John Rylands Library For those who set eyes on Deansgate’s John Rylands Library for the first time, ‘library’ might not be the first word that comes to mind. This masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture looks more like a castle or cathedral. When John Rylands died in 1888, he was one of Manchester’s most successful industrialists with a personal fortune of £2.75million. The library was commissioned in 1890 by his wife Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her late husband. This world class collection includes the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment. Other treasures of the vast, varied collection include magnificent illuminated medieval manuscripts and a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.