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Our history of giving

Quite simply, we wouldn’t be where we are now without you.

Throughout our long history, our generous supporters have helped shape The University of Manchester into the world-class institution it is today.

Our story is one of world firsts and brilliant discoveries, with 25 Nobel Prize winners having worked or studied here. We are the birthplace of numerous revolutionary innovations that have had a major impact on society. These include developing the first modern computer, splitting the atom, offering the first degree in nursing and founding modern economics and medical ethics.

Like you, our supporters from the past shared a desire to shape Manchester as a place of outstanding education and research. Following in their footsteps, your contributions make all this possible and are vital in helping us to build for the future.


Three local industrialists agree to contribute £10 each to found an institute to teach young men basic science and how it could be applied to manufacturing and art. Shortly after, a public meeting was held at the Bridgewater Arms public house. Those present pledged sufficient donations, and the Manchester Mechanics Institute was born.


The Mechanics' Institute, which would later become UMIST, opens the doors of its new building on Cooper Street in the city centre. Few educational establishments in Britain can claim a longer continual history than the Institute.


Manchester merchant John Owens donates the funds to establish Owens College, which would later become the Victoria University of Manchester, in Quay Street.


The campaign to extend Owens College is launched and raises £106,000 from public donations, the equivalent of nearly £8 million today. The John Owens Building is the first to be built on what would become the Old Quad at the centre of the historic Oxford Road site.


Local politician Edward Ryley Langworthy donates £10,000 to establish a Professorship in Experimental Physics, with the explicit hope that the beneficiary be committed to new discovery. Since then, the position has been held by five Nobel Laureates, including Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics.


Further donations from Charles Frederick Beyer, Sir Joseph Whitworth and Richard Copley Christie fund scholarships, professorships and facilities. These gifts radically broaden the scope of teaching and research at the Victoria University of Manchester.


From a meeting in a hostelry less than 80 years earlier, the Mechanics' Institute becomes the Municipal School of Technology and opens what would become UMIST's Main Building on Sackville Street.