The Manchester Lit and Phil was established in 1781 with the object of promoting the advancement of education and public interest in any form of literature, science, arts or public affairs.

We are a membership-based charitable organisation and our members play a key role in supporting the Society’s aims and in planning our lecture programme.

We set high standards in the subject choices of our lectures and our reputation is an important factor in attracting prominent speakers who are active in significant contemporary issues.


Our Beliefs

  • We are proud of our history but respond to the changing world around us
  • We strive to maintain the quality of all we do
  • Members should take ownership of the society and make a valuable contribution to it
  • We promote the value of education for all
  • We celebrate diversity in all respects
  • We see collaboration as a way of working
  • We take a democratic, informed approach to the management of the society
  • We treat members, staff and associates with respect and dignity



The management of the Manchester Lit and Phil is overseen by its Council.   Council members are elected at the Annual General Meeting, usually held at the end of September, serve for two years, and are eligible for re-election for a further term. The principal officers of the Society are the President, who is elected for a two-year term, the Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer.

The Society employs three professional members of staff who manage the day to day running of the Society. 

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

Ian Cameron - President-Elect

Chris Baker – Vice-President

Professor Tony Jackson – Vice-President

Peter Fenn – 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

Martin Hunt

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

Contact Rachel


Aude Nguyen Duc - Operations and Volunteers Manager

Contact Aude


Will Stonier - Events and Development Administrator

Contact Will