Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Preston (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SD 54000 28932



SD5428NW AVENHAM LANE 941-1/14/5 (North side) 27/07/79 Harris Institute


Formerly known as: The Preston Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Mechanics institute, subsequently the Technological and Science and Art School; now art school. 1846-9, by John Welch, with terraced forecourt of 1849 by George Latham; and additions to rear c.1883. Sandstone ashlar, slate roof with glass skylights. Double-pile plan, plus later additions to the rear. Classical style. Two storeys and 3 bays raised up on a full basement storey (which is projected to form a terraced forecourt: see below); symmetrical, with a central portico, paired corner pilasters, moulded frieze, and dentilled cornice with blocking course. The portico has 2 giant fluted columns with composite caps in antis, the antae with delicate anthemion enrichment to the caps (which is repeated on the corner pilasters), and an emphatic dentilled pediment; and the date "1847" inscribed on the soffit of the entablature. The entrance under the portico has an architrave with frieze inscribed SCHOOL OF ART, a large elaborately carved cresting, an added stone plaque above this inscribed HARRIS INSTITUTE, and a deeply recessed porch with a pedimented doorway. Flanking the portico are tripartite bay windows with panelled aprons, square columnar mullions, and corniced entablatures. Hipped roof over each main block, and between these a rectangular lantern and 2 corniced chimney stacks. The forecourt, approached by a wide flight of steps in 2 stages, the lower with a curved splay, has retaining walls of banded rustication with rock-faced battered piers, and a prominent dentilled cornice, and the whole is protected by balustrades with square panelled piers, those at the foot of the steps carrying urns. The left side has a rock-faced basement storey with a central doorway, and above this a re-entrant with an open colonnaded corridor (now partly glazed) linking the end walls of the front and rear blocks, which have paired corner pilasters, and banded rustication and coupled sashed windows at ground floor. Continued to rear is late C19 addition of 2 storeys and 4 bays, in simple classical style. INTERIOR: 2-cell entrance hall, the front cell with side screens composed of stone columns distyle in antis (now closed with glazed doors and partitions), and both cells with coffered ceilings which have plaster cornices with waterleaf and bead-and-reel enrichment; imperial staircase with elaborate cast-iron balusters; lecture room in rear block with raked seating; former exhibition room at 1st floor of front block (now partitioned), with roof trusses supported by scrolled consoles, and illumination by skylights. History: Institution, founded in 1828, removed to this site from original premises in Cannon Street despite protests of some founder members that it would no longer serve the classes for whom it was intended; function partly superseded by Free Library opened in 1872, and subsequently by Harris Library and Museum (q.v.); converted and enlarged from 1882 to serve as Technological College, parent institution of Harris Technical School in Corporation Street which ultimately became Lancashire Polytechnic.

Listing NGR: SD5400928923


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 27 May 2005
Reference: IOE01/14355/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Convey. Source Historic England Archive
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