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My Greater Manchester: a local’s guide

Pages of history

Chetham’s Library is a city-centre secret even to most Mancunians: a library that dates back to 1653 in a 1420s building. It lays claim to being the oldest free public library in the English-speaking world – the emphasis being on “free” and “public”. The collection is remarkable and rare and the building is a place of pilgrimage. Friedrich Engels used to study here with Karl Marx: you can sit at the table where they laid down the foundations of the Communist Manifesto.

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