The Society is established for the object of promoting the advancement of education and the widening of public interest in and appreciation of any form of literature, science, the arts and public affairs provided that no activity involving unbalanced discussion either of party politics or of theology likely to provoke division or controversy shall be included in the pursuit of these objects.

In achieving these objectives during the last 200 years or more, the Society has set high standards in subject choice and audience participation in its programme. This reputation is an important factor in attracting prominent speakers who are active in significant contemporary issues.

The Lit and Phil has always been an outward looking organisation and has never been an exclusive club for intellectuals but for people with lively minds and a common interest in learning about and commenting on a range of topics of broad appeal. Among the Lit and Phil’s continuing strengths is the wide and varied range of occupations and interests of its members. Membership of the Society now numbers some 400 and is spread throughout Greater Manchester and the North West of England. As a charitable society, the members play an important part in promoting education to the wider public of all ages including students of school age. This important remit is carried out using lectures, symposia, seminars, demonstrations and public interviews. The Manchester Lit and Phil is not a private or Government Body, but a Membership based Charity which depends upon its members to continue to support the cause and of course, enjoy participating in the organised events. The Lit and Phil positively welcomes new members, many of whom join after attending events as guests of the Society.


Council & Sections

The Lit and Phil is run by its Council. Council members are elected at the Annual General Meeting, usually held at the end of September and serve for three years. The principal officers of the Society are the President, who is elected for a two-year term, the Hon. Secretary and the Hon. Treasurer. In addition to the main Council there are four section committees, each being responsible for organising at least six lectures a year. These are:


→ Science and Technology

→ Arts

→ Social Philosophy

→ Young People


Council & Section Committee Members - 2020-2021


Dr Sue Hilton – President

Chris Baker – Vice-President

Professor Tony Jackson – Vice-President

Robert Stansfield – Honorary Secretary

Trevor Rees – Honorary Treasurer

Greg Mauchline – Honorary Treasurer

Christine Chappelle – Honorary Librarian - One Year (non-voting)

Professor Des Winterbone

Joanna Lavelle

Chris Boyes

Dr Ronald Catlow

Professor Graham Booth – Editor of the "Manchester Memoirs"

Patricia McWilliam-Fowler – Chair - Arts Section Committee

Peter Barnes – Chair - Social Philosophy Section Committee

Dianne Bamber – Chair - Science and Technology Section Committee

Peter Whitaker – Chair - Young Peoples Section Committee

Arts Section

Patricia McWilliam-Fowler – Chair

Professor Tony Jackson – Minute Secretary

Joanna Lavelle – Minute Secretary

Edwina Dyson

Dr David Shreeve

Jim Howell

Celia Baker



Science & Technology Section

Dr Dianne Bamber – Chair

Jim Thomas – Secretary

Professor Michael Sinnott

Dr Paul Miller

Melissa Lord - Co-opted Member

Dr Minaxi Desai

Peter Williams

Professor Desmond Winterbone

Dr Brian Tyler - Corresponding member 


Social Philosophy Section

Peter Barnes – Chair

HH Brendan Hegarty

Philip Hulme – Secretary

Marcia McCauley

Ian Bradford

Professor Kenneth Letherman

Ian Cameron

Sheila Whitaker - Co-opted Member





Young People's Section

Peter Whitaker - Chair

Melissa Lord - Secretary

George Baker

Mary, Lady Mallick

Vienna Borowska

Teodora Milanovic




Rachel Croft - Partnerships and Membership Development Manager

Aude Nguyen Duc - Operations and Volunteers Manager

Will Stonier - Events and Development Administrator