The John Rylands Library

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150 Deansgate, Manchester, United Kingdom

The John Rylands Library Manchester Reviews

balam balam
15 reviews
John Rylands Library Feb 07, 2017
With more than 4 million printed books and manuscripts, over 41,000 electronic journals and 500,000 electronic books, as well as several hundred databases, the John rylands librayr is certainly a welth of knowledge as well as a fantastic building.

It is a fantastic Victorian Gothic building situated on Deansgate, The library opened to the public in 1900 and was founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband John Rylands

In 1889 Enriqueta Rylands purchased the site on Deansgate at the heart of Manchester's city centre which at that time was classed as a dirty and smog filled city and many objections were made at the time. She had commissioned a design from architect Basil Champneys who designed the building as a very fine example of Victorian Gothic that although still has much of the appearance of a church was altered by the instructions of Enriqueta Rylands so as not to look as much like a Cathederal.

The museums collections include some fantastic medieval illuminated manuscripts as well as examples of the earliest forms of European printing which include the Gutenberg Bible as well as the personal papers of some notable local figures such as Elizabeth Gaskell and John Dalton as well as many ancient religious texts and my favorites some Egyption scrolls from around 640 bc

I was really fasinated by the architecture of the inside of the building. i had walked past many times and have always loved it's fantastic exterior but untill recently have never been in. you are not allowed to take photos inside but i did take a couple by accident (untill i saw the sign of course)

there is a nice shop with lots of interesting things to buy as well as a really nice smelling cafe

It is open:

Monday to Friday 8am 7.00pm

Saturday 9am 5.00pm

Sunday Closed

Address: John Rylands Library, 250 Oxford Road, Manchester

Phone: 0161 275 3751

Side of John Rylands Library, Manc…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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NickelP NickelP
28 reviews
Lovely Library Oct 05, 2015
The John Rylands Library was founded in 1900 by his wife Enriqueta who had it built in his memory. The building was built in Gothic style and was one of the first public buildings in Manchester to be lit by electricity. It merged with the University of Manchester library in 1972.

The Library has special collections of many old books and manuscripts.

Walking through the library and seeing books originally printed in the 15 and 1600s was fascinating as I love books. I can see why they are behind a locked glass door as well as people like me fascinated with them would just want to touch them.

When I visited there was a special gothic exhibition happening with many interesting items on display. No photography was allowed in this section.

Entry was free though a donation was suggested. Anyone interested in books or Gothic architecture would love to visit this library.
John Rylands Library - Manchester
John Rylands Library - Manchester
John Rylands Library - Manchester
John Rylands Library - Manchester
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
NickelP says:
Thanks! You'll have to check out Chetham's then too which is by the Football museum. I didn't manage to get into that one as I missed the cutoff.
Posted on: Mar 06, 2017
slothtraveller says:
Great review, Nicole! I've been up to Manchester so many times and always say I will visit this place. Still haven't got around to it! Love old libraries like this.
Posted on: Mar 06, 2017
NickelP says: totally did. Felt like a cathedral. I wish I'd gotten in to see Chetham's but that will have to wait for another time.
@Cho...we have a pretty good library system up here as well though I don't use it as much as I used to. I have over 70 books at home in my to read pile.
Posted on: Mar 06, 2017
sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
John Rylands Library Dec 21, 2013
The John Rylands library is on Deansgate, Manchester, and it’s a beautiful example of the “I have more money than I know what to do with” school of public buildings. Built by a business man’s widow for the general good of the population, in the ever popular Victorian Gothic style, it is apparently the only public memorial library in the UK. It looks like a little like what would have happened if instead of becoming Batman, Bruce Wayne built a library, but still wanted somewhere to hang around looking brooding. The best thing is, despite technically being owned by the University of Manchester, the terms of the will mean that anyone who wants somewhere to read quietly has every right to tiptoe into the great historic reading room (like a cathedral nave except with bookshelves and little tables), get their book out, and start learning things. Only University of Manchester students can use the wifi code, theoretically, but I don’t know if asking nicely would work.

