This exhibition is part of the Library’s Bones of Paine bicentenary commemoration.

This exhibition, part of the Library’s Bones of Paine commemoration, tells the story of Thomas Paine’s adventurous and eventful life, his narrow escapes from death and his involvement in both the American and French Revolutions. The main focus however is the very modern ideas in his three key publications, Common Sense, Rights of Man and Age of Reason, original early editions of which will be on display.

In November 1819 campaigning journalist William Cobbett brought Paine’s remains back from the USA to the UK. He intended bringing the bones to Manchester for a public meeting, but only got as far as Irlam before the authorities, with the horrors of Peterloo still fresh, warned him off. The Library marks the bicentenary of this bizarre event and celebrates Paine’s revolutionary ideas (and the Library’s marvellous Paine collection) by finally getting him symbolically across the river from Salford to Manchester… Full details of project events at

Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.