John Rylands Library
"John Rylands was a successful Manchester textile manufacturer in the 1800s. At its peak Rylands company employed 15,000 people in his 17 mills and factories, producing 35 tons of cloth a day. Rylands was married three times. After his death in 1888 at the family residence, the now demolished Longford Hall in Stretford, his third wife Enriqueta Augustina commissioned a library to be erected on Deansgate in his name. The library included books from his own collection, as well as the Althorp Library purchased by her from Earl Spencer in 1892, and Lord Crawford's manuscripts purchased by her in 1901.

Mrs. Rylands commissioned Sir Basil Champneys to build her library and he created a Victorian Gothic masterpiece out of a stone from Penrith in the Lake District known as "shawk". The stone varies in colour from buff to pink.

The building cost £230,000 and took nine years to build. The library was opened to readers on January 1,1900. Despite its Gothic appearance, the building was quite advanced in that it has a fire-resistant concrete construction, electric lighting and air conditioning. It was one of the first public buildings in Manchester to be lit by electricity. "

Taken from and old pics here
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