Archive of the University of Manchester, Faculty of Medicine

Scope and Content

Archive of the University of Manchester, Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty was the main academic unit for medicine and allied disicplines.

The archive comprises the minutes of the Board of Faculty and its sub-committees from creation in 1903 to the 1990s. The minutes of the Board (FME/1) cover 1903 to 1994, and deal with the routine governance of the Faculty. The minutes of the Standing Committee of the Board (FME/2) are closely related to the Board minutes. FME/3 comprises minutes of the various sub-committees of the Board; some of these committees such as the Curriculum Committee and the Postgraduate Committee are important for the development of the Faculty's teaching programme. FME/4 consists of the early minutes of the Faculty Development Sub-Committee, which reported to the Joint Committee on University Development, rather than to the Faculty Board; these minutes are important for the financial management of the Faculty, particularly in relation to academic staff appointments. The records of committees of the Dental School form discrete series (FME/5); these minutes concern only matters of curriculum and examination. The records of the Dean of Faculty (FME/6) comprise administrative papers related to the management of the faculty; these are comparatively few in number, and it is believed that most of the Dean's files have been destroyed.

The other papers are a miscellany of documents concerning staff, students and curricula. The composite series FME/7 contains a range of documents relating to medical students, including student registers, allocation books (which record student assignments in clinical teaching) and declaration books. There are also staff lists (FME/8) from the 1980s and early 1990s. FME/9 contains documents relating to the building of the new Medical School (generally known as the Stopford Building) between 1969-1973.

The archive comprises records of the Faculty, its committees and officers; it does not include the records of the individual departments which came under the auspices of the Faculty. The archive is of considerable value for tracing the development of medical education at one of Britain's leading university medical/dentistry schools.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Faculty of Medicine was established in 1903, following the creation of the independent Victoria University of Manchester. Originally one of five faculties, it was responsible for matters relating to admissions, curriculum and examinations of the University's Medical School. The Medical School had been created in 1872, when the Royal Manchester School of Medicine had amalgamated with Owens College. In 1874, a new Medical School building was opened in Coupland St, at the Oxford Road campus, and the School remained at this site until it moved to the Stopford Building in 1973. At this date, Owens College was not empowered to award its own degrees, and medical students would typically take qualifications of the London colleges (Royal College of Surgeons,Royal College of Physicians, Society of Apothecaries) or the Scottish and Irish medical examining bodies. In 1880 the federal Victoria University was created, with Owens as its original constituent member. However, it was not until 1883 that a supplemental charter gave the University the power to award medical degrees. Thereafter Victoria University awarded the undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree (M.B., Ch.B.), and the postgraduate degrees of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Surgery (Ch.M.) . The new degrees were successful, confirming the academic status of the member colleges of the federal University (Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds), although it should be noted that a number of Manchester medics continued to take qualifications from other examining boards into the twentieth century.

Medical schools were seen as a key element in provincial colleges' ambitions to achieve full university status, and consequently, they enjoyed great prestige. Their teaching staff was for the most part composed of leading physicians and surgeons from the main local voluntary hospitals, who provided part-time clinical teaching to the student body. These teachers considered themselves entitled to considerable autonomy in the way they conducted their affairs. This was recognised at Owens, with the Medical School having its own Dean, and from 1887-1904 a separate Medical Section of Senate to deal with the medical curriculum. Within the Victoria University, regulations for medical degrees were overseen by a General Board of Studies, to which a Departmental Board for Medicine and Surgery reported.

These arrangements were altered when Manchester received its university charter in 1903. A Faculty of Medicine was established to administer admissions, curriculum and examinations, with the Medical Section of Senate being abolished in the following year. The Faculty comprised all the departments within the Medical School, and was headed by a Dean; in time specialist deans were also appointed for clinical studies and postgraduate students. A Board of Faculty, composed of the academic members within the Faculty, served as the main governing body, to which a number of special sub-committees reported. The Faculty of Medicine was also responsible for degrees in dentistry. The Medical School included a Dental Department, which worked closely with the local Dental Hospital (which provided clinical instruction). The Dental School acquired its own Dean and from 1933 the Dental School and Hospital came under the direct control of the University. In addition to medical and dentistry degrees, the Faculty supervised, at various times, postgraduate diplomas for public health, psychological medicine, veterinary state medicine, industrial health, diagnostic and therapeutic radiology, and psychiatric social work. In the second half of the twentieth century, it became responsible for postgraduate master of science (M.Sc.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

From the 1960s, the Faculty oversaw University degrees and diplomas in nursing subjects. Degrees in pharmacy were the responsibility of the Faculty of Science until the late 1990s. In 1996, the Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, and in 2000 the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy. On the creation of the new University of Manchester in 2004, a new Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences was established comprising the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Psychological Sciences.


The collection is arranged into the following sub-series:

  • FME/1 - Minutes of the Board of Faculty
  • FME/2 - Minutes of the Standing Committee of the Board
  • FME/3 - Minutes of Faculty Sub-Committees
  • FME/4 - Minutes of the Faculty Development Sub-Committee
  • FME/5 - Minutes of Dental Committees
  • FME/6 - Records of the Dean of Faculty
  • FME/7 - Records relating to students
  • FME/8 - Staff lists
  • FME/9 - Documents relating to the New Medical School (Stopford Building)
  • FME/10 -Other Documents

Access Information

Most of the collection is open; however, some items containing personal data of living individuals may have restricted access.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. 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.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is owned by The University of Manchester.

Photocopies, digital scans and photographic copies 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 records were retained by the Faculty until transferred to the University Archives in February 2006.


Further accruals, mostly of post-1990 material expected.

Related Material

The University of Manchester Archives is responsible for the official archival records of the University.

Annual reports by the Dean of Faculty and/or departments within the Faculty are contained in the Reports of Court to Council (1870-1996), part of the University Official Publications Collection ( UOP/2). The Vice-Chancellor's archive (VCA ) includes the following files which may be of relevance:

  • VCA/7/17 Proposed New Medical School, 1943-1950.
  • VCA/7/215 Lister House, 1936-1956
  • VCA/7/272 Medical School and Faculty of Medicine, 1934-1950
  • VCA/7/283 Medical Schools: Goodenough Committee, 1942-1944
  • VCA/7/569 Faculty of Medicine, 1951-1979
. The records of the Medical Section of Senate, 1887-1904, form part of the Owens College Archive, OCA/12.

The Manchester Medical Collection contains a number of documents relating to medical education at the University in MMC/5, including the medical curriculum (MMC/5/7/3), the new Medical School (Stopford) (MMC/5/7/5), and the students' Clinical Commission, 1933-1934, which proposed wide-ranging changes to the existing medical curriculum (MMC/5/7/8/2).