The Portico Library and Gallery

Volumes of Culture
Still in its original 1806 building, the Portico Library and Gallery celebrates both the historic and contemporary culture of Manchester, welcoming the public, researchers and members to its unique 19th century book collection and 21st century literary, scientific, educational and artistic events and exhibitions.
The Quarterly newsletter contains reviews of the stock, updates on current initiatives and a full listing of upcoming events - it is the best way to get to know us at a glance!

Our mainly 19th century collection covers a wide range of subjects, which reflect the cultural mindset of its Georgian and Victorian members during a significant period of Manchester's illustrious history. Members may borrow from the collection and researchers may consult the books and archives by arrangement.

The Portico continues to flourish and hosts a thriving and active programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year which are open to all. Current details can be found on our News & Events page.

Visitors are welcome to relax with tea, coffee and delicious home made cakes in the Gallery area while visiting our exhibitions.
Members and researchers can enjoy a freshly prepared lunch in the Library on week days. Our kitchen team work hard to design and deliver a seasonal menu with specials that change on a weekly basis. Our food and cakes are freshly made using homegrown ingredients. See our membership page for details.

This amazing space is also available for hire. The Portico has hosted book launches, award ceremonies, dinner parties, anniversaries, birthdays, wine tastings, wedding receptions, filming, meetings (wifi available!) and photoshoots (including a glamour calendar for a well known vodka brand!). If you are interested in hiring The Portico please contact us by phone (0161 236 6785) or email

Venue Type:

Gallery, Library

Opening hours

Monday 9.30-16.30
Tuesday 9.30-17.30
Wednesday 9.30-17.30
Thursday 9.30-17.30
Friday 9.30-16.30
Saturday 11.00-15.00
Sunday Closed

Admission charges

The Gallery is open to the general public and admission to all of our exhibitions is free.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Portico Library Main Room

Drawing Classes at The Portico

  • 18 February — 23 December 2017 *on now

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

Basic materials are provided and tea and coffee is included in the price. If you wish to bring your own materials please restrict these to pencils, chalks and charcoals.




Cantorelli sings Henry Purcell

Cantorelli sings Henry Purcell

  • 4 — 5 March 2017 1:30-3:30pm

The programme includes Welcome to all the pleasures, an ode for St.Cecilia’s Day from 1683, Man that is born of a woman, In the midst of life we are in death and Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts composed for the funeral of Queen Mary in March 1695, various songs and a selection of choruses from Purcell’s first opera Dido and Aeneas.

Cantorelli is a small vocal ensemble which was founded in Hebden Bridge in the mid-1990’s. The singers come mainly from Calderdale and Kirklees and give concerts every year in the local area. The group has performed previously in Manchester at St. Anne’s Church and is thrilled to be returning to Manchester again for this concert at The Portico Library on the 4th March at 1.30pm.

Following the performance tea/coffee and cake will be available from The Portico Library café.




Daughters of Manchester: The Intriguing Story of the Jewsbury Sisters

Daughters of Manchester: The Intriguing Story of the Jewsbury Sisters

  • 7 March 2017 From 6:30pm

This talk by the novelist, JC Briggs, provides an introduction to the remarkable lives of Geraldine and Maria-Jane Jewsbury. Geraldine Jewsbury wrote six novels, wrote hundreds of literary reviews for The Athenaeum, and in the middle of the nineteenth century, was acquainted with some of the most famous writers and politicians of the Victorian Age. Her first novel, Zoe, created a sensation. One reviewer advised her to abandon her ‘foolish’ and ‘unwomanly course forever’. Her sister Maria-Jane’s life was short. She died in India at the age of thirty-three, yet William Wordsworth praised her ‘great talents’ and dedicated several poems to her. Join us to discover something more about these fascinating and often overlooked writers.
We are very pleased to welcome JC Briggs back to The Portico for one of her wonderfully humourous, insightful and entertaining talks. Briggs is the author of the Dickens and Jones mysteries, which feature the city of Manchester and place Charles Dickens in the role of private investigator.




Byron's Venice

Byron's Venice: The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy

  • 27 April 2017 6:30-8:30pm

A host of writers, artists and tourists flooded into Venice in the wake of these publications, looking for the Byron's 'Sea Cybele, fresh from ocean', but what was so new about Byron's Venice? This talk seeks to offer an answer to that question.
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception with complimentary Italian wine.
Dr Alan Rawes is Lecturer in Romanticism at the University of Manchester and Joint President of the International Association of Byron Societies.

This event is sponsored by The Byron Society.




The Portico Library and Gallery
57 Mosley Street
Greater Manchester
M2 3HY

logo: Museums at Night




0161 236 6785

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.