FOLLOWING the reaction to last week's photo of the Derby Hotel, we know that Looking Back readers enjoy seeing some of the imposing buildings which once could be found in Bury town centre.

Taken in 1971, this photograph shows the Athenaeum on Market Street.

Opened in 1850, the Athenaeum was a replacement for the Mechanics Institute which had outgrown earlier premises.

The Earl of Derby donated the land for the new building and also the sum of 100 guineas towards the building costs.

A well-stocked library and reading room were key features of the building which later added a billiards and snooker room.

Lectures, discussions and recitals and performances were also staged there. The distinguished Victorian actor Henry Irving once performed there.

The Athenaeum would move to new premises in 1957 in the former town infirmary on the corner of Moss Street and Haymarket Street and the council took over the running of the old building we can see in our photograph.

A number of plans were put forward for its future use but in 1971 it was demolished - ironically just two weeks before a preservation order would have saved it