John Rylands Research Institute and Library

Susie Stubbs
Magic bowls event. Image shows The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

John Rylands Research Institute and Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH – Visit Now

Opened in 1990, this neo-Gothic building says much about Manchester’s industrial fortunes. It was modelled on a traditional Oxford college library, but put together on a grand Mancunian scale. It cost £230,000 and nine years to build. It had air conditioning, electric light and dust-resistant bookcases. And it was commissioned by a grieving widow, Enriqueta Rylands, in memory of her husband, a man of religious conviction, a philanthropist of Victorian ambition and a remarkably successful textiles manufacturer. He must have been: it was his money, after all, that paid for the construction of the library and for the purchase of the theological and scholarly collections that originally stacked its shelves.

Although it is easy to wax lyrical and at length about the building itself, as impressive as its architecture are its collections: the rare printed texts that include preserved papyrus fragments, the letters of local author Elizabeth Gaskell and an original Gutenberg Bible. Part of The University of Manchester, over 250,000 items are stored here – spanning five millennia – alongside a further one million manuscripts and the archives of local families of note, including the letters and documents of the Earls of Stamford (of nearby Dunham Massey fame).

John Rylands Research Institute and Library boasts a well-stocked shop and café, an ideal spot for a cup of tea – with regular exhibitions and events also running throughout the year, it’s a destination venue for locals as well as visitors to the city. Just to stand in its glorious Historic Reading Room, surrounded on all sides by books, stained glass and statuary, is one of the greatest thrills of literary Manchester.

  • 150 Deansgate
  • Manchester
  • M3 3EH
  • View map

Opening Hours

  • Mon: Closed
  • Tue: Closed
  • Wed: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sun: Closed
  • Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit

Admission Charges

Free

Services and Facilities

Exhibitions, events, shop, cafe,

Accessibility

There is level access to all public areas except the old entrance hall and historic toilets.

Commercial and hire services

Private hire available

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Activity Until 3 February 2023, from £30.00

Baumka Conscious Clubbing at Victoria Warehouse

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

Activity Until 6 March 2023, from £6.00

Shake it off: Music Video Dance Class with Girl Gang

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families Until 11 March 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

OUTDOOR ART CLUB AT THE WHITWORTH
Childrens Until 18 March 2023, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth