Portico Library


Information For Portico Library

One of Manchester’s longest-running institutions, the Portico is a subscription library and newsroom whose historic collection of over 25,000 books and archives spans over 450 years.

Alongside our members’ services, everyone is welcome to enjoy our free exhibitions; take part in our events and workshops; dine in our cafe; discover our history; and immerse themselves in our beautiful Regency-period building.

The Portico Library was established by 400 founding subscribers in 1806, during Manchester’s emergence as ‘the first modern city’. Early readers and associates included word-famous authors, future Prime Ministers, leading scientists, and educators. Built with wealth derived from the Industrial Revolution, British empire-building, and colonial expansion, the Library amassed a collection that reflects the innovations, but also the exclusions and inequities of its time.

The Library’s early members—all men until the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870—included people of all political positions, from Radical and Liberal abolitionists and anti-poverty campaigners to exploitative factory owners and textile traders. Many members were non-conformists and several wrote influential books, such as our first Secretary Peter Mark Roget, who wrote the first English thesaurus, and founder of atomic theory, John Dalton. Celebrated Manchester author Elizabeth Gaskell used the Library while her husband William acted as its longest-serving Chair.

Portico Library at a Glance

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Surround yourself with literature as you hold your ceremony with up to 30 guests in our historic Members' Reading Room. Follow that with a celebratory drink under our stunning dome. The whole Library is closed for your event so you can enjoy the venue privately with your family and friends. Do you have more than 30 guests? Hold your wedding ceremony under the spectacular Dome and have access to the Reading Room for beautiful photographs. Photography throughout the Library looks amazing so make sure you allow time for photographs in the Reading Room. The pictures surrounded by the books evoke memories of a by gone era. Following your wedding ceremony why not have a drinks reception under our dome? Give your guests time to relax and enjoy the unique surroundings whilst your photographer works their magic. Canapes can be arranged if required and why not include your cake cutting ceremony!

Top Wedding Tips

Decide on your date and check your preferred venue is available

Ask the venue to hold the date whilst you check if a registrar is available

Book your registrar as soon as possible and plan everything else around their availability

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Welcome to the Portico

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UKbride Approved Supplier
UKbride Approved Supplier


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

Portico Library

  • The Portico Library & Gallery
  • 57 Mosley Street
  • Manchester
  • Greater Manchester
  • M2 3HY
  • United Kingdom

Meet the Key Person

Image of Key Person Michelle Hill
Michelle Hill

Michelle and her team of staff take pride in looking after you and your guests. Endeavouring to personalised each wedding to your individual requirements. They enjoy hosting weddings and showing off their beautiful Library. Jessica and Steven held their wedding at the Library here are their comments: "The Portico is stunning as an intimate wedding venue, but Michelle goes above and beyond with thoughtful touches and personalised input to ensure that the day is unforgettable and every guest has a wonderful time. All of our guests were bowled over by the library itself - but even more so the kindness and clear enjoyment that Michelle and her colleagues had taken in making sure it was perfect for us.”