Follow us on facebook

Ssshhh, You’re In The Library

Who needs Central Ref now that Manchester has the gorgeous new City Library on Deansgate? Newly opened in Elliot House, previously the Manchester Registry Office and before home to the Corporation’s Education Department, the new City Library is one of the best things to have happened to Manchester this century.

Elliot House is located on Deansgate, between Lloyd Street and Jackson’s Row, and was designed Royle and Bennett in 1878 in a Queen Anne revival style, pitting ornate Classical embellishments around the usual red brick, terracotta and sandstone structure. It has been revamped into Manchester’s new municipal library while work takes place over the next three or four years refurbishing Central Ref, and the designers have lavished the interior with huge doses of white: a lusciously bright, fresh, white light that welcomes readers and enhances a stay in the building.

Of course much of the library’s stock is now in storage, but the local history section in Elliot House is larger than its St Peter’s Square predecessor, for many of the long-hidden volumes, formerly housed in the private “Stacks” section, where only staff could venture, have been brought into the open. So too have the boxes of cuttings, so useful for tour guides looking for a new angle on an old story. Now if only as much thought could be put into the refurbishment of the St Peter’s Square building …