The Henry Watson Music Library is named after Dr. Henry Watson, a renowned composer and teacher born in nearby Accrington. He gifted the contents of his private library to the care of Manchester City Council in 1902. Watson's original collection (some 16,700 volumes) has been supplemented by many important donations and acquisitions since and has grown into one of the largest collections of music in any public library.
The library today
The library today contains some 380,000 books and individual items of music. It includes:
- monographs (some 9,500 books on western and non-western art music, folk, jazz and popular music)
- periodicals (50 popular and scholarly titles with extensive back-runs)
- printed music (vocal, choral, orchestral and popular music)
- early printed music and manuscript collections
- choral and orchestral music available for hire to performing groups and societies.
Most of the material in the library is available for loan but a a selection of reference works is available for research and study purposes or for leisure reading.
Membership of the Henry Watson Music Library and Manchester Public Libraries is free. Full membership details are available from the library.
Sets of choral and orchestral music are available to registered societies. There is a charge for this service. Please ask the library for details.
The Music Room