The Portico Library
The Portico Library is as peaceful and relaxing as any library could be, despite being situated on Mosley Street in Manchester city centre with trams zipping past every few minutes.
The Georgian building with its stained glass-domed ceiling is a beautiful place and it’s open to everyone. This is one of Manchester’s oldest and most venerable institutions – it was founded by subscribers in 1806. The Portico Library remains a subscription library and newsroom but members of the public can enjoy the free exhibitions, take part in events and workshops or enjoy lunch in the café where as much as possible is sourced from respected local independent suppliers.
The Portico’s collection is predominantly 19th century and includes many first editions. It offers an insight into the interests of Manchester’s most influential Georgians and Victorians. Along with its archives, the collection reveals what life in Industrial Manchester was like.
If you want to delve deeper into the books or themes featured in the public displays, you can either become a reader, a member or a researcher.
A temporary reader’s pass costs £10 per week or £25 per month and the Portico’s librarians will give you any help you need.
Membership offers access to a collection of over 25,000 historic books as well as a wealth of contemporary fiction, magazines and newspapers in both print and digital format and a quiet place in the heart of the city to work, read, dine and just sit in peaceful contemplation. Annual subscription ranges from £70 – £223.
Researchers can access the collection for free but they must submit an outline of their area of study or project.
The Portico Library also hosts two respected awards to celebrate writing in the North: The Portico Prize and The Portico Sadie Massey Awards for Young Readers and Writers.
As it’s such a beautiful building, The Portico Library makes a lovely wedding venue for literature lovers.