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.

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Made In Translation

Made In Translation: Manchester Crafts Research Group at The Portico Library

  • 27 April — 3 June 2017

As part of The Portico Library's current project, 'Reading and Writing Non-Fiction', and contributing to their ongoing creative development, the group have begun a year-long exploration of the collection's non-fiction texts, producing collaborative new pieces, a publication, exhibition and workshops throughout 2016 and 2017. Funded by The Zochonis Charitable Trust, this project aims to introduce visitors to new ways of experiencing books and reading, through object, image, performance and text. Prior to the exhibition, there will be a private Book Launch that will be on sale for the remainder of the exhibition. Featuring a number of the region's leading artists and writers creating collaborative work in response to the library's collection, Made In Translation introduces new commissions and innovative research, and is open free to the public at The Portico Library from 27th April to 3rd June 2017.

Suitable for

  • Any age


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.




Turning Blue. The Portico Library

'Turning Blue': new live performances with 'the master of English rural noir'

  • 25 March 2017 7:30-9:30pm

In 2016 Benjamin Myers won The Portico Prize for Literature and the Northern Writers' Award for his fourth novel Beastings. This March, ahead of the release of his next book, The Gallows Pole, The Portico Library will host an extraordinary collaborative event, combining excerpts delivered by Northern actors, new musical commissions, and artworks on related themes. Carolyn Curtis-Magri's exhibition explores a real-life unsolved murder case in the same landscape in which Myers' last book, Turning Blue, is set, while acclaimed composer David McLean's 'Crime Scene' ensemble provide purpose-built live scores to the performers' readings. Turning Blue follows McLean's rapturously received 'Crime Scene' premier this January as part of Islington Mill's Samarbeta residency programme, also featuring Thurston Moore, Charles Hayward and Lydia Lunch. This will be a moving, memorable event, bringing together original words, images and music in an atmospheric crime-noir style. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Suitable for

  • 18+


£5.77 – £6.82

To avoid booking fees for any of our events, please call the library on 0161 236 6785 or email


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.