Campaigners who have been fighting to save the historic Ancoats Dispensary are said to be devastated after they have been forced to hand the keys to the building back to the council following a Heritage lottery decision not to fund the second stage of crucial funding

In a statement released today the Ancoats Dispensary Trust said that without Lottery Funding it was no longer viable to maintain ownership of the building which would have seen a further grant of £4.3m.

It is intended now that Manchester City Council will use the building for an affordable housing scheme, although how much of the building’s features will still be retained is uncertain.

Over the past six years the Trust had raised £1.1m through the Heritage Lottery, the Architectural Heritage Fund and private donations in order to convert the building into a community funded project.

Urban Splash, who are developing the area around New Islington withdrew a listed building application to demolish the Dispensary back in 2011 and the Trust was set up to provide time for a new initiative to be developed with the backing of Heritage Lottery funding money.

The Grade II listed building dates from the 1870’s although the history of the dispensary goes back to 1828 when the original building opened on Great Ancoats street.


Made famous by Lowry, who painted a scene in 1952 in the waiting room,patients waiting on long wooden benches,bowler hats,some bandaged heads,strip lights hanging from the ceiling,doctors in white coats lurking, it  closed its doors in February 1987.

In a statement the Trust said

“to have come so far and to fall at the final hurdle has been extremely difficult to accept, We fought so hard because we believe that the dispensary’s heritage was unique and that the stories of people in its community deserved to be told. We might not have been fully successful in our vision, but if you believe that something is right then you fight for it – and we are proud to have fought for so long.” adding

“After five years, the dispensary still stands, and we consider this to be a testament to the community’s love for the building and people power.”


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