The University of Chester was founded in 1839, and its original buildings were opened by William Ewart Gladstone in 1842. As a product of the Victorian period, the University is an appropriate setting for the Centre for Victorian Studies. Established in 1992, the centre is the first multidisciplinary teaching and research institution of its kind in North West England and offers a popular and flexible MA programme in Victorian Studies, run jointly by staff from the departments of History and Archaeology, and English, and opportunities for MPhil/PhD research students. As such, it is a focus for scholarly activity, bringing together members of staff, graduate students, postgraduate alumni, visiting scholars and representatives of the local community. The centre also promotes national and regional initiatives in Victorian Studies through conferences, public lectures, graduate seminars and residential courses and co-operates closely with other academic institutions and archive centres, including St Deiniol's Library, Hawarden.