Burnley Mechanics in Burnley first opened its doors in 1855. It’s aim was to be a shining example of the Mechanics Movement.
In addition, it hoped to provide better education and skills for the rapidly expanding workforce. Indeed, this was to meet the needs of a changing society during the Industrial Revolution. Local people flocked to the venue to enjoy classes in arts, science and technology. Consequently, Burnley Mechanics became the focus of the town’s cultural activity.
As a result of changing social and economic patterns, the original Mechanics Institute closed in 1959. In the early 1960s the building was purchased by Burnley Council. Thereafter, Burnley Mechanics took on a new role as an entertainment venue, hosting famous performers. This included a young singer called Tom Jones. For the next 18 years, the building had a variety of uses from concert hall to ballroom to bingo club. Finally, it closed for extensive refurbishment in 1979.
Burnley Mechanics was re-opened in 1986 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, it has become the town’s premier entertainments venue. In the years that have followed, the Mechanics have hosted some of the world’s finest talent. Indeed, from all realms of the performing arts including the highly acclaimed Burnley International Blues Festival. This has helped ensure its international status as a unique and bustling venue.
Burnley Mechanics is a tribute to the people of Burnley; people who backed the rebirth when it was most needed and who have supported the arts so well throughout its history.