Exploring England #20
Foremost among the many beautiful buildings in Manchester is the John Rylands Library. Founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband John Rylands, the library was gifted to the people of Manchester and first opened to the public in 1900.
The library houses a vast collection of precious books, manuscripts and illuminated texts, including a Gutenberg Bible. An entire wing is dedicated to the Althorp Library, which Enriqueta acquired from Lord Spencer for £210 000 in 1892. But as fascinating as the collections are, it’s the spectacular Victorian building many people come to see.
The neo-Gothic interior is richly ornamented, with stained glass, vaulted arches and soaring ceilings. Statuary fills every niche.
Enriqueta and John Rylands, immortalised in white marble, greet visitors to the Reading Room, where alcoves are filled to overflowing with aging leather-bound books.
Historical figures of artistic and scientific importance line the walls of the Reading Room, They look down serenely upon those who visit, as if ready to impart their knowledge to a new generation.
Whether it’s ancient words or wonderful architecture, this beautiful library has something to offer everyone.