University of Manchester Bursar's Archive

Scope and Content

Fragmentary archive of the University's Bursar's Office. Most of the records date from the first half of the 20th century and are very varied in content. It is possible that the surviving material was selected at some point by University administrators, as it constitutes only a fraction of the records of the Bursar's Office during this period.

The records comprise: annual departmental estimates files (UMB/1), compiled as part of internal budgeting processes. There are also more general subject files (UMB/2), which cover subjects as diverse as the award of wrist watches to former University students on active service during the First World War to building projects cancelled due to the outbreak of war in 1939. There are also bank account books for miscellaneous University funds (UMB/4).

Administrative / Biographical History

The post of Bursar was established 1895, when H. W. Holder was appointed by the Owens College Council. Holder had previously been the College's Registrar and the new post replaced a more junior post of chief cashier. The Bursar was the senior officer responsible for financial administration at the University, and was responsible to the University's Council (the University Treasurer was the senior lay officer responsible for financial governance).

The initial reasons for establishing the post were unclear, but with the appointment of Holder's successor, Sydney Chaffers, to the post in 1904, the Bursar became a senior post of the University, comparable in status to that of the Registrar and Secretary. The Bursar's brief was the oversight of routine financial administration and accounting, including estimates, financial transactions, investments, trusts and endowments, superannuation, the University estate, including capital projects and planning, and non-academic personnel. In 1984, the post of Bursar was abolished and responsibilities of the Bursar's Office were divided between the new Directorate of Finance and Directorate of Estates and Services.

University of Manchester Bursars: 

  • H. W. Holder, 1895-1904
  • Sydney Chaffers, 1904-1928
  • G. W. Kaye, 1928-1950
  • R. A. Rainford, 1950-1971
  • R. G. McComas, 1971-1979
  • F. B. Beswick, 1979-1984.


  • UMB/1 - Departmental Estimates Files
  • UMB/2 - Bursar's general files
  • UMB/3 - Ministry of Education returns
  • UMB/4 - Miscellaneous University account books

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, 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

The records were transferred to the University Archives by the Registrar and Secretary's Office in 2003.

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.


Accruals possible.

Related Material

The Vice-Chancellor's archive is the primary archive for the University's administration, and covers a wider range of topics in greater detail than the Bursar's archive: VCA

Geographical Names