John Rylands Library, Manchester

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 11 Reviews

150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH 0161 306 0555

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    Stained-glass window
    by leics
  • Soaring stone columns and staircase
    Soaring stone columns and staircase
    by leics
  • Dragon roof boss
    Dragon roof boss
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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Neo Gothic Splendor

    by oriettaIT Written Mar 7, 2014

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    The John Rylands Library was founded in 1900 by his wife Enrietta to celebrate him.
    It is a beautiful building and the access if free of charge.
    The library often host interesting exhibits and it is a gem for books worms like myself.
    The guardians are very helpful and passionate about their work, if you have any question feel free to ask them, they will satisfy your curiosity about the place. I asked them if it was possible to visit the upper part of the reading room and on of them volunteer to take us. He showed us all the side alcoves, the stairway passage and even explained how the original light fixture are made!
    We truly enjoyed the visit.
    Timetable and opening information on their website.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Wonderful architecture

    by leics Written Nov 25, 2012

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    The John Rylands Library was opened to the public in 1900 and became part of the university of Manchester in 1972.

    It is, quite simply, a magnificent example of late-Victorian Gothic...a 'cathedral' for books, with soaring pillars and stone staircases, stained-glass windows and intricately-detailed stone roof bosses.

    It took me four visits to Manchester before I finally went inside (the old building is part of a much more modern university library) but I'm glad I did. It's a lovely place.

    Oddly, the John Rylands library reminded me very much of the mock-Gothic Yale University Sterling Memorial Library in New Haven, USA. Although on an even grander scale, it too is replete with soaring arches, stained-glass windows and sub-Medieval carvings. That building was completed in 1931. I wonder if the architect (James Gamble Rogers) had ever visited Manchester? :-)

    Definitely a 'must-see' if you visit Manchester. Admission is free. The library is open from 12-5pm on Mondays, 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday and 12-5pm on Sundays.

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  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo

    John Rylands Library

    by ettiewyn Updated Jun 30, 2012

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    Old Trafford Stadium was the unchallenged highlight of my trip to Manchester, but I must say that John Rylands Library was the unchallenged Number Two! I think it must be a highlight for every bibliophile person. My guidebook says that John Rylands Library is a cathedral to books, and yes, that is true. It must be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and unfortunately my pictures don't do it justice at all - I really wish I had had my new camera back then, I would have been able to get much better shots!

    The library is a Victorian Gothic building, and it indeed looks similar to a church. It was not built by John Rylands himself, though, but by his wife who wanted to erect a grand memorial to her late husband - I dare say she succeeded!
    The library was inaugurated in 1899, on the wedding anniversary of the couple, and one year later it was opened to the public. Today it is part of the university library.

    When you enter, you get a map that will guide you around the different rooms. There are many things to see, not only the books and manuscripts, but the magnificent building itself with its halls and rooms, carvings, statues and staircases. I could hardly believe my eyes, it was like being in a fairytale, a palace full of valuable books!
    The most beautiful one is the historic reading room which looks like the hall of a church.
    Books and manuscripts to see range from ancient once like an antique piece of papyrus, over Medieval manuscripts that have been illuminated most beautifully, and works by Gutenberg and Caxton, to manuscripts and early editions by such writers as Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.

    A new project of the library is the restoration of historic printing presses (see picture 4), and they even use the original Victorian toilets (yes they do work!)

    Admission free!
    Opening times: Sunday and Monday 12.00pm to 05.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 to 05.00pm

    No flash photography allowed!

    Picture 5 shows a marble statue of John Rylands
    Please see my travelogue for pictures of the interior of the library!

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    JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY

    by alyf1961 Written Feb 28, 2012

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    The John Rylands library was opened to the public in the 1900 by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands. She had the library built in memory of her late husband John Rylands. She wanted the building to be impressive to display the wealth that her husband had accumulated.
    Mrs Ryland chose this site for the library as it was in a fashionable part of the city
    The building is made of Cumbrian sandstone and is a grade I listed building.
    The library was inaugurated on the 6th October 1899, this was the day of the Rylands wedding anniversary.
    The building was one of the first public buildings in the city to have electric lighting.
    The library was merged with the University of Manchester in 1972.
    The building hold many collections including a collection of books printed by William Caxton and personal papers belonging to Elizabeth Gaskell and John Wesley.
    The library is open to the general public but photography is not allowed inside.

    PUBLIC OPENING TIMES

    Monday 12.00-5.00
    Tuesday 10.00-5.00
    Wednesday 10.00-5.00
    Thursday 10.00-5.00
    Friday 10.00-5.00
    Saturday 10.00-5.00
    Sunday 12.00-5.00

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    John Rylands Library

    by mickeyboy07 Written Dec 27, 2011

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    The Library is a Victorian gothic building in Deansgate in the City Centre of Manchester.Opened to the public in 1900 and founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband John Rylands.Since July 1972 the building has served as the Special Collections section of the John Rylands Universaty Library.The collections include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts,examples of the earliest forms of European printing,including the 'Gutenberg Bible'and the personal papers of notable local figures such as Elizabeth Gaskell and John Dalton.
    The Library has been a Grade I listed building since 1994,there have been four extensions to the building,the last of which was completed in 2007.

