Next, Mum really wanted to visit the John Rylands Library, owned by the University of Manchester. I’d never heard of it, and so had no idea where it was by name alone, but once we turned the corner, of course I did! It’s part late-Victorian neo-Gothic library, part modern, clean-cut glass fronted structure housing a brilliant gift-shop (as do so many museums, art galleries, educational centres have nowadays), a café with bucket sized mugs of hot drinks and clean, deliciously scented toilets. (Always good to know where the free-entry toilets are in a city.) 😉 The building is right next to the Emporio Armani store, which is infront of the slightly bizarre escalator that leads to some mystical, undiscovered land underground (I have walked past countless times, always wondering about the escalator, always bypassing the library). The library itself has a range of display rooms with books, pamphlets, manuscripts, with typical library rooms too, coated in dark-chocolate wood panels and stone and lined with books. There are study spaces open to the public too, complete with power sources, so if you’re ever needing a change of scenery and a hunger for transporting yourself back in time to let the creative juices flow, head over to the Rylands!
|Midland Hotel and Lobby|
We next made our way into the Central Library (open to the public) for a quick peek inside. A grand, spheric, grey stone building, ultra modern inside, with study booths, historical displays and a decent sized café. Food and books, the most important fuels for life, sort of. We continued on our city wander, drinking up the metropolis and beautiful mix of old and new.
|Manchester Central Library
We eventually passed through Chinatown, the gorgeous whiff of garlic, chilli and ginger replenishing our energy and tugging us through the Oriental Arch and ever closer to Piccadilly’s shopper haven.
Before finding food and dipping into a few department stores, we decided to quickly stop by the Art Gallery. After a speedy walk round the lower floor, we rummaged around the gift shop (again!) and took a well earned pit stop on the deckchairs outside the gallery which were part of The Lost Gardens installation. I’ve also scanned in the School of Art’s Degree Show’s flyer which had the most wonderful piece of writing on beauty and design.