The John Rylands library is an integral part of Manchester’s cultural make-up and in their explorer tour you have the chance to see its interior more intimately. From the stunning gothic exterior, designed by Basil Champneys in the 1890’s to the vast collection of rare books and manuscripts contained within its walls. John Rylands is steeped in history with priceless documents covering the walls. The Library merged with the University of Manchester in 1972 and the building has been maintained by the University since. To protect the Library and prevent the location being developed it became a listed building in 1994. Arguably its location on Deansgate and the modern surroundings highlight John Rylands’ neo gothic beauty and make its presence in the city centre more striking.
Once inside, as well as the extensive collections of texts and manuscripts the building’s interior is made up of tranquil open spaces and a maze of corridors. As you walk through you may notice a number of staircases and doorways. For those who are curious or inquisitive, the explorer tour offers a unique chance to see these passages, which are usually closed to the public. As well as walking through the more secluded areas of the Library you will hear about the about how the building’s character has developed over the years. These tours are incredibly popular so it is well worth booking in advance. You can find dates for upcoming tours on the John Rylands section of the University of Manchester website.