The Wishing Well restaurant-cum-nightclub on the corner of New Brown Street and Cannon Street (both now beneath the Arndale Centre), is shown here in 1959. Originally the 'City Restaurant', the Wishing Well was so-named due to a shaft (and some bones) that was unearthed in the basement in 1954 by an electrician. The owners thought it was a well so they made a feature of it, building a faux brick wall round it, complete with winch and bucket on a rope. Not to mention the model skeleton they hung next to it which must have gone down well with diners and drinkers. The Wishing Well became a popular late night haunt, more of a bar than an eatery, and at weekends it became Cord Disco, named after the owner's American car.
As recounted in Underground Manchester , when the Wishing Well was earmarked for demolition to make way for the Arndale, the owner Alex Britton and local explorers, Harry and Dick Smith, decided to explore the well. They cleared debris from the 8-feet wide, brick-lined shaft to a depth of 80 feet, uncovering a large chamber half way down - what they thought was a storage area for coal - and many ledges for candles. Their research led them to believe it was a coal or copper mine, as similar workings had been found at nearby Shudehill and Corporation Street. A larger chamber was found lower down but unfortunately they ran out of time and space when they worked out they were around 40 feet from the bottom. The shaft was quickly back-filled and the building demolished.
1. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).