Which indoor locations in Manchester are best for historical photography?

Manchester, a city steeped in history, offers an abundance of opportunities for both the amateur and professional photographer. Its striking architecture, coupled with a rich cultural heritage, offers a multitude of indoor locations perfect for capturing the essence of history. In this article, we'll delve into some of the finest historical indoor locations for photography in Manchester.

The Manchester Museum

When it comes to indoor photography, the Manchester Museum offers a fascinating array of subjects. This museum, located on Oxford Street, houses an extensive collection of natural history and cultural artefacts from across the globe.

The museum's diverse collection ranges from Egyptian mummies to prehistoric bones, providing an outstanding backdrop for captivating photographs. The architectural particulars of the museum itself, from its towering stone columns to its intricate stonework, are also worthy of a camera's lens.

Furthermore, the museum's policy on photography is quite generous. Visitors are permitted to take photographs for personal use, offering excellent opportunities for historical photography.

The John Rylands Library

Next on our list is the John Rylands Library, located on Deansgate. This library, a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture, boasts an impressive collection of rare books and manuscripts. The library's ornate interiors, with its vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and rows of antique books, provide a unique setting for historical photography.

Not only does the library offer visual appeal, but it also holds a deep history. Founded in 1900 by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband, the library has since grown into one of the most significant collections of books, manuscripts, and archival materials in the UK.

Photographs taken here are sure to imbue a sense of the rich literary history that pervades this city.

Manchester Art Gallery

The Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street is another indoor location offering great opportunities for historical photography. With a collection spanning six centuries of art, this gallery is home to a collection ranging from Dutch masters to contemporary installations.

The gallery itself is a historic monument, with its Grade I listed building retaining many of its original features. The grand entrance hall, with its sculptures and paintings, and the grand staircase, with its intricate ironwork, provide a perfect backdrop for your historical photographs.

Manchester Town Hall

Moving on to another impressive historical building, we come to the Manchester Town Hall. This Victorian, neo-gothic structure, located in Albert Square, is renowned for its architectural splendour.

The ornate interiors of the Town Hall, including the Great Hall, the Council Chamber, and the Sculpture Hall, are all open for public view. The grandeur of these interiors, coupled with the building's rich history, makes the Town Hall an excellent location for historical photography.

The Imperial War Museum North

Last, but certainly not least, we recommend a visit to the Imperial War Museum North. Located in Trafford Park, this museum is home to a vast collection of war artefacts. While the museum itself is a modern structure, it houses a rich history within its walls.

The museum's collections, which include personal letters, photographs, and military equipment, tell the story of conflict from World War One to the present day. This breadth of history, combined with the museum's striking architecture, offers a unique setting for historical photography.

In conclusion, these indoor locations in Manchester are steeped in history and loaded with photographic potential. Whether you're a seasoned photographer or just starting out, these locations offer a wealth of opportunities to capture stunning historical photographs.

The National Football Museum

For football enthusiasts and photographers alike, the National Football Museum located in the city centre of Manchester is a must-visit. Recognised as one of the world's leading football museums, it offers a unique and engaging experience.

The museum is housed in the Urbis building, a distinctive modern structure that adds a contrasting touch to the city's historical vibe. Inside, the museum holds an extensive collection of football artefacts and memorabilia, from vintage jerseys and boots to historical trophies and footballs. It also features interactive exhibits and a photographic collection that chronicles the history of the sport.

Whether you're an amateur photographer or a professional, the National Football Museum provides an exceptional setting for historical photography. With their generous photography policy, visitors can capture snapshots of the exhibits, adding a sportive flavour to their historical portfolio.

The Museum of Science and Industry

Just a short walk from the city centre in the Greater Manchester area, the Museum of Science and Industry preserves the city's history as a hub of innovation and technological development. This museum, located in the historic buildings of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station, offers a compelling blend of the old and the new.

From the world's first programmable computer to the iconic steam engines, this museum offers a vast array of exhibits that reflect Manchester's industrial past. The museum's collection, which spans 250 years of discoveries, is an absolute dream for history buffs and photographers alike.

The architectural features of the museum, including the old railway station and the 1830 Warehouse, lend themselves perfectly to historical photography. The Museum of Science and Industry is therefore a must-visit for photographers keen to capture Manchester's industrial heritage.


In summary, Manchester's rich history and cultural diversity are beautifully reflected in its variety of indoor venues. From the Manchester Museum's global artefacts to the John Rylands Library's literary treasures, from the Manchester Art Gallery's centuries-spanning collection to the Town Hall's Victorian grandeur, and from the National Football Museum's tribute to the beautiful game to the Museum of Science and Industry's celebration of innovation – each destination offers a unique perspective of Manchester's past.

The city's historical and architectural gems, coupled with generous photography policies, make Manchester United in its appeal to photographers around the world. Whether you are keen on architectural details, historical artefacts, or interesting exhibitions, Manchester has a wealth of indoor locations that are perfect for historical photography. So, why wait? Pack your camera gear and visit Manchester to create your own unique photographic collection.