Local research resources
This page will carry specific advice from local libraries and archives, to help researchers get the most out of their stay in Manchester. For a more general survey of local sites, see the Museums and libraries page.
University of Manchester Library archives
The University of Manchester Library is the largest non-legal deposit library in the United Kingdom. Its Special Collections contain rich and varied collections of books, manuscripts and archives relating to the history of science, technology and medicine.
Special Collections are maintained on two sites. The majority are at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, but there are also significant HSTM holdings at the Main Library on the University campus, close to the Congress venue.
The printed collections encompass the whole range of scientific and medical subjects from the Renaissance onwards. Of particular note are the printed holdings for medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and the biological sciences and natural history.
Archive and manuscript collections include the papers of the Manchester scientists John Dalton, James Joule, Henry Roscoe, and Arthur Schuster, the Jodrell Bank radio-telescope archive , the National Archive for the History of Computing, the Manchester Medical Collection, and the University of Manchester’s own archive.
The Guide to Special Collections provides summary descriptions of these collections, and their location.
New readers will be required to register with Special Collections. As we may experience higher than normal levels of demand for access during the Congress and as reader spaces are limited, we strongly recommend that prospective readers book appointments well in advance.
Museum of Science and Industry archives
The Museum of Science and Industry holds a variety of archive and object collections that demonstrate the relationship between scientific knowledge and industrial production.
MOSI’s textile collections are among the best in the world, and include machinery, business records and fabric samples and designs.
Other collections range from the machine tool industry established in the nineteenth century by engineers such as Nasmyth, Whitworth and Roberts, to engineering companies like Beyer, Peacock & Co., Galloways and Mather & Platt, who built the stationary and locomotive engines that powered the industrial revolution and the specialist machinery that enabled mass production of goods.
Electrical engineering firms such as Ferranti and Metropolitan-Vickers were at the forefront of producing machinery to generate and exploit electric power and, through their research and development departments, diversified into product areas that included computers, flight navigation systems and jet engines.
The Electricity Council archive contains a wealth of information about the development and operation of the electricity supply industry in the UK, and the promotion of electricity for domestic use.
MOSI holds on loan the Perkin archive, which includes the notebook in which Sir William Perkin recorded his discovery of the artificial dye mauveine and correspondence between Perkin and notable scientists of his day.
The Collections Centre is home to MOSI’s archive and reserve object collections. Here, visitors can explore what’s in the object cabinets and glass-fronted stores, and handle selected artefacts. The Study Area is a quiet space where visitors can use the archive collections and reference library.
Details of the Collections Centre and Study Area opening hours can be found on the Collections Centre page. Follow the links to ‘Using objects’ and ‘Using the archives’ for further information about using the collections.