St. Annes Palace

Quadrant Lodge No.8044 meets at St. Annes Palace in Garden Street in the centre of St. Annes in a conservation area. The building was erected in 1900 as St. Annes Public Hall and Assembly Rooms.

As a town St.Annes is rather unusual in that it did now grow over time. There were just sandhills there prior to 1875 when the town was designed and laid out from scratch.  The Palace was built for the St. Annes Public Hall Company at a cost of £11,000.  It had a seating capacity of 800 with a stage, dressing rooms and was licensed for dramatics and musical events.

But competition from the Pier Pavilion, which opened one year later, the economic viability of the Public Hall suffered and in 1906 the Company went into liquidation.

The building was taken over by a local businessman who changed the name to The Public Hall Picturedrome. In 1922 a company was established to acquire and refurbish the building.   It was renamed The Palace Cinema and Cafes. It had a seating capacity for 1050 people, cafes, shops and a Masonic Hall on the ground floor. The restaurant had seating for 450 and a concert hall with accommodation for 600 on the first floor.

In 1925 the St. Annes Palace Building was sold to the Blackpool Tower Co. for £40,000. The Tower Company continued to operate the cinema until the late 1950`s when the building was sold to Lytham St. Annes Masons who converted the upper floor to a Masonic suite and the ground floor to retailing.

The original building was really quite grand. At one corner is a glazed lantern turret with a small dome. Some of the original features have been removed or altered.

There are two lodge rooms. The larger and principal one has a shallow vaulted ceiling with classic plasterwork decorations,
it is an impressive and grand room.

There is a Pipe Organ, built in 1900 by Ainscough of Preston for a Mr. Mellor who lived at “Fairlawns” in Lytham.  In 1975 that large house was sold by the then owner to a Masonic Trust and converted it to a Masonic Retirement Home. At that time the organ was removed and installed at The Palace.  It is a house organ and is featured in the National Pipe Organ Register. It is now showing its age and most lodge organists prefer to use a modern electronic instrument. “Fairlawns” was sold and converted back to a private house in the mid 1990`s – “plus ca change”.

On entering the building through a somewhat unimpressive door in Garden Street and climbing the stairs there are an interesting set of stained glass panels all featuring Masonic symbols.

These glass panels were originally in the County Hotel in Lytham where they were presented and paid for by Squire Clifton, in 1925, for the Lodge of Triumph No.1061 which met there and where Squire Clifton was a member. The panels were removed and stored many years ago. They were taken out of store and re-sited at The Palace in 2009 and represent an interesting link with Masonic history locally.

In 2009 a programme of refurbishment was commenced with the redecoration of the lodge rooms, bar area, lobby and meeting rooms. Redecoration of the dining room is planned to 2012 together with the replacement of some windows and other work.

Looking further forward, it is hoped to start a programme of renovation of some of the exterior walls where some brick work and other ornamentation have suffered the effects of time.

The recent and on-going refurbishment programme been designed to improve the ambience and comfort of the Masonic Suite and ensure that it continues to be a quality Masonic meeting place.

Quadrant Lodge is the largest of the 17 lodges and side orders that meet there and some of its members play a key role in the management of this impressive building.

That Lodge aims to offer a very warm welcome to new Masons, visiting Brethren and Masons who move to this area and it is now proud of the facilities offered at “The Palace”.