Portico Library secures development grant from National Lottery

The Portico (pic credit Joe Fenn)

The Portico Library on Manchester’s Mosley Street has been awarded £453,964 as a development grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to “transform” its historic building.

Their project, Reuniting the Portico Library, Uniting People aims to create an accessible and sustainable space for arts, books, learning and history in the library, first set up in 1806.

Inside the Portico

The ambitious new plan aims to unite all three original floors of the Grade II* Listed building for the first time in more than 100 years.

Plans include a dining and exhibition area, a ‘Northern Bookshop’, educational activities, a collections-care lab, plus flexible and high-quality event and meeting spaces. 

The upper floors will seek to conserve and enhance the existing heritage, showcasing the Portico’s book collection, manuscript archive and architecture and will collaborate with partners and a Critical Friends group to examine the Library’s radical roots and complex legacies today.

John Carpenter, the Portico Library’s Chair, said: “The news that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting the Portico Library’s bold scheme to open up and share its extraordinary heritage and collection, to Manchester residents and visitors, is a major cultural signal to Manchester, the North and the UK.

“This visionary project, years in the making, fulfils our mission of working with the many people in Manchester to explore, share, and celebrate their diverse stories and the city’s literary and global heritage. Embracing creativity, collaboration and inclusivity, the project will unlock the Library’s past to plan for the future. We would like to thank the National Lottery players who have made it possible to realise our vision.”

Dave Moutrey

Dave Moutrey, Director & Chief Executive at HOME and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council, said: “2023 has been an exceptional year for culture in the city: the reopening of the Manchester Museum, the launch of Aviva Studios – the permanent home for Manchester International Festival, and now news of substantial funding to transform the historic Portico Library. A bright and exciting future lies ahead for our ever-expanding culture corridor.”