I must have passed this building thousands of times in my life before venturing inside. At first glance, it looks like a medieval church, but once inside, you will find one of the most stunning interiors in all of Manchester.
Built by John Ryland's wife and dedicated to himself, the library opened to the public in the year 1900. The corridors are lined with decorative arches and stained-glass windows while the stone ceiling has carved Lancashire roses next to fire breathing dragons. You will feel like you have stepped straight into a Harry Potter book.
The main library itself looks like it was inspired by Walt Disney and reminds me of the Great Hall of a castle. Despite the statues and carved stone works, there still remains a surprisingly cosy feel about the place. All that's missing is a big roaring fire so that I could curl up with a book; then I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't move from here all day.
There are some interesting items on display in the centre of the library, including a letter from Elizabeth II, the Gutenberg Bible printed by William Claxton and a section of the New Testament, said to be the oldest surviving piece in the world.
Make sure to check out the beautiful ornate staircase through the back of the library. The decorative pattern work under the stairs looks very similar to the Bodian Library in Oxford. What's funny is that those buildings are hundreds of years old, where the John Rylands library is little more than a century old, so you can see where the inspiration came from.
150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH | http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/visit/
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