The Sunderland PM District was in the forefront of the mid-nineteenth century campaign for ministerial training, led by ministers such as C.C. M'Kechnie and Thomas Southron. The training of men at Elmfield College, York from 1865 was only a halfway house and the campaigners' demands finally bore fruit in 1868 with the conversion of Sunderland's former infirmary into a college, with an intake of about 20 students on a one-year course. The staff were Dr William Antliff (Principal 1868-81) and Thomas Greenfield (Tutor, 1877-81; Principal, 1881-3). Between 1868 and 1883 some 300 students passed through the Institute, before it was replaced by the new purpose-built college in Manchester. One of its first intake was George Parkin who was himself to become Principal at Manchester 30 years later.