IF you are going to build a tribute to a loved one and you have a some spare cash, you might as well do it properly.
Enriqueta Rylands had the money – millions of pounds – and the memorial she built to her dead husband, textile magnate John Rylands, is Manchester’s version of the Taj Mahal.
Opened on New Year’s Day 1900, it is not only one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, but also contains one of the greatest collections of manuscripts and printed materials anywhere.
The building was designed by Basil Champneys to combine the atmosphere of a monastic library with modern amenities.
Inside, the place is one dramatic space after another, the stairs, the reading room. This is the last great flowering of British neo-Gothic. The best thing for a visitor to do is get lost in it - beware the ladies toilet in the old part, it’s haunted.
JrlThe collections include the oldest fragment of the New Testament, a first edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets, most of the Caxtons ever printed, Guttenberg Bibles and medieval illuminated manuscripts.
In the Oriental section alone there are 20,000 manuscripts in 40 different languages. Similarly the Aramaic section is one of the most acclaimed in Europe. The modern extension by Austin, Smith, Lord is rewarding too.
These pictures show off the magic of the place. If you've not been treat yourself.
John Rylands Library. Free to visit from Sun-Mon noon-5pm, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm. Guided tours available of the building. Find the building at 150 Deansgate, M3 3EH. 0161 306 0555. Website
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