Chetham's Library in Manchester, England, is the oldest free public reference library in the English-speaking world. Chetham's Hospital, which contains both the library and Chetham's School of Music, was established in 1653 under the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580–1653), for the education of "the sons of honest, industrious and painful parents", and a library for the use of scholars. The library has been in continuous use since 1653. It operates as an independent charity, open to readers free of charge, Monday-Friday 09.00-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 by prior appointment. Tours of the Library for visitors are bookable online from 2 September 2019 via the Library website.
The library holds more than 100,000 volumes of printed books, of which 60,000 were published before 1851. They include collections of 16th- and 17th-century printed works, periodicals and journals, local history sources, broadsides and ephemera. In addition to print materials, the library holds a collection of over 1,000 manuscripts, including 41 medieval texts.
|Monday||9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 – 4:30 PM|
|Tuesday||9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 – 4:30 PM|
|Wednesday||9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 – 4:30 PM|
|Thursday||9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 – 4:30 PM|
|Friday||9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 – 4:30 PM|
Alexandra Zahran | Jun 20, 2018
What a beautiful gem in Manchester! Today we visited this wonderful place and were given a great tour by Brian and Marjorie. They were very knowledgeable and patiently answered all our questions. The tour and admission is free of charge however a donation of £3 is recommended. As you enter the building, you enter a different world, and you go back in time to the 1600s. The books are incredibly well-preserved and it was fascinating to find out that Chetham's is also a place where talented pupils who aspire to be musicians take classes here and live here as well. It's just like a boarding school/university. Moreover, people can access the library and borrow books free of charge. I cannot recommend highly enough! Will certainly return for another visit!
Josh Bennett | Apr 9, 2018
We received a fantastic tour of the medieval buildings by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, free of charge. The library has a timeless, indescribable feel, and contains books up to 900 years old which are available to study free of charge with librarian assistance. Visiting Chetham's Library is highly recommended.
Gavin Williams | Jun 28, 2018
A very authoritative source of learning. Sir Humphrey Chetham is celebrated in Manchester Cathedral.
Wayne Ng | Feb 11, 2018
The library is one of the oldest in existence. Not just the UK, but the world. It oozes history. The architecture is beautiful and stunning. Karl Marx has a corner etched out where he spent many months considering his manofesto. Manchester has a rich part in history and you'll find some of it here. If you get the chance to visit then take it!
Katarzyna Nowak | Dec 20, 2017
This place is truly magical! Our guide was lovely, helpful, and knowledgeable. She made our tour great. There is no fee but the entrance is allowed only every hour (1.30pm, 2.30pm, etc.). Highly recommended!
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