St. Anselm Hall

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St. Anselm Hall
University of Manchester
St. Anselm Hall.jpg
St. Anselm Hall from the Kent Road East Front
Location Victoria Park, Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°27′40″N2°14′03″W / 53.461084°N 2.234177°W / 53.461084; -2.234177 Coordinates: 53°27′40″N2°14′03″W / 53.461084°N 2.234177°W / 53.461084; -2.234177
MottoCredo ut Intelligam(Latin)
Motto in EnglishI believe so that I may understand
FounderRev. Thomas B. Allworthy
Named for Anselm of Canterbury
Warden Mr. Mark Trow
Visitor Bishop of Manchester

St Anselm Hall, known colloquially as Slems, is a traditional University of Manchester hall of residence situated in Victoria Park.


It was founded in 1907 by Rev. Thomas B. Allworthy on behalf of the Church of England for the theological training of male students. The Hall was later licensed by the University of Manchester as an official hall of residence in 1954, extending the capacity of students from 70 to its current 130. [1]

The Hall remained an all-male institution until 2017 when female students were admitted for the first time. Prior to this, it was the last university-owned fraternal hall of residence in the UK. [1] The Hall is formed of the Junior Common Room, made up of undergraduates, and the Senior Common Room, made up of the Tutors, the Warden, and university academics.

Two former members of the Hall are Nobel Prize recipients.



The founder of St. Anselm Hall, Rev. Thomas B Allworthy TBAllworthy.jpg
The founder of St. Anselm Hall, Rev. Thomas B Allworthy

St. Anselm Hall was founded by Rev. T.B. Allworthy as Saint Anselm’s Hostel in 1907. After the establishment of a theology department at Manchester University in 1903, Allworthy, with the encouragement of Edward Hudson of Rossall School, was prompted to consider the foundation of a place of residence for working-class men who were studying for holy orders. [2] The idea for the foundation was said to have occurred to Allworthy under a willow tree in Brookdale Park where he had been reading The Life of Saint Anselm with Hudson in the Summer of 1907. [3]

An announcement was made in September 1907 of the opening of a hostel ‘for free training and preparation with maintenance, of candidates for Holy Orders’ at 105 Droylsden Road with places available for eight students. [3] Allworthy served as the first Warden and St Anselm’s began to function as a place of theological study. As the Hostel grew, a new site at Kent House, the former home of physicist Arthur Schuster was secured for the students and Warden to move to in 1914 by Edmund Knox, Bishop of Manchester. [3] This is where St. Anselm Hall remains.

After its official re-opening on the 14th of November 1914, St. Anselm’s Hostel was renamed St. Anselm’s Hall (the apostrophe was finally removed in 1933). [4] During the first decade at its new site at Kent House, the Hall merged with Gartness Hall, an institution associated with Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey which also provided accommodation for Anglican ordinands. [3]

20th century to present

St. Anselm Hall was funded by the Church of England’s Central Board of Finance until 1933 when the Hall became financially independent. The first half of the 20th century saw growing autonomy in the running of the Hall including the institution in 1922 of a formally-organised Junior Common Room committee. [4]

From 1928-1933 under the fifth Warden The Revd. Canon Duncan Armytage, later Canon of the Ninth Stall at Windsor Castle, St. Anselm Hall underwent a period of development including the institution of the Senior Common Room made up of academics from the University, the growth of the library, and establishment of a number of societies and events which still exist today. [4]

The Hall remained open during World War II and housed a number of men from the Armed Forces who were undertaking short training courses at the University. [5] Applications to the St. Anselm Hall fell immediately after the War and it was proposed that it should become an Anglican theological college. Instead of this, the decision was taken to transfer ownership to the university on the 1st of August 1956 under the eighth Warden The Revd. Canon Ronald Preston. [4]

Despite still maintaining strong links with the Church of England, this transferal was significant in reshaping the ethos of the Hall away from being a solely Anglican institution since the former statutory appointment of a cleric to the position of Warden was repealed. From 1956 onward Wardens have been both theologians and academics in other fields and the admissions process was broadened to accept residents from all academic fields. The still-functioning St. Anselm Hall Committee was from this point charged with the running of Hall. [4]

A major building project took place in 1961 which saw two new accommodation wings, Manor and Summerfield, being built next to Kent House and the 1927 Dewar Wing to form a quad, along with a dining hall and new chapel, all of which are still in use today. This expanded the Hall’s capacity to around 140 residents. [4]

A number of partnerships with nearby halls were formed in the latter half of the 20th century, namely with Ashburne Hall and St. Gabriel’s Hall which were both all-female institutions at the time. In 1992 a new self-catering hall Canterbury Court opened opposite St. Anselm Hall and the two halls have since maintained a close partnership. [4]

In 2016 decision was made to accept female students. By this point St. Anselm Hall was the last remaining all-male university-owned hall of residence in the United Kingdom. The first female residents arrived in September 2016 and almost half of the Hall’s residents are now female. [6]

Hall Grounds

St Anselm Hall is situated on Kent Road East, and occupies the southern side of the road entirely with its buildings. These are the main building, the chapel, an onsite gym, and the Warden's lodge.

