Archive of the University of Liverpool: Records of Halls of Residence

Scope and Content

Administrative records of some of the University's Halls of Residence, including Derby Hall (Ashton Rathbone and Rankin) (1920-1972) and University Hall (1898-1966). Photographs of Derby Hall (1945-1950s) and University Hall (1911-1980), plans of Carnatic Hall (1893). Also the records of Hunt's Hotel, Mount Pleasant, bought as a development by the University (1931-1971).

Administrative / Biographical History

During the early years of University College there was very little residential accommodation for students. University Hall (for women) was established in 1899, as was the Ashton Rathbone Hall (previously known as the University Training College Hostel). Ashton Rathbone was for men and only accommodated trainee teachers. The School of Tropical Medicine opened a Hostel in Upper Parliament Street, but this was closed by 1908. In response to the crisis of accommodation, Council appointed a Hostels Committee in 1919. In 1921, University Hall was handed over to the University and two years later, Ashton Rathbone Hall was replaced by two new Halls of Residence, Ashton Rathbone Hall and Rankin Hall. Even with these developments there were still only 200 residential places, amounting to accommodation for only 10% of the student population.

As late as 1921-22 only slightly over 19% of students came from outside Lancashire and Cheshire. The provision of the Halls of Residence has changed considerably with the development of the University. There was a significant expansion in the student population during the 1950s and 1960s; full-time students rose in number from about 3,300 in 1948-51 to 5,114 in 1963-64. The student population at present is 18,870 registered students (at 1 December 2004) : 15,240 full time and 3,630 part time.

The first purpose-built University accommodation, Derby Hall, at Greenbank, was opened in 1939, and accommodated 130 male students in separate study bedrooms. Greenbank House, the home of the Rathbone family, was presented to the University in 1944 and formed an annexe to Derby Hall until 1963-4, when it was converted into a social club for staff and students. Rathbone Hall was added to the Greenbank site in 1959, followed by Roscoe and Gladstone Halls in 1965. The University acquired the Carnatic site in Mossley Hill where previously Mossley Hall (later Carnatic Hall) had stood. Sailsbury, McNair and a new Rankin Hall were built on this site between 1964 and 1972. More residences were added: Morton House and Lady Mountford Hall between 1971 and 1974, and Dale Hall. By this period, mixed halls were the norm although Derby, McNair and Rankin Halls were restricted to men, and Sailsbury to women. First-year undergraduates were expected to live in Hall or University-approved lodgings which led to the development of bed-sit accommodation in the form Philharmonic Court, between Falkner Street and the Philharmonic Hall (1975), providing 79 self-contained flats and 237 single study bedrooms. Postgraduate House (1970) provided a further 112 places on the precinct. By 1975, there were approximately 2800 residential places, accommodating 40% of the total University population. The early 1980s saw the addition of Mulberry Court to the Precinct, where 177 students could be housed, and a hostel at Leahurst Veterinary School for 34 students.


It should be noted that many over a period of 100 years of University accommodation many of the same names have been used for Halls of residences on different sites, this was as a mark of respect for the benefactors. Due to this re-use of names it was decided to arrange this finding aid to reflect the University's current provision for Halls, and include a section relating to Halls of residence that are no longer in use.

  • Publications of Halls of Residences
  • General Administrative Records
  • University Residences that are no longer in use
  • Carnatic Site Residences
  • Greenbank Site Residences
  • University Precinct Residences

Access Information

Access is open to bona fide researchers unless otherwise stated.

Related Material

University Grants Committee, 1957Report of the Sub-Committee on Halls of Residence,

Report of the Senate Working Party [on halls of residence and student welfare] May 1958, D5(54)

Plans of the Women's Hall of Residence (Dale Hall) and the Men's Hall of Residence, University Hostel at Greenbank Road (Rathbone Hall) ca.1956-7 are available in Duncan Norman's papers at D155/4/1-2


This bibliography comprises items with general relevance to Halls of Residence and material relating to halls for which there are presently no records in the archive. See individual halls for specific reading material.

For Advancement of Learning: The University of Liverpool 1881-1981Thomas Kelly,

University of Liverpool, Liverpool, 1967 A handbook on student lodgings,Grant, V

For Universities Bureau of the British Empire by Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1948 The planning of university halls of residence: being a report of a commission,Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom

Greenbank: A Brief HistoryAdrian R. Allan, in Recorder,number 80, April 1979