Celebrating a Neo-Gothic Masterpiece

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The John Rylands Library has been described as one of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in Europe.  Built as a monument to her husband and as a gift to the people of Manchester, the creation of the library was the design of Enriqueta Rylands.  Almost ten years in the building the grand style was a deliberate attempt to establish the library alongside the renowned libraries of Oxford and Cambridge.  In fact it was Basil Champneys work on Mansfield College, Oxford that had impressed Mrs Rylands and informed her choice of architect.  Enriqueta Rylands was involved with practically every detail of the library’s design which was simultaneously sophisticated and traditional.  The library was one of the first buildings in Manchester lit by electricity and also had an air filtering system but these adaptations were seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of the library and housed in the immaculate work of skilled…

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