The Preston and County Catholic Club

The Preston and County Catholic Club was founded in 1906 at the instigation of Father Canning, S.J., who was on the staff of St. Wilfrid's Church in Preston. A letter of proposal which was subsequently issued bore the names of prominent Catholic gentlemen who had been present at the inaugural meeting on Wednesday May 30th:

 Major Anderton  A. Mooney, Esq.  T. L. Smith, Esq.
 C. Eastwood, Esq.  H. C. Pilkington, Esq.  S. Wilkinson, Esq.
 R. Hull, Esq.  C. J. Pyke, Esq.  W. Wood, Esq.

The main object of the Club was to provide a Headquarters for the promotion of Catholic interests.

Although there were already two well-established Catholic bodies in the neighbourhood, the First Catholic Charitable Society, and the Broughton Charitable Society, they only met infrequently, and it was felt that in view of the many serious problems which faced the Catholics at this time, not least among them being Education, Catholic interests would benefit from a permanent centre of action.

The Club, essentially non-political in character, aimed to bring together Catholic professional and business gentlemen from all over Lancashire; hence the title, The Preston and County Catholic Club. A Limited Company was formed bearing that name, with its Registered Office at number 4 Winckley Square, the house on the south-western corner of Winckley Street, formerly owned by Nicholas Grimshaw. Here the Club opened, duly fitted up with "all the up-to-date requirements of a Social Club, i.e. Reading Rooms, supplied with leading periodicals, Catholic and Non-Catholic; a Reference Library, especially consisting of standard Catholic works on topics of public interest; Refreshment Rooms, Billiards, etc., etc."

Until the 1960s the Club occupied the whole of number 4 Winckley Square, after which the ground floor was let off for office accommodation and the Club confined its operation to the upper floors only. In 1973 it moved to the western side of Winckley Square, to number 30 where, because of the proximity of the Catholic College, it became closely connected with the Preston Catholic College Association.

Finally, on the 31st July, 1988, the Preston and County Catholic Club moved out of Winckley Square to hospitable quarters in Columba House, Deepdale Road, Preston, where it thrives anew.

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© Marian Roberts 1966