Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Athenaeum, Princess Street

Athenaeum, Princess Street. (c) Lookingatbuildings.

The grand exterior of the Athenaeum building on Princess Street does not suggest a pub or club, but it was originally built in 1835-38 for the gentlemen of Manchester.  The club contained drinking areas, a billiards room (1901 photo), dining room plus lecture hall (Charles Dickens once spoke) and news room.

The Athenaeum Club was designed by Charles Barry (who later gave his name to one of the Hulme Crescents), modelled on the Renaissance palaces of Florence and Rome, and it was quickly copied by Manchester's textile magnates around the city, particularly around Piccadilly.  Seen in 1938 when it was taken over as government office, and again in the '50s, it's now been cleaned of the grime and soot and is used by the City Art Galleries [1] (Manchester Art Gallery is seen to the left in the above picture).

The inscription around the top reads: "Initiated A.D. MDCCCXXXV ~ Athenaeum ~ Erected A.D. MDCCCXXXVIII for the Advancement and Diffusion of Knowledge".

1. Batsford's Manchester Then & Now, Jonathan Schofield (2009).


  1. Mainly frequented by students looking to get even cheaper food than Wetherspoons. Real ale on, though.

  2. This isn't the York St Athenaeum Tyson! Unfortunately we've still got to visit that one this year. Never a pleasure, seems to attract the scrotes and students.
    This Athenaeum is still a popular venue, but for art enthusiasts rather than ale quaffers.