skip to content | Accessibility Information

A Brief History of Manchester Metropolitan University

The site of the future All Saints Campus in 1937 – the Church in the square was bombed during World War 2 and demolished in 1949.

Edwardian students in the Modelling Room of the Municipal School of Art, now the Grosvenor Building of the School of Art.

L S Lowry’s registration card. Lowry studied at the School of Art under the noted impressionist Adolphe Valette.

Oxford Road in 1937, a year before it was made one-way. The future All Saints campus is further up the road to the right.

A unfulfilled 1945 masterplan for rebuilding Manchester reserved the area that is now MMU’s All Saints campus for cultural activities, including a concert hall (left) and a City assembly hall (right).

The masterplan also included plans for a Civic Hall, which would contain records of the history and people of Manchester.

Students test washing machine powders and laundry aids in a 1960s Hollings classroom.

The Elliot 803 Digital Computer was the first installed in the John Dalton building. At the time it cost £29,000.

Fashion students at Hollings college in the late 1960s.

Manchester Metropolitan University was established as a Polytechnic in 1970 and became a University in 1992. But MMU boasts a history of achievement to rival many more-established institutions.

It developed initially as a centre of Technology, Art and Design from Manchester Mechanics’ Institution (1824) and Manchester School of Design (1838). The painter L. S. Lowry attended the art school in the years after the First World War.

Later schools of Commerce (founded 1889), Education (f. 1878) and Domestic Science (f. 1880) were added along with colleges at Didsbury, Crewe, Alsager and the former Domestic and Trades College (f. 1911), latterly Hollings College.

Now MMU is the third most popular university in terms of applications in the UK.

If you’d like to know more about the history of MMU, the MMU Special Collections hold the surviving archive of the Manchester School of Art alongside a fine and decorative arts collection, special book collections, poster collections, artists’ papers, Victorian ephemera and much more…