It opened on 1 November 1872 in the Bath Street Chapel, before moving in 1878 to the present Grade II-listed building, which was paid for by the people of Lytham. It opened on 30 August 1878 at a cost of £3000, and included a small library of books and a reading room.
In 1898 a new reading room, gymnasium and classrooms were added at a cost of £1500. The extension was added to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and opened by the Duke of Norfolk.
In 1917 the Institute was given in trust to the local council, who have run it ever since. It is now a charitable trust with Fylde Council as the trustee. The freehold was purchased from the Clifton Estate in 1937 for just £6.
Later, in 1922, the library became part of the Municipal Borough of Lytham St Annes. That was at the time when St Anne’s on the Sea and Lytham Urban District Councils were amalgamated. In 1974 the administration of the library was taken over by Lancashire County Council.
The library closed in 2016 when the library service has moved to the Assembly Rooms.
The Institute has housed various facilities over the years with the use of the internal rooms changing over time. The room on the right of the main entrance contained the library and for many years that on the left was the reading room. Many of us fondly remember learning how to play snooker in the back room. There was a small Register office.
In early 2024 the Hewitt lecture room is still in use and the Lytham Heritage Archive is open on Wednesday afternoons on the first floor. Lytham St. Annes Civic Society also have a first floor room holding their archive.
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