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Chetham’s Library has been in continuous use as a public library for over 350 years. It is housed in a beautiful sandstone building dating from 1421 which was built to accommodate the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church.

The entire collection at Chetham’s Library has been designated as one of national and international importance. You can find out about our collections here and in our catalogues. Chetham’s Library is open to readers Monday to Friday 09.00-12.30 and 13.30-16.30pm by prior appointment. Please contact us to arrange a study visit.

The Library is also an accredited museum, attracting visitors from all over the world. To book your visit to us, please begin with our visitor pages.

Visiting the library

All pre-booked system from Monday 2 September

Please book your tour of the Library in advance. From January, Tours will usually take place every weekday at 11.00am, and 2.30pm, with numbers limited to protect these delicate ancient buildings. Our last 2019 tour will be at 15.30 on Wednesday 18 December. Please allow an hour for your visit from arrival to departure. Please click the ‘Book a Library Tour‘ link below to reserve your place – bookings must be made in advance.

For a closer look at the Library, including access to the wider medieval building, we offer guided tours through our partner Jonathan Schofield which can be booked through this website.

For more information please see our visiting page.

Book a Library Tour

Need to get in touch? Please contact us here.


  1. Chetham’s Library, Book Historians and Book Lovers

    We were very pleased to receive this blog post from last year’s researcher-in-residence, Verônica Calsoni...

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  2. Sir Edward Watkin – King of Railways

    Geoff Scargill is one of our invaluable Library volunteers, who was previously a long-serving staff...

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  3. Flights of Fancy

    One of the most notable features of the Reading Room at Chetham’s Library is a...

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Humphrey Chetham (1580–1653), the most successful gentleman merchant of seventeenth-century Lancashire, was born in Crumpsall Hall, near Manchester, and later lived at Clayton Hall near Droylsden. His fortune was...

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