Menu

Preston Masonic Hall, a long and fascinating history

Posted on - 24th April, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Preston's Masonic Hall Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Preston’s Masonic Hall Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Masonic Hall in Preston has elements that date back to 1837. However, most of the current building was constructed in the 1940s, incorporating older buildings. The site began life as a Methodist Chapel and Sunday School, in Saul Street. This is near to the current court buildings.

Advertisement
Map from 1890 showing the original chapel and school Pic: OS Maps
Map from 1890 showing the original chapel and school Pic: OS Maps

The first Methodist Hall. 1787

The first Methodist Hall in Preston in Orchard Street Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The first Methodist Hall in Preston in Orchard Street Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Saul Street was not the first Methodist Chapel in Preston. The first was built on an old fruit orchard on Black Horse Yard, near Orchard Street. That was in 1787. The building was probably altered in the 19th century. This area is now under the shops, just off Friargate. The Orchard originally had a moat around it. This is referenced on page 24 of Garrett’s Makers of Wesleyan Methodism in Preston (1890).

This is an interesting book that covers a lot of the history of Preston in the 19th century. However some things don’t change. One chapter is titled ‘The celebration of the restoration of peace with Russia’. This was from 1856 and another war involving the Crimea.

Saul Street Methodist Chapel, 1837

The Sunday School is to the right, with the arched windows and date stone Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Sunday School is to the right, with the arched windows and date stone Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Saul Street Methodist Chapel opened in 1837. In 1866 a Sunday School was added.

The 1950s saw a lot of redevelopment in the area and most of the buildings on the map above were razed to the ground. However, the Sunday School was one of the few survivors.

The Sunday School opens, 1866

The surviving Sunday School building Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The surviving Sunday School building Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Sunday School is still incorporated into the Masonic Hall. The original chapel was to the left and was demolished.

Sunday schools were set up in the 18th century and were often the only education working children got. They also performed a religious function as many were associated with churches and chapels.

Lessons in reading, writing and bible studies, were provided.

Converted to a Masonic Hall, 1944

During the war work started on converting the old Methodist Chapel and Sunday School into a Masonic Hall. The chapel was demolished but the school building was retained. Interestingly, mixing old and new was innovative at the time, but probably expedient due to war time shortages.

The new frontage was art-deco in style. Art-deco was still popular into the 1950s. The school building is now used as the kitchen and one of the lodge rooms.

The main hall has a large ballroom along with a set of wood-panelled dining rooms

Current facilities

These days the Hall can be hired for a range of occasions including weddings and corporate events.

The main hall Pic: William Matthews
The main hall Pic: William Matthews
One of the dining rooms Pic: Preston Masons
One of the dining rooms Pic: Preston Masons

Corporate function rooms are available for 12 to 200 attendees. These can also be fully catered.

The building is also open for the Heritage Open Days in September.



Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

Share
Preston in pictures Sunny DaysTelephone Boxes, Market Street, PrestonMarket Street PrestonPintxos, PrestonGrowler 37610Lane Ends, PrestonLost RailwayFish & Chips View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's weekly newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday rounding up our best content from the last week and a look ahead to what's happening.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.