Shropshire

Anstice Memorial Hall: 'Best ballroom outside Blackpool' refurbished

Works dance in the 1960s Image copyright Madeley Town Council
Image caption Membership at the Anstice peaked at about 3,000 in the 1970s

Dancing is back on the bill at a Grade II listed hall once credited with having "the best sprung floor outside Blackpool".

Anstice Memorial Hall, in Madeley, Shropshire was built in 1868 as a working men's club.

It closed in 2014 because rules banning women from being members prevented it from receiving lottery funding for a refurbishment.

Now, after a £1.2m revamp, locals are back to showing off their best moves.

Image copyright Madeley Town Council
Image caption The ballroom hosted dances for more than 100 years before it closed

Madeley Town Council bought the building and the restoration project, funded in partnership with Telford and Wrekin Council and the local community trust, was completed earlier this month.

And it was local women - like Lindy Boden, whose parents met on the dance floor in the 1960s - who have been behind the drive to see it restored.

"They used to come up every Saturday night," she said.

Image copyright Madeley Town Council
Image caption The ballroom was credited with having "the best sprung floor outside Blackpool"

The building now houses a library, community space, a cafe and shops, as well as its trademark ballroom.

In its heyday it also boasted a bank, a dental surgery and school.

Image caption The hall was built in 1868

Many locals have fond memories of days and nights spent at the club.

"We all met our husbands here," said Mabel Finnigan, who returned to the ballroom with sisters Gwen Wilkes and Pauline Hyde.

Image caption Named after industrialist John Anstice, it became a hub for the community and the setting for celebrating coronations and carnivals

She remembers parties so popular that "if you went downstairs to the bar you could see the floor moving up and down".

"You can't beat the floor," Mrs Hyde said.

"It's the best dance floor in Shropshire."

Image copyright Madeley Town Council
Image caption Now reopened, the ballroom provides a space for community events

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