I could say 'just because', I could say 'because I can' but the truth is that as my research into my favourite subjects expands, so does this website! I really want to keep it easy and logical to navigate but with the advent of the internet so much additional information is available and I can't squeeze it all into mine, so have to create the odd off shoot.
The purpose of this page is to include additional information that either may not enhance or causes an imbalance to the original page that the subject matter belongs to and Morecambe's "Don Café" is just such subject. The structure itself has how disappeared from Morecambe's history and with it the secrets of its origins, owners and keepers of memories; for such an interesting structure there is very little background information available (as yet) but I am persevering.
Still, clearly showing an in tact Don Café taken from the NWFAs' 'Morecambe on Film' - courtesy of Vimeo
Short extracts from 'West Coast Holiday' depicting post-war scenes on Morecambe's seafront. 'West Coast Holiday' is one of several titles from the North West Film Archive that are part of the 'Morecambe on Film' collections. Film No. 6992 | Title: West Coast Holiday |Date: *1946-48 |Producer: Norman Ellis. This film is preserved at the North West Film Archive, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Two postcards that have appeared on ebay but not yet in my private collection.
More details of the official opening announcement from the Lancashire Daily Post on Thursday, July 18th 1935 - images courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive
So another series of Strictly Come Dancing has come to an end and Tom Chambers' winning performance is just a distant memory. You'll have to wait another year to watch a TV dance floor come alive once more. But perhaps some of you remember dancing for real, when Saturday night didn't mean reality TV; instead it meant taking the bus to Morecambe and dancing the night away in one of the town's premier ballrooms. For the first half of the 20th Century, Morecambe was a destination for ballroom dancers everywhere and Lancaster Maritime Museum has recently acquired some new items for the city council's collection which recall that evocative era.
'The pier survived a major fire in July 1933 when the main pavilion was totally destroyed. The fire, which took hold around 5.30pm, became a draw for spectators from far and wide. According to reports, there were traffic jams from Lancaster as local residents rushed to see the drama. In just over an hour much of the pier had been destroyed leaving just a twisted metal ruin. A new Central Pier Company was set up and from 1935 the pier sprang back to life with a new cafe and open air and indoor dance spaces. A theatre and ballroom were rebuilt and late night trains would run on a Saturday night to bring revellers home from the dancing. The Forties and Fifties were Morecambe's dancing heyday but the pier also saw its fair share of live acts. From the 'Mr Modern England' muscle contest to rock and roll. On March 27, 1966, the ballroom, then called the Marine Ballroom, played host to The Who. Due to an accident, Pete Townsend was unavailable so Mike Dickinson of the Doodle Bugs appeared as guitarist. But by the 1970s ballroom dancing and pier entertainment had lost its charm and holidaymakers were heading for Spain. In February 1987 fire cursed the pier once again. The amusement arcade caught fire leaving just a derelict structure behind. The pier was finally demolished in 1992.'
Morecambe is rich in historical and historically interesting architectural structures and buildings, the most famous of them all being The Midland Hotel built (and well chronicled) in 1933 in the Streamline Modern style - a thing of great beauty, which quickly became a thing of revulsion as it fell into disrepair. Having said this, Morecambe is also rich in individuals who are determined their heritage will not disappear from the horizon, one such group, of which I was (or perhaps still am) a member produced regular newlsetters full of historical and architectural information. I query my status as the 'Friends' are no longer functioning as an official body, but all still hold the Midland and its well-being close to their hearts. It is because of this entusiasm that The Midland is one of the structures that has a section to itself on this website and is not placed in the general pages. The Aviator, Ocean, Burgh Island Hotels, Byron Cinema and the Hoover and Carreras Black Cat Factories are also places we have visited and been able to get additional authentic historical information to justify the extra space on this website. My regret is that I can't find (yet - never say die!) more about my childhood structures of interest such as the Carrington Lido, Nottingham Ice Stadium or the Boots building opposite the ice rink all information about which appears to have evaporated! Returning to the 'Friends' and the 'Seahorse' newsletters which I was perusing yesterday and today and found this article by local architectural historian Peter Wade which includes a brief reference to the Don Café in comparison to the Midland - I have reproduced this below :
From the 'Seahorse' issue number 9 - June 2003
I have already used this image on the postcard page of the Midland Hotel expressing my interest in the style, once again it is already covered in a 'Seahorse' publication
From the 'Seahorse' issue number 22 - October 2009
Page updated : 6th March 2017