It hosts a series of exhibitions, currently including one on the history of Polari, the language gay men invented to stay clear of the police in the days before homosexuality was decriminalised; each exhibition lasts a few months. There are also a number of interesting things just sort of kept around the place, including some historic printing presses with signs up saying “don’t touch me if you like your fingers” which seems fair enough. The building is fantastic, with lots of winding stairs and booklined halls. Photographs of the building are actively encouraged, but you’re asked not to photograph the art and books in case of copyright infringement. It’s an absolutely stunning building.

Entrance is free, with a plea for donations. There are lifts and things, but to be honest I got a bit disorientated with all the passages and stairs and I couldn’t tell you if they go to the great hall or not. There is, of course, a gift shop and a café. You can’t miss the library – it’s the dark stone thing like a church between the chain bars and Armani Exchange – and it’s on a lot of public transport links.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
GrahamF_1956 says:
It's also a great place to stop at the cafe for a Hot Chocolate and to plan the next attraction.
Posted on: Mar 18, 2017
sarahelaine says:
It does look a lot like Hogwarts in real life too!
Posted on: Nov 14, 2015
christl3 says:
The pictures look like Hogwart's.
Posted on: Nov 13, 2015
Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
A very impressive collection of books! Aug 13, 2011
Housed in a wonderful Gothic building right in the middle of Manchester is this wonderful library which can be visited for free. Apart from the ground floor (which just has the reception, cafe and gift shop), the first floor houses exhibitions and the reading rooms on the third and fourth floors are for seminars and study visits.

The exhibitions on the first floor are very impressive. The King James Bible on display was quite a feature, and as very few first editions must still exist from the time they were produced around 400 years ago, I thought the well-preserved copy here was quite a showpiece. Other highlights included ancient parchments of the old testament and first edition copies of Dickens's Bleak House.

While I was visiting, they had the exhibition entitled From Kashmir to Kandy, which showcased some beautifully preserved texts from countries such as Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka. Great to see and a decent amount of background info too.

If you are a book person, or enjoy artistic things, I think this library is a very nice visit.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Africancrab says:
Thanks for sharing, great review.
Posted on: Dec 08, 2011
davidx davidx
564 reviews
A Mancunian marvel Dec 08, 2011
Some things are hard to believe. I taught for 20 years in a college within 300 yards of the John Rylands Library and never visited it in all that time! Perhaps I was put off by my one visit with an uncle at the age of 14, an age when buildings are not a primary source of interest or excitement. I also feel astonishment that Sarah Elaine's great list of Manchester sights does not seem to include it.

John Rylands was the third son of Joseph Rylands in the firm, Rylands and Sons which was one of the greatest cotton firms in England. Apparently it covered most operations from the mining of the coal needed right through the processes of carding, spinning, weaving and manufacture to the sale of the manufactured goods. He was born in 1801 but died 12 years short of spanning the whole century.

His third wife, Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, 42 years his junior, had a library erected in the centre of Manchester in his honour. According to information in the library, the architect, Basil Champneys, completed the design in a week but it took 10 years to build. Enriqueta Augustina was not the type of lady to leave it all to the professionals and was very much involved in determining the style - wanting something Gothic but not like a church (a difficult concept.) She spared no expense in obtaining archtectural perfection.

The firm suffered much from the decline of the British cotton industry after the first world war and was eventually sold in the 1950s and ceased trading in the 1970s. The library is now part of the University and its specialist collections are still in use.

Following the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, I will not try to describe the building except to say that the cafe that now provides the entrance is not only good for its food but relatively uncrowded, even during the Christmas markets.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sarahelaine says:
It will soon- I just hadn't got around to visiting it yet either!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2013
jeminigirl says:
Great photos.
Posted on: Dec 08, 2011
Africancrab says:
Great review, loved the photos.
Posted on: Dec 08, 2011

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