University of Salford Manchester

History of the University

Our University’s past is rooted in the great Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century which changed the world. Salford’s thriving textile industry was fed by the Manchester Ship Canal built which was opened in 1894 and gave the city direct trade access to the sea. The Salford docks brought employment until the latter half of the 20th Century when the old industries went into decline. Demand for new industrial skills led to the formation of the Pendleton Mechanics Institute in 1850 and the Salford Working Men's College in 1858. At the end of the century they merged to create the Royal Technical Institute, Salford, which was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York (who later became King George V and Queen Mary) in 1896.

The statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in front of the Salford Museum and Art Gallery commemorate the royal visit to Salford in 1851. Joule House in Acton Square was the home of prominent physicist James Prescott Joule who gave his name to the unit of energy, and the Working Class Museum is just around the corner.  In 1921 the Institute was renamed the Royal Technical College, Salford. However, in 1958 it split into two separate organisations - The Royal College of Advanced Technology and the break-away Peel Park Technical College.

The break-away college became the Peel Park Technical Institute in 1961, the Salford College of Technology in 1970, and then the University College Salford in 1992.

On 10 February 1967 the Royal College of Advanced Technology became the University of Salford when Her Majesty the Queen handed over the Royal Charter.

The University College Salford and the University of Salford finally merged into a single institution in 1996 – exactly 100 years after the formation of the original Royal Technical Institute.

Our main library is named after Clifford Whitworth – the first Vice-Chancellor of Salford. The first Chancellor was Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who remained in the post until 1991.

Today the University has a successful global presence and a turnover of £189m. Our 4 colleges, 9 schools, 20,000 students and 2,500 staff have all grown to serve the needs of industry, commerce and education.

The regeneration of Salford is creating new opportunities which bring our university firmly into the 21st Century. We have joined the BBC and ITV at the MediaCityUK development in Salford Quays and have ambitious plans to redevelop the existing campus over the next 20 years. With these strong foundations we look forward to even greater achievements in the future.