Bust of Trafford philanthropist John Rylands unveiled

A bust of entrepreneur and philanthropist John Rylands has been unveiled at Stretford Public Hall.

The Mayor of Trafford, Cllr Tom Ross, gave a speech to a gathered audience while unveiling the impressive sculpture.

The bust, which was re-located from Trafford Local Studies Library, was designed in 1894 by the firm Gaffin and is believed to have been used as a template for the statue located in the John Rylands library.

Throughout his life, Mr Rylands became known for his philanthropy. In 1877 Mr Rylands, who lived in Longford Hall in Stretford’s Longford Park, paid for six cottages in Longford Park to provide homes for elderly ladies and in 1878 built Stretford Public Hall at a cost of £11,600. Later additions included a free lending library in 1883 and also the first public baths in Stretford.

Cllr Ross told the audience he was delighted to be unveiling the bust. He said:

John Rylands lived a long and full life, a successful businessman and wealthy man he travelled abroad extensively. He died on 11th December 1888 aged 87 at Longford Hall in Stretford and was buried at Southern Cemetery.

After his death in 1889 his widow Enriqueta Rylands, determined to commemorate her late husband founded the John Rylands Library in Deansgate, the architect Basil Champneys designed the striking gothic building, which took ten years to build. It was opened to public readers in 1900 and since 1972 has been part of the University of Manchester.

It is fitting for the bust to now be located at Stretford Public Hall, built from funds provided by John Rylands and where more people will be able to see and admire it.”

Posted on Wednesday 1st May 2019