the portico library

The Portico Library founded 1806


The Portico Library and Newsroom was opened in 1806 following a decision taken by a group of Manchester businessmen in 1803 who were inspired by Thomas Harrison's Liverpool Lyceum. Former members include John Dalton, Peter Roget, Robert Peel and the Rev. William Gaskell, husband of the more famous Elizabeth.


There is a permanent stock of approximately 25,000 books, most of which were published in the nineteenth century and a good temporary stock of recent publications, as well as with newspapers and periodicals. The Library's archives consist of committee receipts, minute books, some correspondence from 1896 onwards and issue books from 1850 to the beginning of the 20th century: they include detailed statistics kept by the librarians over the period 1850 to 1900. Issue books have also been kept since 1996


Grade II* listed building designed by Thomas Harrison of Chester; the Library occupies the first floor and the ground floor is let to Mitchells and Butler, Estate Managers for Bass Breweries

Contact information

Thom Keep, Librarian
57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HY
tel: 0161 236 6785 / email:

Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30-16.30, Thursday 9.30-19.30, Saturday 11.00-15.00

Gallery space, exhibitions and events open to the public during opening hours. Researchers by arrangement. Postal and telephone enquiries welcome.



Portico Library and Newsroom Ltd Charity no. 1143639



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