Chetham’s is Europe’s oldest library, built into the 1421 buildings of the former college of priests that was the site of the ancient manor house of Manchester. Here Marx and Engels studied, Daniel Defoe visited and John Dee dabbled in the occult.
Manchester Cathedral, recently reopened after rebuilding work, is a triumph against adversity. The second most bombed cathedral in Britain in the second world war, it dates back to the 8th century as a place of worship and is central to the story of Manchester.
Inside is the Angel Stone, the Henry V charter, the Mosley tomb, the headless St Denys, the elegant saints’ relief carved by an incorrigible sex beast, the glorious misericords and the chapel where Bonnie Prince Charlie planned to usurp the throne – a heavenly treat indeed.
Meanwhile, all around are remnants of the “Old Town” where mediaeval Manchester grew by the rivers Irk, Irwell and the Hanging Ditch.