Live music venue in Preston getting ready to rock again after 23 years of silence

A ramshackle old pub, once hailed as one of Preston's top live music venues, will soon be ready to rock again after developers were given the cue to revamp it.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 1:14 pm

The owners of the historic Lamb Hotel in Church Street have been granted listed building consent to upgrade the 200-year-old building to provide 12 flats, with an art gallery and entertainment venue underneath.

The Lamb pulled its last pint in 23 years ago and was converted into bedsits. Now new owners Dr Rachel and Joseph Waqas want to relaunch the building as smart flats with a commercial use on the ground floor and in the basement.

Planning officers have given their approval saying bringing the property back into use will result in "considerable benefits" for the city, while at the same time retaining the significance of the distinctive building.

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The Lamb was famous for its live music in the 80s and 90s.

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The pub, which dates back to the early 1800s, was originally called The Holy Lamb, but dropped the word Holy in 1874 because felt to be inappropriate for an alehouse.

Preston architects Studio John Bridge say the proposed work would “enhance the building experience and its reference to the times when the Lamb was a thriving public house in the live music scene of the 80s and 90s.”

For boss John Bridge it is something of a labour of love - his dad Rob used to play at the pub with the rock band Touch in the 1990s.

The Lamb as it looked in 1965.

At one time the Lamb was noted for folk music, but it also became known as Preston’s premier “alternative” live music venue.

It was a regular haunt for names like Bobby Elliott, drummer with the Hollies, ex-Rubettes guitarist Tony Thorpe (with his band Gas Company) and Ian Kirkham who often played with Simply Red.

Comedian Phil Cool was also known to drop in to sing with Bob Johnson and the Bobcats.

It closed in 1999, but music lovers held a reunion in 2009 to mourn its passing 10 years on.

The Lamb also had connections with Preston North End because a member of the famous Invincibles double-winning side, goalkeeper James Trainer, was landlord there in 1893/94.

A report by planning officers says: "The proposed works would not cause substantive harm to the significance of the Grade II listed building.”