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, John Johnson (1843-1920), architect. Constructed in 1868-69 to a design by the London architect John Johnson (Moorgate Street), the Anstice Memorial Workmen‘s Club and Institute is now a Grade II listed building. It formally opened on February 17th 1870 in memory of local businessman John Anstice who managed the Madeley Wood Company. It was badly damaged by fire in 1874 but was restored by the same architect in 1875.
The Institute provided a venue for recreation, culture and learning over many years. It stands as a tangible reminder of civic improvement schemes favoured by the Victorian middle class who saw themselves as providing the opportunity for the working classes to “improve” themselves through “rational recreation”. They saw reading and music leading to cultural enlightenment and reaffirmed moral standards
. It hosted many grand functions and dances with its well sprung dance floor, said to be the best in the Midlands, where one could dance all night without ones feet getting 'drawn' by the floor. It was where the local community gathered for celebrations like coronations, as well as lectures and political debates. Later in the 1960’s, it became the place for teenagers to meet, listen and dance to beat music. For over 100 years, it has been the heart of Madeley, well loved by successive generations. It closed as a working mens’ club in 2014 but the local community is working together to restore the building for community uses.
Last modified 14 September 2017