Sign the Petition – Say NO to Demolition – Say YES to Community, History and Culture

19 Jul

St. Pauls demolition in London. © 2008 Nick Purser/ActionAid

Your immediate response is that their is something wrong with this picture and for good reason…

The natural instinct to value what has gone before grows inside you as you witness something of majesty as it is removed from this earth forever. The feeling of respect in loss. The natural inquisitiveness to understand how it was achieved on parting. The admiration of the skill of the architect and craftsmen that built it and the frustration and sense of helplessness that their legacy is not honoured or protected for future generations to share, enjoy and learn from. The aesthetic beauty and pride in the fact that our ancestors gave and achieved so much, only for it to be reduced to rubble in a matter of moments.

Ancoats Dispensary. © 2012 Guardian/Joanne Moyes/Alamy

Whilst St. Pauls in London is very secure in the nations hearts as well protected by law, many buildings are not so fortunate and yet equally or more important to the story of the nation and the people that have helped shape it through the ages. Ancoats Hospital in Manchester is one such building and the very last building, the Dispensary is one such building which is about to be lost forever. WE must not let this happen.

Is nothing sacred in our communities! Is our culture, our history and heritage worth nothing over than the amount of land it sits upon!

Should we have a nomadic existence where all our worldly possession are packed into a bag and transported with us where ever we go. No mark upon the earth for which we have tread! No testament to our achievements within the community we were born. No legacy good or bad to give to our children to make them better than we were. No lessons to be learnt from the buildings that have helped shape lives and which whole communities grew from.

If you believe history, culture and heritage is worth more than just the land it sits upon, then please sign this petition to save one of the last buildings from the Ancoats community of New Islington.

700 and counting. Lets keep it up. Your support is very much appreciated. Historic Grade II listed Ancoats Hospital is at risk of being lost forever. Lets make sure this integral building of the Industrial Revolution and to the story of Manchester is saved, restored and reused by the community of Ancoats, Manchester and the world.

Please could everyone SIGN and FORWARD this petition to 10+ of their friends to sign. All support is very much appreciated.


6 Responses to “Sign the Petition – Say NO to Demolition – Say YES to Community, History and Culture”

  1. Sarah May (@Sarah_May1) July 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Sorry, I don’t agree with you. I don’t know the details of the case, and there may be real reason to retain the building, but I don’t believe that losing this building will lead to a free for all and I think that the current obsession with preservation in heritage is misguided. I hope you can find ways to build on the heritage that inspires you without exhausting yourself over this particular building.


    • historyme July 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Hi Sarah. Very nice to hear from you and thank you for your comments.

      The area has for 40 years seen endless amounts of failed housing projects forced upon the community, with valuable housing demolished in the process, whilst the same housing being retain in more affluent parts of the city, which are now worth a lot of money. In the process whilst dispersing a community built up over many years, most the resources of the community went with them, including shops, schools, playing fields, youth clubs, etc. Almost everything gone leading to a continuing cycle of crime, unemployment, reliance on benefits and poor health. What the Government often call “lost generations”.

      Would this type of cultural vandalism happen in London!? Or would English Heritage show more interest if we were fighting to save some rich persons stately home!? We will get to a point where London is the only place with its history intact

      In terms of preserving historical building, forgetting for one minute that this building is part of a story of global importance, in particular to places like China, India and Brazil whose rapid development is an almost mirror image of this area over 200 years ago.

      The history of the building to one side, the reasons to keep this building are many. Not only is there a larger issue of outside companies dictating to communities how they should develop with little or no engagement or indeed choice. For the majority, almost always the less well of, have no say, it is forced upon them and in the case of so called and derogatory named “slum clearances”, well I don’t know one success story.

      There is also a case for retaining building not only in a recession but generally. Its cost more money to demolish them and replace economically and environmentally.

      There is also a big argument against demolition in areas where so much has been demolished as well. Who wants to live in an area where for 10, 20,30 years you grow up on a building site. The area in which Ancoats Hospital is sited is basically one big construction with very little work progressing. It has been like that for over 10 years! With another 10 years+ to go! I know I wouldn’t want to live anywhere like that!

      I agree that buildings show inspire us, they are powerful tools in which we invest so much and get so much out, but I’m not sure if you are familiar with modern Manchester architecture, but there is very little to inspire us, if nothing at all. Its all just formulaic, ill conceived, poorly designed, functional boxes, neither incorporating craftsmanship, engineering achievement or modernist simplicity. The majority of the modern buildings in Manchester are a disgrace to the profession and it seems the planning committee at Manchester City Council would know a decent design if it was in front of them.

      One of the key aspect in architecture in Manchester in particular its modern building is beauty. Not only do property developers often dismiss this as a subjective ideal, but often forsake any sense of taste for a quick buck. These are the people reshaping Manchester’s skyline and the same people who would merit the Cheeky Girls “The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)” as of equal value as Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”.

      It is lazy, greedy and arrogant of developers to think people don’t want beauty out of buildings and so they get away with building bland rat boxes. Beauty is something that everyone on the planet values and within buildings can transform our state of building, as seen in many churches, mosque, temples etc around the world.

      There are many other points why historical buildings should be saved, in particular as with this building, when its one of the very last, but if this building is allowed to be demolished, it basically sets a precedent whereby a developer or owner of the property can do what ever they want to the building and the Council will always back them, even if its demolition. It sets a very dangerous precedent.


  2. Kate McGinnis July 23, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    I signed.

    But it does look pretty decrepit. It might not be feasible to save or even use anymore–at some point foundations, walls, structures, etc, fail beyond repair.

    Anyway, if I was a billionaire, I’d have a swell time trying to save and and turning it into my mansion.


    • historyme July 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Kate. Nice to hear from you. It has seen better days, but it no worse than quite a few buildings around Manchester. In particular the Unitarian Chapel on Upper Brook Street which is Grade II listed – It is highly unlikely it is in a state beyond repair and we hope to get an independent survey as soon as possible. The real critical issue is if Urban Splash do demolish, the council are basically saying, if you own a listed building in Manchester, you can do what you want to it and there will be no comebacks on it. A very dangerous precedent to allow private business to dictate what history is important and not and get 100% backing from the council or those in power. It is also highly unlikely the council would seek any way of finding Urban Splash for there 11 years of neglect.

      Lets hope the council gave give us due time to present our plans to them, not much to ask considering the community of Ancoats have had to put up with the disgraceful typical property developer arrogance for 11 years now. Yes, they’ve done some nice projects, yet they are far far away from heritage heroes. Number one concern is greed, not money and community and history and indeed the future of this community are very much in the shadows as the people who make this disgraceful planning decisions don’t live in these areas which they have abused for far too long.



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