SJ8398 : The Central Reading Room at John Rylands Library

taken 5 years ago, near to Manchester, Great Britain

The Central Reading Room at John Rylands Library
The Central Reading Room at John Rylands Library
The Library’s centrepiece is its famous Historic Reading Room; one of the finest reading rooms of any library in the world. The room was built 30 feet above street level, where maximum daylight could be obtained and disturbance from the horse-drawn traffic on the cobblestones of Victorian Deansgate was kept to a minimum.

This fantastic neo-Gothic space has a cathedral-like feel with small alcoves on each side. It is presided over at either end by John Cassidy’s striking marble statues of John and Enriqueta Rylands with a broad central aisle running between them. More than 40 feet above the aisle is the magnificent vaulted ceiling.

Each end of the gallery features a huge stained-glass window created by Charles Eamer Kempe. The southern window depicts giants of secular art and literature, ranging from the ancient world to the 19th century, and including Aristotle, Beethoven, Dante and Michelangelo.
The John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library was founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband, John Rylands, one of the most successful businessmen of Victorian England and Manchester’s first multi-millionaire.

The striking gothic building which dominates the streetscape at the corner of Deansgate and Spinningfield was designed in 1889 by the architect Basil Champneys. The library took ten years to build and was first opened to public readers on 1 January 1900. The initial stock of the Library was 70,000 books and fewer than 100 manuscripts. As the Library's collections grew, the building has been extended four times; first in 1920 and again in 1962 and 1970. In 2003 major refurbishment began which included the construction of a new entrance wing. The library reopened in 2008.

The Library became part of The University of Manchester in 1972 and currently holds the Special Collections of The University of Manchester Library. Mrs Rylands' memorial to her husband is now part of the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom; the building houses over 250,000 printed volumes, and well over a million manuscripts and archival items.

The library was granted Grade I listed status in 1952 (Historic England List Entry Number: 1217800 LinkExternal link ).

LinkExternal link Wikipedia article about the library
LinkExternal link Wikipedia article about John Rylands.
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SJ8398, 2710 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 24 June, 2014   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 2 July, 2014
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Educational sites  City, Town centre 
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Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DMC-G3 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8357 9820 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.8158N 2:14.9423W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8353 9821
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East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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