#letthecultureshine: Win a Pair of Tickets to Everyman!


Manchester’s Top 5 Heritage Sites

Image © The John Rylands Library via Facebook

Some fab spots to visit during the October Half Term…

Anyone who’s been in Manchester’s town centre any time over the last few years will have no doubt the number of new buildings being thrown up at a pretty rapid rate. But as the tide of time flows forward and the skyline becomes cluttered with yet more glass and steel, the area still has its fair share of historic haunts – from neo-Gothic libraries to humongous telescopes. Here’s a few old classics that are worth a visit…

Image credit: Victoria Baths via Facebook

Victoria Baths

Hathersgate Road, Manchester, M13 0FE

At the top we’ve got Victoria Baths – a Grade II listed swimming pool and Turkish baths which first opened its doors in 1906. Those with a television might have clocked this place on seemingly about 30% of all adverts currently doing the rounds – but for those who haven’t, it’s an old tile-covered window into what sport and leisure looked like over 100 years ago.

This recently renovated gem is host to all manner of events throughout the year – from craft beer festivals to vintage fairs - and occasionally hosts the odd swimming gala. They also run regular tours of the place and are slowly but surely raising money to once again run it as a fully functional public pool.

Image credit: The John Rylands Library via Facebook

John Rylands Library

150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH

Next up is a cracking spot by the name of John Rylands Library. According to a quick Wikipedia scour, John Rylands was an entrepreneur and philanthropist during the industrial revolution and was apparently Manchester’s first multi-millionaire. He died in 1888, and eleven years later his wife Enriqueta – keen to honour his name (and presumably do something worthwhile with all his dosh) – founded the John Rylands Library.

As you might expect, this place is full of books (over 250,000 of them, last time we counted), but the real star of the show is the building itself. With its ornate design, the sandstone construction looks more like a church or a cathedral than anywhere you’d go to pick up a plastic-backed copy of the latest Clive Cussler. A most dignified spot to snoop around on a rainy afternoon in the city.

Image credit: James Hall via Flickr

St Mary’s Church AKA the Hidden Gem

17 Mulberry Street, Manchester, M2 6LN

Only a stone’s throw from John Rylands Library on a quiet back street lies the church known to most as the Hidden Gem.

Officially titled St Mary’s Catholic Church, this spot (rebuilt in 1848 after some dodgy builders caused the roof to cave in) is the perfect sanctuary from Saturday shoppers. And thanks to the recent demolition of a nearby building, this spot isn’t half as hidden as its nickname suggests. It’s probably worth mentioning that this isn’t exactly the sort of place you could spend hours inside (unless you forget where the door is), but if you’re already in the area it’s definitely worth a look.

Image credit: Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre via Facebook

Jodrell Bank Observatory

The University of Manchester, Macclesfield, SK11 9DL

Here we’ve got the youngest spot on the list, Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. Established in 1945 as a site for an astronomer called Bernard Lovell to pursue his passion for investigating cosmic rays, this place is home to what was once the largest steerable radio telescope in the world, the Lovell Telescope.

Recently voted Britain’s greatest ‘Unsung Landmark’, this 250ft behemoth was used to track both Russian and American spacecraft in the space race, and received the first photographs from the 1966 Soviet moon landing. And there’s more to this UNESCO World Heritage site than just massive telescopes. There’s a fancy visitor centre and, perhaps most importantly, the café sells a wide variety of cakes.

Image credit: Ordsall Hall via Facebook

Ordsall Hall

322 Ordsall Lane, Salford, M5 3AN

Rounding things off, we’ve got Ordsall Hall – an immaculate former manor house in Salford which dates back over 750 years. Originally built as the home of a man named Sir John Radclyffe, this place was reportedly used as a hiding place by Guy Fawkes and for a time during the Second World War it was used to house a radio station

Oh yeah, and in 2005 Derek Acorah and the Most Haunted crew paid a visit to investigate the ghost of a woman who died of a broken heart following the death of her twin brother is said to linger in the great hall…the gardens are meant to be nice too!