“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve.”
During my trip to Manchester in September 2018 I had an opportunity to see two absolutely magical libraries, which look like straight out of the wizarding world. I know it’s been a few months since then, but hopefully you don’t mind taking this little adventure with me now. Let’s step into places where time stops, to be surrounded by the history, thousands of books, a scent of dust and old paper. Sounds appealing? 😉 Come along then!
Founded in 1653, it’s the oldest public library in the United Kingdom. Its collection consist of 100.000 printed volumes, of which 60.000 were published before 1851. It’s located in the 15th-century Baronial Hall (visible in the picture above), which is a part of the school campus. Therefore the library can be visited only in specific hours of the day and along with the staff. You can get acces to the collection too, but only after making an anappointment in advance.
Doesn’t it look like straight out of a different world? I absolutely loved that unique mysterious atmosphere!
Fun fact: Marx and Engels met in the Chetham’s in summer 1845. There is a window alcove, in which they worked (picture below). I’ve also stumbled upon information, that some of Harry Potter scenes were filmed in the library. I’m not sure it’s officialy confirmed, but the interior certainly brings to mind Hogwarts’ library.
Let’s take an invisibility cloak and roam through the restricted section! Who’s with me?
John Rylands Library
A library looking like an old cathedral? Well, why not?! It’s a late-Victorian/neo-Gothic building, opened to the public in 1900. It was commissioned by a widow, Enriqueta Rylands, in memory of her husband. Today’s collection consist of more than 250.000 printed volumes, over one million manuscripts and archival items (with literary treasures such as the original Gutenberg Bible). The main reading room rises 30 feet above the ground, can you imagine? It really feels like the sanctuary of books… or again, Hogwarts ✨
The Reading Room is really impressive. Just look at that ceiling!
Some architectural details (those in the middle remind me of Moria for some reason)…
… and the most beautiful reading nooks I’ve ever seen!
Those ornaments and architectural wonders looked absolutely otherworldly, I couldn’t stop staring at them
I’m pretty sure that’s the entrance to some Hogwarts’ class or common room!
So, which of those magical libraries do you like more? Personally, I could just live in any of them 😁