History Day 2020: Events & Resources at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, Manchester, was delighted to take part in History Day 2020. This online event took place on Thursday 19 November and was instigated by the Institute of Historical Research and the Senate House Library

Dr Janette Martin
Special Collections
4 min readNov 8, 2020


photograph of the historic reading room at the John Rylands Library

The Historic Reading Room, The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

On Thursday the 19 November 2020 several live events took place including a virtual tour of the fantastic neo-Gothic John Rylands Library building, a interview with academics about their collection-based research and the chance to meet and question curators and reader services staff.

For those unable to attend we have added videos and further information on what you missed. You can also contact our specialist curators at any time or contact the Reader Services Team via uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk

Statue of Enriqueta Rylands with green lamps and a computer in the background
Statute of Enriqueta Rylands, Historic Reading Room

Programme of live events

Let’s Talk about Food: In Conversation on the New World


Be the first to watch a new film and take part in a live Q&A around the food adventures of European settler colonists in the Americas. Historian Dr Rachel Winchcombe (University of Leeds) and plant scientist Professor Amanda Bamford (University of Manchester) discuss how the same foods are now shaping debates about sustainability and environmental change. Filmed on location in the beautiful and historic surroundings of The John Rylands Research Institute and Library.

stone corridor with vaulted ceilings
The cloisters at the John Rylands Library

Online tour of the John Rylands Library and a chance to ask our history curators questions.

3.00pm — 4.00pm

About this Event

Join us online for a live lockdown tour around the most popular spots in the atmospheric John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. Meet members of our Visitor Engagement Team who will share stories around the architecture and history of the library. Then catch up with Curators and the Reader Services Team to find out more about resources held in the Library and how they might fit your research interests. The world-class collections held at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library are breath taking in scope and we may just have the perfect collection for you …

Below you can take a 15 minute virtual tour of the John Rylands Library Building on Deansgate

Join Jack Hardman, Reader Services Assistant, on a digital tour of the Rylands.

For those who were unable to attend you can access the Powerpoint presentation which gives an overview of our key collections here. Below is a video explaining how to access the Library in person during our current restricted service.

If you are unable to visit the Library due to Covid restrictions, there is also a video explanation of how to book a one hour virtual appointment with Reader Services.

What can you find in The University of Manchester Special Collections?

elaborate design in gold, blue and red
Illustrated copy of the Kullīyāt (collected poems) of ʻUrfī Shīrāzī

Our Special Collections span 5 millennia, contain several hundred languages and are written on every medium — from papyrus to pixels. We hold some of the most significant books and manuscripts in the world alongside unique archive collections, maps and visual materials. The collections cover a wide range of subjects: theology and philosophy; literature, drama and music; art and archaeology; science and medicine; economic, social, political and military history; travel and exploration

two women rolling large milk churns near a railway track
Two women in uniform supporting large ‘milk churns’ standing on railway platform

You can find out much more on the links below about the breadth of our Special Collections and how to access our digital materials

Please do follow us on Instagram: @thejohnrylands and on Twitter: @UoMSpecColl and @JRRIManchester

black and white engraving — a contemporary reworking of Peterloo with a mounted soldier and protesters with placards
Handkerchief by the artist Mancsy to commemorate 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre

This page will remain as a source of advice and information and we encourage you to look at the embedded videos and other links that tell you more about how we can support your post-doctoral research.



Dr Janette Martin
Special Collections

Research and Learning Manager (Special Collections) interested in developing online learning resources drawn from the spectacular collections held at the UoM