Balshaw’s Church of England High School

Visit to John Ryland's Library

1 November 2019


On 31st October, a group of Year 8 students from Balshaw's attended a creative writing workshop at the beautiful John Ryland's Library in Manchester.

After a tour of the gothic building, the students wrote the opening to a story inspired by the architecture. Perfect for Halloween!

Thank you to the students who have written about the visit to John Ryland's Library and you can read a selection about their experience below:

A letter to the staff at John Ryland’s Library
Thank you for letting us come to the Library. I had a lot of fun writing and reading and learning about the gothic style of writing. It was nice to look around all of the exhibitions and the building as a whole was very pretty. Even though the Library is quite old, it looked to me like it was a lot older. Some of the books are very old. I found it fascinating that they had a piece of the earliest recording found of the John Ryland’s Library. Today we visited the John Ryland’s Library and looked around the New Testament. Again, thank you for letting us to the Library.
Oliver Daley (and the rest of Balshaw’s)

John Ryland’s Library
Today we visited the John Ryland’s Library and looked around the beautiful building and wrote a gothic style story. Our tour guide Matt took us round some mini libraries first and got us to explain what we could see. We had a look at some paintings, books and some old pieces of the original bible. We then went to the writing room and started to make some sentence starters and describing words. We then went downstairs to the old entrance and wrote about what the room made us feel, what was in the room and the atmosphere. It had pretty statues and big ceilings with arches. After that we went down to look at some original toilets. Then, we went upstairs to the main library and. we had 5 minutes where we had a look round. Lastly, we went back to the writing room and started our gothic stories. It was an amazing opportunity to have.
Phoebe Rogerson

All about my experience in John Ryland’s Library
When we arrived at John Ryland’s Library, the outside looked modern. The walls on the outside were glass, but you couldn’t see through. When we went inside the first thing we saw was a lovely workshop, filled with wonderful things. The tour man Matt took us upstairs and it went from modern to historical in a quick second. The first room we went in had old pieces of writing locked up in different glass boxes. We went in the room that was connected to the first room and in there was a little library with old, ancient books locked up behind glass. The next room we went in had so many pieces of paper from old Bibles. They had to keep the pieces of paper from the Bibles at a certain temperature or the paper will go mouldy and start to rot.
Hannah Charnock

I really enjoyed the experience that I had in the Library. When i walked into the rooms with the old books i was so amazed at the huge collection you have. It is a gorgeous library and I hope to go again the building really helped with my writing. Thank you for having me and everyone else. Imogen Cory

Today I went to the John Ryland’s library in Manchester. At first, I wasn’t so keen about going since I was worried about getting back in time (although right now it’s 1:17). On the coach I sat by myself looking out the window and writing in my old scrap book. When we got to the library I looked around I was a bit shocked that the ground floor was small but when we got to the main floor (level 1) I was a bit overwhelmed at the size of the library. We hung our bags in the workshop where we also grabbed a pencil, paper, and a clipboard. Matt (our tour guide) got us to do various activities which involved a lot of walking. Eventually I wrote and read out the opening to a gothic story here’s what I said - “My heart was pounding faster than it’s ever done before. But this was different, it was more horrific. I was about to face death itself if I didn’t run. Let me catch you up. Around an hour or two ago it was storming hard. Lighting was flashing thunder was grumbling and I needed to get inside so I ran into a rundown library. As soon as I entered the dust of the room was instantly noticeable. It was covered in webs and all sorts of muck and filth like it hadn’t been touched for a decade. Compared to the pillars though, I was tiny. My eyes then met with this statue of a humanoid figure. It wore a suit and tie and sharp ripped gloves with a horrific head. It had a huge mouth from its nose to its chin with a huge grin.” I want to say thanks to Matt and John Ryland’s Library. Keaton Langner

Here are some photographs from the visit: