Chetham's Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest surviving public library in Britain. It was established under the will of Humphrey Chetham, a prosperous Manchester textile merchant, banker and landowner. The building that houses Chetham's was built in 1421 to accommodate the priests of Manchester's Collegiate Church and remains one of the most complete medieval complexes in the north west of England. The beautiful old sandstone building, together with the magnificent library interior, create a unique atmosphere for readers and visitors alike. The Library holds rich collections of printed works, periodicals and journals, broadsides and other ephemera. There are substantial holdings of manuscripts and archives, as well as thousands of images including prints, drawings, photographs and paintings. Chetham's has been in continuous use as a free public library for over 350 years, and the strength and breadth of its collections, coupled with its rich history, ensures that the Library continues to be both a significant centre for study and research, and a deservedly popular place to visit.