As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many of us are still staying close to home and it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your loved ones. We hope Archives+ can help you to do this by publishing our popular memory boxes online which can be used as a starting point in discovering your family history, find out what their childhood was like, look back at the area where they grew up and maybe uncover some hidden gems in your family’s story. 

Why not take this opportunity to find out about those important stories thus ensuring this history is passed on to the next generation, which can often get lost or put off for another day as we lead our busy lives. Sharing memories of days gone by can bring families closer together, listening to elderly relatives can be a comfort for families as they gain an insight into their life stories.  

This week’s collection is a special edition called “Library City” and we’ll be taking a look at the magnificent libraries both past and present in Manchester City Centre. Below you will find a collection of images of some of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in the world, which are right here on our doorstep! Factsheets are included giving some information about these iconic buildings. Using these factsheets as prompts to start up a conversation, ask your relatives if they have any fond memories of visiting or studying in these libraries.

In addition to this blog, the online memory box will be published on the Archives+ Facebook page. Dig out your old photos too, these can also be a brilliant resource to trigger fond memories of family times. We encourage you to share your findings on social media, either as comments on our Facebook page or on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #ArchivesPlusMemorybox

Instagram manclib_archives

Twitter @archivesplus

Facebook @archivesplus

If you are unable to share your photos and stories online, when the libraries reopen bring copies of your family memories into your local library.  In the coming year we will produce an exhibition in your local library of selected submissions, shared both online and in person.  

Please make sure that if you share any information with us that the person you have spoken to is happy for you to share it with Archives+. When sharing your findings try to avoid sharing too much personal information such as surnames and date of birth as these details can identify your loved ones.


Unlocking Your Sound Archive have produced a blog about conducting oral history interviews with family members. The audio clips included in this online memory box have been kindly supplied by Unlocking Your Sound Archive. 

Manchester Local Image Collection

Archives+ Flickr photostream

NSPCC Staying safe online guide for children.

Age UK Staying safe online guide for older people

John Rylands Library, front elevation, Deansgate 1901
John Rylands Library, Deansgate 1971
John Rylands Library, lecture hall, Deansgate 1955

Portico Library, Moseley Street. Opened as a newsroom and library 20th January 1806.
Portico Library, Moseley Street 1865
Portico Library, Mosley Street 1900
Portico Library, newsroom, Moseley Street 1938
Portico Library, interior, Moseley Street 1938

Childrens Hospital, Chethams Hospital library ‘The Wickets’, Manchester 1900
Chethams Library, Chethams Hospital School, Manchester 1950
Chethams Library, Chethams Hospital School, Manchester 1950

Campfield Library, Manchester 1852

Old Town Hall, later became King Street Reference Library, 1866
Reference Library, King Street, reading room from staff enclosure, 1900

Piccadilly Library (Temporary Central Library), Piccadilly Gardens 1914
Piccadilly Library, Technical Library, interior, Piccadilly Gardens 1922
Piccadilly Library, Technical Library, interior, Piccadilly Gardens 1922
Piccadilly Library, reading room, (Temporary Central Library), Piccadilly Gardens 1924
Piccadilly Library, Commercial Library, part of the reading room, Piccadilly Gardens 1924
Piccadilly Library (Temporary Central Library), Piccadilly Gardens 1929

Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, a section through the building, 1934
Building of Central Library 1932
Manchester Central Library Under Construction, St. Peters Square 1932
Manchester Central Library Royal Opening 1934
Aerial View of Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square 1934
Shakespeare Hall, Manchester Central Library 1934
The Reading Girl Statue, Manchester Central Library 1960
Shakespeare Hall, Manchester Central Library 1934
Reading Room, Manchester Central Library 1934
Reading Room, Manchester Central Library 1934
The Stacks – Central Library 2010
Lifelibrary – Central Library 2007

We hope you have enjoyed looking back at the photographs of Library City. More areas will be covered each week and if you would like to see more images, don’t forget to check out the photograph albums on Flickr and the Manchester Local Image Collection .