Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue, Gorton, 1960s. (c) Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes [1].

The Lighthouse Cafe served visitors to Belle Vue Gardens at the Small Lake (or Firework Lake or Picture Lake) from 1862 when it was built by John Jenninson, founder of Belle Vue, to 1977 [1], when boating on the lake finally ended.  

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue, 1950s. (c) Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes [1].

It was one of seven original refreshment rooms at Belle Vue in 1863, which had grown to 17 by the 1930s, including the Hyde Road Hotel (Palm Court/Caesar's Palace)Lake Hotel and the original Longsight Hotel [1].  

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue, 1950s. (c) Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes [1].

When it opened the Lighthouse Cafe was described as a 'spacious and lofty refreshment room' catering for 1,000.  In 1892 the price of a cup of tea or coffee was 3d, whereas a glass if bitter ale was just 2 & 1/2d [1].

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue, 1900. (c) Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes [1].

The Lighthouse Cafe was refurbished and extended in 1958 but by 1977 it was closed as a bar, having ceased offering food some years earlier [1].  

Lighthouse Cafe, Belle Vue (left). (c) Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes [1].

The Small / Firework / Picture Lake, so named as it was smaller than the Great Lake, but held firework displays set against a huge canvas 'painted picture' landscape on Firework Island, shown above.

Former location of Lighthouse Cafe, Ellen Wilkinson Way. (c) Google 2014. View Larger Map.

Looking at a modern map of Belle Vue, I guess Ellen Wilkinson Way is roughly where the lake and Lighthouse Cafe once were.

1. Belle Vue, Jill Cronin & Frank Rhodes, 1999.

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