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Manchester University Settlement Archive

Date range: 1892-1987.

The University of Manchester Settlement was established in the poor district of Ancoats in 1895.

Like Toynbee Hall in the East End of London, on which it was modelled, the Settlement was intended to bring learning and culture to the poor of the district, while introducing students and staff of the University to the social conditions and difficulties encountered by the working classes.

The Settlement aimed to assist communities to help themselves. At the outset this was achieved primarily through an inspirational form of education consisting of lectures, debates, concerts and classes, but gradually the emphasis shifted towards social services.

By the 1930s the Settlement was at the forefront of social research and published a number of surveys, as well as expanding its advisory services. In the 1960s and ’70s the Settlement set up centres in Moss Side and at St Aidan’s Rectory in Beswick, which is now the centre for its activities. The Settlement has now been renamed the Manchester Settlement, but retains its close connections with the University.

The archive comprises series of minute books and annual reports (including some for sub-committees and institutions formed under the auspices of the Settlement). Most of these fall in the period 1900 to 1965.

It also contains some financial records, photographs, promotional material, and some miscellaneous items.

The archive has research potential in the areas of the history of education, social science, social services, feminism, citizens’ advice and community theatre, as well as general local history.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


Main Library

Using the reading room in the Main Library

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