101 Treasures of Chetham's

A weekly series in which we highlight some of the Library's most interesting stuff, which as well as famous books and manuscripts includes furniture, paintings, and objects from the museum collection.

Limited space means that much of this material is not on permanent display, making this a rare opportunity to get a closer look at some of the jewels in the Library's crown.

Each weekly instalment is archived to create a unique perspective of the Library's holdings. Click on the links below to see treasures from previous weeks:

Opera of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Sir Henry Knyvett's 'Defence of this Realm'

Ben Jonson's Plato

The Manchester Man

Sir William Hamilton: Campi Phlegraei

Tim Bobbin

Hooke's Micrographia

Clog Almanack

Budé Bible

Thomas Barritt's Sketchbook

Strawberry Hill

Aulus Gellius

John Dee

Newton's Principia

Harrold's Diary

Albert Memorial

Bolton's Harmonia Ruralis

Henry VIII's Prosper of Aquitaine

Saxton's Atlas of England and Wales

Latin Vulgate Bible

Portrait of Humphrey Chetham

Plantin Polyglot Bible

Karl Marx's Desk

Kuerden's History of Lancashire

Fore-edge Painting

Poetry of Alain Chartier

Glass Slides

Hollingworth's Mancuniensis

De Bry's Emblemata


Rocque's Map of London

Library of the Parish Church of Gorton

Christians Awake

Cologne Chronicle

Casson and Berry

Mouth of Hell

Manchester Scrapbook

Valentine's Rebus

Luddite Ticket

Book of Common Prayer

Flores Historiarum

William Seward's Diary

The Pigmy Revels

Papal Prayers of Alexander VII

Register of Swan Marks

Palm Leaf Manuscript

Hiroshige Woodblock Print


Death Mask

Medical Recipes

Mandate from Walter Ralegh

General Wolfe's Sword

Halliwell-Phillips Collection

Theatre Royal Playbills

Lysons' Woodchester

Hogarth Prints

Gibbs' Book of Architecture

Mercator's Atlas

Hobson's Musci Britannici

Lord's Prayer in Shorthand

Bomberg Biblia Rabbinica

Homer Editio Princeps

Grant of Edward VI

De Laet's Novus Orbis

Hymnorum de Sanctis Collectio

The Manchester Comet

John Donne's Poems

Withering's Account of the Foxglove

Milton's Paradise Lost

Percival's Census of Manchester

C16th and C17th Greek Orthodox Books

Works of the French Prophets

Southey's Letters to Espriella

Works of Athanasius Kircher

Arabic New Testament

Works of Terence in French and Latin

James Crossley

Chetham's Library Accessions Register and Booksellers' Invoices

Peterloo Massacre

Besler's Hortus Eystettensis

The Papers of Laurence Vaux

Belle Vue

Sarum Missal

Nuremberg Chronicle

Material Relating to John Dalton

The Armburgh Roll

Incline Press

William Hulme's Survey

Acta Sanctorum

Genoa Quadruplex Psalter

William Tyndale's New Testament

Historic Bindings from the Byrom Collection

Diaries and Life Writing

Reading Room Clock

Humphrey Chetham's Private Papers

South West Prospect

Tractatis de nigromatia

Wooden Printing Press

Thomas Barritt

Thomas Barritt's sketchbook

In May 1821 the Library paid seventy pounds to the widow of Mr Thomas Barritt of Hanging Ditch, Manchester, for her husband's manuscripts. Thomas Barritt was born in 1743 in Withy Grove. At an early age he lost a leg, which he replaced with one of cork. He was a saddler by trade but most of his energy was spent on antiquarian pursuits. Barritt was well aware that the town of his boyhood had been transformed into a major city and his sketchbooks are full of scenes of a bygone and lost Manchester, a view of the pre-industrial town.

Ducking stool from Thomas Barritt's sketchbook

The Manchester Ducking Stool was originally situated at Pool Fold (now off Cross Street), but it was moved to the Infirmary pond (now Piccadilly Gardens) towards the end of the eighteenth century. The ducking stool was traditionally used as a punishment for prostitutes and bawds.

Halton Castle from Thomas Barritt's sketchbook

Halton Castle, built in the eleventh century by the barons of Halton, commanded the Mersey crossing near Runcorn. During the Civil War the castle was a crucial site and in the late 1640s its defences were dismantled and it was left in a ruinous condition. Barritt's illustration is thus an attempt to picture the castle before its destruction.

Appleby Castle from Thomas Barritt's sketchbook

A view of Appleby Castle. Barritt notes: 'the ditch which is deep is now a shrubbery railed round to prevent accidents or cattle from falling down the precipice'.