Why the John Rylands Library Needs to Be On Your Manchester Bucket List!

By thetravelvine | Apr 4, 2021
Europe > United Kingdom > England > Manchester > John Rylands Library

The beautiful staircase outside the library

The beautiful staircase outside the library

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.

How the outside of the building looks from the main street

How the outside of the building looks from the main street

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.

Some of the detail on the corridors ceiling

Some of the detail on the corridors ceiling

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.

The main library

The main library

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.

Inside the John Rylands Library

Inside the John Rylands Library

150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH | http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/visit/

Inside the John Rylands Library

Inside the John Rylands Library

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Written by thetravelvine
Hi, I'm Lindsay, a UK ex-pat currently living on the beautiful south coast of Australia! I am addicted to travel and exploring new places. I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list. My travel bug has now started to rub off on my little girl, who loves having adventures with Mummy, and she really wants to go on a camping adventure, watch this space!

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