menu icon mobile devices search icon mobile devicesSearch the site

Wood Street Mission Archive

Date range: 1885–2000.

Wood Street Mission, known officially as the Manchester & Salford Street Children’s Mission, was founded in 1869 by Alfred Alsop, to provide spiritual and practical support for poor children in the slum areas of central Manchester and Salford.

In 1873 the Mission moved to its present premises on Wood Street (adjacent to the site where a few years later Mrs Rylands chose to build her Library).

The practical necessities of life – food, clothing and shelter – were provided for hundreds of poor children and their families, while their spiritual and recreational needs were also attended to: church services and Sunday schools were held, and in 1897 a holiday camp was built at St Anne’s on Sea near Blackpool.

The Wood Street Mission is a registered charity which continues to provide services to the community, with particular emphasis on mitigating the effects of poverty and deprivation on children, young people and their families in the Manchester and Salford areas.

The archive comprises:

  • minute books
  • annual reports
  • cuttings books
  • account books
  • registers of donors and recipients of charity
  • wages books and other employment records
  • visitors books
  • diaries
  • photographs

The collection constitutes a vital record of the social history of Manchester and Salford, with particular emphasis on poverty and social deprivation, and on efforts to alleviate them.


By written permission of the director of Wood Street Mission; confidential material is subject to a 75-year closure from the date of its creation.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

Can we help?