A Quickstep Forward into the Future
Billington’s Dance Academy, a building with great history has a new owner and an
Billington’s Dance Academy has been a famous fixture of Ascroft Street in Oldham town
centre since 1934. It is named after Albert and Nora Billington, who acquired what was
formerly Turner’s Dance Academy. No one really knows how long it was a dance school prior
to Billington's taking over, but what we do know is that from 1934 to 2016, for 82 years,
thousands of dancers’ feet have trodden its floors, learning not only to dance but socialise
and even fall in love. Mrs Billington’s long service to the community and the arts, was
recognised in 2013 when, aged ninety-two, she received an MBE.
Two people who met, danced and fell in love with each other within those walls of the
Dance Academy, were Brenda and Dennis Massey. Brenda began dancing there at the age of
nine and her husband, Dennis, was aged fourteen when he first attended. They had no
knowledge then that they would go on to take over the business and keep the name of
Billington’s alive until 2016.
From 2016 to 2021, the building remained virtually untouched, used primarily for storage by
two brothers, who purchased the building from the Masseys. But, earlier this year Krzysztof
Zemlik, co-director of Ascroft Medical, purchased the former dance school and the adjoining
house, the former home of Dennis and Nora.
The building sits directly between Ascroft Medical’s two other locations – at Ascroft Court
and Clegg St. It’s early days for the exact plans to be published, however, Ascroft Medical is
set to host state of the art surgeries, reception area and procedure rooms on the site.
Krzysztof is keen to maintain some of the history and to that end, the upper floor (pictured
above) will become an exhibition and conference space which will be called ‘Billingtons’. He
says “It’s a building with 82 years of history, so we are keen to keep as many of the
features as possible, especially on the top floor of the building. In its time Billington’s was
definitely the catalyst for many marriages, romances and friendships.”
Recently, Brenda Massey accepted an invitation to visit the building, she was accompanied
by her late husband Dennis’ best friend, Graham, who regularly helped with the daily
running of the dance academy. They were shown around the building by Krzysztof, ahead of
the renovation work about to take place. It was something of a blast from the past for
Brenda and Graham, who were transported back to the final days of the business, as, to
their great surprise, the building was in virtually the same condition as when they last saw it.
Both were delighted with the plans for the building and the firm intention to keep the
memory of Billington’s alive within its walls.
If you would like to share any stories and past memories of Billington’s you are welcome to
send them to – email@example.com please note that Ascroft Medical might use these
stories or memories in future press releases.