For over a century the library has provided a lending service as well as a reading room and reference books for solicitors and lawyers in and around Manchester. The building is noted for its stained-glass windows, by Evans of Birmingham. The council room, where the library keeps its older, more valuable books, has a stained-glass ceiling patterned with coloured squares of glass, some of the leading in which is in bad need of repair. Downstairs is the lending library and reading room. Over the front door is a coat of arms showing a ship, which symbolises Manchester city, a book to symbolise the library and the roman numerals I to X - the Ten Commandments - as a symbol for law.
Almost nothing is known about Thomas Hartas: it is thought that he was not local and that the law library was the only building of any note that he designed. Some prints of the library, priced pounds 50, are still available; all proceeds from the sales go towards the appeal. For further information, contact: Garth Lindrup, the Manchester Law Library Appeal, Addleshaw Sons & Latham, Dennis House, Marsden Street, Manchester M2 1JD, telephone 061-832 5994.