Chetham’s Library

About Us

Chetham’s Library was established under the will of Humphrey Chetham in 1653 along with provisions for a school for poor boys, which has now become Chetham’s School of Music.

The building that houses the library was built in 1421 to accommodate a college of priests and remains one of the most complete medieval domestic complexes to survive in England.

The entire collection at Chetham’s Library has been designated by Arts Council England as one of national and international importance and continues to expand its collection by specialising in the history and topography of Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Chetham’s Library offers hourly admissions Monday – Friday for our visitors, which include both self-guided and volunteer led guided tours of the building.

Volunteering at Chetham’s Library

We’re always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our friendly team. If you enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, and share our passion for providing an excellent welcome to visitors to our historic library, then becoming a Visitor Engagement volunteer could be perfect for you.

  • “The library is a gorgeous, energising space. I love the smell and the light. It seems to capture visitors’ imaginations as much as it does mine.“

    Erica • Chetham's Library Volunteer
  • “All the ‘mystery’ items here, I love sharing their stories!”

  • “If you have a passion for talking about interesting places
    and history and like to meet new people then Chetham’s
    Library offers a wonderful opportunity.”

    Volunteering at Chetham’s Library