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Telford's Anstice venue looks forward to bumper year

A community hub in a landmark Telford building is celebrating its second anniversary – and looking forward to its first full year of operation.

Celebrating the anniversary are, from left, volunteer and trustee Rita Mannering, customer Gwen Fellows and manager Lyndy Boden.
Celebrating the anniversary are, from left, volunteer and trustee Rita Mannering, customer Gwen Fellows and manager Lyndy Boden.

The Anstice, in Madeley, opened after an extensive refurbishment in January 2020 but the pandemic has meant it has seen two stop-start years.

Manager Lyndy Boden, who was a key figure in helping to bring the Grade II listed building in the centre of the town back to life, said: “Lockdown has prevented us from fully functioning for much of the time since our official reopening but we are hoping that 2022 will be a really great year for us.”

The Anstice Memorial Hall first opened in 1870 to honour John Anstice, a respected mine owner, industrialist and philanthropist. It was reputed to be one of the earliest working men’s institutes in the country.

It became a focal point for the community, with concerts, dances and social events, as well as being home to a number of clubs and societies.

Lyndy said: “In its heyday its ballroom was famous as ‘the best sprung floor outside Blackpool’, holding packed dances and concerts. However, the venue hit troubled times and closed in 2014.”

Local people immediately started a ‘Save the Anstice’ campaign, attracting over 900 supporters in two weeks and lobbying local councillors.

As a result, the Anstice was bought by Madeley Town Council, which worked with the Anstice Community Trust to renovate the building and put this iconic local landmark back at the heart of the community.

“The Anstice now serves as a community hub for the people of Madeley, complete with Madeley Library, a new café, refurbished ballroom and bar and fantastic accessibility," said Lyndy.

“We host regular meetings and events such as craft fairs, dance shows, classic movie days, and the ballroom is hired out for parties and weddings.

"The Anstice once again stands proud at the heart of Madeley and ready to welcome local people and visitors this year.”

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