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Chetham’s Library

Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It is an independent charity and remains open to readers and visitors free of charge, although we suggest a minimum donation of £3.

The entire collection at Chetham’s Library has been designated as one of national and international importance, an accolade of which we are extremely proud.

The Library began acquiring books in August 1655, and has been adding to its collections ever since. As well as a fine collection of early printed books, the collections include a wealth of ephemera, manuscript diaries, letters and deeds, prints, paintings and glass lantern slides.

Chetham’s Library, which was founded in 1653, is the oldest surviving public library in Britain. It was established under the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653), a prosperous Manchester textile merchant, banker and landowner. Chetham also made provision for a school for forty poor boys, now a specialist music school of world renown, and for five chained libraries to be placed in local churches.

The building that houses Chetham’s is even older than the foundation of the School and Library. It was built in 1421 to accommodate a college of priests and remains one of the most complete medieval complexes to survive in the north west of England. The beautiful old sandstone buildings, together with the magnificent Library interior, create a unique atmosphere for readers and visitors alike.


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Q Weddings

Fall in love with the magical atmosphere of Chetham’s and say your vows in the medieval Baronial Hall with its beautiful inglenook fireplace and magnificent timber roof. Dating back to 1421, the mellow sandstone buildings, ancient stone cloisters and richly appointed rooms are full of character and history.

Q Cost of Service

Groups of 5+ may purchase full price tickets for the reduced price of £16. This discount will be automatically applied at checkout.
Groups of 8+ please contact the Box Office to order.

Baronial Hall
£18 (£15) - students £5.

Q Directions & Parking

Parking on site is available only to holders of disabled parking permits or similar recognised permits. There is a multi-storey car park at the nearby Manchester Evening News Arena, the entrance to which is on Trinity Way.

1 Review for Chetham's Library

Cheska J

17 Reviews

350 years of beauty and knowledge

5/ 5

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I was in awe when I found out it’s one of the oldest libraries in the English speaking world, imagine the depth of knowledge they kept in there through the years! I loved looking into the vast collections that they had in store for their visitors. The atmosphere is wonderful and the interiors have that classic library feel to it. One would definitely enjoy their visit there.

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
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  • Price Range 5.00 - 50.00
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