Manchester City Council

Libraries History of Central Library

Before Central Library: King Street and Piccadilly

By 1877, the building had become unsafe, so the books were transferred to the old Town Hall in King Street . In time this building (whose fa├žade now stands in Heaton Park ) proved too small for the growing collections and in 1912 the library moved to a temporary site in Piccadilly - this included the outpatients wing of the old infirmary and a former YMCA hut!

King Street Reference Library Exterior, 1900

King Street Reference Library Exterior, 1900 m51700

King Street Reference Library Reading Room, 1900

King Street Reference Library Reading Room, 1900 m51702

Piccadilly Library snowy day, 1929

Piccadilly Library Snowy day, 1929 m51718

Piccadilly Library Overcast day, 1914

Piccadilly Library Overcast day, 1914 m51707

"The building in which we were housed, provided many thrills; it had been the Infirmary accident and Out-patients department and still had carved in the stone above the doorway the word "Dispensary". A man from the butchers on Piccadilly, just opposite the appropriately named Gore Street, in which the Infirmary stands, came into my room one day with his thumb chopped off, and another member of the staff met a woman outside Mr. Jast's room, who greeted her with: "It's me knee, nurse." " (K. Bailey, former member of staff)

"I went to the Central Library, at that time in Piccadilly, and had difficulty with the index system ... A woman of about forty put me right, a charming woman running acceptably to fat, dressed in a green skirt and a blue sweater; her hair prettily mousy, before getting down to her study of Engels. When I had gained enough information about Flecker (he married a Greek girl named Miss Skidaresse), she apparently had gained enough information about Engels, whoever he was ... she put myself and herself in a tram and took me to Ardwick, where she had a small flat above a confectioner's shop. It was a bookish flat, warmed by a gas fire, with bright rugs and pictures on the walls ... I needed, she said, to be educated. She meant more than instruction in the visual arts." (Little Wilson and Big God, by Anthony Burgess, 1987)

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

;