£100,000 appeal launched to save Ansdell Institute

An urgent appeal has been launched to raise £100,000 to preserve the future of one of Fylde’s most iconic buildings.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:45 pm

The newly-formed Friends of Ansdell Institute are fundraising to revamp the Grade II-listed landmark, including close to £100,000 needed to restore the imposing building’s roof, and for further works to repair interior damage caused by water entry.

The formation of the group has been backed by Ansdell councillors Ben Aitken, Richard Redcliffe and Chris Dixon, who are helping form the new body and are looking for funding sources.

Alan Roe, honorary secretary of the Institute, said: “We must act now to save this iconic building.

Ansdell Institute was built in 1909

“It cost £4,500 to build in 1909, one of the largest pieces of private largesse in England at the time when the Institute was handed to the people of Ansdell.

“It has been the focus of the whole village since then but unfortunately, for many years, has been run as a private club.

“Circumstances have changed and large parts of the building have been revamped.

“We now have three businesses operating out of here – the social club, a community meeting room and a coffee bar set to open, all of which will help fund improvements the building desperately needs.”

Some of the damage inside the building

The Institute was built on Woodlands Road in 1909 by Messrs Dryland and Preston of Blackpool and Littleborough, having been designed by architect George H Willoughby of Parrs Bank Chambers, Manchester.

The original plans for Ansdell Institute show a single-storey public hall with a two and three-storey building attached, containing a committee room, billiard room, reading room, library, and classrooms among other facilities. The main hall had an oak-sprung floor and a platform stage at one end.

Ansdell Coun Ben Aitken said: “While every effort is being made to get more people to use the building, it is more clear than ever that we need to carry out a full survey to ascertain exactly how much money we need to stop it falling into further disrepair.

“Alan has worked wonders bringing in new businesses and community facilities but we must repair the roof and the water ingress as soon as possible – or we will face huge issues throughout the building.

“We have launched the Friends group and, once Covid restrictions allow, will hold an open day and events to get the community as involved as possible with a scheme to save this beautiful building.

“We want to save the building for the next generations and make sure it is there for the next 100 years.

“We will need volunteers to help with the Friends group and people can find us on Facebook and, hopefully soon, at our open day.”

Coun Chris Dixon added: “Over the decades there have been some very unsympathetic changes made in the Institute which have covered over some beautiful features which need restoring in a modern facility for residents.

“We have started the process of looking at various funding bids from Government and the Lottery following the formation of the Friends group, and hope to get the entire community involved in the future of this magnificent building.”

Updates on the fund-raising plans will be shared on the Friends of Ansdell Institute page on Facebook.

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