The Athenaeum was built by public subscription in 1852 in Church Street from magnesium limestone excavated in the building of the docks. In the early days of the town, the building was used for many purposes including a meeting place for the Improvement Commissioners, a Mechanics' Institute, a library, a schoolroom and as a 'suitable and commodious edifice where public meetings and entertainments' could be held. It was called The West Hartlepool Literary and Mechanics Institution which on older images can be seen written under the eaves of the building.
Taken in the 1990s, the image shows the 1852 Atheneum building on the upper floor on the corner of Church Street and Lynn Street. The current entrance is still in use and is to the left of Pennine Glass in the arched doorway. A dated plaque is on the wall close to the entrance.More detail »