Accrington Conservative Club

Date Visited: April 2007

When opened in October 1891, Accrington Conservative Club was the largest Conservative Club in the country. It was financed by the local textile machinery millionaire John Bullough and included offices, a billiards room, a lecture hall and a large assembly hall named in honour of its benefactor the Bullough Room. The ballroom on the top floor was a magnificent affair, stretching more or less the whole length of the building and could hold a thousand revellers. The stately four storey stone facade made for an impressive building, and belied it’s somewhat humble surroundings in a small Lancashire town forever in the shadow of its two bigger neighbours, Blackburn and Burnley.

In later years, the club became a nightclub and was known as Churchill’s, although this was closed in 2004 following the death of a customer. Thereafter, it fell into disrepair and seemed to change hands several times without any progress being made on renovation, possibly due to its Grade II listing.

A slightly precarious entrance took us into the basement and we worked our way up the slightly garish nightclub interior. Although there were signs of renovation, the building was in a general state of decay, not very secure, and frequented by local youths who had vandalised the interior. Needless to say, the magnificent ballroom was the highlight, although the removal of one of the huge windows left it exposed to the elements and doubtless accelerated the decay.

Following several years of nothing happening other than a slightly bizarre dispute over ownership, plans were put forward for regeneration. And still nothing happened, until early in 2016 the place mysteriously went up in flames and was totally destroyed. A sad end to a magnificent building.