Ancoats Dispensary

Historically significant ‘friend of the poor’ facing demolition

The Grade II-listed Ancoats Dispensary on Old Mill Street was built in 1891 to treat patients who did not qualify for the poor law hospitals but who could not afford medical bills.

It is the only remaining building from Manchester’s nineteenth century Ancoats Hospital, and is an impressive survivor in an area that has lost most of its historic buildings. It finally closed in 1996 and after years of neglect it appeared to have a saviour in the form of developer Urban Splash, a company credited with numerous successful regeneration schemes.

But earlier this year Urban Splash applied for Listed Building Consent to demolish the Dispensary, citing the withdrawal of a grant which would have funded repairs to the shell of the building as one of the reasons no solution could be found. The Victorian Society has urged Manchester City Council to refuse consent for demolition, arguing that the developer’s justification is flawed as it is limited to today’s poor economic outlook.

‘The Dispensary needs investment to be made safe and watertight until a new, long-term use can be found’, said Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the The Victorian Society. ‘There isn’t sufficient justification for demolishing this important Grade II-listed building and it must be given another chance. The Dispensary is not beyond repair and future generations won’t forgive us for allowing buildings like this to be lost due to short term economic concerns.’

Endangered Buildings Archives