Ballad of Chetham’s Library

Making some of the Library's rarest material free of access to all

Chetham’s Library has rich collections of rare items in the form of printed single sheets, such as ballads, broadsides, proclamations and sheet music. These have been acquired in various ways over the years, and some items are loose, some pasted into scrapbooks and guard books, the odd one even being framed. Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council Designation Development Fund we were able to undertake a programme of work to make digital surrogates of these items freely available.

We’ve put up some ready-made searches to show you the fruits of this work on our catalogue of books and printed items. Pop over to the catalogue home page and you’ll see ‘quick links’ to: all the Halliwell-Phillipps collection records (read more about that collection here); all the W.R. Hay portfolio collection records; and for the musically minded, all the digitised ballads in the Axon, Holt and Halliwell Phillips collections. Of course you can also use that catalogue to search for all sorts of other material, and you can come to see items of interest by arranging a visit to the library.

Please also have a look at the work of University of Manchester student Sophie Hartles, who joined the project on a placement and who has created her own website to tell the world about what we’ve been doing.