Manchester Settlement Archive
Date range: 1892-present
The Manchester University Settlement was founded in the poor Manchester district of Ancoats in 1895. It changed to its current name, Manchester Settlement, in the 1990s, but the charity continues to have an association with the University of Manchester.
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 districts in which it worked, while introducing students and staff of the University to the social conditions and problems 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 active in social research and published a number of social surveys of Manchester localities, as well as expanding its advisory services. In the 1960s and ’70s the Settlement set up centres in Moss Side and at Beswick. Since 2009, the Settlement has been based at its new home, The New Roundhouse, in Openshaw, east Manchester.
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 such as a scrapbook detailing its early activities.
The archive has research potential in areas as varied as the history of education, social science, social services, feminism, citizens’ advice, anti-poverty campaigns and community theatre, as well as the general local history of Manchester.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
Michael Rose, Everything Went on at the Round House: A Hundred Years of the Manchester University Settlement (Manchester: University of Manchester, 1998).
Manchester Settlement website
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