The Anstice – A Proud History at the Heart of Madeley
Standing right in the centre of Madeley it’s hard to miss the ‘Anstice Working Mens Club and Institute’. Donated to the community of Madeley in 1869, the building is a memorial to Mr John Anstice, a prominent and well respected mine owner and philanthropist. It was added to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest on 8 April 1983 and is listed at grade II.
Over the years, the Anstice has been the host of the local Library, Lloyds Bank, a Dentist and provided a place for improvement (education) of workers. The square outside became the gathering place for all public events and announcements, such as coronations and carnivals.
During the 20th century. the Anstice became well known for its outstanding Ballroom, according to some ‘the best outside of Blackpool’ and held many dances and concerts. There are still numerous Madeley couples who courted at The Anstice. Membership of the club peaked in the early 1970’s at almost 3,000.
Sadly, like many traditional working mens clubs, The Anstice has suffered a steep decline. It was particularly hard hit as income could not match the need for substantial repair or updating of such a large building. In April 2014 the Committee of the Club decided to cease operating and handed the building over to a Liquidator.
On hearing this decision, there was a huge groundswell of support to restore the building and reopen it for the benefit of the local community for whom it was originally built.
The original “Save The Anstice” campaign initially attracted almost 1,000 supporters, evidence of high regard in which The Anstice is held by local people.
From this wide scale community support grew the Anstice Community Team, which petitioned Madeley Town Council for help. A strong partnership has since been formed on which to build the future of The Anstice.
The Town Council reacted quickly, negotiating a purchase of the building in April 2015, and shortly afterwards, the Anstice Community Trust (ACT) was registered as a charity in July 2015.
Initially, the Town Council and ACT invested time and funding into bringing the upstairs ballroom to a safe standard to hold events, such as upgrades to the public utilities and other maintenance work. ACT then worked up and ran a programme of events to raise awareness of the building and bring in funds towards the proposed restoration work.
The downstairs has had to remain mothballed in very much in the same condition as to when the Working Men’s club closed, with an office, kitchen, large smokers lounge, snooker room and 2 additional bars. To the rear were a series of large store rooms and cellarage. It was recognised that it would need major refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards. A key component of any scheme will be to make the building totally accessible, conforming with the Equalities Act 2010, with the provision of a lift, disabled toilets and widened doors to allow wheelchair access.
After nearly four years of hard work, the Town Council and ACT have eventually raised sufficient funds to refurbish the building as a community facility. You can find out more at “Anstice Refurbishment”.
Why not visit The Anstice website: http://www.theanstice.co.uk
For information relating to the Public Works Loan undertaken by Madeley Town Council for the Anstice refurbishment, please CLICK HERE.