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Manchester Chartered Accountants History

The Manchester Institute of Chartered Accountants was founded by twelve good men and true on 12 December 1870 at a meeting at the Clarence Hotel.

The initial resolution was that the Institute should have as its prime purpose "the promotion and protection of the interests of the profession". Great debate was ensued about Clause 56 of the Rules and Regulations - as to whether the word 'unless' should be changed to the word 'until'.

Of interest is the history of practices in the region - and the names that have perpetuated over the last 133 years. The first meetings were attended by Messrs Deloitte, Popplewell and Murray. David Chadwick, M.P. was the first President. On 25 February 1871 - at a meeting held at Messrs Chadwick, Adamson & Collier, Mr Barker was admitted but Mr Lawson was refused entry.

Seals and certificates were high on the agenda and also reference to Examinations.

On 2 October 1871, Mr Nesbitt read a paper entitled 'The best means of making the Institute useful'. So impressed was the President (Mr Chadwick) that he offered a prize of 50 guineas for the best essay on 'The Duties of an Accountant'.

In 1871 46 Fellows paid entrance fees of £5 5s 0d each and 3 associates paid £2 12s 6d. Annual subscriptions were set at £2 2s 0d and £1 1s Od respectively.

Discussions about a national organisation began in 1872.

Although a meeting, in London, was chaired by the then Mayor of Warrington (Mr Davies) it was deemed that the London Accountants were not prepared to accede to proper representation from the Provinces.

Disciplinary issues started even in the early days - even involving the Institute in substantial legal fees in 1875. Fortunately, by 1876, the number of toasts at the Annual Dinner almost exceeded the number of attendees.

Offices were acquired at Stanley Chambers, Cross Street, Manchester and the profession jointly advertised its wares at the rate of £2 per week.

Much work was done on Income Tax and Companies Act legislation together with a new Bankruptcy Bill.

Attempts were made to organize nationally via the London Society presenting a bill to Parliament to incorporate itself - but this failed. A Charter was then drafted (1879) (with a Clause to use the designatory letters F.C.A. and A.C.A.). A Manchester deputation went to London to 'discuss' the hindrances that the London Institute were creating (nothing changes!).

In early 1880 this Charter went before the Privy Council and was approved by Queen Victoria on 24 March 1880. The ring fencing of the Manchester Institute funds was then a matter of great consideration as well as adequate representation from Manchester on the national body.

The secretary to the Manchester Institute (Charles Robinson Trevor) was presented with a silver inkstand and a purse with 50 guineas in it! He did the great service of recording all the minutes (including those about Mr George Nesbitt who 'had been convicted to prison') of the initial years of the Manchester Institute prior to it becoming the Manchester Society of Chartered Accountants.

Cardiff University Business School regard these minutes as 'priceless' - unique in accounting history. Of the four Founding Societies in 1880 (Manchester, London, Sheffield and Liverpool), Manchester possesses the most original records.

For more information or for post 1880 history, you should contact John Lawson Wild (President 2002/03, contact the Society for his details) or Manchester Central Library (where most of the archives are stored).