Burnley Mechanics

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Burnley Mechanics
Burnley Mechanics, Manchester Road - geograph.org.uk - 1318506.jpg
Burnley Mechanics is located in Burnley town centre
Burnley Mechanics
Burnley Mechanics
Address Manchester Road
Coordinates 53°47′16″N 2°14′40″W / 53.7878°N 2.2445°W / 53.7878; -2.2445
Type Theatre
Opened 1855
Architect James Green (1854–55)
William Waddington (1888)
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated 19 November 1997
Reference no. 1244905

The Burnley Mechanics is a theatre and former Mechanics' Institute in the market town of Burnley, Lancashire, England. It was built 1854–55 and converted to a theatre in 1979. Historic England has designated the theatre a Grade II* listed building.


The Mechanics' Institute was built 1854–55 to a design by Todmorden architect James Green. Sir Charles Towneley opened the institute in 1855.[1] It was a club for "reading and discussion by an 'earnest few'".[2] As the town grew, the institute increasingly became a social and cultural community centre.[1] Architect William Waddington enlarged the building in 1888.[3] Burnley Borough Council bought the building in 1959 and leased it to companies for a variety of leisure purposes.[1][4] In 1979, the interior was reconstructed as a theatre.[3][4]

Burnley Mechanics was designated a Grade II* listed building by Historic England on 29 September 1977.[3] The Grade II* designation—the second highest of the three grades—is for "particularly important buildings of more than special interest".[5] It is described by Hartwell and Pevsner as "one of Burnley's best buildings".[3] John Champness calls its façade "certainly the finest Classical façade in Burnley and among the very best of its date in the country".[6]


Bunley Mechanics is built in the Palazzo style in sandstone ashlar.[3] Green's original construction is on a rectangular plan with five bays at the front; it is on two storeys.[4] The ground floor has Venetian-style windows with round, rusticated arches.[4] Waddington's extension at the rear of the building is on a slightly lower level.[4] Its design matches that of the rest of the building, but the newer windows have architraves with pilasters.[3]

On the second floor, there are central windows flanked by Corinthian columns and pilasters.[4] The entrances to the building have coupled Corintian columns.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Burnley Mechanics — Outline", www.burnley.gov.uk, Burnley Borough Council, retrieved 13 June 2011 
  2. ^ Tylecote, pp. 112–113
  3. ^ a b c d e f Historic England, "Burnley Mechanics (1244905)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 13 June 2011 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Hartwell & Pevsner, pp. 180–181
  5. ^ "Listed Buildings", National Heritage List for England, English Heritage, archived from the original on 27 December 2012, retrieved 13 June 2011 
  6. ^ Champness, p. 134

External links[edit]