"Portico Library" by Thomas Harrison
By kkeps @ 2010-09-21 18:40:54
The Portico Library is a subscription library in central Manchester, north-west England.
It was established following a meeting of Manchester business people in 1803 which resolved to found an "institute uniting the advantages of a newsroom and a library". A visit by four of those men to the Athenaeum in Liverpool inspired them to achieve a similar institution in Manchester. Money was raised through members' subscriptions and it opened in 1806.
The library, mainly focused on 19th century literature, is housed in a Grade II* neo-classical listed building, designed by Thomas Harrison (architect of The Lyceum, Liverpool which was the second such institution to be built in that city), and built by one of the founders, David Bellhouse. One of the secretaries was Peter Mark Roget who began his famous Thesaurus here.
Today, the building also accommodates an exhibition space. The ground floor is now tenanted by a public house though it was let to a bank for many years, while the library remains upstairs.