its origins in two separate initiatives of the late 1960s: the Regional Computer Centre (RCC) and the Administrative Computing Unit (ACU). The ACU was established in 1969 to provide computing services for central administrative departments of the University, primarily the Registrar's office, the Bursar's office, the Estates and Services department and the Library. Computerised systems were introduced firstly for financial administration, followed by a payroll system. The ACU's first computer was an ICL 1901A machine (tape-based), which was replaced in 1975 with a ICL 1902T, which had disk drives and 128KB of storage. In 1975 a book circulation system was set up the Library using a TPS teleprocessing monitor (this was the first of its kind in the UK). The University switched to a Datapoint system in the 1980s, which eventually introduced a local area network of microprocessor (the mid-1980s the University had around 180 terminals for this purpose). Originally the ACU had its own data entry section, but by the late 1980s University staff were entering data themselves, with the Unit providing programming and systems support.

The University's Regional Computer Centre (RCC), established in 1969, was responsible for academic computing. It had close connections with the Department of Computer Science, as both were based in the same building. The RCC was a response to the Flowers Report of 1966 (Report of a joint working group on computers for research ), which proposed creating a small number of regional computing centres for UK universities. These centres were supervised by the Computer Board for Universities and Research Councils. The Manchester Centre provided services for UMIST, Salford, Liverpool, Keele and Lancaster universities. It was headed by a director and was overseen by a University Committee. From 1977, the RCC also provided national services in certain areas for other universities and polytechnics. The Centre used ICL 1905F computers during the 1970s, and CDC Cyber mainframe supercomputers in the late 1970s and 1980s. In 1981, the Centre established a microprocessor unit.

In 1987, a major restructure of the RCC was undertaken, and it was renamed the Manchester Computing Centre (MCC). The MCC provided computing services for the University of Manchester and UMIST, as well as being a national supercomputing centre. In this latter role it continued to be responsible to the Computer Board of Universities and Research Council of the DES. In 1989, the University appointed a Director of Computing Services, with overall charge of all computing provision. In 1994, there was a further reorganisation, when the ACU was absorbed into the Manchester Computing Centre.

Access Information

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

This finding aid contains personal data about living individuals. Under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), The Library holds the right to process such personal data for archiving and research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the Library has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately.

Archivist's Note

The University's computing services have been subject to numerous name changes, and it has been decided to simplify the overall title to the archive to IT Services archive for the sake of simplicity.

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.

Custodial History

The records in UIT/1 were personal copies of the University Librarian, who was a member of ACU committees, and they are not therefore 'official' copies of the minutes. They were transferred to the Archives with other Library records. As official copies of the ACU committees do not appear to have been retained, these copies represent the surviving records of the ACU committees. The records in UIT/2-3 were transferred by the IT Services Directorate in 2016 and 2017.


Accruals expected.

Related Material

The minutes of the Regional Computer Centre Committee are part of the Council and Senate committees archive, USC/40.

Geographical Names