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    John Rylands Library

    by spidermiss Updated Nov 29, 2010

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    The John Rylands Library
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    The Victorian Gothic Library on Deansgate was built in 1900 in memory of John Rylands. The libray was founded by his late wife, Enriqueta Rylands. Mr and Mrs Rylands were successful in the textile industry at the time. The building was designed by Basil Champneys, a notable architect of that time.

    John Rylands Library now serves as a Special Collections section at The University of Manchester since 1972. The collection include medieval manuscripts and the Gutenberg Bible.

    You are able to look at the Historic Entrance and Main Staircase; look around the Spencer and Crawford Rooms and visit the Historic Reading Room. There are also the galleries where you can see the Library's most important collections and the incredible architecture.

    It's worth visiting the original Victorian toilets situated at the bottom of the stairs from the Entrance Hall.

    Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed in the building and galleries.

    In November 2010, I visited an interesting exhibition, 'Elizabeth Gaskell: A Connected Life' at John Rylands Library. The exhibition celebrated 200 years of her birth and the exhibition showcased her correspondence and how she interacted with famous literacy figures and Manchester's working class during the 19th Century.

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    John Rylands Library

    by Balam Updated Jul 19, 2010

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    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

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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Magnificent Neo-Gothic Library

    by janiebaxter Updated Oct 22, 2007

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    John Rylands Library
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    The John Rylands Library has recently been refurbished and now has disabled access, study areas and a new reception desk, café and shop. The modern extension links to the older part by bridge and the highlight of this old part is the main Reading Room which has an incredible staircase leading up to it.
    The Library contains a collection of very important books and other material - medieval illuminated manuscripts, samples of the earliest forms of modern printing including the Gutenberg Bible, and personal papers of important historical figures in the local area such as Elizabeth Gaskell, John Dalton and John Wesley.
    The Fragment of St John's is here. It dates from the second century AD and is the earliest piece of the New Testament in any language.

    John Rylands first opened in 1900 and is a stone building in the Gothic style, with incredible stained glass windows of roundels and metalwork. There are statues of John Rylands and his wife in the reading room.
    John Rylands library is free to visit and is open Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday noon-5pm, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon- 5pm.

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  • wandabendik's Profile Photo

    John Ryland Library.

    by wandabendik Updated Mar 30, 2007

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    John Rylands Library.

    The John Rylands Library (inaugurated October 1899) is a collection of historic books and manuscripts in Manchester, England. In 1972, it merged with the library of the Victoria University of Manchester to form the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. Notably, the John Rylands Library holds what is believed to be the oldest extant New Testament document, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, the so-called St John's Fragment.

    History
    The library was founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband, John Rylands. In 1890, having purchased a site on Deansgate at the heart of Manchester city centre, she commissioned a design from architect Sir Basil Champneys. Mrs Rylands had originally intended the library as a principally theological collection and the building, a very fine example of Victorian Gothic, has much of the appearance of a church. The core of the library was formed around the collection of 40,000 rare books assembled by George John Spencer, which Mrs Rylands purchased in 1892. The library was finally opened to readers on January 1, 1900.

    In 1972, it merged with the library of the Victoria University of Manchester to form the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. Today it forms part of The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester.

    Matching statues of John Rylands and Enriqueta Augustina Rylands by John Cassidy can be seen in the reading room of the library.

    The library became a Grade I listed building on January 25, 1952.

    Temporarily closed, Reopens to public. 14.05.2007.

    Opens Mon to Sat 10am to 5pm.
    Tours on Wednesday from 12.00 noon.

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  • JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY

    by WAHEEDASLAM Written Dec 17, 2003

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    J RYLAND'S LIBRARY

    Manchester's most beautiful building is this library(admission free open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri 10am-1pm Sat), built in memory of a rish cotton manufacturer. It is an excellent example of Victorian Gothic, and its breath taking reading room should not be missed. The library has a fine collection of early printed books(including a Gutenberg Bible, several Caxtons and manuscripts dating back to 2000BC). Tours start at noon every Wednesday and cost about £1.

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    The John Rylands Library

    by Chamsa Written Sep 8, 2002

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    A wonderfull eclectic late 19th century building that looks more like a church than a library. Join the tour and get a chance to look at a collection of medival handwritten books as well at some examples of wonderfull printed ones from various centuries.

    'The John Rylands Library is one of the finest examples of modern Gothic architecture in Europe. It was built during the 1890s, in memory of the Manchester cotton merchant John Rylands, who died in 1888, leaving a fortune of £2,750,000. Its construction was due to the inspiration of his third wife and widow Enriqueta Augustina Rylands. She commissioned Basil Champneys, architect of Mansfield College, Oxford, to design a building which would place Manchester on the map as home of one of the finest libraries in the country. In addition, the fixtures, fittings and furniture were all designed to enhance the structure, resulting in a remarkable harmony of construction.' (official website)

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