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.
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 regimental parades.
During the 20th century the Working Men’s Club 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 since then and particularly in recent years such traditional clubs have seen a steep decline and The Anstice was no exception. 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.
Almost immediately local people started a Save the Anstice campaign on Facebook; it gathered over 900 supporters in two weeks. From that came the Anstice Community Trust (ACT) which turned alarm into positive action by gathering support from councils, the local M.P. and other agencies. This group organised consultation on the streets to find out if there was strong support for restoring the building to its former glory, and also what people would use it for. The response was passionate and many more volunteers came forward. A preliminary survey did not reveal any glaring faults in the building structure, but it does need a thorough update and access improvements. ACT commissioned a business plan, based on the improved building sustaining itself on income and started exploring what volunteers elsewhere had achieved with large buildings.
Madeley Town Council received a grant from Telford & Wrekin Council to purchase the building ‘for the Community’ with a view to handing management over to an independent Charity or Trust created for the purpose, the purchase was completed on 28th April 2015. The Anstice Community Trust was registered with the Charity Commission on 13th July 2015.
Why not visit The Anstice website: http://www.theanstice.co.uk
Madeley Town Council, working in partnership with the Anstice Community Trust (ACT), has agreed to support a scheme for the refurbishment of the Anstice, helping to bring this lovely building back in to the heart of the local community. The Council have sourced funding from Telford & Wrekin Council, other agencies and existing Town Council funds, which together with a loan from the Public Works Board can raise the required £1.1 million to deliver the preferred scheme. Our architects will continue to refine down costs up to when the scheme goes out to tender in November 2018 and further grants will be sought.
The refurbishment will focus on bringing the whole building back into use, including for the first time, the installation of a lift and disabled facilities, so that the building is accessible to all. On the ground floor, there will be a home for the library, a community café and 2 rental units, that will provide income towards running the refurbished building. The flat will also be refurbished. We hope work on the main contract will start in early 2019, so the Anstice will close at the end of December for some 6-9 months, whilst the work is carried out.
Ahead of the main contract, we are going to restore the front porch which needs to be done by specialist masonry contractors. The listed building consent application for the work has been submitted and three specialist masonry companies have been invited to tender. The work involves stripping off the old paint, repairing the walls and replacing the flat roof which is rotten. Tenders are due back on the 3rd September and the intention is to start w/c 10th September. Work will be completed by the end of October.
You may have wondered why scaffolding was erected around the building earlier in the year? Guttering and safety rails on the roof had become unsafe after high winds and had to be repaired to avoid any potential debris falling onto pedestrians below as well as keeping the building water tight.
Finally, we would like to make a plea for your help – the funds available will not be sufficient to carry out the full refurbishment to all the building, for example decoration of the ballroom and replacing and
restoring the front windows, and therefore we still need to seek additional funding. So please continue to support the Anstice by attending events being held during the rest of this year, or maybe consider
making a donation or holding your own event to raise funds towards the refurbishment– every penny counts!
See images below:-
- Proposed Ground Floor Option
- Proposed First Floor Option
- Proposed Left Elevation
- Proposed Rear Elevation
These plans can also be found at: www.theanstice.co.uk/the-refurb
On display at the Anstice, which is open on Wenesday mornings and also at Jubilee House reception.