The college was established in Manchester in 1842 as the Northern Branch of the WM Theological Institution. Its first theological tutor, Dr John Hannah, was succeeded in 1867 by W. Burt Pope and in 1886 by Marshall Randles, representing between them the weight of WM theological reflection in the nineteenth century. Early in the twentieth century James Hope Moulton made the College's chief contribution to biblical, religious and theological studies. On re-opening after World War I, it worked more closely with other Methodist colleges and with the university in Manchester. Following closure during World War II, the property was sold and the proceeds put to the purchase of property in Bristol, where a new college was opened in 1951 to serve the West and Southwest, known since 1967 (when it amalgamated with Headingley College) as Wesley College. It established strong links with the University of Bristol through the contribution of Kenneth Grayston and others, but in 2011 as a result of financial and other pressures the college was closed.