A NEW ‘home from home’ is being created at Burnley Mechanics — as the Lancashire Telegraph reveals details of its first major makeover for 35 years.
Empty corners of the 159-year-old landmark are set to be revived by new owners Burnley Leisure.
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Plans for the revamped venue include a new performance space — located on the site of the old Oliver’s Bar — a new lounge bar, dance studio and ice-cream parlour.
The performance space will be known as ‘The Front Room’ and has been mostly funded by the Department of Communities, as part of an arts initiative focusing on the town’s Trinity and Bank Hall wards. This is expected to open next January and will be used for small-scale performance events and social occasions.
Behind that will be a newly-created lounge bar, featuring a trendy new gin collection, devised in partnership with Clitheroe-based spirits experts D Byrne and Company.
And US dessert kings Ben & Jerry will also have a new concession on the first floor, outside the Mechanics’ main auditorium.
Within the next three weeks KLF Dance Studio will be housed in the revamped basement studio, which formerly housed Mid Pennine Arts gallery before the organisation’s move to Neptune Street.
Teachers from the organisation, currently housed in Dean Mill, Plumbe Street, will be offering weekly workshops for all ages and are expecting to move in around three weeks time.
Around £140,000 is being spent on the lounge bar and first-floor improvements, funded by Burnley Council, Burnley Leisure, Carlsberg UK and Wall’s ice cream.
The brewing giant has been the main driver behind the lounge bar transformation.
Coun Bea Foster, executive member for leisure and culture, said: “As part of the council’s agreement in establishing Burnley Leisure, we committed to ensuring that the facilities operated by the trust are well-maintained and fit for purpose.
“This included an £85,000 contribution which was approved as part of the council’s wider capital programme in April 2014. I would encourage people to visit and see for themselves how good the improvements are.”
An open day is being staged on Thursday, September 11.
Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley’s MP, said: “It’s fantastic news. The Mechanics is a major asset to the town.”