This is our favourite literature-related event of the Wonder Women festival, and your chance to meander The John Rylands Library and find out more about its rather mysterious founder through the Library’s extensive collections.
Enriqueta Rylands stayed out of the limelight during her lifetime, so little is known about her, but this tour and talk will help you to discover the letters and personal effects that tell some of her story. The event (which takes place twice, on 8 March at 11am – International Women’s Day – and 9 March at 2pm) will be exploring the reasons for her founding the wonderful library on Deansgate in the name of her philanthropist husband John, Manchester’s first multimillionaire, who made his money from the Cottonopolis boom.
The John Rylands Library was constructed in what was once the poorest part of town – somewhat ironic given the location now of Spinningfields next door, with its designer brands, posh restaurants and bank headquarters. You can also swot up in advance with the tour Enriqueta Rylands: Behind Every Man is a great Woman on 6 March, when there will be more about the couple who lived in Longford Hall in Stretford in the nineteenth century, lining the walls of the house with many books. Our kind of people!