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Save Ancoats Dispensary (updated)

Submitted by on August 18, 2012 – 11:16 am2 Comments


Ardwick & Ancoats Dispensary


Ancoats is one of Manchester’s oldest districts (the name means ‘lonely cottages’), it was part of the original Manchester which was created in 1838 and in it there stands a building that predates this, Ancoats Dispensary on Old Mill Street. Ancoats hospital opened on Monday the 11th August 1828 when cotton was king and Manchester was the heart and lungs of the British Empire. Originally 19 grade II listed buildings stood on the site and now just the old Dispensary stands. It is a beautiful red brick Gothic style building. It was built as a hospital for the poor who couldn’t afford any other medical treatment. It is a part of our heritage and yet because of the callous neglect inflicted on it in the name of profit it lies roofless and derelict.

Urban Splash has applied for listed building consent to demolish Ancoats Dispensary. And but for the actions of a small group of people this would have happened. Urban Splash has been given countless millions of pounds to protect Ancoats and create a new ‘New Islington’. Tom Bloxham head of Urban Splash said in 2001 ‘if we do not deliver on our promises we will never work in this City again’. Despite the empty promises nothing has been delivered and for some insane reason Bloxham’s underlings sanctioned the removal of the Dispensary roof, and it fell into a state of dereliction. I know none of them men are Mancunians but if they were to Google Manchester they might find we get our fair share of rain.

I beg all right minded people to sign the petition, if we get 4,000 signatures we can make the Council sit again.

In 1952 L.S. Lowry painted his “Ancoats Hospital Outpatients Hall’, it hangs in the Whitworth Art Gallery, and if Bloxham and this Council get their way that is all that will remain for our children and their children to remember this great building by.


...and he painted matchstalk men and Ancoats' Outpatients Hall



If lowry ever came back to ancoats

If lowry ever came back to ancoats

the old boy would surely faint

there’s bugger all left there now

that he would really want to paint

he wouldn’t be interested in office blocks

or glass apartments in ivory towers

he’d probably finish up in the park

painting ducks and the fucking flowers


Madeleine Moment

A “Madeleine Moment” is a term used to describe involuntary memory it comes from the writing of Marcel Proust. Apparently Marcel was eating a Madeleine biscuit and enjoying a coffee, when the aroma of the coffee and biscuit took him back to a moment in his childhood. And he wrote a seven volume classic about his childhood, I won’t bullshit you I have never read it, but stood on the picket line outside Ancoats Dispensary the other day I had a “Madeleine Moment’. I glanced back at the old Dispensary entrance and I was taken back to a day in 1974. Me Mam had just had an operation to remove a lump from her throat, and I clearly seen me and my brothers and my Dad bringing me Mam home. And I heard the laughter of us all, felt the joy of having me Mam back, and the excitement of us kids. Mother died two years ago in her own front room, amongst they that she loved. My son Liam woke me early one morning and said “Dad I think Nana’s dead”, and I went downstairs and she was. And I thank that hospital for the 36 years in-between that I spent with the finest person I ever met. And me Dad is dead. hit and run in 1986, and me older brother Kieran succumbed to aggressive lung cancer in 2008 (again on a hospital bed in my Mother’s front room amongst they that he loved).

In the Heartlands we don’t desert or shoot our wounded, we carry them, cos they’d carry us. Today was the ninth day of the Ancoats Dispensary picket, it rained heavy, and me and me two eldest sons got wet. Tomorrow we march to St Peters Square and we tell everyone that will listen how this Labour Council has sold its soul to the devil. The bulldozers are due and we’ll be waiting for them, just like we waited for my Mam all those years and dreams ago.


Please take time to sign the petition here http://www.petitiononline.co.uk/petition/save-ancoats-dispensary/3320

there are also  ‘Save Ancoats’ pages on Facebook


  • Quinny says:

    A very worthy cause, heritage and history count for nothing in this day and age, petition signed.

  • burnleyman says:

    Good evening.i have visited the dispensary site saturday and today.The people manning the point deserve the nations thanks.I trust that in time the powers that be re consider the matter and good sense prevails.Like an adertising slogan says ”when its gone its gone”…..well i hope that sentiment wont be attached to this fine ”elder statesman” of a building.
    On a more personal note can anyone tell me where i may purchase a copy of the painting done by that other elder statesman, of the inside of the said building? try as i may i cant seem to locate a source.
    i would be obliged for any information.
    Kind regards.

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