University of Manchester

Template:Infobox British University

The University of Manchester in Manchester, England is a university that was formed from the merger of the Victoria University of Manchester (commonly known as the University of Manchester before the merger) and UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) on 1 October 2004. The university was officially launched on 22 October 2004 when Her Majesty the Queen handed over the Royal Charter.


History of the University

The combined university can trace it origins back to 1824 when Manchester Mechanics' Institute (which later became UMIST) was founded, with Victoria University being founded as Owens College in 1851. The new university is the largest single-site university in the UK, and has more academic subjects and departments than any other British University. The President and Vice-Chancellor of the new University is Alan Gilbert, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. One of the stated ambitions of the newly combined university is to 'establish it by 2015 among the 25 strongest research universities in the world on commonly accepted criteria of research excellence and performance'. 2015 Strategy (

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The University of Manchester prides itself on being the birthplace of the stored-program digital computer created by Sir Frederick Williams and Tom Kilburn

The combined university counts 23 Nobel Prize winners amongst its former students. It has traditionally been particularly strong in the sciences, with the nuclear nature of the atom being discovered at Manchester, and the world's first programmable electronic computer coming into being here. Famous scientists associated with the university include Niels Bohr, Ernest Rutherford and Alan Turing. However, the university has also contributed in many other fields, and the mathematician Paul Erdös, the author Anthony Burgess, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, the architect Norman Foster and the composer Peter Maxwell Davies all attended Manchester. Well-known figures among the current academic staff include literary critic Terry Eagleton and composer John Casken

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The Main Quadrangle


The University's history is closely linked to Manchester's emergence as the world's first industrial city. John Dalton together with Manchester businessmen and industrialists established the Mechanics' Institute in 1824 to ensure that workers could learn the basic principles of science. Similarly, John Owens, a Manchester textile merchant, left a bequest of £96,942 in 1851 for the purpose of founding a college for the education of males on non-sectarian lines. Owens College was established and granted a Royal Charter in 1880 to become England's first civic university.

By 1905 the two institutions were a large and active force in the area, with the Mechanics' Institute, the forerunner of the modern UMIST, forming a Faculty of Technology and working alongside the Victoria University of Manchester. This relationship worked to the advantage of all, not least the many students who received a first class education and the employers who benefitted from the knowledge and skills imparted by the two institutions.

Present structure

Despite its size the University of Manchester is divided into only four faculties, each sub-divided into schools

  • Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences consisting of the Schools of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science; Physics and Astronomy; Electrical & Electronic Engineering; Materials; Mathematics; and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering .
  • Faculty of Humanities includes the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures (a rather catchall title incorporating Archaeology; Art History; Classics and Ancient History; Drama; English and American Studies; History; Music; and Religions and Theology). The other Schools are Education; Environment and Development; Informatics (formed from the UMIST Department of Computation); Languages, Linguistics and Cultures; Law; Business; and Social Sciences.
  • Faculty of Life Sciences unusually consisting of a single school.
  • Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences consisting of the Schools of Dentistry; Medicine; Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Psychological Sciences .

Campus and Facilities

The Main Campus of the University consists of two parts. The northern part, the former UMIST campus, is near Sackville Street, and the southern part, which was mainly the campus of the Victoria University of Manchester, in the vicinity of Oxford Road. In addition there are a number of further university buildings located throughout the city, and throughout the further region (such as Jodrell Bank Observatory and Tabley House, a stately home, both of which are in the nearby county of Cheshire).

The university has adopted a policy of moving almost entirely to the Oxford Road site, with new buildings being constructed to accommodate staff and students from UMIST departments. It is not yet clear what will happen to the old UMIST sites, though there has been speculation that the BBC may occupy some of the space as it begins to implement recommendations of a review in 2004 which included the relocation of some key services from London to Manchester.

John Rylands Library

The University's library, John Rylands University Library of Manchester is the largest non-legal deposit library in the UK, and the country's third-largest academic library after those of Oxford and Cambridge.

Of particular note is the John Rylands Library itself, founded in memory of John Rylands by his wife Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, situated in a very fine Victorian Gothic building housing an important collection of historic books and manuscripts, including the oldest extant New Testament document, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, the so-called St John's fragment.

Jodrell Bank

The 76-m Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.
The 76-m Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Jodrell Bank is the University's observatory, situated near Macclesfield. It has played an important role in the research of quasars and pulsars. In 1979, scientists at Jodrell Bank announced the first detection of a gravitational lens, which confirmed one of Einstein's theories.

Whitworth Art Gallery

Whitworth Art Gallery is home to internationally famous collections of British watercolours, textiles and wallpapers, as well as an impressive range of modern and historic prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. An ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions also runs throughout the year, with the Mezzanine Court serving as an exciting venue for showing sculpture.

Old Quadrangle

The buildings around the old quadrangle date from the time of Owens College, and were designed in a Gothic style by Alfred Waterhouse (and his son Paul Waterhouse). Today, the museum continues to occupy one side (including the tower) and the grand setting of Whitworth Hall is used for the conferment of degrees. The old Christie Library now houses Christie's Bistro, and the remainder of the buildings are used by administrative departments.

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum provides access to about six million items from every continent of the globe. Butterflies and carvings from India; birds and bark-cloth from the Pacific; live frogs and ancient pottery from America; fossils and native art from Australia; mammals and ancient Egyptian craftsmanship from Africa; plants, coins and minerals from Europe; art from past civilisations of the Mediterranean; and beetles, armour and archery from Asia. The museum has acquired a fossilised Tyrannosaurus rex called "Stan", to be unveiled on 4 November 2004.

Contact Theatre

The University's Contact Theatre stages largely modern live performance and participatory work for younger audiences. It is housed in an interesting fortress-style building on the Oxford Road, with a unique energy-efficient system, using its high towers. The colourful and curvaceous interior houses three peformance spaces, a deluxe lounge bar and Hot Air, a reactive public artwork in the foyer space.

University of Manchester Students Union

The Student Union represents many students in Manchester, including those from the former UMIST. Manchester Academy, its own music venue, hosts top quality bands most nights of the week. The student newspaper is called Student Direct. The radio station, Fuse FM, broadcasts over the internet and also twice-yearly on 97.6FM. Students can contaminate their blood with drinks bought in the Solem Bar, which hosts quiz nights and local bands. Food is provided by the Lunar Cafe on the first floor. A weekly dance night called 'Horny' is held in the Cellar on Saturdays.

NHS Hospitals

The university's Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences has stong links with a large number of NHS hospitals in the north west of england and maintains presences in it's four base hospitals. The base hospitals are Manchester Royal Infirmary (located at one end of the main university campus on Oxford Road) and Wythenshaw Hospitals, Salford's Hope Hospital and the Royal Preston Hospital and all are used as hospital's for clinical medical training for doctors and nurses.

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