John Rylands Library – A Gothic Masterpiece

John Rylands Library

I’ve lived within 25 miles of Manchester almost all my life (except for 3 years when I was University in Liverpool) and know the city centre pretty well.  Until this Sunday, however, I’ve never really taken much notice of a rather unusual building tucked away on Deansgate. The John Rylands library is a memorial to a millionaire cotton master which his wife had constructed in the 1890’s after he died.I have vague memories of a blackened structure which I used to walk past, but a few years ago it underwent a major restoration and coupled with the redevelopment of the surrounding area, the building has become more prominent.

Its built in a vibrant red sandstone in a gothic style. From the outside it looks somewhat intimidating. The inside is magnificant. Its more like a cathedral than a library. Although it is a working library, the general public are free to visit it and it’s well worth it. Massive stonework, gothic arches and magnificant carvings, all in immaculate condition. This must have been what the great medieval cathedrals looked like when new.

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