Chetham's Library Manchester N/A

Chetham's Library in Manchester, England, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. Chetham's Hospital, which contains both the library and Chetham's School of Music, was established in 1653 under the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580–1653), for the education of "the sons of honest, industrious and painful parents", and a library for the use of scholars.
Humphrey Chetham was the most successful gentleman merchant of seventeenth-century Lancashire. Born in Crumpsall, near Manchester, he made his fortune in the cloth trade, mainly in buying and selling fustian. In the 1620s he began to purchase land and property in the Manchester area. In 1631 he was fined for refusing a knighthood. In 1634 he was appointed High Sheriff of the County of Lancashire, but refused a second term on the grounds of infirmity and old age.
Towards the end of his life he began to pay for the education and maintenance of twenty-two underprivileged boys from the Manchester region. The school he founded was known as Chetham’s Hospital because it was a place of shelter as well as instruction. Humphrey Chetham died unmarried on 20 September 1653 at the age of 72. The stamp of the Library are taken from Chetham’s personal arms.

The library has been in continuous use since its founding in 1653. The sandstone building, dating from 1421, was built originally to shelter the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church. The Manchester Free Grammar School for Lancashire Boys was built between the church and the college buildings between 1515 and 1518. Following a series of closures and re-openings, it was re-founded by charter as Christ's College and re-occupied by the warden and fellows. In 1653 the college buildings were bought with the bequest of Humphrey Chetham, for use as a free library and charity school. At that time there was no facility for independent study in the north of England. Chetham's will had stipulated that the Library should be "for the use of schollars and others well affected", and instructed the librarian "to require nothing of any man that cometh into the library". Chetham wanted a library that would rival the college libraries of Oxford and Cambridge.
In order to protect the newly acquired books from rising damp the Library was housed upstairs on the second floor and, in accordance with the provisions of Chetham's will, the books were chained to the bookshelves. Its first catalogue was not produced until 1791 in Latin, and listed only the size and subject of each book. In the mid-eighteenth century the practice of chaining the books was abandoned, when gates were erected to prevent theft.
The library holds more than 100,000 volumes of printed books, of which 60,000 were published before 1851

Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Chetham's Library Manchester (Stamp 1) Title: Chetham's Library Manchester (Stamp 1)
Arms: Quarterly 1 & 4. A griffin segreant within a bordure sable bezanty (Chetham) 2. A chevron gules between three fleams (Chetham) 3. Gules a cross potent (Crosse) a crescent for cadency
Crest: A demi griffin charged with a cross potent
Motto: Quod tuum tene
Helmet: Esquire
Dimensions (height x width): 76mm x 45mm
Quarterings: 1 & 4. A griffin segreant within a bordure sable bezanty (Chetham) 2. A chevron gules between three fleams (Chetham) 3. Gules a cross potent (Crosse) a crescent for cadency
Heraldic Charges: bordure bezanty, Heraldic Charges: chevron between, Heraldic Charges: cross potent, Heraldic Charges: fleams (3), Heraldic Charges: griffin segreant within, Heraldic Charges: griffin, demi-