Manchester Mechanics' Institution Archive
Date range: 1824-1891
Number of items:
The Manchester Mechanics' Institution (MMI) was established in April 1824. According to its rules, it was set up 'for the purpose of enabling mechanics and artisans, of whatever trade they may be, to become acquainted with such branches as of practical application in the exercise of their trade'. The Mechanics' Institution soon became the largest body of its kind in England, outside of London.
The Institution was supported by leading Manchester businessmen, who believed it would promote harmonious relations between employers and operatives, and offer opportunities for occupational mobility. The MMI provided practically-oriented technical and scientific education for workingmen, initially with an emphasis on chemistry and mechanics. It had a strict prohibition on teaching religious and political topics. The curriculum later expanded to meet the new demands of office workers, who became an increasingly important part of the Institution's student body. From 1845 women students could attend special day classes.
In 1883, the MMI was refounded as the Manchester Technical School and Mechanics' Institution, reflecting a desire to improve the quality of technical education on offer. Local industrialists supported new workshops and laboratories, and a more technically advanced curriculum was introduced. In 1892, the Institution was taken over by Manchester Corporation, and became the Manchester Municipal School (later College) of Technology, a body which from 1905 also hosted the University of Manchester's Faculty of Technology.
The MMI archive comprises the minutes of its governing body and committees from 1824 to 1883, as well as its annual reports from 1825 to 1891. The archive also includes copies of some lectures delivered at the Institution as well as some legal and business documents.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.