Mystery trip


Trips & Adventures – 28 November 2019

Passports – check, walking boots – check, umbrellas – check. We were ready for our mystery trip. Were we going to Tony’s house for tea and cakes? Were we visiting a tattoo studio to get matching “Out In The City” tattoos? Actually, nine brave souls solved the first mystery – which was to find Stand J at Piccadilly Bus Station in the centre of Manchester.

A couple of minutes walk away on Charlotte Street is the “hidden gem” of The Portico Library, an independent subscription library designed in the Greek Revival style by Thomas Harrison of Chester and built between 1802 and 1806. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade II* listed building and has been described as “the most refined little building in Manchester”.

The library was established as a result of a meeting of Manchester businessmen in 1802 which resolved to found an “institute uniting the advantages of a newsroom and a library”. A visit by four of the men to the Athenaeum in Liverpool inspired them to achieve a similar institution in Manchester. Money was raised through 400 subscriptions from Manchester men and the library opened in 1806.

The library is mainly focused on 19th-century literature, and the first secretary was Peter Mark Roget who began his thesaurus here.

Other notable members include John Dalton, Reverend William Gaskell, Sir Robert Peel and more recently Eric Cantona.

We enjoyed tomato and basil soup and a range of delicious sandwiches with our teas and coffees. Whilst soaking up the relaxing atmosphere, Michelle told us about the history of the building and some of the incredible books in the collection.

Part two of our mystery trip was to visit Gaydio, the UK’s first LGBT FM radio service which launched full-time on 18 June 2010.

The station attracts around 850,000 listeners per month, making it one of the biggest LGBT media platforms in the UK. Matt, who presents the morning Breakfast Show, gave us a talk and a tour of the studio. Gaydio is broadcast on 88.4 FM in Greater Manchester, as well as online and via mobile apps. We were made thoroughly welcome and really enjoyed our visit.

Finally, we popped into The Richmond Tea Rooms in the heart of Manchester’s gay village for refreshments and rather large slices of cake!

More photos can be seen here




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