MANCHESTER (part 8)
Nearby is Victoria Station with its amusing Edwardian destination canopy, placing towns such as Goole with countries such as Belgium.
Inside you will find the original ticket booths, a great map of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company’s network, luscious gold signs, now a little faded, and a domed cafe, painted in strident colours, encouraging a healthy diet with plaster bunches of bulging fruit. Underneath the wall map there is a huge bronze war memorial to the company war dead.
Another library that hides itself away is the lovely and cool Portico Library on Mosley Street.
The building is classical, by Thomas Harrison, and dates from 1806. The top floor, accessible from Charlotte Street via intercom has been a private members club for readers ever since. The elegant saucer dome and the light and plain design is a glorious evocation of these last years of the Age of Enlightenment.
The wind dial at the far end of the library over the book shelves was manufactured by the same company which now looks after Big Ben in London.
The gentleman given the job of looking after it in the early years was the famous scientist John Dalton, creator of the first atomic theory, identifier of colour blindness and appropriately, the father of modern meteorology.
The first secretary was Dr Peter Mark Roget who is renowned for his Thesaurus which he probably began whilst in Manchester.