A curated collection of plans and architectural drawings relating to the University of Salford and its precursor, the Royal College of Advanced Technology, dating from c1950 to 1976. As records they capture some of the ideas and ambitions for the built environment of the university campus and provide insight into how it changed and developed. The material has been identified and digitised from archive collections held the University of Salford and Salford City Council.

The drawings date from a period of transition for the institution when it moved from being a College of Advanced Technology acquired in 1957, to gaining university status ten years later. Some of the earliest drawings are sketch plans and layouts for the new building of the Royal College of Advanced Technology which would later be named Maxwell, dating from 1952. There are two elevation drawings of the building, one by G. Noel Hill, County Architect for Lancashire, and a closer view from Windsor Crescent (the A6) dating from 1953.

Highlight of the collection are the several campus Masterplans from the 1960s which provide a visual record of the ambitions for the institution. The RCAT Master Plan dated 1964, for example, suggests the intention was to replace the old Royal Technical Institute building (now known as the Peel Building) built in 1896 and the Lark Hill Mansion which houses the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, dating from the early 19th century, with a string of linked buildings fronting the A6. Starting with the Maxwell Building overlooking the river Irwell, the plans outline an overall footprint that is recognisable today albeit with several elements and features that were not realised.

For individual buildings, there various elevations, sections, layouts and interior sketch designs for the University’s Central Library which was built in 1971. The Library was previously located (since 1957) in the Maxwell Building.

Similarly, there is a set of drawings for the Computer Centre Building dated 1976 by the architects W F Johnston and Partners, which was situated on the Meadow Road Campus. The drawings include a file of architects details, wall and floor finishes and drainage and site boundaries. The building came into use in 1977, and in 1989 renamed Bridgewater Building. It has since been demolished.

In most cases the drawings have been detached intellectually and physically from other documentation such as correspondence and minutes which provide context. A drawing of the proposed floral decoration in Peel Park fronting the old Royal Technical Institute building and Art Gallery is without explanation. Similarly, a drawing for a Student Halls of Residence provides an intriguing hint of the decorative details suggested for wall murals.

In addition there are various drawings and plans showing infrastructure and services both above and below ground level, including drainage, piping, pathways, parking and a pedestrian bridge.

The digitisation of this material was funded through the University of Salford's School of Engineering and Environment.

How can it be used?

The collection serves as a record of the planning and development ambitions of a university campus in the mid-20th century. This was a time when tertiary education was expanding on a national scale. To understand how buildings were designed during this period and the materials used in construction and finishing. This collection compliments the University of Salford's Photographic Archive, particularly the photos which show models of the campus Masterplans.

Who might be interested?

Students and researchers of architecture, construction, civil and structural engineering and history.

Type of material

Architectural plans and drawings.