The main building can, again, be subdivided into the dining hall, the on-site bar and the residential wings, each with individual names. Schuster (formerly known as Kent Hall) is the main part of the hall, and formerly the property of the exceptional mathematical physicist Arthur Schuster. As well as housing numerous students, it also contains the hall's own library and the Junior and Senior Common Rooms. The first extension to take place was the Dewar wing, named after the 4th Warden of the Hall Revd. Canon Dewar (1922-1927), which took place in 1927. Manor and Summerfield are the two newest wings, both being built as part of the extensions to the hall carried out by the university in the 1960s. [7]

The Chapel lies behind the Main building, and stands as a monument to the religious tradition at St Anselm Hall. Every year, one student is elected as a Sacristan in order to better integrate the Chaplaincy and the student body.

The Warden's Lodge is a detached house in the hall grounds built for 8th Warden Revd. Canon Prof. Preston (1948-1963), though now it houses postgraduate students.

Formal Hall

St Anselm Hall is one of the last remaining halls to partake in a formal dinner, otherwise known as Formal Hall, which takes place every weekday during term time. It is mandatory for all members of the hall to wear gowns to dinner, tutors and students alike.

Proceedings start with all students entering the dining hall, after the doors have been opened by the catering staff. Once everyone is stood behind their seats, the JCR president makes any announcements and once completed, instructs the student closest to the entrance to bang the serving spoon, which is done three times. This signifies to the warden and tutors that they are to enter, which they do upon hearing this. They make their way to the top table, and the warden then gives the hall grace, and dinner may start. Upon finishing, the warden arises, at which point everyone else also stands, and leaves, thus signifying the end of dinner, meaning everyone may now leave.

The usual hall grace given before formal hall is Benedictus benedicat (May the Blessed One give a blessing). After dinner the grace given is Benedicto benedicatur (Let praise be given to the Blessed One (if you believe Benedicto is dative); or Let a Blessing be given by the Blessed One (if you believe Benedicto is ablative)). [7]

After Christmas dinner Floreat Aula Sanctus Anselmi (May St. Anselm Hall flourish) is traditionally toasted, alongside "The Queen, the Duke of Lancaster".

Cellar Club

The Cellar Club is the onsite bar, and is the self-titled cheapest bar in Manchester. This is mostly due to the fact that the bar is one of the last student-run bars in Manchester, and the staff are residents within the hall who volunteer their time there. Originally located within the snooker room in the open Junior Common Room, it was relocated under the dining hall and expanded under Warden Smalley in the 1970s. The bar was renovated again in the 1990s to allow for a greater variety of socials.

These socials are organised by an elected representative within the hall. The events range from bar crawls to in-house events. There is also a weekly pub quiz run by students.


The Warden has responsibility over the welfare all of the residents in St Anselm Hall and is point of contact between students and the University.

The Wardens Plaque is one of many in the dining hall and serves as a catalogue of the former wardens and their time spent in the role. Warden Plaque2.jpg
The Wardens Plaque is one of many in the dining hall and serves as a catalogue of the former wardens and their time spent in the role.

1907 – 1914 The Rev. T.B. Allworthy
1914 – 1915 The Rev. T.H. Cleworth
1919 – 1922 The Rev. Canon F.G. Chevassut
1922 – 1927 The Rev. Canon L. Dewar
1928 – 1933 The Rev. Canon D. Armytage
1934 – 1939 The Rev. T.H. South
1939 – 1948 The Rev. Preb G.J. Inglis
1948 – 1963 The Rev. Canon Prof R.H Preston D.D.
1963 – 1972 G. North
1972 – 1977 The Rev. Canon S.S. Smalley
1977 – 1981 Dr R.G. Davies
1982 – 1987 The Rev. Dr R.J. Elford
1988 – 1990 J. Yates
1990 – 1991 Dr J.P. Kane
1992 – 1993 Dr J.V. Ramsbottom
1993 – 2005 Dr A.A. Mawby
2005 – 2014 Dr C.E. Bloomfield
2014 – 2016 L. Turner
2016 – 2019 Dr B. Walker
2019 – present M. Trow

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  1. 1 2 "Saint Anselm Hall". University of Manchester. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  2. T.E.Lawrenson, Hall of Residence: St Anselm Hall In The University Of Manchester (The St Anselm Hall Association, Manchester, 2007, pg.3)
  3. 1 2 3 4 T.E.Lawrenson, Hall of Residence: St Anselm Hall In The University Of Manchester (The St Anselm Hall Association, Manchester, 2007, pg.4)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Saint Anselm Hall Archive". Jisc. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  5. T.E.Lawrenson, Hall of Residence: St Anselm Hall In The University Of Manchester (The St Anselm Hall Association, Manchester, 2007, pg.41)
  6. "Saint Anselm Hall". University of Manchester. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  7. 1 2 T.E.Lawrenson, Hall of Residence: St Anselm Hall In The University Of Manchester (The St Anselm Hall Association, Manchester, 2007)