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.
Everyone in ACT is now working hard to submit funding bids and designs for 21st century use of a 19th century listed building. At this time, until a design is confirmed costs can only be estimated but it is anticipated to be between £500k and £1.5million, which may need to be phased over a period according to funding success. ACT welcomes contributions both as cash or in kind towards achieving their goal.
Together MTC & ACT aim to:
Bring The Anstice back as the heart of Madeley – for the whole community, for Leisure, Sport, Art, Learning, Health, Family and Friendship
During May and June 2015 ACT carried out a survey to find out what people in Madeley really wanted to have in The Anstice. The following document gives the detailed findings, and a short summary. Survey report .
Why not visit The Anstice website: http://www.theanstice.co.uk