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University Library achieves Archive Service Accreditation

30 Jul 2020

The University Library has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation

Alan Gilbert learning commons

Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. Achieving accredited status demonstrates that The University of Manchester Library has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing, the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.

The University of Manchester Library holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of archives in the UK, spanning many centuries and covering a vast range of subjects. The archives are managed by a team of professional archivists and other specialists within the Library’s Curatorial Practices Directorate.

Professor Christopher Pressler, John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded Archive Service Accreditation. This award recognises our ongoing commitment to develop, preserve and improve access to our internationally important archives. I am immensely proud of the expertise and dedication of our amazing team of archivists and other professionals across The University of Manchester Library, who make this one of the great libraries and archives of the world.”

The Accreditation Panel said it “welcomed this application from a highly effective service which has done impressive work in its strategic positioning, with staff skills and in provision for its collections in all formats. They considered the service highly accreditable, and congratulated the team on the strength of their work.”

Highlights of the archives include:

  • The archives of Hester Thrale-Piozzi, friend of Samuel Johnson and the centre of a brilliant literary circle, and of Mary Hamilton, Georgian royal governess, diarist and bluestocking.
  • Papers of the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, including literary manuscripts and correspondence with Charles Dickens and Charlotte and Patrick Brontë, and the papers of other 19th century literary figures such as George Gissing and John Ruskin.
  • A host of modern literary archives, including the vast paper and digital archives of Carcanet Press, a renowned poetry publisher. 
  • An increasing number of popular culture and counter-culture archives including those of Jeff Nuttall and Dave Cunliffe.
  • The most important collections in the world relating to the history of Methodism, including the connexional archives of the Methodist Church in Britain and the largest collection of papers of John and Charles Wesley, as well as the world’s largest archive relating to the Plymouth Brethren. 
  • Major scientific and medical archives, including the papers of John Dalton, James Joule, Sir Harry Platt and Nobel laureate Sir Konstantin (Kostya) Novoselov, as well as archives relating to Manchester’s pioneering role in the development of computing and the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.
  • Industrial archives relating to the Lancashire cotton industry including those of Rylands & Sons. 
  • The vast archive of the (Manchester) Guardian newspaper, a key resource for international affairs in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century.