Founded in 1653, and housed in buildings dating back to 1421, Chetham’s is the oldest public library in the English speaking world. Tucked away in the heart of Manchester’s Medieval Quarter, this wonderfully atmospheric place is a remarkable legacy of the city’s pre-industrial past.
We’re now taking steps to preserve our delicate ancient buildings by limiting numbers on our daily tours, and asking all visitors to make a small contribution towards their upkeep.
Packed with historical fact and fascinating stories, tours of Chetham’s Library are led by our expert volunteers. Take a seat at the very desk where Marx and Engels’ research led to The Communist Manifesto, and view facsimiles of the very books they pored through; admire the Hogwarts-esque gated shelves, home to over 60,000 of the UK’s rarest volumes, dating back as far as the 13th century.
Chetham’s Library tours meet at the entrance on Long Millgate, M3 1SB. Please be aware that there is no shelter at this meeting point and you will not have access to the Library until the scheduled start time of your tour.
Access to the Library is via a flight of eighteen steps. Due to the age of the buildings, we regret it is not possible to install a lift or other assistance.