Chetham's Library & School of Music

Top choice in Manchester

Founded in 1653 in a building that dates from 1421, Chetham's is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, a trove of dark shelves lined with ancient books and manuscripts. In 1845, Marx and Engels spent time studying in the alcove of the main reading room, prep work for what would eventually be the Communist Manifesto. The wider complex has its own life as part of a national school for young musicians.