Our History

History of Harris Manchester College



The Warrington Academy, a dissenting academy, is founded in Warrington, Cheshire. Tutors include Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen.

Joseph Priestley


The Warrington Academy moves to Manchester and is re-founded as the Manchester Academy. It provides higher education to religious non-conformists, training people for the learned professions and civil and commercial life.

John Dalton

John Dalton Appointed Professor

John Dalton, famous for his atomic theory, is appointed a Professor.



The Manchester Academy is keen to recruit the Unitarian minister Charles Wellbeloved as its Principal. York-based Wellbeloved refuses to move to Manchester so the college moves to York.



The Manchester Academy receives a Royal Letter in Council signed by Queen Victoria, making it a Collegiate Society of the University of London, with the same status as University College and King’s College.  Thirteen years later, Manchester College moves to London.



Following an act of Parliament which abolished religious tests at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Universities, Manchester College moves to Oxford with the intention of joining the University of Oxford. Its new buildings, by the Unitarian architect Thomas Worthington, open on Mansfield Road.

Courtesy of The Unitarian Historical Society

First Woman To Graduate

Gertrude von Petzold becomes the first woman to graduate after a 3 year course in training in the Ministry.

Harris Manchester College

Permanent Private Hall

Manchester College becomes a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford.

Harris Manchester College Fountain

Oxford University College

Manchester College is granted a Royal Charter, making it the 39th College of the University of Oxford. Following a generous benefaction from Lord Harris of Peckham and his family, it is re-named Harris Manchester College. Harris Manchester College is now the 37th College of the University following the merger of Templeton College and Green College.

Siew-Sngiem Clock Tower and Sukum Navapan Gate

Following further generous benefactions, the Princess Royal opens the Siew-Sngiem Clock Tower and Sukum Navapan Gate.