Hartley Victoria College Collection

Date range: c.1782-1966.

The Manchester Theological College admitted its first students in July 1881. The College's early years were marred by severe financial difficulties, but by the beginning of the 20th century, under the direction of the Principal, Dr Arthur Samuel Peake, 105 students were being trained at the College for the Primitive Methodist Ministry.

In 1906 the College was renamed after the industrialist Sir William Hartley, and in 1934 Hartley College amalgamated with the nearby Victoria Park College to form the Hartley Victoria College. In 1972 the decision was taken to close Hartley Victoria, but the College survived and continues to operate on a smaller scale in premises shared with the Baptist Church.

The collection consists of the records of the College itself, spanning the years 1876 to 1966, and of those establishments which it replaced, such as the Sunderland Theological Institute.

College records comprise:

  • photographs of the college buildings, staff and students
  • income and expenditure account books
  • cash books
  • committee minute books

 The collection also contains materials collected by the College relating to the Primitive Methodist Church and other Methodist denominations, including circuit plans, chapel records, school records, connexional archives, illustrations, papers relating to foreign missions, sermons, and Wesley family illustrations and memorabilia.

See also the papers of Arthur Samuel Peake.

Finding aids

Unpublished handlist.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library